Oscars: Actor Race Favors the Trophy-Less

Oscar Races Favors Trophyless-

There’s a school of thought that says actors have to “earn” an Oscar nomination — voters are more likely to reward them if they’ve broken into the exclusive club with a previous nom. While such a theory didn’t apply to this year’s winner, Matthew McConaughey, it certainly doesn’t hurt for people to think a contender is “overdue.” But this year’s unbelievably tight actor race just might be made up of five gentlemen who have never been nominated before.

Right now, there are widely considered to be four likely nominees: Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), Michael Keaton (“Birdman”) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”). None has ever been nominated for an Academy Award.

In the actress race, by contrast, the three frontrunners have a total of 10 nominations among them. Reese Witherspoon, a lock for a nom for “Wild,” won for “Walk the Line.” Julianne Moore (“Still Alice”) has four previous noms, and Amy Adams (“Big Eyes”) has five. Other potential names include two-time winner Hilary Swank (“The Homesman”) and two-time nominee Jessica Chastain (“The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby,” “A Most Violent Year”). Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) and Rosamund Pike (“Gone Girl”) seem to be the only first-time nominees in the race.

Being a previous nominee brings cachet — it’s why so many pundits are sure Adams will score a nom, although “Big Eyes” hasn’t yet screened. Redmayne knows about this first-hand: Many felt he deserved to be recognized for his supporting turn in 2012’s “Les Miserables.” Instead, the list of nominees was made up of five previous supporting actor winners.

When it comes to the men, even those vying for the final slot are first-timers: Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner”), Jack O’Connell (“Unbroken”) and Oscar Isaac (“A Most Violent Year”). It looks like it’s up to Bradley Cooper (of the still-unseen “American Sniper”) or perhaps Jake Gyllenhaal (“Nightcrawler”) to bring a previous nominee to the race.

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  1. scott says:

    wasn’t oscar issac a previous nominee?

  2. steve barr says:

    How about Cotillard for The Immigrant .

    • Stergios says:

      Exactly my friend. She’s incredible there as Ewa Cybulska. If her performances this year in “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night” aren’t worthy of an Oscar each, nothing is.

  3. Alice says:

    Jessica Chastain won’t be nominated for Eleanor Flop neither for her horrible wig in A Most Violent Year, forget about it and move on! There’s many actresses who deserve a nomination more than her, the same can be said for Amy eternally stuck with supporting roles and undeserved nominations Adams, both are overrated as hell!

  4. Ali Rich says:

    Cumberbatch? That’s the same performance he always gives. Weird, downright peculiar and nervous. Show me something else.

    Best male performances I’ve seen this year are Ralph Fiennes in Grand Budapest Hotel, Timothy Spall in Mr. Turner and – I’ve just seen Interstellar – McConaughey’s fantastic.

  5. Stergios says:

    It’s pretty horrendous that Academy Awards tend to snub relentlessly talents like the ones of Marion Cotillard, Julianne Moore and Amy Adams and Jessica Chastain in terms of a win (in the case of Cotillard it would be a double win, but whatever, it’s a win she couldn’t deserve more), al of them tremendous talents, worthy of numerous wins and nominations, when actresses as limited as Reese Witherspoon already have an Oscar – let alone for a performance not worthy at all of such an accolade, the very good but nowhere to great performance she gave in “Walk the line” – and prepare themselves for a second nomination and even a win. Ugh! Has anyone watched what Marion Cotillard did this year in Dardennes’ latest masterpiece “Two Days, One Night”? Has anyone saw the work of Jessica Chastain in “The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby”? My God, give those tremendously gifted actresses multiple wins and nominations but leave all the Witherspoons and Bullocks of this world outside of an awards race as prestigious as the one of the Academy Awards. If it hadn’t been for last year’s “Blue Jasmine” (and her extraordinary performance there) Cate Blanchett wouldn’t have a Leading Oscar and Witherspoon would have for “Walk the line”. Really, do Academy voters know what that feels like? Marion Cotillard, the greatest actress of all time without a hint of doubt, gets snubbed and robbed OVER AND OVER AGAIN and now she’s just trying to sneak in for a nomination again, with Witherspoon being “a lock”? Without Cotillard and Chastain in the leading category, it would be a SCANDAL to have a Best Actress category this year at the Oscars. The list couldn’t be complete without them. Throw Witherspoon out and leave her place to an actress of such caliber as Cotillard’s and Chastain’s, dammit!

  6. Laurie says:

    You are having a laugh with regards to Redmayne and Les Miserable. God awful performance.

  7. M. F. Sibley says:

    A short while back you were touting Ralph Fiennes as a Best Actor possibility for The Grand Budapest Hotel. He’s been previously nominated for an Oscar for Schindler’s List and The English Patient so he definitely fits the bill for someone the voters might want to “reward” with and Oscar now. But, my oh my, he seems to have fallen off your radar now, as it seems as though an entirely new set of nominees have taken root as the new “favors of the month”. If we’ve talking real acting chops, Fiennes has them in spades and he IS overdue an Oscar. In fact, he was robbed of one by Tommy Lee Jones. Fiennes turn in Schindler’s List was and remains magnificent!

    • Laurie says:

      I wouldn’t disagree with you. However having seen Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance in The Imitation Game and Ralf’s in The Grand Budapest Hotel I’d give the award to Cumberbatch this year. Ralph should have won a long while ago.

  8. PETER JAY says:

    Yes. Thank you.

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