Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Top Ten: After Kate Winslet, Who?

Kate Winslet finally won her Oscar, delighting the bulk of fans who have been rooting for her since she dreamt of Hollywood in '94 -- 'they're desperately keen to sign me up!' -- or nearly drowned in '97. She never let go. So, who is next?

Or rather... who is most overdue?

Contrary to popular belief, it ain't easy to win an Oscar. It certainly wasn't easy for Kate the Great. You need more than an accent, a disability, a good or popular movie, old age makeup or mimicry skills. You also need star charisma, a role that compliments or complicates that charisma and media support. Above all else you need luck combined with surgically precise good timing. History is full of performers who never won the movie's top prize despite plentiful contributions to the art of acting.

For the following list I'm ignoring outstanding performers who have never been nominated because I already made that list. But, yes: Donald Sutherland, Mia Farrow, Christopher Plummer and Christian Bale would certainly have cause to hate the Academy for pretending they don't exist. This list only concerns itself with previously nominated actors who are still working.

Top Ten Nominees Who Are Really Overdue For an Oscar Win
Honorable Mentions: Albert Finney, Debra Winger, Helena Bonham-Carter, Joan Cusack, Laura Linney, Jude Law and Ed Harris. Peter O'Toole has an honorary and Glenn Close gave up so I'm skipping them.

10 Sigourney Weaver 3 nominations
Sigourney strikes me as a Holly Hunter type: not easy to cast but riveting / perfect when the role fits. Historians sometimes think of the Oscars as a movie culture time capsule but as such they sometimes fail miserably at capturing the larger picture of the careers of famous actors. Weaver's case is interesting because her three nominations (Aliens, Working Girl and Gorillas in the Mist) actually paint a compellingly accurate portrait of her whole career. Think about it. Those three represent all the things she does best: sexy amazons in genre films, bitchy women in comedies and intense almost scarily obsessive women in prestige dramas. Unfortunately none of these three types are what Oscar voters go for unless they're tricked into it by some other mitigating factor or completely unable to deny the skill involved. Since she turns 60 this year I think that her only hope for a statue is a killer comedic supporting part -- preferrably in a well loved Best Picture nominee. The kind of role Maggie Smith got in Gosford Park could win Weaver the elusive gold, couldn't it?

09 Annette Bening. 3 nominations
The Bening is in the unenviable position of (arguably) finishing in second place every time she's been nominated. Second at the Oscars isn't any different than fifth... the math flatlines. 1990's The Grifters, her first nomination, established her unique star persona: calculated erotic cunning, theatricality and twinkly eyed laughter. She lost that first Oscar to a famous comedienne who was anchoring a mammoth hit (Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost) and then she lost twice to someone she's twice as talented as (the first time was justifiable. We'll let it slide ;) ). When will it be her turn? Maybe never. AMPAS passed her over for Bugsy, The American President and Running With Scissors despite, respectively, 10 other nominations, popularity and a baity role all of which suggests that they're not always keen on her. Perhaps its the envy factor? It can't suck to be her. Mr. Annette Bening, never won for acting either and he's a true screen legend.

08 Joan Allen. 3 nominations
I used to joke that this great actress needed only two seconds of screentime to start Oscar buzz. Her presence alone is so commanding that you're glued to her. You're ready for every line reading, gesture and closeup from the moment the camera first spots her. But that was then. This is now and the now is not looking like an Oscar is coming. Which is very frustrating. She was arguably the best of the nominees on her first and second nominations (Nixon and The Crucible) but the films themselves weren't loved enough to bring that winning momentum. Her third nomination (The Contender, 2000) was one of those "I'm just happy to be nominated" situations since that was Julia Robert's Oscar to lose even before the previous year's Oscars were handed out (Erin Brockovich was released a week before the 1999 Oscars were held). Most agonizing of all is that in 2005, a very weak Best Actress year, the Academy missed a golden opportunity to give Ms Allen one of those career style statues for The Upside of Anger. Her sexy, funny, dramatic and film carrying star turn topped anything that any of the nominees that year were up to. The Academy didn't even nominate her.

07 Sir Ian McKellen 2 nominations
The Academy's anti-genre bias cock blocked his second move towards that naked gold man (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). I still don't know WHAT THE HELL happened in 1998, the first time he was up for the prize (Gods and Monsters). I don't even wanna talk about that. Shut up!

06 Meryl Streep. 15 nominations / 2 wins
It's been twenty-seven years since her last win (Sophie's Choice, 1982) and she's the only previous acting winner working whose career since her last triumph completely justifies an additional statue. She's given at least three performances in those ensuing 27 years that would have won most other star actresses an Oscar and would stand as their all time best work. Raise your hand if you think she's winning on her next nomination.

05 Jeff Bridges 4 nominations
Some people actually think he's the greatest American actor of his generation. If you think about the range, depth, effortlessness and conviction displayed in performances like The Door in the Floor, The Big Lebowski, Fearless, Seabiscuit, Cutter's Way, The Fabulous Baker Boys and The Fisher King it's hard to argue with that assessment. And that's just the major performances he was NOT nominated for. Add his four nominations (The Contender, Starman, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot and The Last Picture Show) into the mix and we're not talking 'overdue' so much as 'let's riot until he gets one!'

04 Ralph Fiennes 2 nominations
His performance in Schindler's List was not only the best of its category but in the running for best of its entire decade. Shame that they didn't hand him a statue right then. Now he's one of the biggest mysteries in Oscar land. He's British (extra points), he does lots of period pieces (big plus), he's regularly brilliant (that helps), he has no tabloid drawbacks (that sometimes distracts), he does prestige pics and stars in multiple Best Picture nominees (huge plus) he's great with other actors (lots of goodwill earned, presumably). Solve this mystery in the comments please. This man practically screams "Oscar winner" and yet he's only been nominated twice.

03 Julianne Moore 4 nominations
As noted before, winning an Oscar is about managing the tricky combination of star persona, role choice, luck and timing. Julianne has had trouble working all four of those elements simultaneously. It's frustrating. If a much lesser actress with a goody two shoes persona had stumbled into a performance as great as the one Julianne gave in Boogie Nights, they would have won --playing against type is a time-tested awards ploy (especially if you go from good to bad). Since Julianne was already considered a consummate, experiment-friendly and altogether brave actress, she was only considered to be doing her job if rather brilliantly. Sometimes the best actors have the hardest time winning because expectations are so high. There's no surprise factor when they knock us out. She also tends to be most magical in difficult films from true auteurs (think Paul Thomas Anderson and Todd Haynes) and Oscar doesn't reward those types of pictures with statues, just scattered nominations. What could she do to win? Give her great unsolicited advice in the comments.

02 Johnny Depp 3 nominations
If you ask young up and comers who their favorite actor is you'll hear his name pop up a lot. Trust me, I've tested the theory. It may have taken the Academy a long time to notice his gifts but certain pockets of the public (especially younger generations) and many critics were with him much earlier. As early as Edward Scissorhands and Cry-Baby (his very first leads in 1990) he was proving what an imaginative and committed actor he was, adept at spinning drama from comedy and the reverse, too. After that he excelled in biographical dramas (Oscar's favorite genre) like Ed Wood, Donnie Brasco, Blow and Fear and Loathing... and still they ignored him.

Perhaps he was too original. He was definitely too young (Oscar wants the men to have some years on them) and the performances themselves were sprung from weird or comedic impulses that don't resonate with stuffier aesthetics. But eventually everyone caught on to his gifts (Hello Pirates of the Carribean!). Now he can even get acclaim and nominations for performances that aren't any appreciably better than the ones he used to give (Sweeney Todd) or are way more boring than what he used to offer (Finding Neverland) which means that the Academy finally loves him. It also means he'll be winning real soon.

<--- Michelle Pfeiffer and Jeff Bridges in 2007

La Pfeiffer 3 nominations
The evidence: Scarface, Married to the Mob, Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Russia House, Frankie & Johnny, Batman Returns, Love Field, The Age of Innocence, What Lies Beneath and White Oleander. I rest my case.

Percentage of this list that I think WILL eventually win the coveted statue: 30% Johnny Depp, Meryl Streep a third time and Ralph Fiennes... and in roughly that order, too.

previous top ten lists
for past articles on any of these actors just chase the labels below


Anonymous said...

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore both deserve an Oscar! Annette should have won for "American Beauty" or "Being Julia" (I don't think she came at second place in 1990, probably she was behind Lorraine Bracco). I hope she wins an Oscar soon - probably she would have more chances in the Supporting Actress Category.
Julianne Moore deserved to win at least one Oscar in 2002 for "Far from Heaven" or "The Hours" (too bad she split her votes).
Glenn Close deserved to win in 1988 for her astonishing performance in "Dangerous Liaisons", too bad they gave the award to Jodie Foster (and Michelle Pfeiffer should have won for the same film).
Johnny Depp will probably win an Oscar sooner or later (will he?), he's the best actor of his generation. John Malkovich and Leonardo DiCaprio are also on the list of the overdue.
And I really really hope that they're gonna give a third statuette to Mrs. Meryl Streep, she deserves another Oscar for all that she has done in the last 30 years... let's hope it's coming soon!

