Most Known For: “Drive,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Robin Hood”
Snubbed For: “Inside Llewyn Davis”
If we took all of the Best Actor snubs over the last few years we would come up with a list that includes Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, John Hawkes, Michael Fassbender and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, just to name a few. Despite all the star power from that list, perhaps the most egregious, at least among many of us here at AwardsCircuit, was Oscar Isaacs’s star-making role in “Inside Llewyn Davis” getting left out in the cold last year. But Isaac has been building to his current status with consistently good work, and perhaps a dark horse chance to remedy his snub from last year.
Isaac’s first credit goes back to 1996, where he played a pool boy in “Illtown.” While I’m sure he was fine in that role, Isaac’s career truly didn’t get going until he paired up with Ridley Scott. His first go around with Scott was in “Body of Lies,” the 2008 thriller that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. Scott clearly liked what he saw from Isaac as he would bring him back for his follow-up, “Robin Hood,” where he played the villainous Prince John. Despite neither of those films ever truly taking off, Isaac would find his first big hit in 2011.
“Drive” was the cool film of 2011, and while Ryan Gosling and Albert Brooks were the names everyone talked about, Isaac gave a great supporting turn. Isaac’s Standard was not long for “Drive,” but he had a couple of great scenes. The film’s success made him a recognizable face in films like “The Bourne Legacy,” “Wont’ Back Down,” and “Ten Years” – proving to be the strongest part of the ensemble in the later.
Once people saw “Inside Llewyn Davis,” though, everyone knew exactly who Oscar Isaac was. Isaac pulled double duty in the film, giving an A-plus acting display as well as singing and playing the guitar to perfection. Isaac portrays the weary and troubled soul of Llewyn Davis so effectively while also being surprisingly funny. The performance immediately became one of the signature creations in a Coen brother’s film. Despite the brilliance of the performance, Isaac couldn’t land a nomination for the trophy that bears his name in one of the most competitive years in recent memory.
He may not have to wait long to fix that, though. Last week it was announced that J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year” would receive an Oscar qualifying run with a Dec. 31 limited release, before opening wider in 2015. Isaac headlines the film with Jessica Chastain and is expected to be in contention for Best Actor. It looks like another competitive year in the Best Actor race, so whether “A Most Violent Year” ends with Isaac’s first Oscar nomination or his second snub is still up in the air.
Regardless of whether or not Isaac is a nominee or not by the year’s end, he is knocking on the doorstep of becoming one of Hollywood’s next major stars, if he isn’t already. He has indies “The Two Faces of January,” which will release this week, “Mojave” and Ex Machina on the horizon, as well as a little film called “Star Wars: Episode VII.” From what we’ve seen from Isaac so far, we have to assume he will be able to wield a lightsaber as effectively as he strums a guitar and sooner or later, it wouldn’t be too big of a stretch to assume Oscar will be in line to win his own Oscar.