A successful, vibrant career as a character doesn’t always translate to awards. Take J.K. Simmons, who hasn’t received many accolades over his 20-plus year career, while being one of the most reliably energized performers working today. He’s appeared in multiple films for the Coen Brothers, Jason Reitman, Woody Allen, and anchored Sam Raimi’s "Spider-Man" trilogy. He’s no stranger to television, where he’s done everything HBO’s "OZ" to recent sitcom "Growing Up Fisher" to Nickelodeon’s "Legend of Korra." He’s even validated video games with his talent, voicing characters in "Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3" and "Portal 2."
Casting Simmons in "Whiplash," as the vicious jazz band instructor Fletcher, was as much a gift to director Damien Chazelle and his fans as it likely was to the hard-working thespian. When handed a meaty role, Simmons sinks his teeth in as deep as they go.