Anonymous said...

Nicole Kidman deserved to win for Moulin Rouge. For whatever reason they just have to give it to Halle. So she got it the following year for the Hours (Julianne Moore should have won that year for Far from Heaven).

Renee Z lost deserved to win for Chicago (but Nicole just had to win it that year) so she undeservedly won the following year for Cold Mountain. Any of the other four would have been a better choice. Remember?

So, Meryl Streep? She better get that Oscar for Julie and Julia next year because she deserved to win for Doubt but Kate W just have to had it.

adelutza said...

I think Johnny Depp is way overdue for an Oscar but not necessarily for the movies in the post. Has anyone here seen Arizona Dream? I think that's his best performance ever, not to mention the rest of the cast and the quality of the movie

Anonymous said...

I think people need to lay off Kate Winslet. She was better in Both Rev Road and The Reader than Meryl Streep was in Doubt. Kate Deserved the win for both roles individually.

Meryl will win a thrid. She just didn't deserve it this year. I have a feeling Michelle could win next year fir Cheri, but then again Meryl could win for Julia and Julia. I would say Michelle though.

Jodie Foster deserved it over Glen Close and Renee deserved it for Cold Mountain.

Anonymous said...

Nat dont you think Pitt deserves a day.

Anonymous said...

i was perusing the list and was stunned that all of these great actors and actresses really deserve to be recognized with an oscar or, in the case of meryl streep, certainly another one or two.

but i also just realized that none of those in your list are as crass and shameless like winslet to so loudly and openly covet an oscar and publicly whine and rant about losing after so many nominations...

winslet's oscar will be among those in history as a pity win or at least a triumph in public realtions and publicity.

adam k. said...

You forgot JUDE LAW.

(I assume those 4 or 5 FB noms and 1 or 2 gold medals count for something)

Also, I don't think Meryl will win on her next one, because I think it'll be this year for Julia and she'll lose (but maybe to Pfeiffer). I think you're deliberately underestimating Pfeiffer in Chéri, and I don't blame you, but I do think she's got a great chance this year.

It really is astonishing to think how people like Ed Harris and Glenn Close can not even make this list, that's how stacked it is.

adam k. said...

Pfeiffer, I think, really has it in her to win, since she's one of those stars who everyone knows about (she's always been way more commercially viable and famous, than say, Julianne). And she was so obviously robbed that one year - you know the one - that I think the sentiment (and memory of the snub) has to be there.

And most importantly, like Meryl, she's best in the types of films the academy loves (popular hits, tearjerkers, conventional dramas, period pieces, etc.).

Anonymous said...

This is a great list Nat, although I think Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio belong here too.

I think that Ian McKellen could have a shot at winning an Oscar, he is an acting legend and that Gods and Monsters loss is one of the most egregious snubs ever- should he turn in another buzz-worthy performance on film, it could happen. Could just be wishful thinking on my part, though.

Oh, and seeing my comment on your sidebar made my day :)


adam k -- i blame that on the 80s because they kept doing strange things like sentimental choices (costing Pfeiffer & Close) -- they got a lot less sentimental in the 90s and 00s.

i did forget JUDE LAW. Oops. Goodbye Sigweavie!

adelutza you managed to hit on just about the only lead performance of Depp's I haven't seen.

stefano Huh. I didn't even think of John Malkovich.

Michael Parsons said...

Great list, even if numero uno was predictable.

I think Meryl has it in the bag for the next win really.
She has that Nancy Meyers comedy which could get her a lot of attention (just ask Diane Keaton).

I want her to win for a comedy performance.

Kelda said...

Pfeiffer, Bening and Close need their Oscars now. Pfeiffer was robbed by J.Tandy wayyy back in 1990... BOOOO to senior citizens (just kidding, I like Tandy but she's no Pfeiffer). And I think Bening should have won for American beauty over that horse face. Glenn deserved the Oscar for Dangerous Liaisons. She was stunning in that movie.

I have hopes for Cheri, not big hopes but still hope. But when Pfeiffer finally wins (yes she will!) i want it to be for a truly extraordinary performance.

Robert said...

And of course the next logical question is: Who wins their overdue Oscar for a great performance and who'll win for a "hoo-ah!" role?

Anonymous said...

You forgot LEO DiCAPRIO... hmmmm... 3 nominations. Also John Malkovich and Gary Oldman.

For me:
1. Julianne Moore (!!!!!!!!!!)
2. Glenn Close
3. Leo DiCaprio
4. Johnny Depp
5. Sir Ian McKellen


faux Gary Oldman has never been nominated for an Oscar. Believe it or not.

So he didn't qualify for this list. He's with the Bale/Plummer/Farrow/Quaid/Sutherland/Ryan/Leigh camp of oscar poison.

Anonymous said...

Great list! Though, I would have given more than honorable mention to Laura Linney--that woman acts the hell out of every role she is HAS to happen eventually, and I think it will--look at the Savages--the Academy bent over backwards to deliver that nomination despite her having been ignored by some other bodies...


michael i actually didn't want to put Pfeiffer at #1 because of the predictability factor but I couldn't justify NOT putting her there. I truly think she's the most overdue ever (of those that are still working)

and i also want Meryl to win for a comedic performance ---for the reasons cited in the Sigourney Weaver text... i like it when Oscars accidentally paint the full picture of a career. And handing Streep an Oscar for a comedy would fufill that I think given her other Oscars and nominations and her general filmography.

Murtada said...

Julianne Morre should have won by now. I thought she'd get a nomination for Savage Grace but that movie did not resonate at all. She's been kinda lost the last few years as far as good movies are concerned, hope she rebounds soon.

And I agree with you that Johnny Depp is going to win very soon, maybe next year for Public Enemies?

Regarding Ralph Fiennes, he's been playing the same reserved constipated bore in all of his recent movies. Yes he was brilliant in Schindler's List and should have won for that. But until he does something new and different soon don't think he deseves to win.

Kelda said...

Oldman has never been nominated? I didn't even realize that. That's ridiculous. My favorite role of his is still as Drexl in true romance. Oldman is genius.

Unknown said...

Peter O'Toole would have a fit at seeing himself excluded!

Anonymous said...

I think if you made a list of most overdue for an Oscar NOMINATION...Gary Oldman should be #1. He's such a consistent actor. In my opinion after Heath, he was best in show in The Dark Knight. Look at his work in Harry Potter! One thing he never does is phone it in!


Bryan... yeah, he'd be #1 if i had included him. But the honorary Oscar you know.

so many people are never even going to get one of those (sigh *mia farrow*... the most mistreated actress of all time by Oscar I think)

Anonymous said...

Biopics. Hop to em, Annette, Julianne! Either one of them could win with a Golda Meir biopic. Meryl was supposed to play Margaret Thatcher at one point. Think about how amazing that could be! Just hope that Hilary Swank and Nicole Kidman are nowhere in sight, especially Hilary.

I'd agree that Meryl, Johnny Depp, and Ralph Fiennes are closest to winning an Oscar one of these days. In my book though, Glenn Close tops any "overdue" list. She's rocking it on "Damages" and will probably win a couple more Emmys before it's all said and done, but I hope that she can get at least one more nomination, even if it's just supporting.

John T said...

All right, I know you said only do this for Moore, but I want to do it for all of them, so here goes:

What these actors need to demand from their agents:

10. Weaver-Weaver just isn't famous enough anymore to get this without a solid film or a coattails sort of nomination with her. She needs to go the Marcia Gay Harden route and get nominated and win for some actor/director's labor of love. Maybe if Day-Lewis ever got around to directing, he'd be the ideal candidate.

9. Bening is the toughest of the ten, simply because I think she's one of those actors whom everyone thinks has already won enough. There is an obvious answer, though-get Warren to direct one more great, giant epic (which, really, we'd all win for) that centers around her. And make sure that Hilary Swank is only making bad romantic comedies that year.

8. Joan, like Sigourney, will have to go the supporting route, I suspect, but I think that she'd be able to sneak in a costume drama the way that people used to be able to do (think Thompson, Ashcroft, etc.) Get attached to some Merchant-Ivory role that used to go to people like Miranda Richardson and Judy Davis, and I think she'd be able to take an Oscar home.

7. Ian McKellen-This sounds terrible, but I don't think someone that does as much genre as McKellen does will ever be able to win for genre. He'll need to go the subdued British route that the likes of Jim Broadbent has done before him. Call Judi Dench and see if they're hiring someone to play her nephew.

6. Streep will win without my advice, though I truly doubt it will be for a comedy. I think she lands another great dramatic role and takes the trophy. She's probably been second her last three times at bat-it's only a matter of time (in fact, it'd be interesting to know just how many times Streep has been second in her career).

