Full disclosure: I have an unwavering and undying crush on Ana de Armas. That’s not a reason for anyone to make the list of underrated actors, since we’re critiquing and highlighting their work, but I would be remised if I didn’t publicly confess the huge celebrity crush I have on her. It’s irrelevant, but I would like the court to note it for their records. I’m also sneaking de Armas into this series at a premature time, as I have no doubt that she’s on the verge of climbing the Hollywood ranks. Luckily for me, shes’ still relatively unknown, and “No Time To Die” isn’t dropping any time soon, so she’s making the list and getting the spotlight she deserves.
Ana de Armas is a tour de force; not just because she’s drop dead gorgeous, but she’s relatively new to Hollywood and has already made some big waves with a very small filmography. Like so many of the actors chosen for this list, de Armas is good even if the movie she’s in is not. With a magnetic charm to compliment her beauty, and makes you constantly drawn to her with every performance. Even more surprising is that she’s only been in 14 American films since 2015, 4 of which had a theatrical releases, and 3 of which haven’t been released yet. With so little under her belt (and even less released on the big screen), it’s a true testament to her talents to be talked about this much and not enough.
Admittedly, the Cuban-born actress’s rise to fame is one of those small town girl moves to Hollywood, meets the right guy immediately and BAM! She’s in movies and off to the celebrity races. Maybe not quite as simple as that, but pretty close. We can certainly chalk this up to her good looks. After all, she’s naturally drop dead gorgeous, so it would make sense that all that needs to happen is the right person sees her and suddenly she’s seducing Keanu Reeves in “Knock Knock.”
But that’s a disservice to her being able to deliver a watchable performance, which she absolutely does even in an unwatchable movie like that one. Add to that the fact that she didn’t speak english for her first 4 American films and learned all her lines phonetically and you’ve got a hard working, talented actor willing to do whatever it takes to be a great performer.
Honestly, I was shocked to discover that not only did she learn her speaking roles phonetically, but that she learned English in 4 months so she could read and memorize lines more easily. So, not only is de Armas beautiful and a good actress, but she’s also highly intelligent? It’s just unfair and only makes me crush on her more. It’s things like this that make her underrated. That means from “Knock Knock” to right about “Blade Runner 2049” she was literally acting and performing in a language she didn’t even speak. And she was doing it extremely well, particularly in “Blade Runner 2049.”
Not to get too deep into it (let’s save it for another discussion), but I’m not a big “Blade Runner” fan, so a sequel was even less exciting for me even with de Armas in a supporting role and Denis Villeneuve in the director’s chair (one of the absolute best in the game right now). None of that was enough for me to want to see the film, and while I walked away from it with less than stellar opinions of it, de Armas stuck out as a highlight. She brought life to a hologram in more ways than one, and I remember making it a point to commit her name to memory indefinitely. From her first appearance, she proved and continues to prove that she can hang with best of them, sometimes overshadowing her more well known counterparts.
Primarily relegated to supporting roles in things like “Hands of Stone” and “War Dogs,” de Armas was given a chance to tackle a lead role in the star studded Rian Johnson directed “Knives Out.” Her 7th American role, and she held her own her against juggernauts like Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Chris Evans, and Christopher Plummer, among others. Not only does she deliver and hangs with the best of them, her performance earned her a Golden Globe Nomination. She really is THAT good, and is on the cusp of doing some great things in film.
For all her performances on her relatively short filmography, de Armas is quickly making a name for herself as an actor to watch. Unlike others who have years and years of performances to recommend, she doesn’t have much in the way of film recommendations you maybe haven’t heard of. I would absolutely recommend “Knives Out” if you haven’t seen it already. Not only is the movie stellar, but it showcases the multifaceted range of de Armas the best. I don’t know that I would recommend something like “War Dogs” on the basis of a solid de Armas performance; she’s great in it and the movie is better than you think, but she’s relegated to the sidelines and isn’t really given enough to do.
I guess I could also recommend “Blade Runner 2049,” as it’s visually stunning and de Armas is easily the best part of the film (I know I just triggered all “Blade Runner” fans).
[Editor’s Note: Derrick did indeed, trigger “Blade Runner” fans to mediately start msging him and giving him shit for this opinion.]
The fact remains, Ana de Armas is criminally underrated even in her short filmography, and I believe that very soon she won’t be able to make the list anymore. Also, if you see her, tell her I love her.