He's been nominated for an Academy Award and several SAG honors. He's won a host of other high-profile prizes, including an Independent Spirit Award for his chilling performance as a badass meth addict in Winter's Bone. He's been in everything from Wings to The Perfect Storm to Deadwood. And now he's generating Oscar buzz once again for his performance in The Sessions. So why isn't John Hawkes a household name yet?
The impressive actor has been steadfastly toiling away in Hollywood for decades now. Even if you don't know him by name, you probably recognize his face. He's had memorable guest spots on 24, The X Files and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (Remember? He was the Sunnydale High janitor who was possessed by a ghost.)
He can even do funny, as evidenced by his gig as Kenny's long-suffering brother Dustin Powers on Eastbound & Down and his self-deprecating quips as adult virgin Mark in The Sessions. Of course, Hawkes isn't the only one drumming up Oscar buzz for the latter. His co-star, Helen Hunt, is soaking up accolades as the sex therapist who helps the bedridden Mark lose his virginity.
If The Sessions doesn't propel Hawkes into the mainstream spotlight, his role as Robert Latham in November's epic Lincoln just might. He stars alongside Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and fellow underrated thespian Walton Goggins in the highly anticipated film/mega Oscar bait.
With Hawkes about to (hopefully) finally get his due, we decided to compile a list of our top five favorite Hawkes roles. It's probably one of the most diverse lists we've ever compiled. Really, is there anything this man can't play?
Sol Star in Deadwood. In a town full of hardened tough guys, Sol is a sweet -- almost naïve at times -- ray of sunshine. Even after all he's seen, he still maintains his decent nature and tries to keep his hot-headed pal Sheriff Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) in check.
Teardrop in Winter's Bone. Uncle Teardrop is a complex character. One minute he's uttering threats like "I said 'shut up' once already with my mouth," and the next he's tenderly rescuing Jennifer Lawrence's character from a band of menacing hicks. Hawkes was the perfect choice to capture Teardrop's many layers. In another actor's hands, Teardrop could have all too easily devolved into a one-dimensional caricature.
Dustin Powers on Eastbound & Down. The hair. The hair! With the wispy bowl haircut, Hawkes looks almost like a fresh-faced teenager. He perfectly balances Danny McBride's brash, mullet-sporting Kenny Powers, and their scenes together are some of the show's best. (Like the time Kenny asked Dustin to be his chauffeur, whilst Dustin was on the can.)
Patrick in Martha Marcy May Marlene. It's hard to think of a creepier character in recent movie history than Patrick, the brainwashing, murderous hippy cult leader. In spite of being dirty, super thin and almost sickly looking, Patrick still manages to exude a certain charm over his devoted minions. Whether he's strumming on his guitar or terrorizing the neighbors, Patrick always maintains his oddly hypnotic powers.
Dave in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer. OK, this will probably be a controversial pick. But in my mind, the fact that Hawkes can still excel in a mediocre movie really speaks to his talent. He's just as good as Freddie Prinze Jr.'s (relatively) normal BFF as he is at playing psychos and janitors. It's all about the range!