5. Jeff Bridges-Okay, scratch that comment about Bening; Bridges is going to be the hardest to call Oscar-winning. Is there any way both he and Beau could star in a film together in a sort of family strife situation? That would definitely give him a hook.

4. Ralph Fiennes will also win one of these without my help, though it wouldn't hurt his chances if he was a lead actor in a Best Picture that wasn't an ensemble or duet.

3. Julianne Moore-For starters, get away from all the genre films that you've been in (like that romantic comedy with Pierce Brosnan), and invest in another tour de force with Todd Haynes. You won't win an Oscar, but you'll be able to use the residual goodwiill for that autre film (and hopefully another nomination) to win for a more mainstream biopic of Margaret Sanger, another famous redhead.

2. If Depp doesn't have an Oscar in the next five years, I'll eat my hat. One of the most bankable stars in America will have to pull a Harrison Ford to end up empty-handed, and even Ford will take an honorary Oscar one of these days.

1. Pfeiffer is doing exactly what she needs to do-making a prestige film with an acclaimed director. I believe she's even the title character in the film-this may be the year.

Paul Outlaw said...

Great list. (And I must say, you picked excellent photos to sway the jury in your favor.)

Not to be obtuse, but what about Clint Eastwood? ;-) (For Unforgiven and The Bridges of Madison County alone.)

Unknown said...

Nathaniel, you I always guessed you way too purist to count honorary ones! I am dumbfounded.

I noticed honorary awardee Myrna Loy made your previous list, although I suppose the honorary award doesn't really come with a nomination, does it?

Anonymous said...

I'm with those who say it would be nice if Meryl wins for a comedy role. I have no clue if it will happen next year, though. Still baffled that Mia Farrow does not have one single nomination. Johnny Depp, Leo Di Caprio, I'm pretty sure these two will win in the near future. Unfortunately I don't see this for John Malkovich at least not in the next years. Julianne Moore, sigh, I'd love her to win,maybe a hook-up with Harvey Weinstein and a supporting Oscar isn't that far out of reach?
And I have to take a stand for Hilary Swank or, more correctly, her performance in Boys don't cry. She deserved this Oscar and if it wasn't for her second win, people wouldn't be so hard on the first one.

Anonymous said...

Jeff Bridges-Okay, scratch that comment about Bening; Bridges is going to be the hardest to call Oscar-winning. Is there any way both he and Beau could star in a film together in a sort of family strife situation? That would definitely give him a hook.

That didn't help him in "The Fabulous Baker Boys." :(


Lara... I thought Swank was terrific in BOYS DON'T CRY too.

Amanda said...

Those missing an oscar statuette at home..

Julianne Moore 100%.. she's amazing. Anne for American beauty--fantastic!

and pauly shore (just kidding)

Anonymous said...

C'mon a list of actors that most deserve an Oscar, and are already nominated, WHITOUT Albet Finney, it's absurd!


good point

Anonymous said...

Joan Allen does n't deserve to win an Oscar, there are some pics of her from an event yesterday and her face is n't real anymore!


Lara & John t... i agree that maybe Julianne needs something super pushy like a Weinstein campaign or a biopic. Margaret Sanger. Hmmmmmm

and John, you make a compelling point re: McKellen. It's weird how making silly movies or a lot of mainstream genre fare sometimes seems to be held against some performers (Julianne Moore / McKellen) whereas others (Halle Berry/Charlize Theron/Hilary Swank) are totally free to do it and not have their Oscar chances sullied with it.

bryan well i am in a way... too purist. But otoh I didn't have much to say about O'Toole and for whatever reason I just had what I needed to get off my chest about Sigourney Weaver. But had I decided to include O'Toole he would have been in the #1 spot given Lawrence of Arabia and those 7 other nominations

Anonymous said...

Hi, Nathaniel!

I want to comment some things.

1. I don’t like Kate Winslet and I don’t think she deserved the Oscar she won last week. The only Kate’s performance I truly enjoyed was in “Holy Smoke” (ironically, she wasn’t nominated to the Oscar – or any other award – for that role).

2. I enjoyed this post. You made an interesting point about Sigourney Weaver and her three Oscar nods. I love her, I think she’s sexy, terrific actress and a beautiful Amazon. I dislike this movie industry that hates women, especially when they’re mature (and in their very best moment)… Sigourney deserves better roles (or maybe she should try – like Glenn Close – in a dramatic TV series).

3. Johnny Depp shouldn’t win an Oscar… I don’t like him and he always disappoints me. I used to like Ralph Fiennes in the past (you know… “Schindler’s List”, “Quiz Show”, “Strange Days” and all that kind of stuff) but right now I think he’s completely boring and I hated “The Constant Gardener”.

3. I love with all my heart Julianne Moore, Annette Bening and Joan Allen, they’re so terrific that when they’re nominated to an Oscar they aren’t being honoured by the Academy… the Academy is honoured by them because they are that great. I really don’t care if they win or not an Oscar some day, they’re great with or without Oscar (I mean, Hilary Swank won the award twice to Annette Bening…. JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA, JA).

4. Just for fun, I always invent fake Oscar lineups, my favorite is one I invented for the best supporting actress category. The nominees are: Jane Adams (In “Little Children” she stole the movie in what? 5 minutes?), Laura Dern (even when she’s underused she’s totally worthy to see), Parker Posey (I mean is PARKER POSEY… so fun!), Miranda Richardosn (they robbed her in “Damage” and someday the Academy should repair that damage) and Uma Thurman (underrated… she’s better than what people think, actually she’s great but not always well used)… I love them and even when they do not-so-good they’re much more interesting to me than the Depps and the Winslets.


Robert said...

This has gotten me thinking about the actual statistics. So I hope you don't mind my posting, living actors who've never won a competitive Oscar ranked by # of nominations.

-8 nominations-
Peter O'Toole

-5 nominations-
Glenn Close
Albert Finney

-4 nominations-
Jane Alexander
Jeff Bridges
Ed Harris
Marsha Mason
Julianne Moore

-3 nominations-
Joan Allen
Annette Bening
Tom Cruise
Johnny Depp
Leonardo DiCaprio
Laura Linney
Michelle Pfeiffer
Sigourney Weaver
Deborah Winger

apologies if I've missed anyone

Matt Sigl said...

I think Close should be at the top of that list! People forget what an incredible actress she is. What do you mean she's "given up?" Say it aint so!

Anonymous said...

Murtada said" Regarding Ralph Fiennes, he's been playing the same reserved constipated bore in all of his recent movies. Yes he was brilliant in Schindler's List and should have won for that. But until he does something new and different soon don't think he deseves to win."

Murtada: All of his recent movies? Did you even see "In Bruges"? That's about as different as anything Fiennes has ever done and that came out in 2008. If you can only name "Schindlers List" as the only brilliant performance Fiennes has given, you can't have seen "Spider" with Cronenberg or even "Quiz Show" with Redford. He has only received 2 nominations in his career but their are many performances which should have been nominated and I have named at least 3 more, each different and demonstrating his versatility which you should acknowledge.


sigl i mean 'given up' in the sense that she barely works in the movies any more and certainly not in the big movies. She traded her motivation for winning EMMYs. Which is probably a smart move.

There's a part of me that believes that if anybody ever deserved back-to-back Oscars it was her in 87 and 88.

robert i actually consulted those statistics for this list though i agree with anon that I probably shouldn't have demoted Albert Finney. ah well.

once i had the statistics i thought about how many times they've been snubbed nomination wise as well... and how close they ever came to winning and whether or not the movies are still their focus.

I'm totally curious to hear from more of you on what any of these 10 people can do to actually win the prize.

Anonymous said...

Meryl & Julianne for sure - Two of the most amazing actresses ever.
But people shouldn't just win coz they are overdue.. they need to win the year they have an incredible role/performance & one that will stand out in their careers even tho their other standout roles didn't win.

Derek said...

Peter Sarsgaard.

I'm not holding my breath that it's going to happen. He's not a big star or anything, and there are all the other dozens of factors that influence who wins Oscars, etc. All I'm sayin' is, his performance in Shattered Glass was absolutely one of the best of the last decade.

Anonymous said...

"Regarding Ralph Fiennes, he's been playing the same reserved constipated bore in all of his recent movies. Yes he was brilliant in Schindler's List and should have won for that. But until he does something new and different soon don't think he deseves to win."

Mark my words everyone. He will win for his role as Lord Voldemort.

Scott said...

#1 will win - possibly next year. If Fiennes doesn't win one something is deeply wrong. I fear that Moore's time may have come and gone, which is a terribly thing to think given how good she's been in so many projects.

