They might only have a brief amount of screen time, but they made an impact on us. From people such as Eminem and 50 Cent playing themselves to clever nods and winks at other films from the Pixar team, it was a good year for the eagle-eyed to spot famous faces stealing scenes. Here are a few of our favourites.
16. Eminem - The Interview
Low-IQ chat show host Dave Skylark (James Franco) is famous for getting a lot out of his celebrity interviews: witness Rob Lowe admitting that he’s been bald for years and hiding his shiny bonce under a sophisticated wig. But even he couldn’t predict that Marshall Bruce Mathers III would open up and admit that he’s gay. Slipping it into a discussion of where his lyrics come from – his fears, mostly - he stops Dave and his team in their tracks with a bombshell. “Push in on gay Eminem,” squawks producer Aaron Rapaport (Seth Rogen), “this is the greatest moment in gay history!”
15. David Beckham - The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Guy Ritchie cracked open his contacts book and landed a big fish for a very small role. While he’s one of the most recognisable people in the world, Becks stuck on a pair of specs and a 'tache in a projection booth during the spy caper. Tabloids were quick to blurb that he’d be taking the movie world by storm, but given that it’s almost a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment, he might want to hold off before making space for any Oscars.
14. Stan Lee - Avengers: Age Of Ultron/Ant-Man
Even in the massive, superhero-stuffed Avengers sequel, there was room for Stan the man. He shows up to Tony Stark’s party as a war veteran and scoffs at the strength of Thor’s special Asgardian liquor. But one quick gulp later and he’s being escorted out, clearly sozzled and slurring “exschelshior” as he leaves. We’ve heard of drink resp… Nope, did that one. In Ant-Man, he’s less visible, but appears near the end as a bartender during Luis’ (Michael Peña) revelation that Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson is looking for Paul Rudd’s shrinking hero.
13. Paul Bettany - Legend
Showing up as a favour to his A Knight’s Tale director Brian Helgeland, Bettany appears in an uncredited capacity as Charlie Richardson, a rival crime boss to Tom Hardy’s Ronnie and Reggie Kray. Suffice to say, standing up against the Kray boys doesn’t exactly end well for Charlie, who is quickly taken out. He’d have stood more chance as the Vision, but we doubt Helgeland – or the Marvel brass – would have approved.
12. Judi Dench - Spectre
M was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. But like Marley speaking from the grave to send Bond on a mission, Judi Dench made an appearance on video in Spectre. Thanks to her, 007 starts to dig into the organisation behind all of his recent missions. Imagine if it had just been a video of her belting out a karaoke version of the Skyfall theme?
11. Ansel Elgort - Paper Towns
Looking to provide some meta-continuity for fans of films based on John Green books, Elgort – who was one of the leads in The Fault In Our Stars – shows up in Paper Towns as a slightly sleazy petrol station attendant. And if that’s not enough John Green connectivity for you, the author himself lobbied director Jake Schreier for his own cameo, which got cut down to just audio. He provides the voice of Margo’s (Cara Delevingne) former best friend’s father, screaming about how he has a gun.
10. Mark Hamill - Kingsman: The Secret Service
Hamill pops up in Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ Secret Service comic book, so it seems only fair that he should have a role in the film. On the printed page, it’s the man who will return as Luke Skywalker himself who is kidnapped, but avoiding such a basic wink, Matthew Vaughn chose to have him play Professor Arnold, a scientist that the Kingsmen send Jack Davenport’s Lancelot to rescue, only things don’t go well for the secret agent when his mission goes to pieces. And so does he. A no less messy fate awaits Arnold, who is left without a noggin thanks to one of Richmond Valentine’s (Samuel L. Jackson) exploding implants.
9. Jimmy Buffett - Jurassic World
What giant tourist trap is complete without some chain restaurants? And Jurassic World had several, including a hearty nod to Jurassic Park creature genius Stan Winston. But the prize for the funniest goes to singer Jimmy Buffett, who let the filmmakers include one of his Margaritaville bars on the main thoroughfare. Plus, the man himself turned up, and was last seen trying to save the titular drinks from a flock of rampaging Pterosaurs that attack and snatch up horrified holidaymakers. We’ve heard of drink responsibly, but this is ridiculous.
