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Oscar's One Hit Wonders or When Bad Nominations Happen to Good Actors

[Here's abstew to talk about a semi-annual Oscar tradition. Even if you disagree with the picks you surely recognize the curious problem. Will any of 2013's future nominees qualify for this list? -Editor]

When it comes to acting nominations, let's face it, not everyone can be Meryl Streep (17 nominations and counting). And with only 20 acting nominations to hand out each year, there's always going to be people left out. So many factors affect nominations: how well the actor is liked in the industry, whether they've been nominated (or won) before, how visible they've been promoting the movie, whether or not it's their "time". Sometimes the actual performance doesn't weigh in as heavily as it should.

Which is why the Academy gives something I like to call the "Oh, sorry we didn't nominate you for that great movie you were in a couple years ago, but let's call it even by nominating you for this instead" nomination. For many actors their body of work greatly out-weighs the single nomination. (For purposes of this list, I'm focusing only on actors who've received their nomination in the past 25 years or so but this has been happening since the beginning of (Oscar's) time.)

With so many greats yet to receive a nomination, perhaps we should be grateful that the following actors can precede their name with "Academy Award Nominee", but knowing how much better they are than this single nomination implies... 

Single Nomination: Best Actress, Catherine Deneuve Indochine (1992)

Catherine Deneuve is arguably the most well-known actress of French cinema. She has appeared in over 100 movies including her breakthrough in the Oscar nominated Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Roman Polanski's Repulsion and, perhaps her most famous role, as a housewife turned prostitute in Buñuel's Belle du Jour. She is such an Icon that for many years she was used at the model of Marianne, the face of the French Republic. Her image gracing stamps and money. She even made Team Experience's list of Women that should receive an Honory Oscar. But her single nomination comes from an overly-long, Merchant/Ivory-lite epic from the early 90s - one of those polite prestige films that are handsomely made to win awards. Deneuve is beautiful to watch, as always, but the actress's aloofness never connects with the character. Lacking any grit or realness, she seems not to age as the film progresses over decades nor is able to dig deeper and get her hands dirty in ways she definitely has in riskier films. Still working steadily, there's still time to receive another nomination because it would be a shame to have this film be her only Oscar legacy.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Lauren Bacall The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)

After making her film debut in 1944's To Have and Have Not opposite her soon-to-be husband, Humphrey Bogart, Bacall had to wait over 50 years before she received her first and only nomination. In fact, the support to have her win that year and honor a living legend was so great that people seemed to forgot that she, and the movie in particular, were, not all that good. Saddled with the thankless role of Barbra Streisand's harpy of a mother, Bacall is required only to huskily deliver one-liners and belittle poor, put-upon Streisand in another of the star's vanity projects. The nomination and win would have really been to honor the actress's past work in those Bogie noir classics which also included The Big Sleep and Key Largo, her work as a comedienne in Designing Woman, her role in the Douglas Sirk weepie Written On the Wind, and her BAFTA nominated turn in the John Wayne film The Shootist. Luckily, the Academy came to their senses and the Oscar went to Juliette Binoche, whom expressed her surprise in winning over sure-thing Bacall in her acceptance speech. Bacall has since been honored with the Honorary Oscar in 2009. That's a much better way of honoring her legacy than a nomination for an underwhelming performance.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actor, John C. Reilly Chicago (2002)

Chicago was such a hit with Oscar in 2002, that they nominated it for (nearly) every award possible  - thirteen nominations in total, with only the snub for never-nominated Richard Gere keeping the film from "most nominated picture ever" status. (The record is currently held by both All About Eve and Titanic with 14 nominations each). One of its nominations went to prolific character actor, John C. Reilly who had actually appeared in three of that year's five Best Pictures. Many felt that his nomination should have come from his work in the indie film The Good Girl as Jennifer Aniston's unappreciative husband rather than for his brief turn in this film as an unappreciated husband. The role is small, with only "Mr. Cellophane" (a catchy song that does nothing to advance the plot) to recommend it, and there's no real time for Reilly to develop a complete character. The nomination surely represents that year's work as a whole rather than for this single performance. Having established his reputation as a strong actor in such independent films as Hard Eight, The Anniversary Party, and his nomination-worthy performance in Magnolia, it's interesting to note that his sole nomination came from a splashy box-office hit. He's since focused more on comedic roles and seems to be more interested in becoming more of a Will Ferrell-type than the go-to everyman he used to play.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Patricia Clarkson Pieces of April (2003)

