I love watching the Oscars every year. For this particular film buff, it’s my Superbowl.
It’s just the excitement of seeing all of Hollywood’s elite come out at the most prestigious ceremony in the land. (Although I recently learned that the Golden Globes is technically the more prestigious.) Here are the ground rules for this list. This is only for people who were not nominated AT ALL. None of that someone else won over someone better who was also nominated. That’s another list for another day because believe me, I have plenty to say on those sort of situations.
Honorable Mention: “The Lego Movie” for Best Animated Feature
If someone had told me a year before it came out that “The Lego Movie” wasn’t going to be nominated I would have said, “DUH!” However that’s the thing about this movie… it was fantastic and a shining example of how you can make any subject into a good movie. It’s all about the craft and execution. A film that did such a good job capturing the simple yet important experience of creativity and was even clever about how it told that story. Yet no nominations aside from Best Song. Although, this is also a great example of how sometimes these snubs come down to the fact there were a lot of really good movies that came out that year for Best Animated Film. It’s still a bummer whenever that happens.
5.) Val Kilmer for “Tombstone”
I often hear people referring to this as an Oscar nominated performance but it actually wasn’t. “Tombstone,” if you haven’t seen it, is another retelling of the infamous gunfight at the OK Corral with Wyatt Earp. Compared to a lot of the versions that came before it, this is much closer to the real events but still changed a lot for the movie. It’s probably one of the more liked modern westerns, and for good reason; if you want to see badasses doing badass things then this is a movie for you. However, the show stealer is Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday. The role as written gives any actor a lot to work with. It’s practically tailor made to be the role everyone comes away with from each viewing. I wouldn’t normally call Val Kilmer a great actor but sometimes the right role comes along to the right actor.
Why not nominated? In 1993 there were A LOT of really good actors and performances up for Best Supporting Actor. Tommy Lee Jones, Ralph Fiennes, (a young) Leonardo DiCaprio, Pete Postlethwaite, and John Malkovich all gave really memorable performances that year and must have made voting difficult. This is one of those situations where I think it was more case of there just wasn’t enough room for nominations and somebody had to be left out. Sad, but it’s a fact of life when it comes to competitions like this. I have no doubt that most any other years he would have had a chance at a nomination. Although maybe for the sake of his ego, it was good he wasn’t nominated as one of the most common stories about Kilmer in real life is how difficult he is to work with. See “Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey Of Richard Stanley’s Island of Dr. Moreau” for more evidence of this.
4.) Jack Nicholson for “The Departed”
Even though Nicholson did a couple of other films after this, I’d call this his swansong. It’s crazy to think that he and Martin Scorsese hadn’t worked together before this and after watching it, it’s an even bigger shame as they could have made a lot of great films together. In “The Departed” Jack Nicholson plays the head gangster Frank Costello who was heavily based on real life Whitey Bulger. The role has some significance to me as when this came out, Nicholson had recently mostly been in comedies and romances. And while I did enjoy a lot of those I had been wanting to see him in an actual drama where he could show why he’s one of the best actors in history. Then this movie came out and he created a truly frightening character. It really helps you get into Leonardo DiCaprio’s character’s head as this is so not the kind of person you want to be stuck in a room with yet that is what he constantly has to do to stay alive. This character is like a monster, keeping the hand of the enemy in a Ziploc bag, while he eats breakfast just to make a point. When he kills a crying woman on the beach, his only comment is “she fell kinda funny.”
Why not nominated? Jack Nicholson is the king of Hollywood. After Meryl Streep he has the most nominations of any living actor with a whopping number of 12 and 3 actual wins. One for each decade from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. This should have been his win for the 2000s. I can only assume they thought he had enough nominations, but then again they keep giving Meryl Streep nominations so I don’t think that’s it. Maybe they thought he was going to keep working when instead he just did 2 more films. There were some other good performances that year like the actual winner Alan Arkin for “Little Miss Sunshine” and if he had to lose to somebody at least it was to a really great performance like that. We also had Mark Wahlberg for “The Departed.” Though while it was really good, I remember thinking it seemed like just a better version of a lot of his other roles. Eddie Murphy was getting a lot of press for “Dreamgirls” but I never saw it so I can’t comment on it. Still, this was when I was first starting to watch the Oscars so this was one of my first disappointments.