These four Oscar Nominees should’ve won for a more deserving film. Here’s why.
Even though award shows are mostly BS, an actor should still win for their best performance in a film. Being a part of the Oscar Nominees list because you earned it means a lot. Sometimes, though, these actors win for roles that seem a little hollow, or for a movie that quite frankly wasn’t Oscar caliber in the first place.
Hollywood has a way of stringing young actors along and bleeding them dry of top notch performances. You can tell when an actor is fishing for an Oscar based on the characters they play or directors they’ve chosen to work with. And rightfully so. Often times it isn’t the love of the game that drives a person, it’s the recognition that counts.
Here are four Oscar nominees who won for the wrong movie.
4) Al Pacino (Winner: Scent of a Woman/Reality:The Godfather)
Let’s start of with the easiest one. Al Pacino should be a 5 time Oscar winner already. Heck, he should’ve had them all within a decade! The Godfather, The Godfather II, Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon, Panic in Needle Park were all Oscar winning roles. At one point in time this man could act circles around the best of the best. But what he eventually did win for was a movie called Scent of a Woman in 1993.
Make no mistake, it was a phenomenal performance from Pacino on display this film. The movie itself is fantastic as well. But, what Hollywood has done here (and keeps doing) is mine a young talent for decades. Knowing that Pacino would try time and again for Oscar gold, they kept dangling the carrot in his face over and over. He was nominated five times in one decade and then 3 more times in the 90’s. He was nominated for Best Supporting actor in the Dick Tracy movie for Pete’s sake! Dick Tracy.
3) Denzel Washington (Winner: Training Day / Reality: Malcolm X)
First off, let’s get semantics out of the way. Denzel Washington did win an Oscar for best supporting actor in 1990 for his performance in Glory. The real beef and cheese lies in his Best Actor win for Training Day.
While it is a great movie and a classic, it wasn’t Oscar worthy. Both the film and portrayal carries depth, but it’ll never compare to Malcolm X. Toe to toe it doesn’t stand in the same ring of cinema. It’s the first time we see Washington as a radical force to be reckoned with and a hard as nails street smart leader.
Philadelphia, Courage Under Fire and The Hurricane also warranted some looks by the Oscar board as well. At least he has two awards under his belt unlike the aformentioned Pacino, so there’s that.
2) Leonardo DiCaprio (Winner: The Revenant / Reality: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape)
Here’s another guy who was left hanging by the academy for years until finally getting one for the Revenant. He should have at least three, but the only man who has accomplished that feat is Daniel Day Lewis.
Although The Revenant is an excellent film, Dicaprio is mesmorizing as Arnie Grape in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. As a child, seeing that movie for the first time left you stunned, thinking that Arnie Grape had Down syndrome in real life. There was no way an actor could portray that role as well as Dicaprio did. He was nominated for the role but was beat out by Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive.
There are a few more he should’ve won for as well: Wolf of Wall Street, Catch me if You Can, The Departed, Blood Diamond, Gangs of New York. Luckily, he never gave up and we are the real winners for getting to watch all of his Oscar worthy roles.
1) Heath Ledger (Winner: The Dark Knight / Reality: Brokeback Mountain)
‘We should invest in our artists while they’re still alive.’ – unknown. The honesty rings so loudly in this quote, especially concerning Heath Ledger. He was a victim of a truly brilliant mind and it shone through in all of his work. From directing music videos, documenting his own life, his love of photography and acting, he really worked for his dream. If you haven’t had the chance yet, check out I am Heath Ledger and soak in his legend.
One minutia of investing in him would’ve seen him win for Brokeback Mountain instead of The Dark Knight. Again, as with most of these actors, his performance in TDK was beyond amazing. Hearing the Joker’s laugh and watching his mannerisms brought the character to life like no one has or ever will again. So he earned it here. But, if anything, it should’ve been his second Oscar.
What he did in Brokeback Mountain went above and beyond what an actor of his calibre at the time was expected to do. A heartthrob playing a gay cowboy back in 2005 was pretty much unheard of. And to play the part so well at that was genius. When you hear him talk about playing the role, he wanted to capture what it was like to be in that situation. And it was uncanny.
Hopefully this year will bring wins to all those who deserve to win, optimally for the right roles. If not, there will most definitely be another awards ceremony conducted by yours truly in the near future. Until then, invest in your favourite artists.