Patty Clarkson first hit awards season radars with her performance in 1998's High Art as the heroin-addict lover of a photographer played by Ally Sheedy. She earned an Independent Spirit nomination for the performance, but despite critics' pleas was left without an Oscar nomination (1998 was a pretty weak line-up in Supporting Actress, so it's sad she couldn't break in). A small part as a dying wife in the Best Picture nominated The Green Mile raised her profile further with Oscar voters. So by the time her turn as Julianne Moore's acid-tongued best "friend" in Far From Heaven came along in 2002, many thought she was guaranteed a nomination this time. The Academy thought otherwise  and she was no match for the Chicago love-fest (Queen Latifah, really?!?). So the next year when she appeared in no less than 4 well-received films (Dogville, All the Real Girls, The Station Agent, and Pieces of Katie Holmes April), enough was enough - Patty was getting a damn Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, it was for the worst of the bunch, playing Katie Holmes' mother dying of cancer. She may be dying, but she's still sassy! Smoking joints, telling her children what she really thinks about them, and listening to rap - you half expect a laugh track to follow her antics. The nomination should have come from her heartbreaking work in The Station Agent. Despite great turns in more films (particularly in the little-seen, Cairo Time), Clarkson has yet to gain any further Oscar buzz. And now it seems she's settled into respectability. Everyone loves it when she pops up in a film, but her "time" has passed.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actor, Paul Giamatti Cinderella Man (2005)

It's easy to forget that Giamatti actually was nominated at all. The uproar of how he was snubbed two years in a row (for American Splendour and the role that really got people riled up, Sideways) seems to overshadow the make-up nomination the Academy threw his way the year later. But, seriously does anyone really remember this film or him in it? (I have no trouble recalling his great work in those other two films). Giamatti has since won a surprise Golden Globe in 2010 for Barney's Version and appeared in one of the most well-liked films of 2011, Win Win. But, like Clarkson, his time of being "overdue" seems to have passed and he's settled into his role as the great character actor. He has a long, steady career ahead of him still.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actor, Stanley Tucci The Lovely Bones (2009)

Some performances on this list are worse than others, but, without a doubt, the absolute worst is Tucci's subtle-as-a-sledgehammer turn as a child killer in Peter Jackson's ill-advised adaption of Alice Sebold's novel. I mean, just look at him. If any child went missing, would there be any doubt that the creepy looking guy in the neighborhood did it? And the way Tucci plays him, all nervous tics and murderous gazes, there's not even anything remotely interesting to latch on to. And then, instead of being found guilty of murder, he meets his demise...from an icicle falling. Ugh. Tucci, who first gained notice for his work starring, writing, and directing 1996's Big Night, really gained awards buzz in supporting roles opposite Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie and Julia. Usually a delightful addition to any film he's in, it's just too bad those effortless turns aren't the one's forever attached to his name, now. The only nomination this performance should've received was a Razzie.

Single Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Maggie Gyllenhaal Crazy Heart (2009)

I have to start of by saying that I am not generally a fan of Maggie Gyllenhaal. I find her to be a little off-putting and generally too earnest, but I recognize her talent. I also recognize that she's much better than this underwritten, girlfriend role allows. Her music-journalist that has been hurt in the past just doesn't make sense. Never for a second do you believe that she would be interested in Jeff Bridges' character which makes everything that follows seem false. Gyllenhaal never rises above the material either, seemingly hitting the beats without much thought behind them. If she hadn't been so great in her Golden Globe nominated performances in Secretary and Sherrybaby or her Independent Spirit Nominated work in Happy Endings, this nomination would never have happened. But, because she'd already proved her worth, the Academy felt the need to honor her. It's a shame that her more complex, edgier work wasn't honored and a stock character was.

Single Nomination: Best Actor, Gary Oldman Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

My most controversial pick: It's hard to believe that the man who once brought so much energy and excitement to playing Sid Vicious in 1986's Sid and Nancy would eventually be honored by Oscar with such a cold (alright, boring) performance. A respected actor for over 25 years, this is an "overdue" nomination if there ever was one. Leading up to the nominations, everyone mentioned how shocking it was that GARY OLDMAN had never been nominated. No nominations for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, JFK, Immortal Beloved, nor his SAG nominated performance in The Contender. And, of course, not for his villainous turns and work in genre pictures (as great as he was in Bram Stoker's Dracula or Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, they're too out-there for Oscar's taste). Instead his sole nomination comes for a performance so subdued and calculated that he's upstaged by co-stars (most notably: Tom Hardy, John Hurt, and Benedict Cumberbatch). 

