Jesse Plemons has a career that has spanned decades and has seen him star in some of the biggest TV shows and films of recent memory. He began his career as a child actor and had a breakthrough with his supporting role as Landry Clarke in the NBC drama series Friday Night Lights (2006–2011). He then went on to star in season 5 of the hit TV show Breaking Badcementing his mainstream career.
Plemons went on to enjoy a career which evolved into film acting as well, appearing in films such as The Master (2012), The Homesman (2014), Black Mass, Bridge of Spies (both 2015), Game Night, Vice (both 2018), and The Irishman (2019). For his recent work in Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, Plemons earned his first Oscar nomination (in the category of Best Supporting Actor). Next, he’ll be reuniting with Martin Scorsese for Killers of the Flower Moon and starring alongside Elizabeth Olsen in HBO Max’s Love and Death. Until then, here’s a look at Jesse Plemons’ best performances, ranked.
7 Game Night
Jesse Plemons proved his talents in comedy when he starred in Cliff Martinez ‘ Game Night, released in 2018 alongside Rachel McAdams and Jason Bateman. The film follows a game night which results in chaos and comedic action. Plemons plays Gary – he’s easily one of his funniest characters – who is a socially inept cop that Plemons plays with a comedic seriousness and clumsiness that not many can pull off. His comedic timing is excellent, proving what a versatile actor he can be.
6 Black Mirror
Charlie Brookers hugely successful series Black Mirror presents dystopian worlds that consider the possible damaging effects that technology could have on the world and what could happen if it progresses too far. Jesse Plemons starred in a particularly successful episode titled “USS Callister.” The episode opened the hugely successful fourth season of the show, clearly taking inspiration from Star Trek, presenting a crew onboard the eponymous USS Callister under the command of Plemons’ character, Robert Daly. As the plot progresses, we see that Robert is controlling all the crew, who are actually his co-workers, and playing a sadistic game with them.
5 Judas and the Black Messiah
Jesse Plemons starred in Shaka King’s Judas and the Black Messiah, released in 2021. The film features an incredibly talented cast including: Dominique Fishback, Ashton Sanders, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Lil Rel Howery, Algee Smith, Dominique Thorne, and Martin Sheen. The film follows the real story of the betrayal of Fred Hampton (played by Daniel Kaluuya), chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late-1960s Chicago, by William O’Neal (played by Lakeith Stanfield) who was an FBI informer. Plemons plays an FBI agent and the whole cast delivers excellent performances, making for a gripping watch.
4 Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad ran from 2008-2013 and starred Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman. The series centers around Walter, a chemistry teacher who develops cancer and then gets into the meth-making business as a way of paying off his medical bills. Plemons gave an extremely memorable and well received performance in season 5, playing Todd Alquist in an 11-episode arc. Plemons played the character with a scariness and coldness that made Todd one of the most memorable characters in the franchise.
Fargo was a huge success with critics as well as audiences and has been on air since 2014. The series is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name, and each season presents new characters and a new storyline. Jesse Plemons starred in season 2 alongside his now-wife, Kirsten Dunst, as an onscreen couple, and both of their performances were highly praised, making it clear why the series is so successful. Plemons proved he can handle a leading role with ease, and he brings the writing of the show to life perfectly.
2 I’m Thinking of Ending Things
I’m Thinking of Ending Things was directed by Charlie Kaufman and was a huge critical success. The film is a psychological thriller that follows Jake (Jessie Buckley) as she goes on a trip with her boyfriend (Jesse Plemons) who is referred to by different names throughout the movie. Critics praised the subtle symbolism throughout the film, and Plemons’ performance was applauded for his interpretation of depression and regret.
1 The Power of the Dog
Jesse Plemons’ career elevated to new levels when he starred in 2021’s The Power of the Dog. It’s an emotionally charged film in which Plemons stars as George Burbank, the brother of Phil (played by Benedict Cumberbatch). Kirsten Dunst again plays Plemons onscreen wife, Rose, and Phil becomes domineering over the pair and her son as she moves into the ranch. It’s a great piece of cinema, and swept up many Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and, of course, Best Supporting Actor for Plemons.
As well as a second season of Peacemaker, James Gunn’s second Suicide Squad spin-off series seems to be moving forward.
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