Hollywood celebrities play a big part in our lives. And whether we like it or not, we tend to see a lot of them every time we turn on the TV or scroll through our social media news feeds. Sometimes we like what we see and want to learn more about the faces and headlines we come across, and sometimes we could do without.
How many times have we seen one too many news pieces about a celebrity we’ve heard just way too much about? Probably countless times and it can get a little more than annoying. Especially when there are other stars that get a lot less attention in the mainstream. These are stars—specifically actresses—that do a lot of work year round and get very little to no attention.
It’s pretty much the norm though, and it’s been happening in Hollywood since forever, and we just go with it without much of a thought. But today’s different. Today we’ll be looking at some of the greatest, most talented actresses that aren’t always looked upon for their great looks.
It’s high time these 25 leading ladies get recognized for the total package, no matter how many times they’ve been looked over in the past.
25 Vera Farmiga - The Quiet Queen Of The Conjuring Universe
Definitely quiet, Vera Farmiga has been active in Hollywood since 1996. That's a whopping 23 years, but we wouldn't have known it. She's been used to playing supporting roles and has gotten a lot of credentials to brag about in theater and even directing.
But what she's probably known for more are her appearances in The Conjuring film franchise and perhaps The Judge, as well as her role on Bates Motel. But she mustn't be overlooked, as her talent far exceeds her popularity, which is quite common with actresses like her, but not to fear—like a fine wine, her popularity will come when she's older.
24 Susan Kelechi Watson - This Is Her
Since NBC's This Is Us premiered, the world was introduced to many new talented stars, the likes of which the public hasn't been shown in quite some time. The show is highly dramatic. Some have even claimed that it's overly-dramatic, but that of course isn't the point today.
The cast of characters features Milo Ventimiglia, Sterling K. Brown, Mandy Moore, and of course this powerful lady right here. She brings the class and presence of Phylicia Rashad to the screen and a talent for the craft that can at times take the viewer's breath away. And in addition to all that talent and beauty is an impressive drive that earned her a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Tisch School of The Arts.
23 Rosamund Pike - Not 'Gone' But Thankfully Found
Most of you out there will remember this ravishing beauty from Gone Girl, the film adapted from the hit novel by Gillian Flynn. And although she played a character that was missing a few marbles from the old collection, her portrayal of the character was spot on and it left audiences mesmerized and creeped out all at the same time. Only the truly gifted can accomplish that. Just ask Jack Nicholson.
Rosamund got her start in film in 2002 and in 2005 landed a notable role opposite Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Doom, the video game adaptation, and she hasn't looked back since, landing impressive role after impressive role.
22 Melissa McCarthy - More Than Just A Funny Face
Don't let that quirky smile fool you. Yes, she's had a lot of roles where she plays the joker better than the damsel in distress, but like so many genius comics before her, it's all in the name of the game, as she excels in comedic roles that are considered slapstick. Especially these days.
But before all the exaggerated comedy and surreal moments we've seen her live through on the big screen, she played Sookie St. James in Gilmore Girls, the lovable chef and best friend to main character Lorelai Gilmore. Yes, she was the comedic relief, but the public was also privy to a deeper side to this character and thus her dramatic acting was in plain view.
21 Elizabeth Olsen - The Third Olsen Sister
(And perhaps the best, but shh! You didn't hear that from us.) She is definitely the sister of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and she may even look like them in the vaguest way, but by no means can she be compared to them at all in any other way. While her sisters border on a life of eccentricity and mystery, Elizabeth seems pretty simple and dare we say it... normal.
She's passionate about her craft and is definitely good at it. She's landed a lot of great roles over the years and has secured herself a spot in the hearts of millions as being a major part of the Marvel Universe franchise of films in Avengers, playing Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch.
20 Emily Hampshire - No Role Is Too Extreme For Her
Emily Hampshire has been active in film and television since the late nineties and has churned out classic role after classic role. She first got her start in film and television in her native Montreal, Quebec and has definitely branched outward from there. Her penchant for playing psychologically inferior characters has won out over the years, but hey, it worked for Glenn Close, didn't it?
