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Ranking 10 Hilarious Comedic Actors Who Pulled Off Great Dramatic Performances

In the modern era, when typecasting has become too common, it may be quite a shock to see an actor well-known for comedy in a serious role, particularly if they are




A significant number of comedic actors have transitioned into dramatic roles. Let’s use the examples of Robin Williams and Jamie Foxx to illustrate our point. They began their careers as good comedians but then won Oscars for their roles in the dramatic movies “Good Will Hunting” and “Ray” respectively. Their astonishingly powerful dramatic performances have astounded their audience members and propelled them to new heights in their respective careers.

We have ranked 10 comedic actors whose outstanding dramatic performances made viewers go “wow.” Rotten Tomatoes provided the data for this ranking.


#10 Will Ferrell as Harold Crick in “Stranger Than Fiction” (2006): 73%

Source: Columbia Pictures

#9 Eddie Murphy as James “Thunder” Early in ‘Dreamgirls” (2006): 78%

Source: DreamWorks Pictures/Paramount Pictures

#8 Whoopi Goldberg as Celie Johnson in “The Color Purple” (1985): 81%

Source: Warner Bros.

Whoopi Goldberg, a stand-up comedian, portrayed Celie Johnson, a black Southern woman struggling to find her identity after being mistreated by her father and others over four decades. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award as the Best Actress in a Motion Picture for Drama because of her performance in the film.

#7 Jack Black as Carl Denham in “King Kong” (2005): 84%

Source: Warner Bros. Pictures

#6 Steve Coogan as Martin Sixsmith in “Philomena” (2013): 90%

Source: Pathé Distribution/20th Century Fox

#5 Mo’Nique as Mary in “Precious” (2009): 91%

Source: Lionsgate

#4 Jim Carrey as Joel Barish in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004): 93%

Source: Focus Features

Jim Carrey gave a few dramatic turns in the 90s, including “The Truman Show” and “Man on the Moon”. However, viewers continue to recall Joel Barish’s performance from the film “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” until the present day.

#3 Bill Murray as Bob Harris in “Lost in Translation” (2003): 95%

Source: Tohokushinsha Film/Focus Features

#2 Robin Williams as Will Hunting in “Good Will Hunting” (1997): 97%

Source: Miramax Films

#1 Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel in ‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (2018): 98%

Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures