I Know That Face! 5 Actors Who Should Be Household Names but Aren’t (Yet)

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As you know a lot of actors toil on the sidelines for years, working, waiting, praying, and hoping for that first big break. Then they hope to keep working, and maybe even get catapulted into the realm of a star, a household name. People all over the world know names like Brad Pitt, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep. Then there are the actors who are crazy talented and steadily working, the actors you know you recognize. Or maybe you even know, “Oh that’s the guy from True Blood” or that’s the woman in “Boardwalk Empire.” But you don’t really know their name. That might be OK with the people on this list – they’re having pretty solid careers. But your Aunt Ida in Iowa might not know them by name. These five are super talented and deserve to be know by your Aunt Ida… one day. Unless Aunt Ida is a Tarantino-esque film buff. Then she probably knows them.

5 Sam Rockwell

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How can you not love Sam Rockwell? He’s always fun and unpredictable to watch and movie buffs definitely know him, but he’s another one that Aunt Ida might not know. He’s been around for years, he’s Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, and if you didn’t catch him in the recent comedy Seven Psychopaths, do yourself a favor and check it out. He’s kinetic and hilarious as usual, and he actually steals a scene from Christopher Walken – that’s almost impossible to do. Props.

4 Rinko Kikuchi

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She’s big in her native Japan, but Rinko Kikuchi hasn’t broken out in the US yet. She had a big role in the Adrien Brody/Rachel Weisz/Mark Ruffalo flick The Brothers Bloom playing eccentric Bang Bang, then fell off the radar for a little bit. She’s in Guillermo del Toro’s next movie Pacific Rim as well as the Keanu Reeve’s flick 47 Ronin so we’ll see what happens. She’s solid.

3 John Hawkes

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John Hawkes is one of those chameleon type actors. He can do comedy, serious drama, and everything in between. He’s got one of those unforgettable faces and no matter what he’s in, he’s the real deal. He was a no-good dude in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence’s breakout role. Then he was Kenny Powers’ brother Dustin in Eastbound & Down, and now he’s got a ton of flicks coming out, including The Sessions – and people are talking about an Oscar for that one. So maybe he’ll be a household name after all. We’ll see.

2 Margo Martindale

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Talk about being around for a long, long time. Martindale was born in 1951 in Jacksonville, Texas and made her way out to Hollywood. She might be the hardest working woman in show business because if you look at her resume, it’s pretty dang long. If you saw her, you’d probably go, “Oh I know her,” or “She was on Law & Order!” She’s a fantastic actress and her shelves should be lined with Oscars. In the film Paris, je t’aime, which is a series of short films about Paris by different directors, she told the movie in the segment directed by Alexander Payne (The Descendents, Sideways). Watch it!

1 Michael Shannon

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This guy has been acting since he made his debut in 1992 in a TV movie called “Angel Street” – and who knows how long he was auditioning before that? He was in Pearl Harbor, Vanilla Sky, 8 Mile and a whole string of films and TV shows before scoring the role of Nelson van Alden on Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire. He’s always amazing. Check out Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio if you want to see a stellar performance. He was also in Take Shelter with Jessica Chastain. Your Aunt Ida should learn his name.

Do you know these five names offhand? Any more actors you think should be on everyone’s radar?

Dina Gachman writes about Hollywood and celebrities for Forbes, and covers film for Red Bull USA. She has written for Splitsider, Thought Catalog, and Hello Giggles. Her comic books about Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor are being published by Bluewater Comics.

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