To be nominated for an Oscar is always an indicator of how good a movie is. Last night we watched Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Clint Eastwood's look at the life (and death) of Japanese soldiers on that island during the attack. The movie won an Oscar for best sound, and was nominated for best picture and two others. It was a powerful movie and a worthy sibling to Flags of Our Fathers (2006) which covered the American side of that battle, and was nominated for two Oscars.
Letters includes a large cast of mostly Asians/Japanese actors. I looked through some of their filmographies and as I suspected, most of their work (pre-Letters) was done in either Japanese movies or relatively unknown other movies. I suppose I could write about some of their work, but since I am not at all familiar with it (and you probably aren't either) there is no point.
Flags of Our Fathers has a huge cast. The movie follows some of the flag raisers and their bond drive in the USA, so there was a need for many people in the cast. With just a quick look I recognize Neal McDonough (b. 1966) from seeing him in "Band of Brothers" the WWII series from HBO.
McDonough has 76 titles on IMDb and appears to have a permanent smile in his publicity pics. He started acting in movies and TV simultaneously. He played Lou Gehrig in the TV movie "Babe Ruth" and was in the 1994 remake of Angels in the Outfield. He shows up in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) and is assimilated by the Borg.
Melanie Lynskey (b. 1977) has 41 tiles listed. She started out at age 16 in movies, and played a princess in the 1998 Drew Barrymore (b. 1975) film Ever After. Ever After was a silly fairy tale that takes place in France and everyone has an English accent. Lynskey grows up in Coyote Ugly (2000).
There are many great bit parts in Flags, so please take a look at the full cast for yourself.
I was also thinking about another Oscar winner, Leaving Las Vegas from 1995. Nicholas Cage (b 1964) won for Best Actor, and the movie had three other nominations. The full cast is again, quite long, considering how lonely the movie makes you feel.
These three movies were all, to a certain extent, disturbing. I am sure many other Oscar winners are similarly disturbing. Perhaps that fact is what made them winners. But without question, the Bit Actors are what made them great. Even the players with foreign names who you may never see again.