Top 10 Most Underappreciated Voice Acting Performances
Top 10 Most Underappreciated Voice Acting Performances

Top 10 Most Underappreciated Voice Acting Performances

VOICE OVER: Kirsten Ria Squibb WRITTEN BY: Lindsay Haley
Words can't describe how underappreciated these voice acting performances are. For this list, we'll be looking at the best works by voice actors in film and TV that haven't gotten the level of praise or recognition we think they deserve. Our countdown includes "Rugrats," "Hocus Pocus," "Lilo & Stitch," and more!

Top 10 Most Underappreciated Voice Acting Performances

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Most Underappreciated Voice Acting Performances.

For this list, we’ll be looking at the best works by voice actors in film and TV that haven’t gotten the level of praise or recognition we think they deserve.

Are there any underrated voice acting performances we missed? Let us know in the comments!

#10: Tim Curry as Forte
“Beauty and the Beast: The Enchanted Christmas” (1997)

No stranger to voice acting, Tim Curry lent his vocals to Disney when taking on the character of Forte—the enchanted pipe organ who is nothing like his light-hearted, more whimsical peers. The part was rather on brand for the actor, who commonly takes parts with evil storylines. Incorporating easily observable hints of villainy, power, and vigor in his voice, the actor somehow manages to make an animated instrument equally terrifying and memorable. Even though “The Enchanted Christmas” is a much less iconic follow-up to “Beauty and the Beast”, there’s no denying that Curry’s performance is a redeeming feature of the film.

#9: Tara Strong as Dil Pickles
“Rugrats” franchise (1991-)

Tara Strong has voiced several main characters in film and TV, but her portrayal of Dil Pickles in “Rugrats” remains one of her best. We were introduced to the baby brother of Tommy in “The Rugrats Movie” and immediately had a new character to love. One might think that voicing a male baby when you're an adult woman would be tricky, but it certainly wasn’t for Strong. Seamlessly manipulating her vocals to portray the rugrat, the actress produced infantile cries and noises that had us thinking that an actual baby was filling the role. Further delivering great acting, Strong continued to masterfully embody Dil in several follow-up projects and as he grew up on the TV series.

#8: Cree Summer as Kida
“Atlantis: The Lost Empire” (2001) & “Atlantis: Milo’s Return” (2003)

As a prominent voice actress in the business, Cree Summer has quite the resume and has enjoyed a fair dose of praise. But one of her more underappreciated performances is her role of Princess Kida in “Atlantis: The Lost Empire”. The movie’s generally poor reception likely contributed to Summer’s work being overlooked, even though she absolutely killed it. It wasn’t her first movie by any stretch, but through it, she proved just how talented she is when it comes to voice work. And she did an excellent job when she returned for the sequel, too. Summer equips Kida with a refreshing attitude and regalness that elevate the franchise. Her performance is as underrated as the world of “Atlantis” itself.

#7: Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Marvel Cinematic Universe (2008-)

We’ve seen Bradley Cooper on our screens plenty of times, whether it be in live-action TV series or films. The multi-talented, easy-on-the-eyes actor has also dabbled in voice work, most notably as Rocket the raccoon in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since we’re all aware of what Cooper sounds like, it’s hard to believe the voice coming from the animated animal is his. But any doubts can be eased thanks to this hilarious evidence. It sounds nothing like the actor we know, making the performance both shocking and impressive. Considering the humor, courage, and distinctness the character exudes, Rocket is a Bradley Cooper role we should talk about more.

#6: Francesca Marie Smith as Helga Pataki
“Hey Arnold!” franchise (1996-)

For a whopping 5 seasons and two movies, Francesca Marie Smith voiced Arnold’s super memorable tormentor, Helga Pataki. All things complex and intense, Helga isn’t easy to embody, but Smith sure did her justice. The character feels quite an array of emotions throughout the “Hey Arnold!” releases —love, hate, pain, humor, anger, etcetera, and Smith masterfully voices them all. We couldn’t help but feel for Helga despite the relentless way she taunts her crush. By the time she and Arnold get together in the 2017 film, we actually buy it. That’s entirely because of the convincing voice work done by the actress. Love or hate the character, Francesca Marie Smith deserves some respect on her name.

