In celebration of the release of Django Unchained, I thought it would be a decent idea to take a quick look back at various actors who never really received their due after giving all they had in various Quentin Tarantino films from the past. Obviously, you won’t find Christoph Waltz on this list because, well, he won an Oscar for his impeccable performance as the frightening yet disarming Col. Hans Landa. You won’t find Samuel L. Jackson on this list either. That boy is far too appreciated as well. Let’s do this.
Melanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus in Inglourious Basterds: As the face of Jewish vengeance, Laurent went alarmingly unnoticed by audiences and critics at large. Somehow, Diane Kruger received a Golden Globe nomination instead of Laurent. How did this happen, people?
Tim Roth as Mr. Orange in Reservoir Dogs: Perhaps what made Roth so compelling here is that he effectively stood in for the audience in this role. Thanks to Roth, we reacted to every scene in this movie as if we too were painfully slouching over in his panicked, bloodied shoes.
Bronson Pinchot as Elliot Blitzer in True Romance: The man who played Balki from “Perfect Strangers” behaved perfectly against type here. That insane cackling during the blowjob scene? Totally his own idea.
Michael Madsen as Budd in Kill Bill: Vol. 2: Perhaps this movie dovetailed with the beginning of Madsen’s own downfall in life, but Budd’s fate (while living, not his death) was rather tragic, and Madsen portrayed a wonderful world weariness in this role.
Robert Forster as Max Cherry in Jackie Brown: This is perhaps the most understated, gentlemanly character to ever appear in a Tarantino flick. Didn’t your heart ache for him as Jackie Brown strutted away at the end of this movie?
Kurt Russell as Stuntman Mike in Death Proof: Forget that QT was seriously off his game until the final thirty minutes of this movie, Butterfly. As this psychotic character, Russell was completely believable and played the role so straight that one wonders how he pulled it off without laughing.
David Carradine as Bill in Kill Bill: Vol. 2: This will probably draw a few chuckles from detractors, but I really feel like Carradine should have received an Oscar nomination for his surprisingly nuanced take on this role. He also delivered Tarantino dialogue like a boss.
August Diehl in Major Dieter Hellstrom in Inglourious Basterds: Out of the entire ensemble cast, this fellow was nearly as intimidating and charming as Waltz’s Jew Hunter. Diehl just didn’t get nearly as much screentime and was forced to spend much of it jockeying with that ultimately distracting pretty-boy, Michael Fassbender.
Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction: Uma may very well have ended up on the iconic Pulp poster, but it’s very easy to overlook the fact that this was not only her coolest but also her greatest movie performance ever. Uma completely lost herself in this role, and Uma has never acted for any director the way she has for QT.
Bridget Fonda as Melanie Ralston in Jackie Brown: Sure, this beach bunny role wasn’t the most substantive role that QT has ever written, but damn, Fonda really knew how to press a man’s buttons here. Well, until she pushed it too far.
Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine in Inglourious Basterds: Yes, Brad Pitt delivered an underrated comic performance in this role! He was a total hoot, and nobody gave him the time of day once the Waltz worship commenced.
Quentin Tarantino in Every Movie He’s Ever Made: Oh, just kidding on this last one. QT, stay behind the camera!
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at Celebitchy.