But the name that really jumps out here that makes me sad is Weaver's. She's so great, and has an amazing range. I think she can still win for a TV Set type performance (loved her in that - and in many other films) in the right vehicle. But coming up with the right vehicle ... sadly I have my doubts about her getting that kind of role.

abstew said...

i'd love a win sometime, but can we just work on another nomination for catherine deneuve? she's a living legend still doing great work (where was that supporting nod for DANCER IN THE DARK? and how great was she in 8 WOMEN and CHRISTMAS TALE.)
the fact that her sole nomination was for...INDOCHINE (i mean, really?!?) makes a part of me die inside.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant list! And I was so happy to see that even though Meryl has won 2 you still had her on the list (of course, I would have put her at #2).

In fact, I would have changed/rearranged the list as follows:

#1: Leonardo DiCaprio - For star quality combined with range combined with vulnerability - I htought his boy/man performance in Revolutionary Road was the best in the movie - yes, even bette than Michael Shannon!
#2: Meryl Streep - For the history books her one in a century talent needs to be acknowledged with at least 2 more oscars
#3: Albert Finney - this is a very fine actor who has given wonderful performances for decades. Considering his early work when he was such a sexy stud and how he's now delivering such disappated old guy performances, I think he's marvelous.
#4: Robert Downey Jr. - I think this guy is more talented and just as courageous as Johnny Depp, just not as lucky. I certainly think there is at least 1 (if not 2) incredible performances in this man. I just really hope he gets the chance to give them.
#5: Joan Allen - I think you sum it up beautifully, Nathaniel - the viewer is glued to her and she can be tough as nails and as vulnerable as a flower
#6: Michelle Pfeiffer - I adore her too, Nate, but I think the above 4 actors have actually been more consistently brilliant in their careers (partly, as you point out, because of the roles they've "won") I am hoping that the more mature Pfeiffer comes back and gets all kinds of juicy opportunities
#7: Jeff Bridges - a man's man with all kinds of versatility - kind of like the old superstars of yore
#8: Johnny Depp - although I do think he is extremely charismatic and courageous in his choices, I don't see him as being quite as gifted as DiCaprio (a minority opinion, I know)
#9: John Malkovich - like Joan Allen, he's a very difficult actor to ignore on screen. I think he's a powerful actor with more variety in his work than is always immediately apparent.
#10: Ralph Fiennes - I find he is such a strong personality that it's difficult for me to perceive him as being as versatile as some of these other actors. He is absolutely brilliant at what he does best, though.

There's just something a tiny bit ordinary about Signourney Weaver, Julianne Moore and Annette Bening for me. I know that's crazy, but it's true. I suppose, out of the 3, I feel the most affection for Weaver. I love her power. (And please remember, we're talking about TOP 10 here - it's not like I don't think all 3 of these actresses couldn't deserve an Oscar someday.)

Is Jane Alexander still working? She was great in a lot of films.

How about Marsha Mason? Didn't I just read she was doing a movie?

I would probably add Judy Davis to my list of runners-up.

Laura Linney is a very good runner-up - I do like it when she's mean as batshit.

I don't so much agree with Debra Winger, Helena Bonham-Carter, Jude Law or Ed Harris.

But boy, you're right, with the right part supporting role(something meaty and dramatic) I think Joan Cusack could really rock the boat!

Anonymous said...

So good to see McKellen in your list. I'd be overjoyed to see him collect an Oscar, not least for the fact that he's sure to deliver a conker of an acceptance speech. Just imagine it! Witty, grateful and you know he'd make some civil rights point. All in that wonderful resonant voice!

I'm a little bit of a McKellen nut. I recently bought tickets to see him [alongside Patrick Stewart and Simon Callow] in Waiting for Godot this summer. Yes, y'all have permission to be jealous!

Anonymous said...

Hmm I could actually see a nomination for Fiennes for Supporting Actor in the last Harry Potter film they make as a possibility however still unlikely. I don't think there's a chance he'd win for it though.

Anonymous said...

You're right, Derek.

I think Peter Sarsgaard is one of the best. We've just got to hope he gets at least one nomination so he can qualify for Nathaniel's list!

Anonymous said...

I also think an actor that should be on the list of not-nominated performers is Philip Baker Hall. Hopefully PTA will lead him to at least a nomination sometime.

Anonymous said...


I will always be cheering for Jude Law I think he should have won for

Anonymous said...

PETER O'TOOLE is definitely the most overdue. What a phenomenal career. And sadly he'll probably never really earn me. Someone should be behind bars because of this.

Anonymous said...

I had a dream. Winona Ryder ascended on stage to accept her Best Actress Oscar in a beautiful vintage Lanvin that had the fashion pundits drooling.

Robert said...

What could they do to finally snag the gold? Oh god I hate to say it but honestly... biopic! I could see that working for each and every one of them.

Paul Outlaw said...

@ Nathaniel:

I'm totally curious to hear from more of you on what any of these 10 people can do to actually win the prize.

I'm of the mind that if at first you don't succeed in the Leading Actor category, snatch yourself a Supporting Oscar. (That was one of the things that helped me win Oscar pools in the years when Zllwgr, Cruz et al. won their awards.)

This would work for #s 10, 9, 8, 5, 3 and 2 on your list. Even #1. I would rather see Streep, McKellen and Fiennes win in the Leading category, but of the three of them Meryl has the best chance of pulling that off, I think.

Anonymous said...

You mentioned briefly Streep's career... I'd like you to write the next top ten all about her. The 10 best Meryl Streep's performances.

Anonymous said...

Re: 1987 Nate...snap out of it!

Cher deserved to win in 1987. That was my favorite and what I consier the best win of all time.

"I won't be ignored, DANNN" - sorry, that was a solid #2.

Anonymous said...

Lovely list, but where on earth is Gena Rowlands. The godmother of independent film and twice a loser at the Oscars. She would absolutely devour any other actress on your list and needs an Oscar stat!


abstew -EEEK. Catherine Deneuve should've made this top ten. and high up too. You're so right. It's CRAZY that she only has one... except that she usually works in French and nominations for foreign work are rare.

absolutely one of the most important screen stars ever and the best part is (and you're right about this) her current work is just as good as the work that made her so beloved.

jimmy I love Moonstruck to death don't worry. I so wanted it to win Best Picture that year. So much better than The Last Emperor.

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore, easilly. One of the most interesting filmographies of actresses working today. I feel like I should say Laura Linney, because she's so consistently wonderful, but there's never really been a time when she's given the very best performance of the year, leading or supporting, I feel.

I'm definitly of the belief that Meryl Streep deserves a third Oscar, as since her second she's scaled new triumphs in acting (I still think she deserved it for Adaptation. One of my personal favorite performances of her)

However, whenever I here of this topic, I always immediatly think how ridiculous it is that Mia Farrow has never managed to get a nomination. And how more Ingmar Bergman actors never found there way to nominations (The fact that Ingrid Thulin has never been nominated is just heinous).

Anonymous said...

I actually prefer the Film Bitch Awards than the Oscars, just check the FBA winners in the category of Best Leading Actress (I know the list by heart from Björk to Sally Hawkins), all the ladies touched by Nat's gold are fantastic (and none of them won the Oscar).

Karen said...

Excellent list! Joan Allen, Johnny Depp and Ralph Fiennes are tops. I really, really want to see Joan Allen get another fascinating role that nabs her the coveted Oscar.

I thinking, who else really deserves one...

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore and Glenn Close are the most overdue (I don't see how Johnny Depp is more overdue than Moore). If Moore is on track - and she was again, last year, with "Savage Grace" and her brilliant, mesmerizing and subtle work in "Blindness" - she is just incredible. She should have won for "Far From Heaven" without any doubt, the greatest female performance of the decade. And for "Magnolia". Or "The Hours". Or "Boogie Nights". And Close rocks the screen every time she's on it, even in a tv series like "Damages" in which she is absolutely amazing. It's a shame that she didn't win for "Dangerous Liasons" and "Fatal Attractions".

Leonardo Dicaprio should be on this list - he should have won for "The Departed" or "Aviator" or "Gilbert Grape" and he should have been nominated for "Revolutionary Road". Jude Law should be higher. He was so brilliant in "The Talented Mr Ripley" and "Cold Mountain" (and in "Closer", "Breaking and Entering" and "Gattaca").

Michelle Pfeiffer could get a nomination for "Cheri" for which she received mostly good reviews, but she is also in "Personal Effects" (starring Ashton Kutcher) this year - which got bad reviews and has a horrible trailer:
This will probably hurt her chances.

Moore is starring in 4 films this year. Most interesting one: "Chloe" by Atom Egoyan, co-starring Liam Neeson, a remake of the french movie "Nathalie".

Anonymous said...

I was totally going to ask where Deneuve was on the list, but abstew beat me to it.

The fact that she didn't get a nod for Dancer in the Dark annoys me just as much as Bjork not getting a nod. She's such a legend, she could just coast through her roles with her star presence, but instead she continually challenges herself with different, exciting roles. Did you see Apres Lui??? She was amazing.

"her current work is just as good as the work that made her so beloved." Too true. Gah!!! I just love her too much! The fact that her only nom is for Indochine (she was great, but the movie, not so much), which is so unrepresentative of her body of work, will eternally bug me.

