With a little more than 24 hours until the Academy Awards, surely many people cried foul on many actors, filmmakers, and films that were omitted from the nominations. The reason we admire the Academy Awards so much is that they are an elite force within Hollywood, focused on citing the very best. We believe that (at least for the most part) they cite the very best of cinema in both its visual and artistic form. Unfortunately, no matter how popular an actor or filmmaker is, the stars don’t always align for a nomination, let alone a win. Look at the story of Michael Keaton. “Clean and Sober,” “Beetlejuice,” and “My Life” were highlights of their respective film years and had no bite from the Oscar love guru.
There are other times when an actor seems to be hitting a stride, playing in different vehicles that under normal circumstances, should land them firmly on Oscar’s doorstep. Unfortunately, time seems to be setting on a few of these actors, whether it be just age, not delivering the same quality of work in a quality film, or simply not having the interest they once had from studios, audiences, and critics. They can come back into Oscar’s graces as we’ve seen with nominees like Mickey Rourke, and even this year with J.K. Simmons. No matter how consistently they work, no one seems to notice until they hit with the right film. And then it becomes a free-for-all.
Here are the top ten actors that Oscar has seem to forgotten:
Best Shots at the Oscars: The River Wild (1993), Murder in the First (1995), The Woodsman (2004)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Black Mass by Scott Cooper, Cop Car by Jon Watts, 6 Miranda Drive by Greg McLean
When you have a game named after you, it proves you’ve been around the block a few times and then some. Kevin Bacon has been in virtually everything, and has worked with every person in Hollywood. His closest dance with the Academy was probably for “Murder in the First” but some category confusion was likely the cause for the miss, especially in a year where he could have slid nicely into either category. We lost him to television for a while with FOX’s “The Following” but his hiatus is at an end with three scheduled films in 2015.
Best Shots at the Oscars: All of Me (1984), Roxanne (1987), Parenthood (1989), Shopgirl (2005)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: None (at the moment)
With an Honorary Oscar on his mantle now from the 2014 ceremony, Steve Martin really shouldn’t be on this list but as one of the all-time great comedians, he deserves to be. His work in 80’s was something that would have began a serious narrative for a nomination in an internet-driven world. Perhaps, he’ll get a Richard Farnsworth-type film in the near future.
Best Shots at the Oscars: MASH (1971), Ordinary People (1980), Without Limits (1998), Pride & Prejudice (2005), Aurora Borealis (2005)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Forsaken by Jon Casser (opposite son Kiefer Sutherland), Basmati Blues by Dan Baron (described as a Musical/Comedy opposite Brie Larson)
Kiefer Sutherland’s father has been a staple of the film community for decades. The stars have never seemed to align for Donald Sutherland to garner a way overdue Oscar nomination. After he was sadly passed over for Robert Redford’s Oscar-winning “Ordinary People,” where two of his co-stars garnered nominations (and one win), nobody really came to his aid in the industry for a “makeup” nomination. Call it just bad timing with the internet not existing. His snub would have been the equivalent to Paul Giamatti missing out for “Sideways” and then we would have all banned together to seek out his “Cinderella Man.” The “overdue veteran” narrative has never been fully supported by the pundits and voters. His closest shot recently was in 2005 for “Pride and Prejudice” but was edged out by a William Hurt bravura final moments performance in “A History of Violence.” Perhaps opposite his son this year in a Jon Casser western could be his ticket?
Best Shot at the Oscars: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986), The Producers (2005)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Untitled Warren Beatty (Howard Hughes) Project
Here’s a guy who’s popularity in his films carried him over to a beloved Broadway icon. Matthew Broderick is a staple in the musical loving community and has made his mark in some money-making blockbusters over the years. In the 80’s he’s was everyone’s favorite high school student that cut school. In the 90’s he was the voice of our beloved Simba and the object of Jim Carrey’s crazy cable guy. Not to mention he was the worst worm scientist to ever be laid at Godzilla’s feet but I digress. In the 2000’s, his time had finally come when he was attached to reprise his Broadway role opposite Nathan Lane in the remake of “The Producers.” 134 terrible minutes later, we know how that turned out. I still think there’s an active love/wait for Broderick to capture THE role, whatever that might be. Warren Beatty’s Howard Hughes film later this year maybe?
Best Shot at the Oscars: Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Sense & Sensibility (1995), Michael Collins (1997)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Eye in the Sky by Gavin Hood (War thriller with Aaron Paul, Helen Mirren, Barkhad Abdi)
This is a rough one. Alan Rickman‘s scene-stealing villain in “Robin Hood” was so divisive at the time but BAFTA jumped on board for that. Ang Lee failed to ignite excitement for him with “Sense & Sensibility” in the mid-90’s and the little remembered “Michael Collins” opposite Liam Neeson didn’t have any traction on the circuit. Fanboys tried everything under the moon to get him recognized for the final “Harry Potter” installment but little bit at the chance. “Love Actually,” “Sweeney Todd,” all vehicles that didn’t present a narrative in which to reward the British veteran. Trust me, I haven’t forgotten about “Die Hard” but no one bang the drum for that at the time. Today, it could have been a different story. This year, he’s taking his hand at directing “A Little Chaos” with Kate Winslet but word from the Toronto Film Festival 2014 was not positive. He will have a role in Gavin Hood’s next venture opposite Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, and Barkhad Abdi. Could prove him to be another scene-stealing comic relief or thoughtful villainous character?
