Ever since I was a kid, I was drawn to the "sidekick" characters; the henchmen, the assistants, the murder suspects and the school teachers. Movie stars are great and all that jazz, but the heart and soul of an ensemble often lies within the supporting cast: the horny best friend, the abusive boss, the comic relief, etc. ... Over the years I've made a habit out of putting all those faces to all those names, and I often find myself telling friends, "Oh, you know this actor. Not by his name, maybe, but trust me -- you've seen this guy." And there are hundreds of 'em to pick through: professional character constructors who toil just outside the spotlights afforded to your Jamie Foxxes and your Russell Crowes.

C'mon, who would you rather sit down and have dinner with: Tom Cruise or ... William H. Macy? I rest my case.

So since the recognition and appreciation of modern-day character actors is something the hardcore movie nuts enjoy, we thought it might be fun to throw some love at a few different performers each week. (And yes, the phrase "character actor" includes women too!) We'll call this column "The J.T. Walsh Award," simply because J.T. Walsh was one of the very coolest character players ever to hold a SAG card, and (despite never earning one measly Oscar nomination) we think J.T. Walsh deserves to have an award named after him.
categories Features, Cinematical