Grosse Point Geek: The Top Ten Performances That Should Have Been Nominated For An Oscar But Weren’t…
I don’t like the Oscars much -the ceremony drags on for hours and is hideously boring, and crammed with cringe worthy speeches (Gwynneth Paltrow and Tom Hanks being some of the worst offenders). Every time the nominations are announced, someone that should have been a shoo in for a nod gets criminally snubbed (the list is endless) , plus invariably they don’t make sense.
Now not every actor can get a nomination for a good performance but there are some that have been so shockingly over looked by the academy that it beggars belief. Therefore having given this a great deal of thought i decided to put together a list of actors that should have been nominated for Oscar but wernt – read on:
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1. Film: Seven (1995)
Should have been nominated for: Best Actor (Brad Pitt).
So brutal in parts its almost a horror and featuring a twist ending that’s never been bettered, Seven will stand the test of time as the greatest serial killer film ever made. Unflinchingly dark, most of the praise went to David Fincher’s brilliant direction and the admittedly outstanding Morgan Freeman – however its Pitt as the arrogant, idealistic Det. David Mills that should have been far more recognized.
Best scene: Ably holding his own against Freeman (no easy feat) witness his gut wrenching transformation in the films climax, from cocksure cop to utterly broken man when he realizes just exactly what’s in the box – outstanding.
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2. Film: Man On Fire (2004)
Should have been nominated for: Best Actor-Denzel Washington.
Denzel Washington is just superb here, as suicidal bodyguard John Creasey in Tony Scott’s cracking action thriller.
Fast, furious and brutal, Man On Fire managed to be a blistering actioner and showcased a fantastic turn from Washington, who manages to pull off a very complex character whilst making him sympathetic even when he’s torturing half the criminals in Mexico.
Best Scene: A roll of duct tape, some eye wateringly placed placed explosive and a bent Mexican cop who desperately wishes “he had more time”.
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3. Film: The Big Lebowski
Should have been nominated for: Best Supporting Actor-John Turturro.
A film that flopped on release but has since passed into legend as one of the funniest and most obscure comedies of all time. The Coen brothers masterpiece features an entire myriad of bonkers characters, from Jeff Bridges as the Dude to Tara Reid as porn star Bunny, all brilliant – but none more so than John Turturro as the bowling ball licking, do-rag wearing pederast, Jesus Quintana.
Of all the directors in Hollywood, only the Coens could make sex offender seem funny, and every time i watch this film ive almost busted a gut laughing at Turturro’s manic performance. Greasy, foul mouthed, pretentious and strutting like a peacock, he’s only in three scenes – and he owns every one of them.
Best Scene: Threatening to shove a gun up John Goodman’s backside until the trigger goes “click”.
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4. Film: True Romance
Should have been nominated for: Best Supporting Actor – Gary Oldman.
In the wake of Reservoir Dogs – studios were in a feeding frenzy for any scripts written by Quentin Tarantino. One of which was True Romance – funny, profane and very violent, its hard to decide which of its cast should have received the most praise. Christian Slater has never been better as the slightly unhinged Clarence, Dennis Hopper is wonderful as Slater’s doomed father, and Brad Pitt (again) is hilarious as the permanently stoned Floyd. However, its Blighty’s own Gary Oldman, appearing in just two scenes as psychopath pimp Drexl who steals the show. One eyed, horribly scarred, with bad teeth, greasy dreadlocks, he is evil incarnate, and Oldman is terrifying in the role – bypassed by the Academy it took them until 2011 to finally reward him with a nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy -how did it take them so long??.
Best Scene: The strip club confrontation- “it aint white boy day is it?”.
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5. Film: Good Will Hunting
Should have been nominated for: Best Supporting actor – Ben Affleck.
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck deservedly won Oscars for their self penned screenplay about a violently self destructive maths genius. Featuring some superb performances -Damon, Minnie Driver and Robin Williams all excel, but, in a career best performance, Affleck is just wonderful as Chucky, Will’s fiercely loyal, foul mouthed best friend. Getting all the best lines and being the only one who finally gets Will to realize just how much his genius is a gift from the gods, Affleck has never been better. Damon, Driver and Williams were all nominated for their performances – but if anyone deserved more recognition for their acting in this film it was Big Ben.
Best Scene: The building site lecture – where Chucky tells Will what the best part his day is – wonderful and more than a bit heart breaking to boot.
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6. Film: Rocky Balboa (2006)
Should have been nominated for: Best Actor (Sylvester Stallone)
When it was announced that Rocky would be making a sixth bow on the big screen, the sound of collective groans was almost deafening. Its dreadful predecessor -Rocky V – had effectively killed the franchise, Stallone hadn’t had a hit in years and was stuck making some frankly godawful films (Avenging Angelo being a particular low point). So it was to everyone’s surprise that when Rocky Mark 6 came out, what was expected to be something of a joke turned out to be anything but.
