They may not always play the leading role, but these 4 great character actors, who don't get enough respect, have earned a moment in the spotlight. They may not have Academy Award trophies or a continuous roster of main characters, but they all know how to steal a scene from their often higher-paid fellow cast members. These character actors have also proven that their careers will be as long as the reasons they should be respected.
Steve Buscemi Character actors are usually identified as performers that can transform into eccentric characters that tend to not be the lead protagonist in a story. Whether the part required an unusual scoundrel or a wisecracking underdog, Steve Buscemi has given cinema some of the best character acting in film history. Look no further than "King of New York", "In the Soup", "Miller's Crossing", "Living in Oblivion", "Reservoir Dogs", and "Fargo" for outstanding examples of his character work. Buscemi also has worked his comedic skills in countless Adam Sandler movies like "Billy Madison", "Mr. Deeds", "The Wedding Singer" and "Big Daddy."
John Turturro This Brooklyn New York-born Italian-American actor has earned every ounce of respect that he deserves with performances that cannot be limited to the "character actor" categorization. Turturro has remained a favorite actor among prominent directors. Spike Lee has cast John Turturro repeatedly in films such as "Do the Right Thing", "Jungle Fever" and "Miracle at St. Anna." The Coen Brothers, also, have added Turturro's distinctive character acting to their films "The Big Lebowski", "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" and "Barton Fink."
Don Cheadle This character actor turned leading man has rightfully expanded his screen time in recent years. Cheadle has the ability to meld characteristics as opposite as vulnerability and strength into a performance that makes him extremely sympathetic. This actor's vast resume of characters has populated vastly different films such as "Rosewood", "Boogie Nights", "Oceans 11", "Iron Man 2" and "Traffic." But Don Cheadle truly made respect chase after him when he starred as the real life African hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in "Hotel Rwanda", earning him a Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award nomination.
Ed Harris Directors that need an East Coast, street-smart character actor need Ed Harris. This New Jersey descendent has the fluid ability to turn an everyday blue-collar character into a hero or even a lawless desperado into the audience's worst nightmare. He brings authenticity, attitude and relatable charisma. Examples of Ed Harris' acting expertise can be seen in "The Right Stuff", "Glengarry Glen Ross", "State of Grace", "A Beautiful Mind" and "A History of Violence". James Cameron, the creator of "Avatar", took Harris' character acting into the realm of leading man status with the underwater odyssey "The Abyss."