Best Shots at the Oscars: Badlands (1973), Apocalypse Now (1979)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: The Vessel by Julio Quintana (first time feature director)
Charlie and Emilio’s Dad has been a part of our lives for decades. All award shows have seemed to miss the mark on this veteran actor. Martin Sheen‘s stellar work on “The West Wing” never won him an Emmy, though the Globes did notice once. His work in the Francis Ford Coppola classic “Apocalypse Now” is beloved by so many in the film-loving world and there he sits, with nothing in hand. Emilio Estevez stepped in the mid-2000’s with “Bobby” to offer him a standout vehicle in the Robert Kennedy assassination-Crash like film but no one bit. He then came back with “The Way” a few years later that was totally ignored by critics. Playing a priest in first-time feature director Julio Quintana’s “The Vessel” sounds like something that could get eyes opening for him.
Best Shots at the Oscars: Reservoir Dogs (1992), Fargo (1996), Ghost World (2002)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Oppenheimer Strategies by Joseph Cedar (opposite Richard Gere, Michael Sheen, Charlotte Gainsbourg)
“Mr. Pink,” “Buddy Holly,” “Carl Showalter,” “Donny Kerabatsos,” “Seymour,” and “Randall Boggs.” You know all those amazing characters portrayed by the fantastic Steve Buscemi yet, we still cannot refer to him as Academy Award nominee Steve Buscemi. His work as a character actor offered him an opportunity to star in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” as “Nucky Thompson,” that ran for five seasons. Let’s not forget his work on HBO’s “The Sopranos” that offered him to a new realm of fans. As the talented Brooklyn native gets older, his window and choices of work as of late, gets smaller. Maybe there’s a future Michael Keaton-like film out there for him? Coens, do it please.
Best Shots at the Oscars: Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998), Argo (2012), Flight (2012), Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Trumbo by Jay Roach (about blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo with Bryan Cranston starring), Valencia by Dan Trachtenberg (with Mary Elizabeth Winstead in a film that sounds “Misery” but with Goodman as the Kathy Bates character – due out in 2016)
Do you see how deep that list is? John Goodman is a formidable asset to our movie-watching ventures and still continues to deliver. Not sure if Oscar has received the memo yet that he is in desperate need of some career recognition. His work with the Coen Brothers, Ben Affleck, and Robert Zemeckis are all equally memorable. Not to mention, his work on television including his loved flannel shirt wearing father on “Roseanne.” Hopefully one day soon we’ll have him venturing off onto the Oscar stage to accept an award.
Best Shots at the Oscars: The Truman Show (1998), Man on the Moon (1999), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), I Love You Phillip Morris (2009)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: None
Steve Carell had a seamless transition going from comedy to drama as shown by his Oscar nomination this year for Bennett Miller’s “Foxcatcher.” I made a joke on a podcast episode about what if the film had starred Jim Carrey instead? Would we have had Carrey as an Oscar nominee after egregious snubs over the past 17 years? Maybe not. These days, Carrey has stopped trying to chase the gold statue. “Dumb & Dumber To” and “Kick-Ass 2” don’t show any signs of taking things serious. We can only pray that he has one more extraordinary work left in him. “The Truman Show” and “Man on the Moon” were technically his closest shots because Golden Globe wins and SAG nominations indicate there was support on the circuit.
Best Shots at the Oscars: The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Gettysburg (1994), Pleasantville (1998), The Hours (2002), The Squid and the Whale (2005), The Lookout (2007)
Upcoming Possible Opportunities: Steve Jobs by Danny Boyle (playing John Sculley and written by Aaron Sorkin), The Martian by Ridley Scott (starring Matt Damon and Jessica Chastain)
I didn’t mean to make this a “Dumb & Dumber” top two but Jeff Daniels’ work over the past three decades have been virtually incredible with outstanding reviews along the way. He’s also brought happiness to many with “The Newsroom” for which he won an Emmy Award. Woody Allen, Gary Ross, Stephen Daldry, Noah Baumbach, and Scott Frank all received the very best of Daniels (as did we). There’s a future nomination out there somewhere. Hopefully awards publicists will go into the Richard Jenkins playbook and get this long overdue actor his due.
Honorable Mentions: Dennis Quaid, Bruce Willis, Billy Crystal, Hugh Grant
Next week, we’ll talk about the ten ladies that Oscar has seemed to have forgotten.
Discuss in the comments.