Typically, actors are cast based on their strength in one of two categories: comedy or drama.
When a comedic actor tries to reinvent him or herself by taking on a role outside of his/her "type," it's a risk -- and one that doesn't always pay off.
But when it does, the rewards can be plentiful.
Critics will praise the comedian for showing a broader range and for challenging themselves. Sometimes, the leap into "serious" acting waters lands a comedian an Oscar nod, or even a win, as it did for both Jamie Foxx in 2005 for "Ray" and Mo'Nique in 2010 for "Precious."
But then there are the critically-praised dramatic turns by comedic actors that never managed to get on the Academy's radar. The funny people on our list of underrated dramatic performances may not have received a golden statue, but they're deserving of some hard-earned recognition.