With the 2020 Academy Award nominations just announced, what better time to take a look at some of the many talented thespians who have lent their voices (and sometimes their likeness) to video games.
Fantastic voice acting is often overlooked in gaming in favour of things like graphics, combat, or crafting mechanics. But these 5 celebrities below delivered performances that should not be missed. Here’s a look at 5 of the best actors that you probably didn’t know were in video games.
Gary Oldman – The Legend of Spyro Series, Call of Duty, Medal of Honor
Sid Vicious, Sir Winston Churchill, “Zorg” the eccentric crimelord, and… Ignitus in the Legend of Spyro series – three amazing performances from Academy Winner Gary Oldman. It takes a true actor to transition from a colourful dragon to an embattled Prime Minister or intergalactic pimp, and Mr Oldman somehow pulls it off.
In addition to his role as Spyro’s father-figure, Gary Oldman also appears in the legendary Call of Duty and Medal of Honor franchises and will voice an admiral in the forthcoming Star Citizen.
Emma Stone – Sleeping Dogs
Want to take Emma Stone on a date? 2012’s Sleeping Dogs gave players the opportunity to do so in one of the game’s small side quests. Stone also starred in the promotion of this gritty crime-drama game, years before she won Best Actress in 2017.
Unfortunately, Ms Stone’s character almost entirely disappears from Sleeping Dogs after the single outing with her… so I guess she’s just not that into you.
Rami Malek – Until Dawn
A few years before winning Best Actor for his portrayal of flamboyant frontman Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody, Rami Malek gave us chills in an entirely different way.
In the 2016 horror game Until Dawn, Malek voices, and lends his likeness to, main character Josh Washington. This PS4 exclusive tells the classic tale of attractive teenagers and the psychotic killer that’s out to get them— and Mr Malek’s performance enhances the tension of this already horrifying game.
Mahershala Ali – Madden NFL ’18
In addition to winning a Best Supporting Actor award for Green Book, Mahershala Ali has starred in numerous award-winning productions like House of Cards, Moonlight, and True Detective.
In Madden NFL ’18, Ali contributes his talents to the game’s story-mode “Longshot”, making the game mode more immersive than it’s been in previous years. Looking back after his 2019 Oscar win, Ali’s role as Cutter Wade, father of rising fictional football star Devin Wade, is actually a surprisingly small role for such a prominent actor to play. Nevertheless, Ali delivers a stellar performance that’s worthy of the big screen.
J.K. Simmons – Portal 2
Maybe you’ve seen him in the Farmers Insurance commercials, or maybe in his Academy Award-winning performance as an abusive professor in Whiplash. Or, even more likely, you might’ve seen him as J. Jonah Jameson the editor-in-chief of the Daily Bugle in the Spiderman films.
Nevertheless, despite all these famous performances on screen, our favourite J.K. Simmons role is the eccentric CEO of Aperture Science in Portal 2. The game overall is a masterpiece, and it wouldn’t have been so without his exceptional and hilarious voice acting.