Is it an honor just to be nominated or do you wish things had turned out differently for these players? Who else did I miss? Will any of this year's upcoming nominees qualify for this list?


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Reader Comments (57)

Gary Oldman was amazing in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and completely deserved a nomination, and win, that year. I was so glad he was nominated. I also really like Clarkson in Pieces of April. But I agree with the rest.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I miss indie John C. Reilly so much it hurts.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Gary Oldman is SO SO great in Tinker Tailor. One of the best nominations of the 2000s.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Gary Oldman's nomination for "TInker Tailor Soldier Spy" was my biggest delight of that year. He deserved it with a subdued yet witty performance. Much like Bruce Dern's role this year, his performance in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy" was wilier than it seemed. I wanted him for the win.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Oldman is outstanding in Tinker Tailor. I was pulling for him to win. Boring? WTF?

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRoark

Wow. I love Oldman in TINKER TAILOR. Didn't find him boring at all. Captivating more like it.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

I think this year's obvious "bad" nomination for an actor who has done great work and will probably continue to do great/interesting work is Fassbender. I personally think the Epps role is really, really poorly written, so it's not all his fault. And considering how similarly clownish Dano is, I think they were likely both getting poor direction as well. Does anyone really think Epps is a patch on Connor from Fish Tank? He's also done better supporting work in Inglourious Basterds and Prometheus.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

100% agree on Maggie Gyllenhaal and Stanley Tucci though some of the others are less extreme. I loved Catherine Deneuve in INDOCHINE but I get why it might feel a bit glassy (and I probably wouldn't have nominated her myself... having no need for a makeup award since she wwould have already had nominations ;)

I jknew the Gary Oldman selection would upset people though. I'm not sure i'd call the performance boring but it's definitely ATYPICAL of both Oldmans' work (so subdued it's basically whispering) and of what Oscar usually goes for. So in that regard I kind of enjoy the nomination even though I wouldn't have nominated him for it, either.

January 6, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I think you're shortchanging John C. Reilly's performance in Chicago. Mr. Cellophane is such an amazing song, and his performance of it was so moving. Yes, the role was small and his nomination was as much due to the movie's sweep as anything else, but, that said, it was very-well deserved, and was not just a reward for his year's work.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergwynn1984

I thought Gary Oldman and John C. Reilly should have won for those performances.

Here's an interesting spin on the concept. Should Bjork's sole Oscar nomination be for cowriting "I've Seen It All" rather than for acting or for writing more adventurous and essential to the film songs in Dancer in the Dark, like "Scatterheart," "107 Steps," or "New World?"

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

Completely agree on Clarkson - it's possibly the only 'bad' performance I've ever seen her give, so OF COURSE that's her Oscar nomination… she just scrapes my nominees for Dogville (though wins for Far From Heaven).

Speaking of which… cough, Supporting Actress Smackdown, cough… we all know it won't be Zellweger, though I can't decide between Hunter and Aghdashloo...

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKermit_The_Frog

Rambling notes on four categories:

Reilly: The winner's debatably category fraud, John C. Reilly's roles border on too small in his work in ANY of the Best Picture nominees to have much of an impact, Ed Harris did the "Richie Brown" routine previously, and better, in Pollock and Newman had none of the fire that defined his earlier career. Even forgetting that City of God is 2003 to the Academy and that Andy Serkis is doing the verbotten style called "mo-cap fu", you still should face it that BOTH of Far From Heaven's Dennis' are significantly better than any of the nominees.
Clarkson: Honestly, Queen Latifah is probably NOT the weakest link in the 2002 category. It's not a deep character or anything, but it's not dull or kind of terrible or anything, unlike...Julianne Moore in The Hours. The only way that selection makes ANY sense is if they were going to give Julianne the win. And Kidman got it. (Urgggggh.) As for 03, Clarkson MIGHT get 4th or 5th place in my book. (Getting past Lucy Liu or Cosgrove: Almost assured. Getting past Maria Simon, Kang Hye-jeong and Hope Davis? Impossible.)
Giamatti: The Sideways snub was insane, and it's also why I still have some nagging doubts about Bruce Dern even getting the nomination. They're lower now then they were at the start of the season, but they're there.
Maggie G: Crazy Heart was not a movie that I don't think looked good on anyone. Especially not Bridges, who was doing his darndest, but I still place higher value on that effort getting applied to a script/movie that has a higher level of competency than Crazy Heart's.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Also, one of the worst nominations in recent memory is Kenneth Branagh for My Week with Marilyn. Lazy, lazy performance, and the worst part is that he got in based solely on reputation. It's not like he'd done good film work in the recent past.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKate

