Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Oscars 2013: The Best to Never Win

As previously discussed, it would seem that every actor is capable of giving an award-worthy performance. Many times, after that one performance, the performer will go back to the same level of (mediocre) performances and if that great performance happens to be the first, or one of the first, performances of an actor’s career, it is often downhill from there. (See: Berenger, Tom)

However, what about the actors on the other end of the spectrum, those that always seem to be nominated but can never quite clinch that elusive golden man? Often times, if those performers stick around long enough, they’ll end winning an Oscar for a role that probably didn’t deserve to win but is pretty much universally regarded as a lifetime achievement award. Paul Newman in “The Color of Money” and Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman” are (fairly) recent examples of this.

So, of the current batch of actors, whose frequent Oscar omission is the most egregious? Brad Pitt has never won an Oscar. Neither has Leonardo DiCaprio or Tom Cruise or Johnny Depp. All of these men are multiple-time nominees and have probably deserved to win at least once but didn't for whatever reason.

On the other end of the gender scale, Amy Adams just garnered her fourth nomination and is a huge underdog thanks to going up against the juggernaut that is Anne Hathaway. Glenn Close has racked up quite a few nominations, as has Annette Benning and Julianne Moore.

Some of these actors seem to have missed their window. Tom Cruise hasn’t garnered a nomination in more than a decade and public perception has definitely turned against him in that time. Johnny Depp has admitted that he isn’t a huge fan of acting but seems to really enjoy playing Capt. Jack Sparrow over and over again and Julianne Moore has seemingly made odd career choices in recent years that seem to show that she has different goals in mind than just award glory.

But what about some of the others? Both Close and Benning have been nominated for Best Actress in the past few years and Pitt was just nominated for a third time last year for his role as Billy Beane in “Moneyball.” These performers are still on the radar of the Academy.

The real outlier in this group seems to be Leo. He has been nominated three times, first in 1994 and then again in the mid-Aughts when he really seemed to hit his stride, garnering two more nominations and somehow not getting nominated for arguably his best performance in 2006’s “The Departed.”

Since that year, though, he has been in six more movies and been shut out by the Academy, most recently in the Supporting Actor category for his role as Calvin Candie in Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained.”

DiCaprio’s career arc is starting to shape up in a not dissimilar way to the aforementioned Newman, who came up as a “pretty boy” before legitimizing himself and then garnering multiple nominations in quick succession before basically being shut out for an extended amount of time, ultimately resulting in the unofficial “Lifetime Achievement” Oscar for a role that probably didn’t warrant the nomination, let alone the win.

Whether or not it takes DiCaprio another decade-plus to finally land his long-deserved Oscar that is always just out of his reach remains to be seen, although it is probably fair to say that if Calvin Candie can’t even get him nominated, his outlook is not looking good but in a world where Nicolas Cage has more Oscar wins than all those performers combined, does it really matter?


Blogger Micah Long said...

I feel like you missed a few notable actors. Steve Buscemi for one. His rolls may be a little unorthodox but he is undoubtedly one of the greatest actors of all time. He is able to play The Marietta Mangler, Mr. Pink, and Danny McGrath.

"He's got the who-ole wo-orld in his hands... "

February 20, 2013 at 10:02 PM 

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