Most Known For: “X-Men: First Class,” “Footloose,”
Snubbed For: “Murder in the First,” “Apollo 13”
Who hasn’t played Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon? The actor’s resume, which stretches back to the late 70s, has seen him pair up with some of Hollywood’s greats in some great films. However, one group that so far doesn’t seem to be a fan of the game is the Academy. In his nearly 40 years in the industry, Bacon has seen co-stars and his films nominated, and some times even winners, but he himself has yet to earn a nomination.
I’d be remiss not to mention that Bacon got his start in Hollywood in one of the best comedies ever, “Animal House.” It was a small role, with only a couple of lines, but it’s a hell of a way to get things going. Bacon’s early career would add some more high profile projects, including the original “Friday the 13th,” Barry Levinson’s directorial debut “Diner,” and of course “Footloose.” To this day, the role of Ren McCormick is Bacon’s most well known role.
Bacon would start to make his case for awards attention in the early 90s, largely as part of ensembles. Bacon had supporting roles in Best Picture nominated films “JFK” and “A Few Good Men.” Bacon topped off the early 90s with his first Golden Globe nomination in “The River Wild” alongside Meryl Streep.
Bacon’s best chances for an Oscar nomination to date, however, came in 1995. The first was as part of ensemble in another Best Picture nominee, “Apollo 13.” Bacon starred as one of the three astronauts on the fated Apollo 13 mission, and he is quite strong in the role. The entire cast earned a SAG Nomination, but Ed Harris and Kathleen Quinlan were the only ones to receive individual accolades from SAG and Oscar.
The better chance, however, was in the smaller film “Murder in the First.” Bacon played an Alcatraz prisoner accused of killing another inmate. Bacon was the sole standout from the film, earning a win for Best Actor from the Broadcast Film Critics Association, and going up against his “Apollo 13” co-star Ed Harris in the Best Supporting Actor category at the SAG Awards. The film just might not have had a far enough reach to make an impact with the Academy.
From that point on to now, Bacon has proved to be a reliable actor who is willing to do a wide variety of projects. We’ve seen him become an invisible serial killer in “Hollow Man” and a stern but loving father in “My Dog Skip.” We’ve seen him play a villainous mutant in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and a Boston police detective in “Mystic River.” He even had a reunion with Ron Howard in “Frost/Nixon,” and was again strong.
By far the best performance of Bacon’s career though comes in a project that wasn’t even eligible for Oscars. HBO’s original movie “Taking Chance” follows Bacon as a volunteer military escort officer who accompanies a body of a Marine back to his hometown. Bacon is understated but gripping in this emotional tale of a soldier’s duty, and he was justly rewarded with a Golden Globe, SAG Award and an Emmy nomination for lead actor in TV movie/miniseries. If you want to play devil’s advocate, how would this had turned out today if “Taking Chance” had premiered on Netflix and actually been eligible for Oscar consideration?
Fans can currently see Bacon in the indie “Cop Car,” or they can soon see him in the Whitey Bulger film “Black Mass” alongside another stellar cast in Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch and more, which will premiere at the upcoming Venice Film Festival. If no Oscar nomination comes this year, at least we’ll have a few more names for Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
Still, Bacon seems like the perfect candidate to earn a swell of good will should that fated role ever come. He certainly has friends in the industry that will stump for him, and a resume that proves he’s been a consistent player for a long time. Now he just needs to find the part.