Put me in the camp that loved Oldman in Tinker Tailor and thought his nomination was well deserved. I also beg to differ on Paul Giamatti in "Cinderella Man" - his performance was by far the best thing about an admittedly weak movie, and certainly the only thing I remember about it.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlylee

Volvagia - I always forget that Dennis Quaid wasn't nominated for Far From Heaven. I'm still unsure quite how that happened!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKermit_The_Frog

Come on, Deneuve was terrific in Indochine! She was an absolutely deserving nominee.
I think her problem is she's just so classy and beautiful, but in this role it worked perfectly. And Indochine is a perfect melodrama!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterpaulj

Tilda Swinton Michael Clayton,she's fantastic in it and the win deserved but she had been doing that fantastic thing for 20 years.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermark

People who come to mind include;
BARBARA HERSHEY (one very deserved nom for The Portrait of a Lady) snubbed for her beautiful work in Hannah and Her Sisters (they nominated Tess Harper for her silliness in Crimes of the Heart that year). There's an argument she deserved love for Black Swan, Shy People, A World Apart (back to back Cannes Best Actress wins).

JEREMY IRONS - sure, he won for Reversal of Fortune, but I can't get over the snub for Cronenberg's masterpiece Dead Ringers. Not sure if there was another perf he ever gave which deserves attention. But still - 2 is better than 1.

KATHLEEN TURNER - I know, I know. I'm stuck in the 80's, but this one just doesn't add up for. One very wonderful nom in '86 for Peggy Sue but no love for Romancing the Stone, Body Heat, The Accidental Tourist (I'm serious), Prizzi's Honor.

I wanna say LAURA DERN too - one nom for Rambling Rose, but totally screwed for Citizen Ruth. Interested in seeing other people's thoughts!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDavid K.

Good post!

I haven't seen Indochine in ages, but I liked Deneuve. It's not Les voleurs, but still...

John C. Reilly nailed Mr. Cellophane. I would say it was a well-deserved nom.

I agree with your other choices. The case that pains me the most is Patty Clarkson. So unfair.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Jake Gyllenhaal (the other gyllenhaal child)

He should have won for 'Brokeback' (it's the damn co-lead curse again). It's a shame he wasn't nominated last year for 'End of Watch' and will more than likely be forgotten for 'Prisoners'.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Gouveia

I was going to say Harrison Ford. Should have been nomed for Working Girl but that was 26 years ago. Ugh..........now I feel old.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was the only one of the Oscar nominated films I gave a flip about aside from the Tree of Life. You stay off my LeCarre! Now there's a film about the 70s that gets it right! It was a terrible period with an exhausted British empire with garish fashion and even worse-looking offices.


The Foreign-Language choices that year were so bad that Indochine actually does not look bad in context. But yes, Deneuve, de-glammed (come on, they make her assume 'man of the house' qualities) and too white outsider-y. There's a reason nobody cared for those French Plantation scenes in Apocalypse Now Redux, and those 10 minutes had much more political engagement than any moment in Indochine. Just give Deneuve an Honorary Oscar already!!!!!! She's good in Indochine but why not so many other roles? Like A Christmas Tale would've been lovely and much more deserved, but hey, it's Deneuve. There's so many substitute roles.

Clarkson should've been nominated for The Station Agent that very same year. I just am at a loss for why that role in that film was more.... accessible.??????

Agreed on Giamatti. Speaking of 'Based on a True Story...' films, that one was especially heinous. Giamatti was really only the good part but it felt too much like a 'We are sorry' nomination for snubbing him in Sideways.

My nominees (I am counting winners):

Lee Marvin, Cat Ballou- I can't even go into this performance because it is so upsetting he won for this and not Point Blank or The Killers.

Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon- I actually think this is a really bad performance. Forget Langella looks nothing like Nixon, he is not even the best Nixon (Philip Baker Hall and Anthony Hopkins say, 'HI!') and Michael Sheen is doing the most muscle work in that film.

Reese Witherspoon, Walk the Line- Election. Closed.

