17 Promising Actors Who Never Lived Up to Their Potential

By Dustin Rowles | Seriously Random Lists | August 18, 2011 |



Cuba Gooding, Jr.:

Breakout Role: Jerry Maguire, for which he received an Oscar.

What's He Up To Now?: He's the King of Redbox, Baby!


Kate Hudson

Breakout Role: Almost Famous, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

What's She Up to Now? Polluting the multiplexes with the worst romantic comedies of the generation.


Anna Paquin:

Breakout Role: The Piano, for which she won an Oscar.

What's She Up to Now? After bumbling around in bit parts for the better part of 20 years, she landed the lead role in "True Blood," where she delivers the worst Southern accent on television.


Keisha Castle-Hughes

Breakout Role: Whale Rider, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

What's She Up to Now? Who? Ummm. She was in The Nativity Story and, er, Hey Hey It's Esther Blueburger .


Natasha Lyonne

Breakout Role: Slums of Beverly Hills, for which she was nominated as Most Promising Actress by the Chicago Film Critics Association and a Teen Choice Award for Best Breakthrough performance.

What's She Up to Now? Sucking on a crack pipe and waiting for the next American Pie check to come in so she can pay her dealer.


Haley Joel Osment

Breakout Role: The Sixth Sense, for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

What's He Up to Now? Starring in movies with titles like Sassy Pants and Montana Amazon, and wishing that puberty had not been so f*cking cruel.

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Linda Blair

Breakout Role: The Exorcist, for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

What's She Up to Now? Chillin' on her back porch, taking the occasional meeting, and waiting for someone to make a horror-movie parody that she can cameo in.


Jon Heder

Breakout Role: Napoleon Dynamite, for which he was won Best Breakthrough Male at the MTV Movie Awards, was nominated for the same by the Online Film Critics Society, and nominated for nine Teen Choice awards, winning two.

What's He Up to Now? He's ... voicing Napoleon Dynamite for a television series based on the movie.


Edward Furlong

Breakout Role: Terminator 2: Judgement Day, for which he won Best Breakthrough Performance from MTV and Best Performance by a Younger Actor by the American Science-Fiction, Horror and Fantasy folks.

What's He Up to Now? Anything that has a paycheck attached, but mostly he's doing the straight-to-DVD circuit along with a few of his pals on this list.


Heather Graham

Breakout Role: ROLLER GIRL (Boogie Nights), for which she won Best Breakthrough Artist from MTV and was nominated among the ensemble for Best Cast by the Screen Actor's Guild.

What's She Up to Now? Bumming. Literally. Her last movie was Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer , but she did show her Tatas in The Hangover but was not invited back for the second film.


Mykelti Williamson

Breakout Role: Bubba Blue in Forrest Gump, for which he won Best Breakthrough Performance from MTV.

What's He Up to Now? Hanging around television sound stages, hoping someone will throw him a bone, like "CSI" and "24" recently have or cast him in a role in which his nickname is "Hollywood."


Kimberly Williams

Breakout Role: Father of the Bride, for which she was nominated for Best Breakthrough Performance by MTV.

What's She Up to Now? I believe she's hitched to a pretty decent country singer and making TV movies.

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Anna Chlumsky

Breakout Role: My Girl, for which she was nominated and won a few awards from MTV and the Young Artists Awards.

What's She Up to Now? She had a supporting role in In the Loop and will next be seen in ... Bert and Arnie's Guide to Friendship. That's not a typo. It's "Arnie."


Joseph Fiennes

Breakout Role: Shakespeare in Love, for which he was nominated for a slew of acting awards and even won a BAFTA.

What's He Up to Now? Wishing he was his brother, Ralph, and collecting some of that mad Harry Potter coin instead of playing Merlin in a crappy off-off cable channel version of "Camelot."


Patrick Fugit

Breakout Role: Almost Famous, for which he also was nominated and won a slew of awards from various critic's organizations.

What's He Up to Now? Breaking my f*cking heart by not being super famous, although he is set for a supporting role in Cameron Crowe's next film, We Bought a Zoo


Elisha Cuthbert

Breakout Role: The Girl Next Door, for which she won the award for super hottie in a totally guilty pleasure.

What's She Up to Now? She was nominated for a Razzie for Captivity, and now she's a supporting character in a really good "Happy Endings" ensemble.


Erika Christensen

Breakout Role: Traffic, for which she won MTV's Best Breakthrough Performance and Best Standout Performance by the Young Hollywood Awards before going on and creeping your shit out in Swimfan.

What's She Up to Now? She's doing all right as a working mom on "Parenthood," but I keep waiting for her to stalk Jason Ritter's character whenever he turns up on the show. A Google Image Search also reveals that Erika really likes to do photoshoots in hot rooms.

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