Whether you’re an A-list movie star who occupies every frame of a film, or a relative unknown who only appears for one scene – solid acting is solid acting. Below are my favorite background roles from 2014, a handful of performances that, while all great, didn’t get nearly the attention they deserved.
The best friend (with crazy good aim) in Blue Ruin
Played by Devin Ratray
How many people do you have in your life that you could ask anything of? People you could meet up with after years of silence, and ask them to help you with a life or death situation? Devin Ratray’s Ben was one such friend. You just knew this guy was going to be a savior.
The labor worker-turned-restaurant manager in Boyhood
Played by Roland Ruiz
Because he played it so right. No tears, no ecstatic praise – just a brief interruption, a few words of thanks, a perfectly timed pause, and a delivery of “It’s good to see you,” that floored me.
The no-nonsense dad in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him
Played by Ciarán Hinds
Ciarán Hinds is one of our best living character actors, and his role as James McAvoy’s understanding but stern father in The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him was one of his best performances yet. Relaxed, approachable, but completely intolerant of bullshit. The kind of guy whose idea of helping out is a stern kick in the ass from 20 feet away.
The pregnant and confused wife in Enemy
Played by Sarah Gadon
“I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I think you know. I think you know.”
The Americana wife in Foxcatcher
Played by Sienna Miller
“Sienna Miller, the most beautiful woman in the world vanishing into a Dollar Store wardrobe.” That’s how my good friend Nick Prigge described Miller’s work in Foxcatcher. And really, that’s all that needs to be said. A small role, sure, but the Sienna Miller we know was nowhere to be found in this movie.
Everyone in The Homesman
It’s damn hard to top the cast from The Grand Budapest Hotel, but the players of The Homesman helped make up one of the best ensemble casts of 2014. Everyone was on point in this film. (More of my thoughts on this cast can be found here.)
The waitress in Inherent Vice
Played by Jillian Bell
“What can I get for you, little buddy?...And to drink, gentlemen? You’re gonna wanna get good and fucked up before this meal.”
The robot with a sense of humor in Interstellar
Voiced by Bill Irwin
The Swimmer, the Husband, the Wife, the Baby, and the Dog in
Under the Skin
Played by Krystof Hadek, Roy Armstrong, and Alison Chand
It gives me chills just thinking about this scene, let alone watching it. What a terror.
The loyal father in Whiplash
Played by Paul Reiser
More Best Of 2014 Posts