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The Perfect Face: 17 Television Actors Who've Mastered the Art of Facial Expression

By Cindy Davis | Seriously Random Lists | January 13, 2014 | Comments ()


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After last night’s Golden Globes celebrated television and film’s “best” actors, I watched the season three finale of Sherlock, and continued to marvel at Martin Freeman’s absolutely brilliant ability to convey every emotion with merely a look. We all have a tendency to froth at the mouth over Cumberbatch’s panty-dropping voice and perfectly tousled locks—and the man is a fine actor—but Freeman’s face is simply sublime. With just one camera shot near *Spoiler? Swipe to read: Sherlock’s grave, hearts the world over were simultaneously broken. So let’s take a moment, shall we, to honor those who give good face.

1. Claire Danes: The Cryface

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2. Martin Freeman: Broken-Hearted

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3. Iain Glen: Broken-Hearted and Humiliated

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4. Jack Gleeson: I Passed What Satan Calls Wicked at Age Eight

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5. Jeremy Davies: Dumb, or Stoned…or Both

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6. Lena Dunham: The Dim Pout

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7. Laura Dern: Dim Enthusiasm

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8. James Spader: You Bore Me. I’m So Much Better Than You.

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9. David Tennant: Say Wot?

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10. Timothy Olyphant: Are You Fucking Kidding Me?

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11. Lena Headey: The Bitchface/I Need to Get to the Ladies Room Now

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12. Katey Sagal: Fuck You

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13. Aaron Paul: “Bitch!”

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14. Dean Norris: I Want to Kill You, But I Know I Can’t

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15. Aden Young: Broken

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16. Mads Mikkelsen: Detached

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17. Andrew Scott: Psychopath

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Cindy Davis, (Twitter) No spoilers in the comments please, but His Last Vow has left me positively giddy.







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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Maddy

    OMG that finale was better than anything I expected. I'm a massive Cumberbatch fangirl, but Martin Freeman makes that show. Amazing.

  • Aaron Schulz

    James Spader just makes creepy rape face all the time, dude weirds me out.

  • annie

    Freeman is a treasure, and I think he makes the already awesome Cumberbatch awesomer by proxy. He and his wife are also fantastic and adorable together on screen. He's also a dapper fuck.

  • emmalita

    And a little sexy.

  • Aziz Ansari for the "THIS IS SUDDEN PERFECT HAPPINESS" face: http://www.midwestsportsfans.c...

  • grr arrgh

    And he does that face without accidentally looking like a serial killer.

  • Guest

    Still Serial Killer creepy.

  • Danar the Barbarian

    Katey Sagal is a dead ringer for my Mom, so #12 made me feel just like the time she found out I forged her signature on a bad progress report from school. She (almost) never raised a hand to me, but that look made your guts shrivel when you knew you deserved it.

  • AM

    Let's not forget Michael "That's patent bullshit and you know it" Kitchen

  • PDamian

    Love this man, and the character he plays.

  • Lovely Bones

    *Dim* enthusiasm? I'll give you somewhat oblivious, but not dim.

  • Nadiney

    I'm always going to nominate Jacob Pitts/Tim Gutterson for these lists; His bitchface is next to none.

  • chanohack

    "Say Wot?" tickles me immensely.

  • Kathleen Allen

    oh god, yes to aden young. that man does so much without uttering a single word. rip out your heart and stomp on it.

  • John W

    Mads Mikkelsen: What part of you looks tasty?

  • chanohack

    Yes, please.

  • Maya

    Natalie Dormer: The Asymmetrical Smirk.

  • NoPantsMcLane

    Wynn Duffy - Surprised.

  • maja

    spot on with all of them, and this picture of aden young breaks my heart all over again.

  • PDamian

    And with one photo, I am knocked back by Katey Segal's loveliness. It was easy to miss when she was on Married With Children, overwhelmed as she was by all that hair, but the photo above captures her clean jawline and elegant cheekbones beautifully. Nice.

    To really get an idea of Andrew Scott's range, you have to see him in an episode of Foyle's War called "The Hide." With one look, he captures rage, despair and quiet resignation. Fantastic performance.

  • Three_nineteen

    His Garrow's Law episode was amazing as well.

  • grr arrgh

    There's also a miniseries he's in called The Town. I keep meaning to watch it but always get distracted during the first episode. Anyway, from the part I watched he's incredible.

  • Dumily

    I haven't read any of the comments for fear of spoilers, and I feel like if I were a real Sherlock fan I would know this. But did you really say "season three finale"? In the US? Explain, please.

