11 Actors You Weren’t Expecting to Be as Impressive As They Were in These 2014 Films

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By now, we’ve all likely run through our favorite performances of 2014. And ranking among these celebrated folk, we’re inclined to find the usual suspects: Julianne Moore, Tilda Swinton, Joaquin Phoenix… none too shocking. But it is worth noting that the year has fostered its share of particularly surprising turns as well — acting entries that we never quite expected to be as funny, thrilling, or otherwise impressive as they actually turned out to be. Whether we’re talking about up-and-comers who showcased their real gumption for the first time in 2014 or long destitute veterans who vied once more for performative grandeur, 2014 was a good year for underdogs.

It's time to celebrate the actors who, as we fondly recall, proved us all wrong, from the mainstays in whom we had all but lost faith to the newcomers we never quite thought much of to begin with. The comic sidekicks who we'd never have pegged to sport dramatic acumen and the leading men too handsome to be funny... or so we thought! Check out the list, and see which surprisingly great performances you might have missed out on this year.

Image: Universal Pictures

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