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
(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
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?