  • webelos8

    I think they all aired on BBCAmerica, but I have to wait for PBS.

  • No. Sherlock is a co-production of the BBC and PBS. It has not aired in the US. People have seen it through alternative means but it has not aired in the US yet.

  • Dumily

    I was guessing that was it. And I must be much less internet savvy than I believed myself to be because I have not been able to locate any alternative means.

  • emmalita

    Hola - google it.

  • Uriah_Creep

    Hola is the tits.

  • emmalita

    I'm using it right now to re watch a couple of those faces.

  • Dumily

    Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, oh my god! I'm not having kids so I can't name my first born after you. But rest assured sometime in the next 3 years, there will be a new pound mutt named "Emmalita."

  • emmalita

    That was pretty much my response when Hola was introduced to me.

  • Dumily

    You didn't prepare me. Not for this.

  • emmalita

    It isn't something you can be prepared for. Every person's experience is different. Ride it out, experience the freedom, and know there are limits. They may be limits of bandwidth, time, or the limits of your psyche. This is your journey, embrace it.

  • webelos8

    It's still coming in two weeks, though, right? Please?

  • Six days.

  • webelos8

    Even better!! Thank you!

  • grr arrgh

    (Psst. It's online already, albeit not legally)

  • webelos8

    And that's where I usually fail at Internet. :(

  • Guest

    Just look for: Project Free TV.

  • grr arrgh

    I used to also, but then I found some fairly reliable sites. Google around, see what sites you like/what players will work with your computer. I would advise you to use some sort of malware/virus protection and a pop up blocker. Some times these sites have pop ups, though I've not encountered any porn ones.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    You just couldn't resist putting in that last one, could you, Cindy?
    Your crush is getting out of hand, I say!

  • emmalita

    That last one is totally relevant!!!!!

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    Yeah - relevant to her lady lions!

  • emmalita

    My point exactly!

  • Jezzer

    Um, the ENTIRE CAST OF VEEP.

  • Guest

    Ron Swanson does all of these with little more than a slightly raised eyebrow.

  • The downvote came from Ron Swanson.

  • dizzylucy

    Or one of the Tammys.

  • Bert_McGurt

    I don't even know what to call it, but after his turn in True Detective last night we need to open up a slot for McConaughey.

    Also, relevant per #9:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

  • Danar the Barbarian

    Hey Captain? WOT?!

  • Modernlove

    By the end of His Last Vow I was damn near jumping off the couch with excitement. I can't wait for them to air in the States and be able to fully discuss them.

    Martin Freeman is the best part of that show, hands down. The work he did on these three most recent episodes was flawless. His face, the way he just looks at the camera or at another character, tells you so much more than the lines he's given. I'm starting his Emmy campaign now.

  • Jenn TheYellowDart

    I am a giant fan of Cumberbatch, and those two play off each other so well, it's disturbing.
    And I totally agree that Freeman should be up for ALL the awards for this past series.

  • grr arrgh

    I'm still conflicted about Andrew Scott getting the BAFTA over Freeman for the second series. I mean...they were both great but Martin killed me. Ugh, I cried. I CRIED. AT A SHOW. I don't typically cry watching shows/movies but damn it, both him and Batch actually brought me to tears.

  • Modernlove

    Their chemistry is my favorite thing. They balance each other so well and it really makes the show something amazing.

  • Sara Habein

    I had the same thought -- If this man doesn't get an Emmy nomination then WTF are the Emmys for?

  • grr arrgh

    For giving awards to people most Americans have heard of (and not because they know an Anglophile). I'm still pissed that no one from Sherlock's won an acting Emmy.

  • Brenda Thomas

    my classmate's mother Μ­­­­­­а­­­­­­K­­­­­­е­­­­­­ѕ $­­­­­­­­­­­­68/հ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­r on the с­­­­­­ο­­­­­­Μ­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­ս­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r. She has been unemployed for eight Μ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ but last Μ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ her ρ­­­­­­а­­­­У check was $­­­­­­­­­­­­16364 just W­­­­­­ο­­­­­­r­­­­­­King on the с­­­­­­ο­­­­­­Μ­­­­­­ρ­­­­­­ս­­­­­­τ­­­­­­е­­­­­­r for a Ϝ­­­­­­е­­­­­­W հ­­­­­­ο­­­­­­ս­­­­­­rs. read review,...  WWW.Googleactivitiesproject201...

    ☻☻☻☻ ☻⥰☻☻☻☻ ☻☻☻☻ ☻☻☻⥣☻☻☻ ☻☻hearts the world over were simultaneously broken. So let’s take a moment, shall we, to honor those who give good face.

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