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Film Career: Spacey had proven his mettle as a stronghold of film, television, and stage when he broke out with a Oscar-winning supporting turn in 1996’s The Usual Suspects, which followed a deliciously creepy turn in Se7en and preceded a campily villainous role in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In 1999, Spacey scored the Best Actor Oscar for his anarchic yet empathetic take on suburban ennui in American Beauty.
Transition Role: House of Cards, 2013
Small-Screen Success: Spacey is sly like a fox (and much more deadly) as ascendant Beltway politician Frank Underwood. Despite originating as a high-risk Netflix original, the role has scored Spacey both Golden Globe and Emmy nods. —Lanford Beard
Image Credit: Nathaniel Bell/Netflix
January 27 2015 — 2:11 PM EST