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34 Actors Who Impressed Us In 2014

There were plenty of impressive performances this year, but BuzzFeed Entertainment talked to the stars within about their particularly outstanding acting achievements in 2014.

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1. Eddie Redmayne

David Bertozzi/BuzzFeed News

The Transformation of Eddie Redmayne by Adam B. Vary

In The Theory of Everything, the 32-year-old actor went through a rigorous, painful process to take on the physicality and emotional life of famed scientist Stephen Hawking. It’s a performance that could catapult Redmayne to an Oscar.

2. Uzo Aduba

Rick Diamond / Getty Images

Behind Crazy Eyes' Stunning Transformation In "Orange Is The New Black" Season 2 by Jaimie Etkin

Uzo Aduba has seen the Bantu knot-wearing, eyeball-bulging fan favorite go from territorial would-be lover to dangerously devoted daughter on the hit Netflix series. She talks to BuzzFeed News about Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren's shocking second season arc.

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4. Lisa Kudrow

Macey J. Foronda for BuzzFeed

Lisa Kudrow's "Comeback" Is A Rare Second Chance by Kate Aurthur

In 2005, Kudrow and Michael Patrick King created The Comeback for HBO, but, ahead of its time in its critique of celebrity, reality TV, and narcissism, it lasted only one season. Nine years later, ​they tell BuzzFeed News the story behind the now-beloved cult comedy’s unlikely return.

5. Jack Falahee

ABC / Via giphy.com

Everything You Need To Know About "How To Get Away With Murder" Star Jack Falahee by Jarett Wieselman

This season's breakout television star reveals what it's like to be at the epicenter of a sexual firestorm, the crazy series of events that led to him being cast on the year's most talked-about new show, and how he almost didn't get the role.

7. Evangeline Lilly

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Evangeline Lilly Tried To Quit Acting, But Acting Would Not Quit Her by Adam B. Vary

The former Lost star and newly published author explains to BuzzFeed News how her lifelong passion for writing led her to The Hobbit — and to demand that Marvel Studios justify why Edgar Wright was no longer directing Ant-Man.

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9. Bellamy Young

Eric McCandless / ABC

Why Mellie Grant Is The Smartest Woman In The Room On "Scandal" by Louis Peitzman

Love her or hate her, first lady Mellie Grant is a force to be reckoned with on Scandal. Her portrayer Bellamy Young spoke to BuzzFeed News about playing such a divisive character, the double standards women face, and why Mellie should never be underestimated.

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13. Martha Plimpton

Ramona Rosales for BuzzFeed

Martha Plimpton Moves On (Again) by Kate Aurthur

In the course of nearly 35 years as a professional actress, the Raising Hope star has had only one steady job — and it just ended. But if there's anything Plimpton's illustrious, challenging career has taught her, it's that nothing lasts, and that this is OK. And that it's boring to still be talking about The Goonies.

14. The Manzos

Bravo / John Gara for BuzzFeed

How To Survive As A Reality Television Family by Louis Peitzman

After five years on The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Caroline Manzo and her family are continuing their on-camera lives with their spin-off Manzo'd With Children. Now reality veterans, they reflect on how to stay real in the world of "reality."

15. Tilda Swinton

Rob Kim / Getty Images

Tilda Swinton Thinks Fame Can Turn People Into Vampires by Adam B. Vary

With four films opening in 2014 in the U.S. — including Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel and Jim Jarmusch's Only Lovers Left Alive — the 53-year-old's celebrity only stands to grow. But Swinton could scarcely care less.

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16. Lee Pace

AMC

Lee Pace Is Ready For The Spotlight, But Not The Scrutiny by Jarett Wieselman

Before the Pushing Daisies alum embarked on his two most high-profile projects to date — AMC's Halt and Catch Fire and Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy — he told BuzzFeed News he wouldn't compromise his privacy for viewers' curiosity.

17. Melanie Lynskey

The Actress Who Can Do Everything by Kate Aurthur

Melanie Lynskey exploded into film 20 years ago, playing a murderous teenager in Heavenly Creatures — this year, she was a hipster mom in Happy Christmas. She talked to BuzzFeed News about her career choices, Charlie Sheen, and full-frontal nudity.

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20. Bob Balaban

Neilson Barnard / Getty Images

Bob Balaban Has No Idea How He Became A Brilliant Hollywood Character Actor by Adam B. Vary

He's worked with Spielberg and appeared on Seinfeld. He's directed Philip Seymour Hoffman and been directed by George Clooney and Wes Anderson. In his own words, Balaban talked through his remarkable professional journey with BuzzFeed News.

22. Katharine McPhee

CBS

Katharine McPhee Is Reintroducing Herself by Louis Peitzman

It's been eight years since the world first met Katharine McPhee on American Idol, and this year, she took on her first major non-singing television role on CBS's Scorpion. With the musical drama Smash behind her, she's more determined than ever to prove herself.

23. Jack O'Connell

Jon Premosch for BuzzFeed

Jack O'Connell's Journey From British Bad Boy To American Hero by Jaimie Etkin

In playing prisoner of war Louis Zamperini in Angelina Jolie's second directorial effort, Unbroken, the former Skins star earned the role that could transform his career. It's a challenge O'Connell eagerly accepted and an opportunity he didn't take lightly.

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24. Samira Wiley

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The Rise Of Poussey On "Orange Is The New Black" by Emily Orley

Samira Wiley and her character have become the major breakouts of the Netflix series' second season. The actress talks to BuzzFeed about Poussey's growth and becoming a fan favorite.

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28. Liza Weil

Christopher Polk / ABC

The Actress Behind Paris Geller Is All Grown Up by Emily Orley

Liza Weil, best known for playing Rory Gilmore's neurotic frenemy on Gilmore Girls, talks to BuzzFeed News about what she learned from life in Stars Hollow, working in ShondaLand for five years, and becoming a series regular again on How to Get Away With Murder.

29. Rene Russo

Open Road Films

Rene Russo Finally Steps Back Into The Spotlight by Adam B. Vary

Nearly 10 years after her last leading role, the beloved actress looks back at her career, her self-imposed acting hiatus, and tells BuzzFeed News why she's back with the riveting Nightcrawler — for now.

33. Erika Christensen

NBC

Erika Christensen's Journey From Teen Star To "Parenthood" by Kate Aurthur

She was a druggie rich kid in Traffic at 17, and at 31 is a lawyer mom on Parenthood — here, Christensen talks with BuzzFeed News about her long career, growing up famous, Scientology, and how harrowing it’s been for her character this season.