The Top Seven B-Movie Actors Who Deserved an Oscar
3. Vincent Price
Photo: Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Oscar-winning Role: Edward Lionheart in Theater of Blood
What a talent. I recently saw Theater of Blood and it made me realize how brilliant of an actor Vincent Price really was and why he deserved more recognition for his skills at the craft.
Most know Price’s work from the low budget horror genre. Classics like The Fly, The Abominable Dr. Phibes, and The Masque of the Red Death made him a household name. His Edgar Allan Poe adaptations in the ‘60s are also some of his most notable works. The only downside to this success was that it typecast Price and didn’t allow him to venture outside the genre.
That’s why it’s really amazing to watch him go to work in Theater of Blood. Apparently working on the movie was a delight for Price because he always wanted the chance to do Shakespeare on film. If an actor today was given a role like this they wouldn’t even know where to start. It’s no easy task to recite numerous passages of Shakespeare the way Vincent Price did in the film. I’m not saying that he doesn’t have other great film roles. I just think that Theater of Blood shows an acting range that audiences rarely got to see from him.
RIP Vincent Price.
2. Dennis Hopper
Photo: Susan Wood/Getty Images
Oscar-winning Roles: Frank Booth in Blue Velvet and Actor/Director in Out of the Blue
For those who say Hopper was not a B-movie actor, you are very wrong. Dennis was a B-movie actor in every sense of the word. On the other hand, he was also an A-lister in every sense of the word. That’s what made him so unique. He was able to jump back and forth his entire career.
Hopper was nominated for two Oscars, but the dude never once toke home the gold. How he didn’t win or even get nominated for Blue Velvet is beyond me. Maybe his notorious behavior in the late-'60s and early-'70s had something to do with it. At least it relaunched his career.
Hopper was a cult icon who graced the screen in some the greatest films of all time, as well as some the grittiest and raw pieces of cinema ever created. If Mad Dog Morgan isn’t one of the best B-movies of all time, I don’t know what is.
I also would've given Hopper some kind of an award for his independent acting and directing work in Out of the Blue. The movie is far from perfect, but it’s haunting and disturbing essence is true artistic expression at its purest. Hopper was one of the most gifted actors of all time.
1. Bela Lugosi
Photo: Mabel Livingstone/Getty Images
Oscar-winning Role: Count Dracula in Dracula
As seen in the film Ed Wood, Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi had things pretty rough. Not only did he turn down the part of Frankenstein, he pretty much had to live in Boris Karloff’s shadow for almost his entire career. This and being typecast in an unlimited number of B horror movies seemed to overshadow his brilliant skills as an actor.
I’m basing Lugosi’s #1 position on this list primarily on his work in Dracula. He portrayed one the most classic horror characters off all time and single-handedly created the formula that every single actor after him copied from. This groundbreaking work alone deserved some kind of recognition.
I’m sure some people are going to read this and wonder why Boris Karloff didn’t make it on the list. There is no doubt that Karloff was a great talent, but he had long-term success, consistently got top-billing for his films, and even had the ability to get solid roles outside the horror world. Lugosi on the other hand, was unable to break outside the genre.
Bela Lugosi was a brilliant actor and his skills are undeniable. Fools need to recognize that s**t, son.