Mixing Media: Top 5 Oscar-Quality Actors Who Have Been in Video Games

As the 87th Academy Awards kick off tonight, it’s important to remember that video games are an art form too. While the proof may be in the pudding, it also may also be with the several Oscar-caliber (nominated or won) actors who’ve appeared in video games over the years. Here’s a look at the best film actors who made such an appearance.

5. Mickey Rourke – The Wrestler/Driver 3

Mickey Rourke had a largely mediocre career as an actor. That is until The Wrestler. This Oscar-nominated performance was enough to launch Rourke into the limelight, landing him a role as a main villain in Iron Man 2, after which he was soon forgotten. People also forget that, during his early career lows, he voiced a main villain in Driver 3 (stylized as Driv3r).

What’s interesting about this game was how polarizing it was, especially across platform. Otherwise, this was little more than a blip on Rourke’s uninteresting early career.

4. Ed Harris – The Hours/Call of Duty: Black Ops

Let’s not forget Pollock, The Truman Show and Apollo 13, for which Harris was also nominated. His lack of wins though, does not exclude Harris from this list, as he appeared in Call of Duty: Black Ops as Hudson. Black Ops may be the last Call of Duty game that tried with its plot, and Harris found a lot of success with this attention to narrative.

While he may be better than some of other actors higher up on this list, he isn’t the most fun to watch.

3. Christopher Walken – The Deer Hunter/True Crime: New York City

Exhibit A for my point about Harris: Christopher Walken. Give me a day to choose between only watching Ed Harris films and only watching Christopher Walken films, and I’ll choose Walken every time. While he won for The Deer Hunter, I liked him better in Catch Me If You Can. Oh right, video games. Walken voiced an FBI agent in True Crime: New York City. While the game was little more than a Grand Theft Auto clone, its cast was movie-star-studded, with Rourke, and Laurence Fishburne also making an appearance.

Walken, though, will take any role, which has produced fun adventures such as Sleepy Hollow and Wedding Crashers that pushes Walken to No. 3 on that list.

2. Ellen Page – Juno/Beyond: Two Souls

Ellen Page has worked very hard to ensure her name isn’t synonymous with Juno, which explains her role in The Last of Us – just kidding. Her only role in video games was in Quantic Dream’s Beyond: Two Souls. The game was certainly a step down from QD’s Heavy Rain, but its cast was a gargantuan step up, with Page and Willem Dafoe.

Also See: Oscars 2015: Live Updates of All the Winners

But let’s talk about her movies for a second. Page was nominated for Juno, but one of her first roles was honestly the best. It’s actually a damn shame that Page didn’t get more consideration for Hard Candy. Bottom line, Page has had several peaks in her filmography throughout her career that puts her firmly in the No. 2 spot.

1. Kevin Spacey – American Beauty/Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare

Listen. I wanted to not put him at No. 1. Maybe it’s because he’s the new fad when talking about film actors in video games, and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare is so fresh in the minds of gamers that it seemed too easy. But damn Kevin Spacey is amazing. All throughout his filmography he’s given us gold. It doesn’t matter if it’s either two Academy Award-winning performances he gave in American Beauty and The Usual Suspects, or his fun roles in Horrible Bosses or A Bug’s Life; he is always a treat to watch.

His performance in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare may have just been an extended advertisement for House of Cards season two, but dammit if it wasn’t entertaining. Games are lucky to have you, Mr. Spacey.