After a three-year string of hollow action movies, Denzel Washington has finally returned to heavier dramatic roles in movies with real substance. In the new character study Flight, from director Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), Washington stars as Whip Whitaker, an airplane captain who miraculously lands a falling jet, saving dozens of lives, but also comes under an intense legal investigation when it's discovered that he had alcohol and cocaine in his system at the time. As it turns out, Whip is longtime addict, and the majority of Flight is dedicated to Washington's superb performance as a man coming to terms with his inner demons in the face of a media frenzy.

Flight is, for all intents and purposes, Washington's movie, and he could possibly receive his sixth Academy Award nomination (and maybe even his third win) for it. But early into the film, one of his co-stars makes a showy, memorable entrance and briefly pulls attention away from its top-billed star. That actor is John Goodman, doing what he so regularly does in films both big and small: giving a strong performance that, although it's only momentary, once again proves that his presence alone instantly make a movie better.

The same can be said for several other "character actors," as they're commonly referred to, tireless performers who rarely ever receive the widespread praise they deserve but frequently show up in films and steal the show despite minimal screen time. Have a look at The 10 Best Character Actors in Movies Right Now and see if you've ever properly shown them the respect they've undoubtedly earned.

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Written by Matt Barone (@MBarone)