Wisely going back to basics, Sly portrays Rocky as a sad, heart broken widower (Adrian has died), desperate to connect with his yuppie son (Milo Ventimiglia) and pining for the glory days of his former life as a world class boxer. Its brilliant stuff – beautifully photographed, skilfully directed and superbly acted by Stallone, Ventimiglia and Burt Ward as Paulie.
With the obligatory training montage, a fantastic boxing match and the kind of jump for joy feel-good factor rarely seen in films today -this was, without doubt, one of the best nights ive ever had at the cinema – lets just say that grown men were known to cry!
Best Scene – Rocky’s heart rending confession to Paulie how bitter he is about Adrian dying and his struggles with the “beast” inside him.
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7. Film: The Lord of The Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
Should have been nominated for: Best Supporting Actor- Sean Astin
Ok ROTK deservedly won just about all its categories at the 2005 Oscars – but, despite this the only actor to ever get a nomination was Ian Mckellan as Gandalf in The Fellowship of The Ring.
With its huge cast its very hard to say who gives the best performance – the likes of Viggo Mortensen, Elijah Wood and Bernard Hill are all superb, but for me the standout was Sean Astin as Sam.
Now some American actors can do good British accents – but these are the types usually adopted in films like Shakespeare in Love and Gladiator.
Here, however, the very American Sean Astin did the impossible and pulled off an absolutely pitch perfect west country accent, and on top of that turned in a frankly outstanding performance that anchored the entire trilogy.
Best Scene: ROTK – Unable to go any further, and weighed down by the ring, Frodo (Elijah Wood) collapses with exhaustion on the slopes of Mount Doom. Refusing to let him give up, Sam gently tells Frodo about the wonders of the shire, then in one last gasp of strength, painfully hauls his beloved friend over his shoulder and makes his way up the mountain to destroy the one ring.
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8. Tombstone (1994)
Should have been nominated for: Best Supporting Actor: Val Kilmer.
In 1994 there were two adaptations of the story of Wyatt Earp. Lawrence Kasdan and Kevin Costner’s version was a rather bloated and overlong affair, but George P Cosmato’s Tombstone was by far the clear winner.
Ok it isn’t Shakespeare, there are some gaping plot holes, some of the editing is a bit iffy and by all accounts it was a nightmare shoot ( original director Kevin Jarre got the boot early on).
Despite this, it’s a very entertaining film. Kurt Russell is very good as Wyatt Earp , as are Michael Biehn and Powers Boothe as the main villains.
However its Kilmer that shines the most as the Latin spewing, tuberculosis ridden Doc Holliday. Stealing every scene he’s in and walking away with the entire film, this was the role that got Kilmer out from the shadow of Top Gun and showed him as an actor of real range and versatility. Criminally overlooked by the academy, its just a damn shame he never capitalised on his success here and unfortunately is now to be found in various bargain basement DTV efforts.
Best Scene: Ensconced in the local saloon and drunk as a monkey, Holliday slurringly trades insults (in Latin) with Michael Biehn’s Johnny Ringo, who then tries to get one over on him with a macho display of handgun twirling. Not to be outdone, Holliday brings the house down by doing the exact same thing – but with a whiskey cup. A cracking scene that perfectly sets up the story for the bullet riddled action to come.
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9. In The Line Of Fire (1993)
Should have been nominated for: Best Actor: Clint Eastwood
For me Clint Eastwood is an actor that has just got better with everything film he appears in. Now everyone says that his greatest performance was in Unforgiven – and undoubtedly he thoroughly deserved a best actor nomination for his portrayal as the reformed outlaw and mass murderer William Munny.
In my opinion though, the film where he impressed the most was as the aging secret service agent Frank Horrigan in Wolfgang Peterson’s In The Line Of Fire.
Haunted by his past failure to save JFK and desperate to stop John Malkovich’s chameleon alike assassin from killing the current president, Clint has never been better. Deceptively introducing Horrigan as a standard, by the numbers tough guy, Eastwood superbly reveals him as a heartbroken tortured man who just needs that one last chance to redeem himself.
Best Scene: After being told he’s off the President’s security detail, Frank recounts to fellow agent Lily Raines(Rene Russo) what happened on that fateful day in Dallas. This is, without doubt the best acting you will ever see from Eastwood – just incredible.
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10. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
Should have been nominated for: Best actor: Bruce Willis
Recent efforts by Bruce Willis have been utter rubbish – Die Hard 5 and GI Joe 2 were terrible, plus he seems to be starring in more and more DTV films that never see the inside of a cinema.
However in 1996 he gave an absolutely amazing performance as unhinged convict James Cole in Terry Gilliam’s post apocalyptic time travel masterpiece.
Completely shedding his usual smirking tough guy image, Willis effortlessly brings range, depth and subtlety to a highly complex and sympathetic character,– all qualities that he has rarely utilised in future roles he’s played.
Best Scene: In a touching moment, after kidnapping psychiatrist Madeline Stowe, the injured Cole hears music on the radio for the first time and revels in its beauty.
Author: Will Strong