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Happy Birthday, Rosario Dawson!

Chris here, showering love an underpraised actress. It's Rosario Dawson's birthday! Dawson is always everywhere and usually when you least expect her - this year alone she's popped up on your TV screens (various Netflix Marvel shows), in animation (The LEGO Batman Movie), and some good old schlock (Unforgettable). Those may be more populist fare, but she's always been something of an indie darling ever since her debut in the controversial Kids (1995), effortlessly charming no matter the genre or budget. By now after working with majors like Tarantino and Danny Boyle, you would think she would have some awards love somewhere to go with a tireless career. Nope, not even a Globe nomination for being the best part of Rent. I'd imagine once she lands in a major awards contender, that will quickly change.

Perhaps that omission is due to what a natural, unshowy presence Dawson is onscreen regardless of genre or degree of difficulty, or maybe that wretched fate of playing supportive girlfriends that befalls too many strong actresses? Quick: name another performer who can emerge unscathed from an occasional turkey with a solid performance (she's pretty solid in Unforgettable, guys). She's smart, unflappable, and dryly funny, always so real that you buy every word. And let's not forget, she's also pretty badass.

For her best work, I'd offer either Trance (which works precisely because of her watchability and believability despite being silly) or Top Five, one of our most underrated recent romantic comedies. What's your favorite Rosario Dawson performance?

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Reader Comments (19)

She is a severely underrated actress and doesn't get the credit she deserves for offering fantastic performances all the time.

My top 3 would be: Trance, Descent and Rent.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBhuray

She's always a great magnetic presence, you can feel she's having a great time acting.

top 5 performances:
25th Hour
Clerks II
Death Proof
Top Five

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterr.m.

Huge fan. Lots of charisma and drop dead gorgeous.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnonny

Happy Birthday Rosario!!!!

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMatt St.Clair

I have absolutely no idea - which I guess is a tribute to her versatility. I always enjoy her work, whatever the part.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterScottC

I thought she was going to be huge.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Totally adored her in 25th Hour. Never was the name of a character (Naturelle) so apt for her perfomance in that gem of a movie.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDieter

Nonwhite actresses have it the worst in Hollywood. Were she white she'd have a lot more than what she has now. Happy Birthday despite the systematic restrictions placed on you.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Honestly, I feel like she's been on EW's "Up and Coming" list for the past 20 years. Like, she's never really hit it.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Despite her Susan Sarandon style politics, I do like her as an actress

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Although it was maligned for its ending, I think her best work is Seven Pounds.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSoSue

The best part of Rent were Jesse L. Martin and Wilson Heredia. They developed a marvellous relationship and had so much chemistry.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPedro

Praiseeeee. What a queen. I can't wait for her to get her due. You're right, she's completely unshowy as an actress but we always miss her when she's not on screen.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

She's marvelous in Descent, in a very tricky part, but my favorite is probably Rent. She is by far the best thing about that ill-advised adaptation.

I've always sort of equated her with Sienna Miller in that they are both actresses in their 30s who are always good and consistently employed, but have never yet broken out to major critical or popular acclaim. I think we've only scratched the surface of her talent.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Pedro - yes! Martin was so fantastic in Rent I honestly thought he was nomination-worthy. Just doing so much deep, invested work, even when on the periphery of the scene/screen.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

She is underrated as I really liked her in Trance as well as Kids, Clerks II, Sin City, Death Proof, and Shattered Glass.

May 9, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

the eternally underrated Josie and the Pussycats

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterToni

I'm glad I'm not alone. She's one of those few actresses that when I was a kid I thought would really take off. Christina Ricci too. Scarlet Johansson did but it feels like it took a little while.

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Clerks II... so underrated film, so great performance by Dawson (and Jeff Anderson, by the way, too).

May 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

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