Some actors deserve to be bigger stars than they are, here are our favorites
Best known for: Martin Scorsese's "The Departed," "Up in the Air," "The Conjuring" and, as of late, the acclaimed A&E series "Bates Motel."
What's next: Robert Downey Jr. drama "The Judge," "The Conjuring 2."
What's missing: Farmiga first caught my attention with her role in the little-seen 2006 Paul Walker actioner "Running Scared" and then held it with rock-solid performances in films like "The Departed" (more than holding her own in the film's sole major female role), 2007 Sundance thriller "Joshua" (and its bigger-budgeted cousin "Orphan"), "The Conjuring" and, of course, Jason Reitman's "Up in the Air," for which she received her first (and so far only) Oscar nomination. So why, despite that well-deserved Academy nod and a laundry-list of accolades for a host of smaller projects, has she not blown up into a major silver-screen star a la contemporaries like Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and, dare I say it, Sandra Bullock? The difference may lie in her seeming indifference to the Hollywood machine; based on her choice of projects, Farmiga simply appears unwilling to play by the conventional rules. So, you know, I kinda don't think she cares much that she's not an A-list star. But I do, so here's my advice for Vera: stop settling for third, fourth, and fifth-banana roles in studio films and leading roles in movies no one's ever going to see and fight for that meaty Oscar-baity part that will vault you into Meryl Streep territory. In other words: pander to the Academy a little. It's okay; you've earned it.- Chris Eggertsen