But she has also had a few "normal" roles, if you will, and essentially, she can play them all. It's also no surprise, or rather shouldn't be, that she is quite capable of freezing all onlookers in place, mesmerized simply by the sound of her voice and that look in her eyes. A great actress indeed.
19 Christina Applegate - Every Boy's Lowkey Crush
If you happen to be married to a gentleman who just happened to grow up in the eighties and early nineties, it's very possible that he had a poster of this epic beauty on his wall. Over the years she has matured and gotten only that much more beautiful as the years passed and still, there's no doubt that the men that were once boys and had crushes on her still have a special spot in their hearts for this woman.
She has definitely stayed current and has adapted her acting style over time, but still, she's a queen in the business and the strength she has shown in her personal life makes her all the more impressive and queen-like in our eyes.
18 Winona Ryder - A Woman Interrupted
For this cinematic gem, it was one film hit after another throughout the nineties. Perhaps no one worked harder than her at the time. Edward Scissorhands, Dracula, The Age of Innocence, Little Women, Reality Bites and of course the epic Girl Interrupted.
Perhaps no one could have played Susanna Kaysen better, and captured her plight in just the right way. Ryder did so and all the while bringing that little bit of herself to the role, as she was often fond of doing. Unfortunately, her star has diminished in the last few decades and that is a tragedy in and of itself, as Hollywood is definitely missing out.
17 Tessa Thompson - The Modern Era's Adrian Balboa
That's saying something indeed, in that the character of Adrian Balboa represented the strength behind the Rocky character from those old films. Now in the reboot of the franchise, that character needed to be replaced and it was in fine form with this inclusion of Bianca, the love interest for the new hero of the tale, Adonis Creed.
This actress did an astonishing job and with such large shoes to fill, she did so with class and talent, all the while looking epic from frame to frame. She will be starring in Men In Black 4 opposite Chris Hemsworth in June 2019, too, and audiences are definitely anticipating that.
16 Zooey Deschanel - Movies TV & Jazz ... What Else Can We Expect From This Talented Young Star?
Film audiences were first introduced to this wolf-eyed damsel in Mumford from 1999. She followed that up with a role in Almost Famous and perhaps it was that role that brought her considerable attention. Since then she has appeared in other films and made numerous television appearances, but probably her most notable contribution to the arts came in the form of music.
She's quite the avid musician and her style blends in the jazz genre but all the while it has electronic tendencies, too It's very original, essentially, very much like the star herself.
15 Rebel Wilson - Wait For Her Star To Shine Even Brighter
Yet another woman on the list that more than understands the meaning of comic relief. For years now, she's been acting as a supporting player to some of the biggest names in the movie business. Recently, though, she has definitely started to come into her own and the world is taking notice just what kind of talent this woman possesses.
Gorgeous, powerful, and the woman packs a serious punch in the actual acting portion of what she does. She's seriously hilarious, but there is a depth to her talent that is unmatched at the present time. A specific role that stands out to that effect was Pain and Gain in which she starred opposite Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Anthony Mackie.
14 Lauren Graham - 'If You're Gonna Throw Your Life Away, He'd Better Have A Motorcycle'
Ah, the infinite wisdom of the wonderful Lorelai Gilmore. The woman defined a generation and who better to have taken on such an incredible responsibility than Lauren Graham? Before Gilmore Girls premiered, Lauren Graham showed up on TV every now and again with a few roles here and there, but when the pilot for the show that would define her profession would air, the world wouldn't be the same ever again.
Her charisma was unmatched and she was able to convey comedy, drama, and everything else in between in one full sweep, and she looked great doing it. The show enjoyed a brief reboot, but she's been spending her time writing books these days. Talking as Fast as I Can is available now.