Anonymous said...


Im a lurker to your blog ;-) I absolutely love it. I had to comment on this post. It such a great list and so true. I think you need to do a list of people who has never even received a NOMINATION much less an Oscar.

I know somebody previously posted that the Academy for whatever reason gave the Oscar to Halle Berry other than Nicole Kidman. I'm sorry but Halle was extraordinary in Monsters Ball (Im still moved at the end and the look she gives Billy Bob Thornton) Granted Im not pleased with some of her film choices (Catwoman anyone?) but Halle has the burden (IMO) of trying to pave the way for other great black actresses (Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson, Kerry Washington) so i can forgo her judgment sometime.

P.S. Like you, I adore Michelle Pfeiffer. I have a funny theory that she is either 1) An alien 2) Have the best plastic surgeon 3) The real and less interesting reason: Great genes..How is it possible she can look the exact same way (sans hairstyle) as Elvira from Scarface??! LOL ;-)

Anonymous said...

Another post about the Oscars! Finally!

Anonymous said...

Oh my God - I forgot Gena Rowlands!

I'm mortified.

Her performance in WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE is one of the most moving performances I've ever seen. I so think she should have beat Ellen Burstyn that year!

But, at the same time, her body of work just doesn't seem as vast and varied as many of the other people on these lists.

I think, except for that one brilliant performance, I'd put her on the runner-up list behind Weaver, Moore but ahead of Bening.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Jeff Bridges, I wrote an unsolicited script for a Starman sequel back in 1998. It was my first script and I quit college to finish it. It’s been gathering dust ever since. I sent it to Jeff Bridges and John carpenter, although I would prefer if Carpenter didn’t direct a sequel. I wrote some good f/x sequences and some interesting characters. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be involved, but I’d to see the f/x scene from the beach being incorporated, (Jeff’s manager Neil will know the one, totally plagiarised from another movie, but it would look great on film today). If anyone has any questions, email me at and I’ll answer them. (Although I won’t give away any plot points. And yes there is a son and indeed, I actually have the perfect casting suggestion!!

Murtada said...

Trailer for Public Enemies is out and it totally rocks. Check it out at rope of silicon :

what do you think? Oscar for Johnny? first nomination for Christian Bale?

It looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

This was such a great post to read! I do have some comments though:

First, regarding Ralph, I agree that he has moved toward the same type of role and I think the Academy is onto him. Additionally, have you forgotten his membership in the mile-high club? Irrelevant, I know, but the one glimmer of tabloid behavior from him.

Secondly, let's get one thing clear about Sir Ian: he did win Best Actor for Gods & Monsters. That is one of my favorite movies and I have to tell myself every time I watch it that he did win for it. Otherwise I lose my mind a little bit.

Thirdly, I absolutely agree that Deneueve should have made your top 10 list. Indochine being her only Oscar nod is bad enough. The Academy owes her some respect!

Finally, this posting illuminates something of interest I've been turning over in my head since the 50-fingered Oscar turnovers at this year's award show. How many of these historical Oscar snubs have been caused by the Academy awarding someone at the wrong time?

Example: Does Nicole Kidman know that she won her Oscar for 'The Hours' BECAUSE the Academy wanted to reward her for 'Moulin Rouge' but erred on the side of history and awarded Halle Berry thus causing Julianne Moore to be snubbed for 'Far From Heaven.' I know, I know... I'm harsh and presumptuous. Forgive me.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, I'm really kind of obsessed with "cause and effect"-ing the reasons why all of these people don't have Oscars yet.

Ryan said...

Most Overdue In My Opinion:

01. MICHELLE PFEIFFER- Why: Because she should have 3 Oscars already: 1 lead (“Fabulous Baker Boys”), 2 supporting (“Batman Returns”, “White Oleander”)- with her work in “Boys” and “Batman” being instantly classic turns only she could deliver.
*Also, so Nathaniel can die a happy Oscarwatcher.

02. GLENN CLOSE- Why: Because she should have 2 Oscars (“Fatal Attraction”, “Liaisons”), was arguably the most enduring actress of the 80’s behind Streep and has continued that trend somewhat via TV this past decade.

03. JULIANNE MOORE- If for no other reason then to reward her enduring dedication to indie cinema- not to mention the occasional blockbuster (for better or worse). Like Winslet, she continuous to be admirably daring in her roles.

04. JUDE LAW- Some may argue he’s still too young/new. But his “Ripley” performance is one for the all-time list and he’s dominated the silver screen this past decade like no other male actor.

05. SIGOURNEY WEAVER- Because she should have 2 already (“Aliens”, “Working Girl”). Anyone who created a heroine like Ripley deserves Hollywood’s greatest honor.

Runner-Ups: RALPH FIENNES- Because he was robbed for “Schindler’s List” and continuous to deliver both amazing lead and supporting performances each year/ IAN MCKELLEN- unjustly robbed not once, but twice (98, 01) What will it take for an openly gay actor to nab a Golden Boy?

Anonymous said...

My advice for all of them is quite simple, though not easy to accomplish.

Give consistently terrific performances! It pays off eventually.

It worked for Javier Bardem who was completely unknown (and foreign) in the US just ten years ago.


benjamin welcome to commenting! that post about oscar nominationless is linked in the article here (though maybe i'll revise this year and make it about working actors only)

brad did you ever hear from any of them?

jer no by all means obsess away. That's what posts like this are for.

ryan glad that other people see Jude Law's worth. I don't know what i was thinking to ignore him or Deneuve but this list was hard to make. There are so many great actors still waiting for that prize. But I guess that's what makes the Oscar so coveted. Not everybody gets to win one, no matter how much they deserve to.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Sir Ian McKellen is 100% Oscar-worthy material. Will Hobbit give him the naked man? Probably not.

Pfeiffer for me isn't Oscar-worthy in general, but I would say the same for Whitherspoon. (It goes without saying that I like Michelle more)

I see Moore as the kind of actor that deserves the Honorary more than the competitive one. The reason is that she is obscure. She doesn't evoke passion but deep, growing appreciacion.

Dench deserves a leading one. Does that persona look supporting? (No offence to character actors)

Streep, because Hepburn has 4 and Swank 2.

Ask me again in 5 years. I'll add Winslet in the list.

Anonymous said...

How quickly you're all writing UMA off !

Girl has given the most charismatic perf of the decade and no mention whatsoever ?

Dangerous Liaisons, Henry & June, Jennifer 8, Robin Hood, Pulp Fiction, Tape, Hysterical Blindness,KBV1, KBV2, The Life before her eyes, My Zinc Bed, Motherhood...

Now that's someone who has a pretty diverse résumé and one of the rare American actresses who work with European authors while also doing the occasional blockbuster or small US indie

No other American actress that young has played in so many various genres : you have to give her credit for that.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think Glenn Close should have won at least one Oscar in the 80s (Fatal Attraction and/or Dangerous Liaisons). While she may not be doing films right now, she's doing great work on TV (The Shield, Damages).
I think she taking a route similar to that of Geraldine Page. She also racked up a lot of noms without winning, and then went back and forth between film and TV. Page also didn't win her Oscar til 32 years of her first nom.
So I'm holding out hope than Close will return to film with a great performance sometime in the near future.

Anonymous said...

Sigourney Weaver.
I know it may sound pathetic, but I could die a happy man if she won.

What is the problem? They nominated her for a sci-fi action sequel and a comedy (which they don't usually go for), but they snubbed every great dramatic performance she gave since the end of the 80's.

Anonymous said...

I know she doesn't have the prestige of the others already listed but when I think of a working deserving actor the name "Angela Bassett" just jumps to mind. Evidence: "Malcolm X","Sunshine State", "How Stella Got Her Groove Back", "Boyz N The Hood" and of course "Waiting to Exhale", "Strange Days". I feel like I should apologize to Holly Hunter (love her too) because I think her '93 Oscar rightfully belongs to Bassett's performanc as Tina Turner. One of the BEST bio-pic performances ever. She hasn't had too many challenging roles since her peak in the mid-90's, hopefully she gets the lead in "Mama Black Widow".

Anonymous said...

Diane Lane.

You didn't even put her in your Top Ten?

You're killing me, Smalls.

Anonymous said...

I know that it can be fun to discuss who should've won an Oscar when and for what movie, but I continue to believe that nothing does a greater disservice to the Academy Awards than the discussion of and the eventual awarding of Oscars to actors/actresses who're considered "overdue".


Chad -- maybe. But when Close is in a movie now it always seems so throwaway to me (like her EVENING role) so I wonder if she cares anymore with these sweet TV gigs)

Anon 6:37 -- i would totally be on Tim Roth's side but for LIE TO ME. I cant' believe he took that part. That show's concept (i haven't watched it) is just soul killing for the art of acting. Can you imagine? I mean every choice is made for them. They must feel like robots.... i.e. you have to lift your eyebrow on this line and dart your eyes on this one. etcetera. It's all in teh script. AGONY.

wayne b i am a big angela bassett supporter but she just doesn't get the roles anymore. :(

Anonymous said...