8. Gregg Turkington - Ant-Man
Usually found giving hilarious, less-than-useful reviews opposite Tim Heidecker as one of the hosts of On Cinema, Turkington showed up in an early Ant-Man scene playing the sad-sack Baskin-Robbins manager Dale, who fires Paul Rudd’s Scott Lang when he discovers his criminal record. Or, more accurately, when the company learns of the information. Because, as Dale puts it, “Baskin Robbins always finds out.” He got the role because Marvel boss Kevin Feige is a big On Cinema fan. The man has good taste in comedy.
7. Daft Punk - Eden
Following up Tron: Legacy with a chunkier cameo, chrome-headed house warriors Daft Punk - AKA Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter - go au naturelle in Mia Hansen-Løve's paean to '90s and noughties dance music. Like house music Samsons, the pair are shorn of their power without their trademark helmets and get rebuffed by a series of nightclub doormen oblivious to their fame. What's the French for "Do you know who I am"?
6. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) - Me And Earl And The Dying Girl
Director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon had no idea if he was going to be able to snag Hugh Jackman’s services to voice a picture of Wolverine in Rachel’s (Olivia Cooke) room. But when he told the actor about the scene, Jackman signed on to add his recognisable tones to the image, which tries to coach Greg (Thomas Mann) in the subtle way to talk to someone who has cancer. It’s an odd highlight in a film that manages to find humour in a bleak diagnosis, and made all the better for Jackman providing the genuine Wolverine effect.
5. Nemo - Inside out
Pixar productions are famous for their little nods towards future films. And while you may think that there would be something for 2016’s Finding Dory in The Good Dinosaur (we’re told Dory herself is somewhere in there), there is also one in Inside Out. If you look closely in Imaginationland, there is a game box with a suspiciously Nemo-like fish on it and the name Find Me. And that’s above a game called Dinosaurland. You can also see The Good Dinosaur’s Arlo and the Pet Collector (AKA Forrest Woodbush) as stone dinosaur models during the family road trip from Minnesota to San Francisco.
4. 50 Cent - Spy
The rapper, who has been trying to forge his own acting path for a while now, shows up as himself performing a concert near the end of the film. He’s mostly seen alongside Miranda Hart’s Nancy and things don’t start off on the right foot… "He was really just game for everything, which was lucky because the first scene I had was to tackle him to the ground," Hart told People. "He was great. He was fun. It was extraordinary. You don't think some middle-class girl from England will ever meet 50 Cent.” No. No, you do not.
3. Nick Park - Shaun The Sheep Movie
One of the people responsible for creating Shaun in the first place for 1995’s A Close Shave, it seems only right that Nick Park should enjoy a Hitchcock-style cameo in Shaun’s own big film. He can be seen peacefully bird watching before he’s suddenly attacked by ducks (Hitch would surely approve). Wonder if the team made him sculpt his own model?
2. Daniel Radcliffe/Marisa Tomei - Trainwreck
Daniel Radcliffe probably got the most paparazzi attention during the making of Amy Schumer and Judd Apatow’s comedy – and he was only on set one day. He and Tomei show up in the movie that Schumer’s Amy and John Cena’s Steven go to see, indie parody The Dogwalker. And Radcliffe explained that Apatow just casually asked him if he wanted to appear while backstage at The Cripple Of Inishmaan. Radcliffe wasn’t sure he was serious, but then his agents called about the offer and his response was quick: “I said, ‘Yeah! Ab-so-fucking-lutely, I’ll go in and screw around for a day with Judd Apatow!’” And thus a day of walking dogs with a weird belt-leash and improvising with Tomei was born.
1. Liam Neeson - Entourage/Ted 2
This year provided a two-fer in terms of Liam Neeson cameo action, and they were both warped versions of himself. In Entourage, he does what most of us would probably wish we could do and gives Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold the finger, before peeling out in his convertible. In a film stuffed with cameos, he stands out. He’s also one of the rare truly funny moments in Seth MacFarlane’s misfiring comedy sequel Ted 2, showing up at a cash register where Ted works, concerned that US cereal Trix is just for kids. A gloriously silly moment.