13 Rene Russo - Her Beauty Is As Lethal As Her Talent
She first appeared in cinema in Major League opposite none other than Charlie Sheen and Tom Berenger. And although she was most definitely on the rise, it wasn't until her role as the love interest to Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon 3 that she achieved super-stardom. In the film, she packed a stiff punch and kick and took on the bad guys as efficiently, if not more so, than the character of the lethal weapon himself, Martin Riggs, played by Gibson.
She then went on to star in a plethora of hits including Tin Cup, Get Shorty, and of course the follow up to the third installment of Lethal Weapon. She too has found a place in the Marvel Universe and has stayed more than current in today's Hollywood mainstream.
12 Liza Weil - 'I Already Wrote His Name In My Revenge Notebook.'
An epic quote from the many classics of Paris Geller. If there was ever a third person to be included on this list other than the two characters we already mentioned from this show, it would be none other than Paris Geller herself. Probably you were expecting Alexis Bledel, but she is obviously pretty and let's be honest, she hasn't been overlooked a day in her life.
But Liza Weil, on the other hand, was often chosen to play the part of the villain, or even comic relief on the hit WB show, but she offered so much more and was capable of showing much more as well. But the character of Paris definitely had her place in the show's history and a lasting place at that. She still works in the business, with many appearances in film and television to her credit.
11 Sandra Oh - The Anatomy Of Oh
Sandra Oh, the Canada native of Ottawa, Ontario found supreme levels of fame once again when she was cast as Cristina Yang on the hit ABC primetime drama, Grey's Anatomy. But the interesting thing about her is that she's been working in Hollywood since 1989. She's got quite a few film roles to her name. Some of which are Bean, The Red Violin, and The Princess Diaries.
Recently, Sandra was included in 2019's Time Magazine 100 most influential people. She brings a level of sophistication to her roles, all the while her elegant beauty and grace endear her to audiences everywhere. It was no wonder she was nominated for an Emmy for her role on Grey's.
10 Lisa Kudrow - The 'Friend' You Can Count On
In her time on the hit sitcom, Friends, Lisa Kudrow wasn't considered the prettiest. After all, she did have Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox to contend with. They were predominantly everyone's favorites. But she nestled herself into a decent role, and as the comedy relief, she shared that spot with Joey quite nicely. But her beauty and grace shone through regardless.
What a lot of people also forget is that Friends never would have even happened without her, as NBC execs started planning the show when they were searching for a spin-off show from her character Ursula on Mad About You. She parlayed her success into a great film stint and one in which she got to act alongside such cinematic legends as John Travolta and Robert De Niro.
9 Katey Sagal - A Classy Dame Who Plays A Serious Villain
Katey Sagal was formerly known as Al Bundy's wife in the sitcom, Married With Children. The show got its start in the eighties and boy did she look the part... curled hair, makeup, and leggings to boot. And interestingly enough, she played Christina Applegate's (who was also on this list) mother on that show. She then went on to play the motherly role once again on 8 Simple Rules For Dating My Teenage Daughter.
But perhaps what she's most popular for is her role as Gemma in Sons of Anarchy. The class, talent, and beauty that this woman showcases when she's on screen have not only let her stay relevant, but she's been able to transcend time, from generation to generation, all the while looking better than the last time we saw her.
8 Jodie Foster - A 47 Year Run & Counting
That's right... this femme fatale has been working in cinema for nearly fifty years, and while our jaws drop to the floor considering that little tidbit of info, we'll also mention that she did a lot of that acting as a child. It's true, Jodi was a child actress in Hollywood, and she racked up a lot of serious roles, including one in Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver.
Essentially though, she grew up in the eyes of the audience, and as she did, her performances got better, and she started to helm the ship herself, directing a lot of her own films, where she proved that she had it all... beauty, brains, and talent.
7 Amy Poehler - Another Funny Lady, But One That Offers More Than Just A Laugh
Amy here can indeed get you to laugh, and uncontrollably at that. She's definitely funnier than most, yet her style has always been a tad more peculiar than the other comediennes of her generation. That's probably why she did so well on Saturday Night Live and also why she did equally well in the world of cinema, where she excels to this day.
