As Chris Hemsworth and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the 86th Academy Award nominations on Thursday, none of these could have possibly imagined that even with their glorious body of work and myriad accolades and plaudits, they would eventually fall short of the highly coveted Oscar nomination. Here are the most laudable performances this year which definitely deserved a spot in the final nomination draft.
As a reluctant and defiant author of Mary Poppins Emma Thompson embodies the character with such commanding audacity that its hard to imagine any other actress exuding similar grace and dexterity. Having already won the National Board of Review award for Best Actress and nominations at Golden Globes and BAFTA (still pending), her snub was not only the most shocking but the most shameful of all. Perhaps pertaining to the character she played, it could well be the taste of her own medicine.
As a lone man caught in a ship-wreck, Robert Redford's tour de force performance could be arguably touted as a benchmark for acting sans dialogue. Even as a nameless & unknown protagonist, Redford manages to intrigue the viewers right from the outset bringing them into the open waters of uncertainties unlike any they might ever witness. Somehow it wasn't deemed good enough to be adjudged as one of the best this year by the Academy. He later blamed Lionsgate for the lack of effective campaign as the main reason behind his Oscar snub.
Phoenix bares his heart out in one of the most honest performances of his career as Theodore Twombly who falls in love with an operating system. Joaquin isn't a name many would consider for playing a romantic lead but the melancholic undertones of his character couldn't have been brought to life with such sincerity and transparency without Joaquin. An acting great, Phoenix has come to terms with snubs over the years but there is barely a doubt in anyone's mind that its only a matter of when if not ever will he eventually get his hands on the golden statuette. Spike Jonze too was robbed of a directing nomination.
She might have amassed every newcomer/promising actor award there is to win this year but its still far from the accolade she actually deserves for her career making performance as Adèle in Abdellatif Kechiche's Palme d'Or winning film Blue is the Warmest Color. In her benign portrayal, she immerses herself into the character with such fierce passion and fragility that you seldom feel removed. Every single frame she occupies is engulfed with such tender and raw emotions that you feel for the character almost to the point of going all out on the "suspension of disbelief" apothegm and wholeheartedly embrace her character in an attempt to reassure her of her well being and morality.
Brie Larson deserves a nomination as much as Emmanuel Lubezki deserves the Oscar for cinematography. In possibly the most underrated performance of this year, Larson not just shines but anchors the film entirely on her shoulders. Although a supervisor of a foster care facility battling the scars of her own dark past, she seldom tries to be patronizing. She empathizes with the teens unlike any other member of the staff and ditto with her rendition wherein she allows Grace to transform herself and take hold of her demeanor. In certain scenes, Larson is so natural that you wonder if she really did serve time in a similar care facility. Such is the beauty of her performance. And equally deserving would have been Short term 12's Best Picture nomination.