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Officer, an Oscars Robbery!



Sections of the Internet and social media are still livid that their favourites were ‘robbed’ at the Oscars on Sunday night. If my inbox is anything to go by, it’s not just people on social media and Internet forums who are baffled as to why Austin Butler, Cate Blanchett and Angela Bassett didn’t win; film fans who don’t have social media accounts are too. The latter group interests me more because they don’t get involved in battles on Twitter or TikTok. They go to the cinema, see an excellent performance and assume that Oscar will reward it. But, the Academy has a form for not always getting it right.

So, if it’s any consolation, here’s a list of actors who are either still waiting for their golden statuette or waited for years before finally winning for, usually, a mediocre film that they would probably not want to be remembered for:

Leonardo DiCaprio

Although Leo finally got the Oscar for grappling with a bear in The Revenant, his Oscar-free career was the legendary stuff of funny memes for years. The Academy didn’t even nominate him for Titanic, the film he helped take to a billion-dollar box office, but the rot started even earlier. Leo was so good in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape that some people thought the young actor had learning difficulties, like his character. The film made Martin Scorsese notice him, but it was a no to Oscar from the Academy. There were similar brush-offs for Catch Me If You Can, The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Great Gatsby, and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Glenn Close

Still Oscar-free, Close was robbed for her chillingly cruel, Machiavellian turn in Dangerous Liaisons. She is magnificently evil throughout the film, but in one scene alone, where she is finally vilified and a pariah in high society for her twisted treatment of an innocent young woman, she faces herself in the mirror. She slowly removes her makeup; she deserves a dozen statuettes. But no luck. She came close again with nominations for Albert Nobbs and The Wife but was again thwarted. Olivia Colman, who beat her in the 2019’s race, even apologised to Close when she went up on stage, saying, ” I didn’t want it to be like this”, Close had been expected to win.

Cate Blanchett

Yes, she is a two-time Oscar winner, but apart from the current outcry for her most excellent and most career-defining performance in Tár, Cate’s losses started early. The Academy chose Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare In Love over Blanchett’s Elizabeth, which kickstarted her glorious career. It’s still cited as one of the worst decisions by the Academy ever. The BAFTA awards used to be held after the Oscars, and thankfully the British Academy saw fit to right Oscar’s wrong.

Al Pacino

There was a time when Al should have taken his gangster friends to the Oscars to protect him because he kept getting mugged by the Academy. Unbelievably he didn’t win an Oscar for either of the first two Godfather films. Nothing, too, for Serpico, Dog Day Afternoon or Justice For All. He finally won, but for an over-the-top performance in a movie that probably wouldn’t sit high on his list, let alone anyone else’s, Scent of a Woman. It was clearly a “we’ve ignored his brilliance for so many years we’ve got to him something,” Oscar.

Joaquin Phoenix

Before he finally got his trophy for Joker, Phoenix deserved it for Walk the Line, where he mastered the unusual cadence of Johnny Cash’s voice and embodied the man in black impeccably, only to see his co-star Reese Witherspoon take the Best Actress awards. His commanding performance in The Master also yielded no Oscar.

Some other career-defining performances that didn’t win Oscars include:

Robert De Niro for Taxi Driver

Densely Washington for Malcolm X

Angela Bassett (oops, again) for What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s List

Tom Cruise for Jerry Maguire, Rain Man, Born on the Fourth of July

Gene Kelly for Singin’ in the Rain

Henry Fonda for 12 Angry Men

Jack Nicholson for The Shining

Judy Garland for The Wizard of Oz

Anthony Perkins for Psycho

Ingrid Bergman for Casablanca

Amy Adams, Annette Bening, Michelle Williams, and Viggo Mortensen are all still waiting to hear their name…..

The list is endless

And don’t get me started on directors and films that have been robbed or snubbed entirely. David Fincher losing Best Director for The Social Network still hurts……

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