It’s fairly safe to say that there are probably hundreds of actors on television that don’t receive the credit that they deserve. There is more scripted programming than ever before; yet, there are limited spots on awards shows and they often go to the same actors year after year. Many actors are doing a fantastic job, and yet they don’t get the nominations or the acclaim. Maybe it’s because they appear on a network show, which often have a tendency to get ignored; or, maybe they are on a show that has been around for a while and they’ve lost that new-car smell that voters tend to crave. We like to recognize some of these awesome performers, just so they have a reminder that their work is more than just appreciated — it’s invaluable!
Below, you can see the eight actors we deemed most worthy of the Underrated Actor category in the 2017 CarterMatt Awards this year. The staff here loves them all for a wide array of reasons, and we do our best to spell that out for you below. Then, at the bottom of this article we have a poll for you to choose your favorite. (Note: If you are on mobile and cannot see the poll, scroll to the bottom of the article and click to view the non-AMP version.)
Voting for this category is going to remember open from now until Tuesday, December 26 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time (1:00 pm. Pacific), when the results will be posted in a separate article. To see more categories / results and view official voting rules, check out our CarterMatt Awards landing page.
Now, without further ado, let’s get to sharing the staff nominations for CarterMatt’s Underrated Actor of 2017.
Stephen Amell, Arrow (The CW) – Go back and look at Amell’s work in “Kapiushon” and try to come up with an argument that it’s not one of his best performances of the entire series. It was dark, haunting, and at times even paralyzing as Adrian Chase (Josh Segarra) forced Oliver Queen to admit that a part of him liked being a killer. While we’ve seen Amell tackle everything from action to humor to romance with great skill, this is the performance that stands out amidst the field.
Alex Høgh Andersen, Vikings (History) – Out of the Vikings episodes that we’ve had a chance to see so far this year, Andersen is consistently brilliant through all of them. He’s one of the most destabilizing characters in all of TV, a truly ruthless man who is angry, vengeful, unflinching and highly intelligent. Although his portrayal of Ivar the Boneless is terrifying to say the least, he still finds a way to give us moments that make us want to root for him and that’s saying a lot considering just how brutal Ivar can be. Andersen is the reigning CarterMatt Awards Breakout Star champion, but now that he’s been with Vikings past one season he can’t be up for that award again.
Tony Denison, Major Crimes (TNT) – We’ve seen Denison’s Andy Flynn in peril, in deep thought, and also in one of the happiest moments of his life. Flynn is one of the constant heartbeats of Major Crimes and Denison constantly excels in bringing heart and determination to the part. He’s got a legion of devoted fans for a reason — he’s a character you want to welcome into your home every week. He deserves some recognition for his role.
LaRoyce Hawkins, Chicago PD (NBC) – We’d make the case that for the past few years Hawkins has been the most underrated actor in the entire One Chicago franchise and it was nice to see him get the emotional arc that he did in the episodes “Snitch” and “Home” earlier this year. He presented Kevin Atwater as a character at a crossroads between his job and his family, someone struggling to figure out who he is versus who Voight at times wants him to be. His showdown in “Snitch” with a suspect has to be one of the most harrowing Chicago PD scenes in some time.
Eric Christian Olsen, NCIS: Los Angeles (CBS) – While at times Olsen serves as NCIS: Los Angeles’ comic relief as Marty Deeks, he often knocks it out of the park when given a chance to shine as a dramatic actor. Some of his more memorable scenes of the season come in “The Silo,” an episode where he had to face the possibility of losing his fiancee Kensi. We miss Deeks almost every second that he’s off-screen, and that is something you want with any performer on an ensemble show.
Robert Taylor, Longmire (Netflix) – Taylor’s long been a driving force as the title character, but what season 6 allowed Walt Longmire to do is have even more introspection regarding his life and his legacy. This sort of emotional, reflective material is some of what Taylor does best — while he’s exceptional in terms of tackling dialogue, few actors can achieve what he can without even saying a word. Our gratitude towards him for bringing Walt to life is immeasurable.
Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods (CBS) – The season 8 premiere of Blue Bloods was painful, but also the best performance we’ve seen from Wahlberg on this show. He channeled his own sadness towards co-star Amy Carlson’s departure into how Danny reacted to the death of Linda Reagan. It was heartbreaking, but you were so invested in Danny in those moments that he’s drawn you in to this character like never before. Blue Bloods is a show about family, and thanks to Wahlberg you want to root for Danny like one of your own.
Michael Weatherly, Bull (CBS) – Bull has finally reached its full potential in season 2, and one of the reasons for that is getting a chance to see Weatherly pick apart the neuroses and the flaws of his Dr. Jason Bull. This is a show that has never been afraid to show just how accomplished Bull is at his job; yet, they’re also showing you now how his abilities in his profession don’t quite carry over to the rest of his life. Weatherly plays Bull with the right amount of confidence, while also allowing us to see some vulnerability to shine through.
For those wondering, the reigning champion in this category is Matthew Gray Gubler of Criminal Minds.
Now … we turn this over to you!
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