1. Of the list, I'd only wager on Streep and Depp. Depp's recent two nods weren't sure things, which suggests they do like him quite a bit (compare that to Sean Penn in 1999 and 2001). If he stars in a film that gets consideration, he's probably winning. And you know why about Streep.

2. Ralph Fiennes lack of an oscar win is puzzling. I think it has to do with his rather cold demeanour (in films). His characters aren't exactly the type you sympathize with.

Anonymous said...

I would think Max von Sydow's fifty years of legendary performances, all the way from The Seventh Seal (57) to The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (07) would make him a priority here. Half a century of greatness trump Meryl's third bid for an Oscar any time, IMO. And he's still working in Europe and the US.

I also some people richly deserve a second, since we're at it. Julie Christie, for instance, has been delivering the goods since 1965, though maybe not in the unstoppable way Meryl has since 82.

sophomorecritic said...

Ralph Feinnes closeness to an Oscar nom in 2005 and his golden globe nom in The Duchess spoke well of his chances. It was just a matter of vote splitting.

Now that Winslet and Blanchett have each won an Oscar, all the other women benefit because traditionally Blanchett and Winslet have hogged up a lot of the nomination spots and at 6 each, that's quite enough for a while. For example, if we redid 2006: Benning was in 6th or 7th place for Running with Scissors. There would have been no need to give noms for Winslet or Cruz since their work in Little Children or Volver didn't love up to their two previous wins, so Benning is in the field.

Moore will easily get one in the next 5 years, same as Depp.

Pfeipfer is a relic of the '90s. It's not like people are clamoring for more Meg Ryan.

Here are some that I think are overdue:
Alec Baldwin who has spent years and years in good supporting roles and who I think should have even won for Glengarry Glenn Ross or The Cooler

Zhang Zhiyi who gets as close to bringing Oscar buzz as an Asian actress probably can

Albert Finney-He's still pushing himself towards interesting roles (i.e. Before the Devil Knows your dead, Big Fish) and if James Coburn can get an oscar reserved for veterans, surely Finney can do so

John C. Reiley-Great in supporting roles. Needs one with meaty screentime. Chicago, Gangs of New York, and The Hours were rather small roles and.

Greg Kinnear-Little Miss Sunshine and other roles show, he's one of the best supporting actors around

Robert Downey Jr.-I don't see him as having some kind of massive comeback. He's been around for years, but he's one of the few guys in between

Richard Gere-One stinking nomination is all I'm asking for. He carried a best picture, has starred in a Terrence Malick film, is one of the most bankable men over the age of 60

Also, if I may plus, since noone's doing it for me. I wrote an article similar to this:

I'm surprised you didn't say

jennybee said...

Fiennes is suffering from Scorsese Syndrome: he didn't win for his best work, so everything else is paling in comparison, no matter how otherwise awards-worthy it might be. Plus, when he's not doing genre, he tends to play mild mannered, not a lot of angry-passionate-forceful Oscar scenes like they like.

Anonymous said...

This list really is fantastic. Bravo!

I don't begrudge Kate's win this year but I do believe that Meryl Streep in Doubt was MUCH stronger. Had Winslet been nominated for Revolutionary Road, I'd have less of a problem with the win.

Meryl will absolutely win another but I for one hate when the academy awards someone for the wrong role. Doubt should have been a lock for her 3rd.

Anonymous said...

Michael Caine, the greatest living actor, has does not have an Oscar for Best Actor, just two for Supporting (and not even his best Supporting work--so what else is new with Oscars?) He wasn't nominated for Little Voice, his most complex and layered role.

The list of those rewarded for the wrong roles is long: Newman, Pacino, Taylor, Caine, Blanchett, Freeman....

Peter O'Toole. Donald Sutherland. Debra Winger. Jeff Bridges. I'm beginning to think Oscars have very little to do with merit, in either the performance or the career.

And hasn't there been a debt to Alan Rickman (even though he's been wasting most of his time lately) since Die Hard? Prince of Thieves, Michael Collins, Sense and Sensibility, Galaxy Quest, Sweeney Todd?


cassandra -- alan rickman has never been nominated and I was keeping those people out of running for this particular top ten.

jennybee -you're probably right on Fiennes. I hadn't thought of that though. But yes. It's hard not to pale in comparison to his work in Schindler's List.

gabrieloak said...

I won't be surprised if Laura Linney gets an Oscar within the next few years. She just needs to be in a Best Picture nominee. Among the men I'm thinking DiCaprio will get one soon after being overlooked this year for RR.

Paul Outlaw said...

Streep, Portman, Binoche, Moore, Scott Thomas, Clarkson, Bonham Carter, Rampling, Bening, Deneuve, Hannah, Allen and at least fifteen other names I could jot down -- if Uma Thurman wins an Oscar before any of these woman wins one (or more), I will be so through. In fact, unless she truly blows me away with a performance (hasn't happened yet), she is one actress that I hope never to hear described as "Academy Award winner..."

Jack said...

Paul Newman in 1986 was "overdue". Al Pacino in 1992 was "overdue".

Johnny Depp and Julianne Moore aren't "overdue", they just haven't won yet. There's a difference.

John T said...

Paul-Binoche actually has an Oscar (The English Patient), so you can cross her off your list. :)

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Example: Does Nicole Kidman know that she won her Oscar for 'The Hours' BECAUSE the Academy wanted to reward her for 'Moulin Rouge' but erred on the side of history and awarded Halle Berry thus causing Julianne Moore to be snubbed for 'Far From Heaven.' I know, I know... I'm harsh and presumptuous. Forgive me.

I love to play the cause and effect game too, but for me I think that Kidman won due to a combination of being on a hot streak, public sympathy for her divorce, and more importantly biopic + uglying it up = Oscar.

The year before, I don't think she was ever that competitive to make her eligible for a make-up Oscar, imo. I always thought it was between Halle Berry and Sissy Spacek, but with Berry having the edge because Spacek had already won, and it seems like they'll never award actresses over a certain age if they've already one before, at least this decade.

On the other hand, her co-star in Cold Mountain won a make-up Oscar because she was surpisingly a frontrunner for Chicago even though Moore should have been more competitive. Perhaps her career is on track now with My One and Only, but I feel like whenever someone wins for the wrong role, there's always some kind of karmic justice in either they can't get nominated again to save their life even if they're worthy of a nomination like Pacino in Donnie Brasco, or their post win career does really seemed cursed. Of course, in Zellweger's category, I don't know who else really had a chance since none of the other four really had that much going for them. Aghdashloo was too much of a newcomer yet ironically too old to be the hot young newcomer that they like to reward. Clarkson probably should have been nominated for leading for a different role. Hunter and Harden had won previously, and it was unlikely they were going to win again for those roles.

I think it would have been interesting although perhaps category fraud, sorry Nat, had Fox Searchlight pushed Samantha Morton supporting as they were originally going to do, I read, and have her go against Zellweger, and Clarkson being nominated for lead instead for The Station Agent. Zellweger probably would have still won, but perhaps the category would have been more competitive since Morton had been nominated before and her role as a suffering mother/wife seemed to fit better with the supporting category. Plus, she's more of a supporting actor, at least in her American film roles. I don't know, but I would have preferred anything to shake up the category since all four acting winners were so boring and predictable.

Anonymous said...

great post! but If I have to choose one I`ll go with Liv Ullmann! how did you forgot her Nathaniel! she delivered at least four performances that you could put in an "all time" list.I also add Uma Thurman, she deserved to win for Kill Bill.
From the list my favorite is Juliane Moore, I hope she wins one too(and in lead,please)

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but "What lies beneath" is hardly an evidence that Michelle Pfeiffer is THE most overdue actress nowadays. And the only great, worthy thing she did in the last ten years was "White Orleander", wasn't it?


anon 12:49 the point is actually her range (so many genres and often so much better than the movie) and her consistency. I know people don't respect that movie very much but I think she's nearly unimproveable in it -- a great thriller performance. Hitchcock would have loved her even if the movie annoyed him.

anyway. yes. White Oleander is definitely the cream of the crop in the past 10 years. But Overdue indicates her whole career and there was a stretch from 1987 to 1993 where she was knocking it out of hte park all the time.

Paul Outlaw said...

Hey John T, so does Streep. ;-)
That's why I wrote "one (or more)". I would like see Binoche get a Best Actress nomination and win someday (certainly before Uma).
No question.

Anonymous said...

Of your list, I see the following winning an Oscar at some point:

Michelle Pfeiffer
Johnny Depp
Jeff Bridges
Meryl Streep

John T said...

Rich Aunt-I think that that your best chances to best Zellwegger in 2003 were two that probably got more votes in lead: Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) and Johansson (Lost in Translation). Of the nominees, I think that the voting rank probably ended up 1. Zellwegger, 2. Aghdashloo, 3. Hunter, 4. Clarkson, and 5. Harden

You subtract Zellwegger, though, I think that Hunter takes the trophy-she's so well-loved in Hollywood, and isn't one of those actors that Hollywood would have any problem seeing with two Oscars.