And way beyond her comedic abilities is a pretty impressive dramatic acting ability. Many are often surprised when comedians can act, but just like we learned from Robin Williams, comedians may be better at acting than we'd ever expected.
6 Kristen Stewart - Twilight Was A Long Time Ago ... It's Time We Move On
Indeed, she didn't win herself many fans with those Twilight movies... a franchise of films that started out with all the steam in the world and eventually slowed way down by the time the series reached its end. Essentially the target audience was teenage girls (you may have been one at the time), but as this target audience age, so did interest in Bella's journey with vampires and werewolves.
The novels by Stephenie Meyer were actually quite good, but translated into film, they were kind of wrapped in a cheesiness that was pretty hard to ignore. But none of that was Stewart's fault. She too started acting as a child (actually was in Panic Room with Jodi Foster), and she has gone on to star in some of the most critically acclaimed films of the era including On The Road.
5 Christina Ricci - From Casper To Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas
For those in the 30 to 45 year old demographic, Christina Ricci was a massive part of our childhoods. She starred in many of the classics that we grew up with, including Casper and of course The Addams Family. But what's more interesting about her was her transition from a sweet lovable character into the mature professional she eventually became.
Her role in the film adaptation of Hunter Thompson's classic book, Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas, is pretty much unforgettable and she was able to transfer that into other films in the more modern era. She also does a lot of voice work in animated films.
4 Kate Winslet - The Rose Of Modern Cinema
Peter Jackson, the director of Lord of The Rings, first gave Kate Winslet a chance in one of his horror films. She then took that role and turned it into the profession she enjoys today, and she hasn't looked back since. But of course, the role that catapulted her to super-stardom was none other than her role as Rose in James Cameron's Titanic, opposite Leonardo DiCaprio.
Winslet has gone on to play some extremely serious roles and the acclaim attached to her performances is nothing short of spectacular. She earns the praise she receives and at the same time, she looks great as well. At 43, she's showing no signs of slowing down.
3 Tina Fey - From SNL To Mean Girls To Writing Books Of Her Own
She did just under ten years on SNL and the memories she left behind were unforgettable with fans still memorializing her epic performances to this day. Her film work is unprecedented, as her portrayal of the "every woman" is spot on, and perhaps its this trait that makes us love her all that much more. She brings a sense of comedy to the characters she plays, yet a sense of reality shines through and audiences can relate.
Tina has also racked up quite a few writing credits, having published a book and having written the screenplay for the cult classic film, Mean Girls. That's right... all those favorite lines you still remember and post on social media came from her and the book it was based on.
2 Gillian Anderson - The Mold For All Attractive Federal Agents
Gillian Anderson, alongside David Duchovny, freaked us out while they tried to seek for the truth out there, and all the while, they both sparked a deeper interest in the characters they played and the actors that played them. These interests far exceeded the interest in the aliens they were searching for, and that could be because of the talent behind these actors.
Gillian Anderson herself was and is extremely talented in that department and she looks classy, powerful, and gorgeous in a power suit (and that's all without showing an ounce of skin, folks). She's fifty now. It's hard to believe. Partly because time passes so fast, and partly because she doesn't look a day over 37.
1 Catherine Keener - A Legendary Beauty
Katherine Keener has been a part of Hollywood legend for a long time. Her first role was in About Last Night... way back in 1986. She then went on to star in over fifty films, most of which were all critically acclaimed. Modern audiences will remember her as the off-kilter mother in the breakthrough horror film Get Out. But her star shined brightly way before that, as we've shown.
Her class, talent, and work ethic are only brought to the surface that much more by her elegant beauty. And she'll get you with that stare of hers. The piercing blue eyes and that gentle voice of hers. She knows how to command her audience, and perhaps that's why her acting run has been so long.
Sources: Wikipedia, IMDB