15. Don Cheadle
As Buck Swope, the porn actor with dreams of opening a stereo store, Don Cheadle was one of the (many) standouts of Boogie Nights. Constantly changing his outfits with the times but never quite fitting in, Buck is a guy we genuinely feel protective about. Witness the film's incredibly tense donut-shop scene, where he orders a bunch of donuts late at night even as we sense that something horrible is about to happen. (It does, but with a totally unexpected result.) That's not just a testament to Anderson's writing and directing; it's a testament to Cheadle's savvy performance.