Anonymous said...

Michelle Pfeiffer needs an Oscar and so does Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia. I hope they both win because i heard Meryl Streep's role in Julie & Julia is very supporting and Michelle Pfeiffer should win for Chéri

Anonymous said...

Meryl Streep is the most overdue for an Oscar. One of the greatest actresses ever and yet she has just one lousy Best Actress Oscar.

Meryl Streeep's performance in A Cry in the Dark is one of the greatest performances on screen EVER.

Compare Streep's performance in Silkwood to Julia Roberts in Erin Bronkowich. Not even close. Julia was basically playing Julia, Meryl transformed into another person. It is a crime that Julia has an Oscar for Erin B. and Meryl lost for Silkwood.

Streep should have had at least five Oscars by now. Another actress would have received an Oscar for Out of Africa, Plenty, Bridges of Madison County, I can go on and on. With Meryl the bar is set much higher.

Anonymous said...

* Sorry, Sigourney lovers I don't see her winner an Oscar any time soon. If ever. The Academy likes pretty young things, like Kate Winslet and Penelope Cruise. Weavers's last Oscar nomination and hit movie was in the 80s, before most movie goers today were born.

* Michelle Pfeiffer. I am iffy about her. She is 50. If she is not nominated for Cheri it will be tough. So far the reviews for Cherie have been mixed.

* Julianne Moore. I can see her winning as a character actress down the road, like Geraldine Page. Same with Glenn Close, Joan Allen, Miranda Richardson.

* Cate Blanchette will likely win another Oscar. She is in demand and she is consistently good.

* Meryl Streep. Yes, she will win a 3rd, 4th maybe even a 5th Oscar. This is why the Academy keeps denying her. They think she will have many more chances. Eventually they will realize she is getting on in age and they better appreciate her before it is too late. I see her getting Oscar nominations and winning in her 80s.

* Johnny Depp. It is a sure thing.

* Leonardo DeCaprio. Not sure.

* Tom Cruise. Not sure.

* Annette Benning. She will probably win for a character part down the road.

* Ian McLellan, Peter O'Toole........if they appear in a half decent role they will win. The Academy knows they were robbed.

* Ralph Fiennes. He will win one of these days.

Rich Aunt Pennybags said...

Rich Aunt-I think that that your best chances to best Zellwegger in 2003 were two that probably got more votes in lead: Castle-Hughes (Whale Rider) and Johansson (Lost in Translation). Of the nominees, I think that the voting rank probably ended up 1. Zellwegger, 2. Aghdashloo, 3. Hunter, 4. Clarkson, and 5. Harden

Good point. I'm glad that neither Castle-Hughes and Johansson were actually nominated though because that would have been blatant category fraud. I just hated Zellwegger sweeping all the big awards that year. I don't dislike her as Nathaniel does right now, at least I think he does, (although lately I haven't been as fond of her as I was pre-Chicago since she didn't seem outwardly like a pile of neuroses especially about her weight that she has post-Chicago), but I don't think she should have won for that role nor do I think she was overdue either.

You subtract Zellwegger, though, I think that Hunter takes the trophy-she's so well-loved in Hollywood, and isn't one of those actors that Hollywood would have any problem seeing with two Oscars.

You're probably right about that too, but it didn't seem like they liked Thirteen that much to me. I guess because ERW was snubbed even though she got all the other precursor love, while a younger person than her made it in. Of course, Hunter had the more sympathetic role, so that probably helped her too.

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore is also in particularly tough straits because, while she never turns in the same performance, she usually turns up in the same kind of role. I do not remember the last movie she was in in which she was not a mother with issues, and yet her characters in Safe, Boogie Nights, and Children of Men were completely different human beings; she even carved different features out of typecastingly-similar roles in The Hours and Far from Heaven. I think her best hope might be for an acting powerhouse like Mystic River or Michael Clayton to lead a surge to victory, probably in a Supporting category (maybe even Lead in a Terms of Endearment/American Beauty, though I think playing against type would work better in her case. She could always pull a Shirley MacLaine.) Here's hoping!

Anonymous said...

I really think Julianne Moore deserve an oscar!!! See how awesome she was in "Far Away Heaven"! God, give her one please!!!

Anonymous said...

Julianne Moore, J. Depp, Downey Jr... I really think they will win an Oscar soon. Maybe, before than the 3rd. Streep's oscar.
I can't believe that Gary Oldman wasn't ever nominated!! He's terrific!

I want to push for: Samantha Morton (she's great in every small role and has handled 2 nominations so far), Emily Watson (idem; more roles like the one in Breaking the waves, please!), Sarah Polley (I love her: Sweet hereafter, My life without me, and her director-turn), Ethan Hawke, and Isabelle Hupert (-never nominated- now that the Academy is given oscars to foreign performance -Cotillard, Cruz-, I think it must time to reward her!)

Anonymous said...

The shocking omission of LAURA LINNEY from this list makes me discount the entire list, or most of it anyhow.

Linney is most overdue, as is a second Best Actress Oscar for MERYL STREEP> It's disgraceful that Streep has fewer Best Actress Oscars than Hillary Swank.



logan69. yes that is disgraceful.

also: I did Linney an honorable mention and i'm a huge fan... but i couldn't put her above people who've been waiting even longer like Pfeiffer, Moore and Bridges, etcetera.

Anonymous said...

Jude Law should be higher on this

Anonymous said...

i think oscar members don't love johnny depp,gary oldman,helena bonham carter,tim burton,julianne moore,edward norton,ralph fiennes and david fincher.
at the same time,members don't like some new generation actors,like gael garcia bernal,daniel radcliffe,natalie portman and keira knightley.
but we don't mind.we are love all this actors and directors.

Anonymous said...

You should put Gary Oldman. and Laura Linney, too. Peter O'Toole is the most overdue.
I agree about Jude Law, probably should get 3-4 nominess (Gattaca, Wilde, AI,etc), too bad he's underrated.
maybe this is Pffeifer's year.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathaniel,

this is Alessandro from Italy.

Do you really think Julianne Moore won't eventually win an Academy Award?
I can't stop hoping...

Anonymous said...

Finally watched Gods and Monsters, and man, Sir Ian McKellan is totally robbed!!
What do you think Nat?
I mean Roberto Begnini??
I would feel better if he lost to Tom Hanks or Nick Nolte (who I think is also great in Affliction).
Give this British gentleman his oscar already!!


alessandro maybe i'm just a pessimist. But if you can't win for BOOGIE NIGHTS and FAR FROM HEAVEN... (sniffle) what would you win for?

Anonymous said...

Just a comment on Mia Farrow, figured it'd be seen here and likely not on a 2 year old post.

The four you mention are all great options. But that forgets my 3rd favorite performance from her (Radio Days) and a starring turn in a Best Picture nominee. (Hannah and Her Sisters)

How does the woman not have a nomination again? I'd give her 6.

Anonymous said...

I know that I am now trespassing on dangerous ground to say that Moore and Michelle Pfeiffer are fair to middling actresses at best... there are so many more actresses better than they are.
I know I am saying this on a blog that worships both of them.

Anonymous said...

Kelda, get a grip. Jessica Tandy was as an actress of legendary proportions, such as the likes of Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck, both of whom never won an Oscar but should have. While Michelle Pfeiffer certainly has merit she holds no candle to Tandy. The real robbing was done in 1954 when Grace Kelly beat out Judy Garland in A Star is Born. 25 year old Kelly playing a middle aged woman was ludicrous, almost laughable if you watch it today, whereas Judy Garland as Esther Blodgett come Vicki Lester was the stuff cinema legend and movie star dreams are made of. You must be very young. More power to you Kelda...

Anonymous said...

I think the tide has finally changed after years of all of these one-hit ingenues winning. Actors are hungry to see real actors win! Witness Meryl Streep's and Sally Field's wins at SAG this year.

Annette Bening, Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver, & Julianne Moore WILL walk away with a little golden guy within the next 10 years, trust that! And all will win for best actress, not supporting.

Debra Winger should have gotten it for "The Sheltering Sky" back in 1990 and I'll bet the farm that she'll still get it for lead if she keeps being selective about what she does and only works with the best of the best a la Julie Christie and Daniel Day-Lewis. Every time Christie and Day-Lewis work, they're endlessly heralded and land nominations.

Laugh if you will but I think Cher has it in her to pull out another win if she lands another tailor-made role (i.e. "Moonstruck," "Silkwood," "Mask").

Same for Jessica Lange. I've seen her upcoming HBO TV film "Grey Gardens" and damn if she doesn't kill in that part like she hasn't in years. The Emmy for "lead actress in a movie or mini" is hers, hands down. If it were a feature film she'd be en route to her third Oscar win and second best actress statuette.

