His name and face might not be immediately recognizable to the general public, but in a remarkably short space of time — really the last year or so — Frank Grillo has become the kind of actor who makes everything he’s in about ten percent better. Grillo was a true working actor for the best part of twenty years, popping up most notably in “Minority Report” and “The Sweetest Thing,” but hardly landing atop casting wishlists. But then last year came “Warrior,” Gavin O’Connor‘s tremendously effective mixed martial arts drama, in which Grillo stood out as the trainer of Joel Edgerton‘s character. And he’s quietly had a strong 2012, standing out in “The Grey” even among a cast with several contenders for this list (Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale), stealing scenes in “Lay the Favorite,” impressing in the otherwise skippable “Disconnect” and, giving something of a masterclass in one scene of “End of Watch” (his drunken melancholy at the wedding is one of the best bits of acting we’ve seen all year). There’s loads more on the way — “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Gangster Squad,” the Richard Curtis-penned HBO movie “Mary & Martha,” a lead role in action-thriller “Intersection,” James Franco/Jason Statham team-up “Homefront” — but he deserves to be working with more Bigelow-style A-list directors. Hopefully a high-profile villain role in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” will put him on the path to land those.