#5: Donna Murphy as Mother Gothel
“Tangled” franchise (2010-)

Donna Murphy chose to try something new, and auditioned to voice Mother Gothel in Disney’s “Tangled”. She scored the role, which marked her debut voice acting performance. It’s hard to believe she wasn’t already a pro considering just how well she plays the part. As the film’s villainous maternal figure, Gothel is a strong, overbearing presence that requires a distinct, seasoned voice behind it. Murphy’s subtle choices and exceptional singing shine through both the dialogue and music, and she’s delightfully wicked in each scene she appears in. If you need proof, just listen to her villain song, “Mother Knows Best”. We never tire of the character, so her few appearances in the animated TV show were a treat, too!

#4: Jason Marsden as Thackery Binx in Cat Form)
“Hocus Pocus” (1993)

It's understandable that anyone appearing alongside the beloved Sanderson sisters would be underappreciated. But we can't forget about the top-tier performance gifted to us by Jason Marsden as Thackery Binx — ”Hocus Pocus”’ black cat who was occupied by the soul of a formerly human boy. Binx is the loyal, courageous feline who you can’t help but love, and that’s due largely in part to the man behind the animal. Despite steep competition, Marsden is a standout in the film and his work warrants more attention. The emotion, humor, and passion that his voice carries is what makes Binx such a captivating hero.

#3: Chris Sanders as Stitch
“Lilo & Stitch” franchise (2002-)

As if co-writing and co-directing 2002’s “Lilo & Stitch” wasn’t enough, Chris Sanders filled the titular role for the character he crafted with a voice acting performance we could never forget. Given how instrumental Sanders was in developing the attributes of Experiment 626, it's no surprise that he plays the part so perfectly. Nonetheless, his performance is next-level, as his vocal manipulations are consistent, fitting, and impeccably executed. He doesn’t falter in any of the follow-up “Lilo & Stitch” releases, either, keeping up the flawless work. Few actors could portray the sense of humor and humanity of the multifaceted Stitch like he does. And making Sanders deserving of further recognition is this hilarious behind-the-scenes peak at him doing his thing in the recording studio.

#2: Jeremy Irons as Scar
“The Lion King” (1994)

Anyone who knows Jeremy Irons is aware of the signature evilness he effortlessly brings to life. But he brings much more than just that to the table in this classic as the unforgettable antagonist. Going beyond delivering villainous vocals and punch-packing roars, Irons infuses Scar with an entertaining sense of humor and relatability. The actor’s attitude, versatility, and range are a huge part of what makes “The Lion King” so iconic. Not to mention the musical talent he showcases when blessing our ears with “Be Prepared”. Let’s be real—Irons’ Scar is just as compelling as James Earl Jones’ beloved Mufasa – so why don’t we talk about his performance as much?!

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

​​Ashley Eckstein as Ahsoka Tano, “Star Wars” franchise (1977-)
The Long-Time Voice of Ahsoka, Eckstein Conveys the Evolution of the Badass Female Jedi

Robby Benson as the Beast, “Beauty and the Beast” franchise (1991-)
As the Titular Beast, Benson’s Booming Voice Work Contributes to a Significant Character Arc

David Tennant as Scrooge McDuck, “DuckTales” (2017-21)
Tennant Delivers Hilarity & Memorability as Scrooge in the Reboot Series

Ben Schwartz & Bill Hader as BB-8, “Star Wars” franchise (1977-)
With the Help of Sound Effects, These Comedians Produce Distinct Droid Language

John Hurt as the Horned King, “The Black Cauldron” (1985)
Hurt Gives Us Villainy & Eeriness with Powerful Tonal Shifts

#1: Scarlett Johansson as Samantha
“Her” (2013)

Okay, we know Scarlett Johansson did fittingly win a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work on “Her”, but we still say more acclaim is warranted. The global superstar is known for her showstopping looks and acting skills on screen, but we had no idea she could make as big of an impact with just her voice. As Theodore’s evolving AI system— “Samantha”—the actress fills uber complex shoes while managing to incorporate hints of seduction, kindness, and fear in a film of versatile scenes. Johansson reportedly found the part of Samantha somewhat daunting, but it certainly doesn't seem like it when you watch the movie.