Most Known For: “Die Hard,” “Harry Potter,” “Love Actually”
Snubbed For: “Die Hard,” “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” “Sense and Sensibility”
There was a commercial not to far back featuring Tom Hiddleston, Mark Strong and Ben Kingsley talking about how Hollywood villains were often played by Brits. One actor who belongs near the top of the heat of the British villain category has to be Alan Rickman. Though he’ll always be best known for the baddies he’s portrayed, Rickman has proven himself an extremely versatile actor over the years, which makes it all the more perplexing that he has been left out in the cold when it comes to the Oscars.
Rickman’s film career literally started off with a bang. After years on the stage in England, acting in TV movies and mini-series and a Tony nomination for “Les Liaisons Dangereuses,” he finally made his film debut at the sprite age of 42 as the diabolically sauve Hans Gruber in “Die Hard.” Rickman’s performance left a lasting impression on the “Die Hard” franchise, so much so they decided to give him a brother and make him a villain in the third entry. Even though he can’t really hide that British accent while playing a German terrorist, Rickman’s performance was so much fun to watch. At the time, however, it really wasn’t up the Academy’s alley.
Apparently that wasn’t the case across the pond, however, as a couple years later Rickman would take his first trophy home for planning the Sheriff of Nottingham in “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” Rickman’s performance is easily one of (if not the) best parts of Kevin Costner’s take on the legend of Robin Hood and BAFTA decided to honor one of its own by handing him the prize for Best Supporting Actor. It wasn’t just the Brits who took to the performance, though; the Chicago Critics also nominated for Best Supporting Actor in their yearend vote.
In 1995 Rickman actually got to play one of the good guys as he starred in Ang Lee’s take on Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility.” As Colonel Brandon, Rickman plays a proper gentleman and fits perfectly into the time period and the character. He only gets a couple of really good scenes, but he hits them all quite well. Of course, “Sense and Sensibility” is an actress showcase, and Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet were hard to beat as far as awards attention goes. Rickman did earn a nomination as part of the ensemble from SAG, as well as another BAFTA nom for Best Supporting Actor.
Since 1996 Rickman hasn’t had too many opportunities to make a real strong run at Oscar; though of course that’s not to say he’s been slouching. He had memorable roles in “Michael Collins,” “Galaxy Quest,” “Love Actually,” Sweeney Todd” and “The Butler.” Of course, the 2000s saw him take on what is likely his second most recognizable role, his most for anybody who hasn’t seen “Die Hard.”
Rickman took on the role of Severus Snape in the “Harry Potter” franchise. It was a perfect role for the actor to bring the mysterious potions teacher to life. Through seven films he was a valuable piece, even with only a few brief moments to shine. However, it would all pay off in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.”
The scene where Harry goes into Snape’s memories and sees how Snape truly felt about his mother and what he did for her releases all the emotion of the character and Rickman handles it like the pro he is. The few minutes of screen time that took up was enough to drum up a dark horse Best Supporting Actor campaign and a nomination in AwardCircuit’s own Community Awards for 2011. But, the Oscars weren’t moved.
Alan Rickman turned 69 last month, but he is still consistently working. He has a couple projects on the horizon, including reprising his role as the Blue Catepillar in the “Alice in Wonderland” sequel. He also has his second directorial effort, “A Little Chaos,” coming out not to far down the line.
There has to be a role out there that would be able to serve as Alan Rickman’s Oscar role. After a 30-year career like his it would be a nice addition to his resume, and certainly a deserved one. Maybe now is the time to step back into the bad guy shoes given Oscar’s recent affinity for the characters.