I think that Judi Dench will eventually win Best Actress to make up for her being snubbed for "Mrs. Brown," the supporting win for "Shakespeare in Love" just hasn't rectified that shameful omission on the Academy's part to anybody's satisfaction.

I think Kathy Bates gets another Oscar for a primo supporting turn of which she's been delivering quite a few as of late.

I'd love to see Angela Bassett, Alfre Woodard, Loretta Devine, Viola Davis, and Taraji P. Henson all walk away with Oscars for killer lead or supporting turns. And they all have the skills to pull it off. They just need the right material.

Other previous female winners I think have a better than average shot at claiming Oscar gold again: Susan Sarandon (another lead, and supporting for the upcoming "The Lovely Bones"), Marisa Tomei (supporting), Sissy Spacek (lead), Jodie Foster (lead), & Emma Thompson (lead and supporting).

As for the guys:

Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ralph Fiennes, James Franco, Robert Downey Jr. & Jeremy Renner are all future Oscar winners for sure. And all for lead actor.

I think Penn will win again for lead. Mickey Rourke is a given eventually -- if he doesn't screw up again. I think Bill Murray has it in him to win for a killer comedic turn in lead or support. Denzel will reign again for lead actor, Tom Hanks, too.

I'd love to see Don Cheadle take it some time soon. And how great would it be to see Al Pacino win the Oscar for an amazing performance instead of for career achievement? Nick Nolte has it in him to finally win an Oscar too.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised nobody had brought up Edward Norton. His latest movies haven't been stellar, but his performances always are. I don't have high hopes that he'll win one (or even get nominated again)because there is a perception of him as... let's say "difficult", but I still think his talent makes him worth mentioning here.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nathaniel,

oh well... a lot of actors won an Oscar for a performance who wasn't actually their best one.
Don't you think Moore could win in the near future for a new performance, even if it was not as thrilling as the ones in FAR FROM HEAVEN or BOOGIE NIGHTS?

Will they be impudent enough to nominate her for the fifth time and not to give her the award?

Right now, to me, the true matter is... she has not baity roles in prospect!
What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Glenn Close gave up? Just because she doesn't do many movies anymore? What about Debra Winger - one role every 20 years doesn't count?


well i didn't include Debra Winger in the list for much of the same reasons.

Anonymous said...

Leonardo DiCaprio, Ian McKellen, Johnny Depp, Glenn Close, Sigourney Weaver

For a nomination: Gary Oldman, Alan Rickman

Swarupa Pillaai said...

1. Leo Dicaprio....He should ahev won for The Aviator...
2. Johnny Depp...He has to win in the near future...
3. Ralph Fiennes...They snubbed him at Schilndler's List...

fisco said...

I cannot believe Gary Oldman isn't nominated yet?

I really hope that Depp would win one day but for some reason I don't feel it's gonna happen. Call me crazy but he deserved a nomination for Edward Scissorhands (yes he did), Ed Wood, Donnie Brasko, Fear and Loathing, Blow and The Libertine. And the academy keeps on nominating him for movies that will not grant him a win while overlooking movies like The Libertine that could have granted him a win. I advise everyone to watch The Libertine, the movie is very disturbing and Depp looked disgusting half the movie but it's his most complex role to date.

Also what's up with Leonardo, the guy should have won for What's Eating Gilbert Grape but that's it! To be honest he used to be one of my favorite actors but now he is not. He has the same way of acting in every single movie he makes. At the beginning I thought WOW he is talented but now he is just borrringg. When an actors does the same thing over and over again, he loses all credibility in my eyes. Seriously, I cannot remember a movie of his where he didn't cry.

As for Pfeiffer, her Catwoman performance in Batman Returns is a proof that the Oscars are blind, deaf and plain stupid.

I would also love for Edward Norton to win one as well. In movies like Primal Fear, American History X and Fight Club he puts actors like Bale and Leo to shame.

Juan Meyer said...

It was great to find your list, and wish someone would do something about it in Hollywood, so these people don't have to wait for an honorary Oscar ( like Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, Deborah Kerr, Rosalind Russell) or no Oscar at all.

Thinking of who is missing, I would make a case for Nick Nolte, Kathleen Turner and Barbara Hershey. Since Turner's career has been hampered by a lot of personal trouble, I think it's not likely she will ever get it, but she did great work in Romancing the Stone, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Accidental Tourist, and of course, Prizzi's Honor.

Barbara Hershey is kind of going MIA into the world of straight to DVD, and Nick Nolte hopefully will still be used by some great director in a grand old man role.

As for the people you mentioned, I couldn't agree more, especially Sigourney Weaver, Michelle Pfeiffer and Julianne Moore (and Glenn Close).

In the case of Pfeiffer and Weaver, the industry has changed so much since the heyday of their careers, that it's difficult to think how they can still get a decent role. There are no vehicle pictures for actresses their age, such as Gorillas in the Mist or Married to the Mob. That kind of woman's picture does not even exist anymore.

Still, Jessica Lange pulled a surprise with her Oscar for the canned Blue Sky more than a decade ago, so there is still hope.

I would say the best chances for them to get a statuette is, to go for the middlebrow best seller adapation (a la The Devil Wears Prada) or the high profile play adaptation (a la Doubt), although that market is currently cornered by Meryl Streep. So they better get their agents working in Overdrive.

A mother-daughter, older woman-younger woman, could do the trick, it did for Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment, and the old/young formula worked for Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman, and for Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. They both walked away with the gold.

A dramatic showdown with a high profile male star in a big issue film also could do it, it worked for the until then underrated Susan Sarandon in Dead Man Walking.

Jeff Bridges is extraordinary, it's incredible that Robin Williams got nominated for The Fisher King and he didn't. As hard to believe as it is, when The Big Lebowski came out, it was widely disliked by critics. The problem with Bridgets getting an Oscar is that he has never gone intentionally for the scenery chewing role that garners wide attention. This is not meant to be cynical, but it's true: disabled issue driven,campaigning for long overdue, morally complicated or "evil". As he has never done any of this, he probably doesn't care that much, but it's still a shame. Like Nolte, I still think he's got a chance in a patriarchal role in a film by Scorsese, the Coens, Paul Thomas Anderson, in the kind of character Jason Robards used to specialize at.

Gena Rowlands should get an honorary one, as I think a strong case could be made for her.

What about Angela Lansbury? Her performance in The Manchurian Candiate is a classic, and if you care to look, she is also great in Death on the Nile, but her film career is really spotty, and some of her greater triumphs were on the stage and then on TV, in the not really challenging role of Jessica Fletcher.

The one time nominee, still alive, Julie Harris, provides a similar case.

Johnny Depp will win for sure in the near future. Same goes for DiCaprio. Laura Linney is risking becoming the next Julianne Moore.

And then there are the spotty, complicated careers of Jill Clayburgh, Stockard Channing, Blythe Danner, Laura Dern, John Malkovich, Judy Davis, Miranda Richardson, John Turturro, Genevieve Bujold, Karen Black.

And please get the kids out of the Best Acting categories. There should be a special category for Kid Acting if the Academy wants to award a kid. The great, late, Sylvia Sidney might have had an Oscar were it not for Tatum O'Neal in Paper Moon.

Also, whatever you think of him, Burt Reynolds probably deserved the Oscar for Boogie Nights. and ditto, Lauren Bacall for The Mirror Has Two Faces, as much as I love Juliette Binoche.

Juliana Higino said...

Totally agree!
Michelle must win and so LAURA LINNEY, Ralph Fiennes and Johnny Depp

Anonymous said...


Helen Bonham Carter
Patricia Clarkson
Glenn Close
Samantha Morton
Robin Wright Penn

all of these ladies have establish themselves as respected and daring, a line not easily treaded.

I think Glenn Close, Julianne Moore, and Sigourney Weaver are the most overdue of any actors or actresses.

Marcie said...

Irrelevant, but you kind of inadvertently bashed one of my favorite Depp performances. When people complain that Depp is too over-the-top or repetitive, Finding Neverland's the one I point them out to. Original and nuanced, without any of the usual Depp gimmicks. In this movie, he really showcases his ability to emote his thoughts without a single physical gesture. Besides, how many forty-year-old guys can tumble with young boys in the garden and not come off completely creepy?

marcie said...

But uh, back to conversation, I would definitely say Ed Norton, though it's not really Oscar's fault - he hasn't been in the spotlight for awhile. I wish he could have at least got nominated for Kingdom of Heaven. He was more than just commanding or eerie in that movie; he was pretty much transcendent.

I have to completely agree with Fisco that Dicaprio is pretty much the most boring, blatant, and overrated actor out there. Oscar voters tend to overlook the *subtle* performances, but they do know which ones are truly moving, and Leo never gives any. Mark my words, if he DOES get an oscar it'll be a "sorry you've been nominated so many times and not gotten any" one, like his Titanic co-star (not to bash Kate W., who is about 10320x better at acting than him)