I stopped watching the Oscars years ago, honestly my Oscar hatred first began burning when Cuba Gooding won the Oscar for best supporting actor over William H. Macy for FARGO. Every year there are a couple of nominations that make sense, but pretty much it is the same thing over and over again; the more popular they are the better chance of a nomination (Julia Roberts anyone?). Now before we delve into my list I have to admit that I have not seen any of the films on the list this year; the next few weeks are gonna be busy, so I cannot speak to their nominations or the lack thereof. So my list will focus on performances and movies from the past years and my personal thoughts on those. So here are my choices for of the top ten Oscar snubs of all time (or least my time).
Mila Kunis-Black Swan (supporting)
Without Mila’s character there was no movie. Portman got all the attention for this one, but I felt that Kunis’s performance was just as compelling and her chilling turn as Lilly was a big reason behind the film’s success; yet no recognition from the Oscars.
Peter O’Toole - EVERYTHING
Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, take your pick. Peter O’Toole was arguably one of the most talented actors of all time, how is it that Cuba Gooding has a statue but O’Toole only rates an honorary mention with the academy?
Denzel Washington - Philadelphia (Supporting)
I think it is hard to argue against the fact that this was Tom Hanks' movie. But it was Washington that had the more difficult task. He had to coerce the audience, very gently, into realizing that his character fears and ignorance were our own. And then bring us along the path of enlightenment to realizing how wrong we really were.
Gary Oldman - Sid and Nancy (Lead)
I can’t think of anyone else in Hollywood that could've pulled off the infamous Sid Vicious, then or now. You have to remember that Sid and Nancy came out well before audiences recognized Oldman’s ability to disappear into whatever character the script requires. His portrayal of Sid Vicious was honest, fun and depressing all at once, never before have we seen such a haunting portrayal of a rock-n-roll suicide.
John Cazale - The Godfather Part 2 (supporting)
Sure, The Godfather trilogy is all about Michael’s rise; but what about the Fredo, poor Fredo. This character could have easily been a pitiable, depressing character, but Cazale never plays him like that. He’s awkward and sweet and wants nothing but the old days back again. When he does confess to betraying his brother we see the resentment of a child who feels that he never got his dues. Thanks to Cazale, a possibly insignificant character was actually one of my favorites in the films.
Shawshank Redemption (Best Picture)
I get it…Forrest Gump was fun, tons of witty crap to poke fun at. But was it really better than Shawshank, I don’t think so. It was perfectly cast, the music was another character and it was beautifully filmed, acted and flawlessly paced. It was clear that it was directed by someone who loved the original story (by Stephen king) and wanted to share his love of the film and characters with the audience. Gump on the other hand, although just as well cast and entertaining, relied more on special effects and tugging on nostalgic heart strings to pull in its statue.
Ralph Fiennes - Schindler’s List
His portrayal of psycho Nazi Amon Goeth was chilling, the balcony scene is still one of the most disturbing scenes in my mind form the film. However the academy felt that Tommy Lee Jones’s Sam Gerrad from The Fugitive deserved the Oscar. Don’t get me wrong, I love The Fugitive and I love Tommy Lee Jones, but his performance is minor compared to what Fiennes did in Schindler’s List. Let’s be honest, Tommy Lee Jones has played that character before and has since.
Edward Norton - Primal Fear (Supporting)/American History X(lead).
Does anyone out there truly believe that Cuba Gooding’s performance in Jerry Maguire was better than what Norton pulled off in Primal Fear?...or William H. Macy in FARGO for that matter, I didn't think so. Now I'll admit in 1998 Norton had some tough competition. Tom Hanks for Saving Private Ryan and Ian McKellen for Gods and Monsters to name a few, but in the end it was that little Italian dude from Life is Beautiful that stole his Oscar. Think about that one for a minute, let it work on you…This was the year I officially gave up on the Oscars.
Cate Blanchett - Elizabeth (lead)
I dig Shakespeare in Love, it was a fun movie, and I will freely admit that after watching it I wanted to fall in love with Viola (Gwenyth). But in the end it was Gwenyth playing a character. But Cate Blanchett in Elizabeth was mesmerizing, powerful; she was Queen Elizabeth. You lived through what Elizabeth experienced; you did not just watch it. And yes, when I walked out of that theatre I had a total boner for the Virgin queen.
Robert Downey Jr - Less Than Zero
I had only seen Robert Downey Jr. in two other films before I saw Less Than Zero; Weird Science and Back to School. I figured if he was in it, it might be a fun flick. Well, lesson learned. Throughout the film we watch Julian’s free fall into hell, and we actually feel sorry him. Even though we know that he has brought this pain onto himself. His performance his brutal and the last 30 minutes alone are like punch in the gut. Downey’s performance was, in my humble opinion, one of the most honest and painful performances I've witnessed in my lifetime.
So there it is, my personal picks for performances (and one movie) that should have gotten at least a nomination if not the little golden statue. What performance/film do you think was snubbed this year or in the past?