Oscar Actors: Simmons, J.K., Whiplash

J.K. Simmons is an Oscar-winning actor whose career includes diverse roles in projects spanning film, television, and the stage, both on and off-Broadway.


In 2015, Simmons swept every major Best Supporting Actor award for his performance in the acclaimed drama “Whiplash,” culminating with his Academy Award win.  The film, directed by Damien Chazelle and also starring Miles Teller, garnered four more Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.  For his portrayal of merciless jazz instructor Terence Fletcher, Simmons also won Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA Awards.  In addition, he was named the year’s Best Supporting Actor by numerous critics groups, including those in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago, and London, among others, both in the U.S. and abroad.  “Whiplash” had premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Dramatic Audience Award and Grand Jury Prize for Best Film.

Simmons has a wide range of films upcoming.  Later this year, he appears with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in “La La Land,” which reunited him with Chazelle, and Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day,” about the Boston Marathon bombing.  Among his other upcoming films are the comedy “Bastards,” with Owen Wilson and Ed Helms; the crime drama “The Snowman,” starring Michael Fassbender; the drama “I’m Not Here,” directed by his wife, Michelle Schumacher; and the romantic drama “The Bachelors,” also starring Julie Delpy.  In November 2017, he will be seen in the action adventure “Justice League,” joining the ensemble cast as one of DC Comics’ most indelible characters, Commissioner Gordon.

Simmons is well known to moviegoers for the role of J. Jonah Jameson in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, and for his portrayal of the off-beat father, Mac McGuff, in Jason Reitman’s hit comedy/drama “Juno.”  He had earlier worked with Raimi on “For the Love of the Game” and “The Gift.”  He has also collaborated multiple times with Reitman, on the films “Labor Day,” “Up in the Air” and “Thank You for Smoking,” and the Coen brothers, on “Burn After Reading” and “The Ladykillers.”

His more recent films include “The Meddler,” opposite Susan Sarandon and Rose Byrne; “Terminator: Genisys,” with Arnold Schwarzenegger; and the animated features “Kung Fu Panda 3” and “Zootopia.”  Simmons’ long list of credits also includes “Jobs”; “The Words,” with Bradley Cooper; “Contraband”; “The Music Never Stopped”; “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings”; “Jennifer’s Body”; “Extract”; “I Love You, Man”; “The Vicious Kind”; “Rendition”; “Hidalgo”; Gore Verbinski’s “The Mexican”; “Off the Map”; and Lasse Hallström’s “The Cider House Rules,” to name only a portion.

On the small screen, Simmons will star in the new sci-fi drama series “Counterpart,” for the Starz cable network.  He previously played LAPD Assistant Chief Will Pope in TNT’s hit series “The Closer” and Vern Schillinger on HBO’s acclaimed drama “Oz,” and had a recurring role as Dr. Emil Skoda on NBC’s “Law & Order.”  He has also had regular, recurring or guest starring roles on more than 70 other television and cable programs.

Simmons has appeared on the Broadway stage in performances of “Guys and Dolls,” “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” “A Change in the Heir,” “Peter Pan” and “A Few Good Men.”