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Films where perennial character actors are given the lead role (and knock it out of the park)

Suggestions welcome!

A bit of clarification. For the purposes of the list, I’m after clearly defined single leads, so no J.K. Simmons in Whiplash and no John Hawkes in The Sessions, as much as I love those actors and performances. 

I’m also disqualifying the likes of Trees Lounge and Pollock, because casting and directing yourself seems a bit like cheating.

Block or Report
  • The Visitor
  • Pontypool
  • Frozen River
  • The Straight Story
  • Matewan
  • Richard Jewell
  • Never Cry Wolf
  • Obvious Child
  • The Station Agent
  • American Splendor
  • Sleeping Dogs Lie
  • Capote
  • Brittany Runs a Marathon
  • The Swerve
  • Wise Blood
  • Tyrannosaur
  • Marty
  • Paris, Texas
  • Good Night, and Good Luck.
  • Donkeys
  • The Sweet Hereafter
  • Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment
  • Afternoon Delight
  • Hard Eight
  • A Serious Man
  • Take Shelter
  • I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
  • One False Move
  • Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia
  • The Truth About Cats & Dogs
  • Calvary
  • Vera Drake
  • Barton Fink
  • Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • Stand and Deliver
  • A Better Life
  • Maniac
  • Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins
  • Silent Running
  • The Fly
  • Infamous
  • God Bless America
  • The Cooler
  • Moon
  • Ali & Ava
  • Jockey
  • Old Henry
  • Smokescreen
  • A Love Song
  • Hit Man
  • Late Night with the Devil
  • American Fiction