Circuit Q&A – Cuba Gooding, Jr’s Best Non-Oscar Performance


A very happy 51st birthday goes out to Cuba Gooding, Jr. today! This very talented actor has seen his star rise up again recently with a baity turn as O.J. Simpson in “The People vs. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.” Of course, he was an Academy Award winner in Best Supporting Actor about 20 years ago for “Jerry Maguire“, shooting him into the stratosphere. Playing high maintenance football player Rod Tidwell, he bounced perfectly off of Tom Cruise. Of course, his “show me the money” scene is a classic, but it’s all phenomenal. Few actors display the sort of charisma and charm that he effortlessly puts out. To watch Gooding, Jr. in a movie is to like him.

636170590450927333 D04 JERRY MAGUIRE 19 495915 2One thing always follows around Gooding, Jr. is that he’s often thought of as an Oscar-winner that didn’t live up to the win afterward. Previous to his win, he was best known for small roles in things like “Boyz n the Hood?” and “A Few Good Men.” Once he had the statue, after his fiery speech, he never came close to contention again. “Men of Honor” and “Radio” were subsequent attempts at prestige, though they fell well short of the mark. If he ends up one and done with the Academy, he’ll go down as a deserving winner, though one who may have deprived William H. Macy (for “Fargo“) or Edward Norton (for “Primal Fear“) of their own prizes.

Today marks a perfect day to revisit some of his work, as we think of his brush with Oscar. Here’s a challenge:

Name your favorite three films or performances, but DO NOT use his Oscar-winning turn. Yes, excluding “Jerry Maguire,” where do you fall on his career? Do you think there’s a second nomination somewhere in his arsenal? Or, has his time come and gone? 

Wish him a happy birthday and discuss in the comments below!

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Written by Joey Magidson

When he’s not obsessing over new Oscar predictions on a weekly basis, Joey is seeing between 300 and 350 movies a year. He views the best in order to properly analyze the awards race/season each year, but he also watches the worst for reasons he mostly sums up as "so you all don't have to". In his spare time, you can usually find him complaining about the Jets or the Mets. Still, he lives and dies by film. Joey's a voting member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.


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Joey Magidson

I’m partial to his turn as O.J. on TV, though obviously Jerry Maguire is my overall favorite.


I won’t lie- Daddy Day Camp was a childhood favorite of mine and although I know it’s a disaster I have a soft spot for it. The right answer is likely Boyz n the Hood.


1. Boyz in the Hood
2. As Good as it Gets
3. The Butler

Before American Crime Story, I wouldn’t have thought that a second nomination would be possible for him. Now, I’m convinced he just needs the right role. I think if Boyz in the Hood were made today, he could have played the heck out of the Laurence Fishburne part.


Was shocked at how many films I did not like of his….I guess Boyz in the Hood for me. Outbreak would be 2 and As Good as it Gets 3 i guess. Needs to make better choices. I have not seen the OJ mini.


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