Cliff Robertson, Charly- One of the worst Oscar winners and if not for Forrest Gump would be the photo you would put next to, 'Playing mentally impaired= Oscar'. Film is so dated too.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

MAGGIE?? REALLY?? I'm very surprised to read that!! I loved her performance in Crazy Heart :'(

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew

Oldman was INCREDIBLE in TTSS. He should have won!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I don't like Maggie Gyllenhaal in Crazy Heart, but she's great in all kinds of roles: Adaptation and Stranger than Fiction come to mind. I kind of like her look and approach. She's not a conventional leading lady.

I don't think Clarkson did much in Far From Heaven that would warrant a nod. I'm much happier she got it for something in 2003 than nothing at all. I don't think Pieces of April was a bad choice though Station Agent (wouldn't ppl have complained about category fraud though?) or Dogville (wasn't the film supposedly made out of hatred for America? I could see PR complications for the Academy in honoring it with any awards, even in the supporting actress category)

I loved that Oldman got nominated for a popular book adaptation. Sid and Nancy was too indie, he was overshadowed by Fiennes in the Harry Potter films.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOrrin Konheim

haha. whoa! i must say i'm surprised about all the adamant love for oldman in TINKER TAILOR...sorry, everyone, but that performance does nothing for me.

but, listen, i'm not saying all these performances are out and out TERRIBLE (well, except tucci), i just wish that these great actors had been honored for performances that they were truly amazing in. because as time goes on, these will be the performances that live on BECAUSE they're the ones that got a nomination.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterabstew

CMG - Cliff Robertson was outstanding in Charly. I cried and cried when I saw that film. He so deserved that Oscar.

But is this article just about single nominations?

Remember the uproar about Bette Davis not being nominated for 'Of Human Bondage'? The following year she got it for the average 'Dangerous'.

And sadly the brilliant actress only scored TWO oscars - the same number as freaking Hilary Swank!

God they have to take away those oscars they dumped on that woeful Million Dollar baby crap. Give Clint a few empty chairs in exchange.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Kermit: Haysbert too. That's why I said Dennis'.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Bette Streep: Um...no. I highly doubt it stacks up as worthy when tossed against The Lion in Winter.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

If we are comparing actors performances by same writer or director.
I'd go with Kathy Bates in Stephen King's Doloroes Claiborne as opposed to Misery.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKbrad

I know that Liv Ullmann was nominated twice for Academy awards, but they're the only two performances that are almost impossible to find and which i doubt are superior to her work with Ingmar Bergman.
One of them is "The emigrants" , a non Bergman directed film and the other one is "Face to Face", a Mini Series formatted to film which is impossible to find and not available in any format! I've searched everywere. (hashtag frustrating!)
This may be completely unjustified, since I haven't seen either one of those two films. But ti's impossible to imagine that Ullmann was better in those two than in The Passion of Anna, Persona, Cries & Whispers, The Hour Of The Wolf, Shame, Scenes from a Marriage, Autumn Sonata, Saraband,/

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCristhian

Bette Streep- Nope, I would've been Team O'Toole or Team Moody that year. 2 undeniable performances, one from the Best Picture winner at that and the other where the film's leading lady won. That was Robertson's only nomination so he fits. Just like Lee Marvin somehow only having one nomination in his life for a fun but light performance.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

100% agree on Maggie Gyllenhaal. Even though I was psyched when she got that surprise nomination, the academy really should've jumped all over Secretary or Sherrybaby.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrittani

Great calls across the board - but surely someone other than me remembers Tucci as the goofy Muerte (for DEATH! YOU DIE TODAY!) from 1993. I will say too, he gets bonus points for clearly being ashamed of his own clip when it played at the Oscars. A phenomenal actor in general though. Also Supporting Actress 98 ignored Kudrow and Bates lost, so obviously it was 100% dipped in She Was Robbed Dench-it is. (If we make a won for the wrong role list, she's on mine.)

So many comments that don't get it - looking for a lesser performance getting nominated over great ones, people. Now watch me be a hypocrite: He may have two nominations, but Cary Grant was clearly nominated for lesser performances, and I'd rank him easily among the greatest leading men of all time. Funny how things have changed. If Grant was alive and working today, I'm sure they'd fall all over themselves to reward him like they sometimes do with Clooney.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered Commentereurocheese

I agree with almost everything you've written but not about Oldman. I thought he was very good in the film which was one of my favorites of its year.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDaveylow

Ummm, where's Shohreh? :--/

"Chicago" is the perf I would have easily gone for with John C. Reilly that year.

