Ten underrated actresses we'd watch in anything

Slide show: It's impossible to take your eyes off these unsung scene-stealers

By Matt Zoller Seitz

Published August 19, 2011 11:30PM (EDT)

The following slide show of underrated actresses is the promised sequel to last week's roundup of the 10 most underrated actors. The same criteria apply -- these actresses are versatile and charismatic, and viewed by peers and viewers alike as somebody who nearly always improves a scene. Yet when you look at their filmographies, you see surprisingly few awards and nominations next to their names -- especially from mainstream organizations. They are well-liked, perhaps even loved, but for whatever reason they aren't stars. And movies and TV are the poorer for it.

This list includes a number of chameleon-like character actresses, some offbeat leading ladies and at least one world-class clown. My admittedly arbitrary cutoff point is an Oscar or Emmy win; if a performer has taken home at least one statuette, she didn't make my list, because she could no longer be considered "underrated." But you may have different criteria, and I hope that as we list other great, underappreciated actresses in the Letters section, we'll have a spirited argument about what, exactly, "underrated" means, and whether all these 10 performers qualify.

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