The Golden Globes have been held since 1944 to recognize “distinguished achievements in the film industry,” according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association — the organization behind the awards ceremony. In the course of its history, the event has recognized much of Hollywood’s reigning royalty, ranging from Meryl Streep and Julie Andrews to Paul Newman and Marlon Brando.
While many Golden Globe winners work solely in the realm of large-budget, blockbuster projects, others devote their time and talents to smaller budget films. These movies don’t often have the same level of box-office success as the most recent Marvel Studios offering, but still often do quite well considering their production budgets — in large part thanks to the contributions of their Golden Globe-winning talent.
24/7 Wall St. has identified the most underpaid Golden Globe winners. We ranked the actors by the return on investment — the ratio between the box office gross and production budget — for films in which they have a lead role. These actors may not always command huge production budgets, but they have a gift for making the most out of what’s available.
A common type of movie that provides the absolute highest returns on investment for Golden Globe winners is independent features. Bill Murray could be given a large amount of credit for the success of “Lost in Translation,” which grossed more than $838 million in the U.S. The actor won the award for best actor in a motion picture (musical or comedy) at the 2004 Golden Globes thanks to his work in the film, after being nominated twice prior to its release.
Ryan Gosling is another actor who has dedicated himself to smaller productions throughout his career. His role in 2010’s “Blue Valentine” — a film with a reported production budget of just $1 million — helped the title gross nearly $10 million at the domestic box office.
While not every actor featured on the list primarily focuses on small films, all are prone to creating box office gold when cast in a lead role.