I'm still embarrassed for Stanley Tucci to this day for that godawful "The Lovely Bones." At least he's an Emmy winner.

Can't say I loved "TTSS" at all (boring doesn't begin to cover it), but Gary Oldman was the best aspect of it, and for everything he's been snubbed for in the past, I don't mind him getting a makeup Oscar nomination here instead.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterOMG!

yeah, people. the topic is one-nomination unfortunates. Great actors who were nominated only one time and for a lesser performance at that. It's a very specific type of Oscar misfortune... though not uncommon. For instance, Kathleen Turner absurdly only has one nomination but it was for a great performance so she's not here.

at least i assume abstew understands she's brilliant in Peggy Sue :)

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I keep forgetting Grant was nominated for Father Goose. Yeah, that's up there.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I'll defend my Harrison Ford choice. He was good in Witness, but I felt Working Girl was a better, more difficult perf. Also James Garner. Murphy's Romance is a good film and he was fine, but those comedies he did with Doris Day were magic not to mention VIctor/Vctoria. Course, I'm outside the 25 years again. Garner was born in '28. Did we mention him in our 100 oldest? Plus, hes still working.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

CMG - Cliff Robertson was outstanding in Charly. I cried and cried when I saw that film. He so deserved that Oscar.

Bette Streep is correct. I love Peter O'Toole, but Cliff Robertson made me gay.
(Okay, exaggeration, but the performance did a number on me when I saw it as a child. And has continued to slay me on later rewatches.)

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Go back and watch Bacall's late-night scene with Streisand, where Barbra's character asks her what it was like being beautiful in her youth, then watch the early-morning breakfast scene with Bacall's long monologue again. She's sensational, though admittedly not in the same league as her 40's performances. (How she escaped a nomination for "To Have and Have Not" is a riddle worthy of the Sphinx.)

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDback

Dude... you must've been sharing Jasmine's xanax! Gary Oldman was fantastic in "Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"!!!

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

@ Cristhian, I totally LOL-ed at your post,

"Face to Face" is a Bergman film ... not only that but it's NOT a mini-series, not only that but it's NOT difficult to find. And I'm not Swedish or Norwegian (just saying).

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

Blasphemy. Gary Oldman is GREAT in Tinker Tailor. That's a case of overdue yet deserving nomination.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPitry

I also loved Oldman in Tinker Tailor and was so pleasantly surprised with his nomination that year. However, I don't think he got that nomination based solely on that one performance. It was too reserved, in a film that Oscar didn't flip for. He's also given better performances before, so I think he totally qualifies for this list. He got in on reputation; the performance was secondary in voters' minds.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCinemateo

thanks I'm not the only one feels underwhelmed by Oldman in TTSS, that film is a real bore.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterlastitimeisaw

I was agreeing with mostly everyone up until Gary Oldman. Sure, it's not a character type he's most associated with (quiet, pensive, slightly meek) but a weak performance from him this is not. In fact, I thought it was one of his best hours, supported by a finely tuned film and amazingly well cast of featured players. A fully fleshed-out script helped as well, unlike some of his other projects. He gets real mature character meat to chew on here and it's one of those amazing acting-as-reacting lead performances that get left out in the cold most of the time with award bodies. Him getting nominated was a real triumph.

Tom Hardy is explosive, Benedict Cumberbatch is heartbreaking, Mark Strong is all kinds of shades of gray but Oldman reads them in each scene for what they are and bends to their persona enough so that you know he's always got the upper hand and never allows for the colorful character to steal the scene. It's a marvelous piece of subtle showcase acting with a real specialty for listening.

I wish he'd do this kind of thoughtful character building more often, frankly, because going #fullkabuki for every showy part gets mighty dreary to watch when you know he's got the chops for SO much more.

BTW I know we're clearly living in the Darkest Timeline when Stanley Tucci doesn't get nominated for his absolutely fabulous and lovely Supporting Meryl work in The Devil Wears Prada and Julie and Julia but instead gets nominated for THAT. :(

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

I still think Patty can get nomination No.2!!!! Still holding on with a bit of hope. She is still BRILLIANT in everything

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChrisD

Might I just throw in Marlene Dietrich?

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMrW

I am so not agreeing with you! Tucci's performance in the Lovely Bones was brilliant! For me it was one of the best performances of the year.

January 7, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVortep

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