5 Performances That Were Snubbed By The Academy Awards
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5 Performances That Were Snubbed By The Academy Awards

(Contains potential spoilers.)

5 Performances That Were Snubbed By The Academy Awards

I don't know if the Academy's selection of Oscar nominees is always fully satisfactory or to my liking, but there are some snubs that I've found unfair, or made me think, "How could that performance not have been nominated?" Here are a handful of said performances which, in my opinion, should have at least been nominated for Academy Awards, but weren't:

1. Paul Giamatti, "Sideways"

I have seen at least part of all 5 movies which were nominated for Best Actor in 2004, and none of those performances were as good as Paul Giamatti's flawless, genuine performance in Sideways. As Miles, a lonely, insecure wine aficionado in a midlife crisis, Giamatti finds the perfect balance between humor and drama, and displays his range as an actor in his ability to alternate between comically flying off the handle and exuding a poignant vulnerability in scenes that reveal his melancholy over his divorce.

Best moment: Among Giamatti's shining moments are his tangents about wine, from his favorite brands of wine all the way down to the weather patterns that produce the highest quality grapes for wine. He's at his best in a scene in which he and Maya (Virginia Madsen), a waitress in whom he shows a romantic interest, are sitting on her friend's porch making conversation. Maya asks Miles why Pinot Noir is his favorite wine, and the audience can feel his passion as he articulates the qualities of the Pinot grape that make it stand out. It would be an injustice if Giamatti went his entire life without receiving an Academy Award, and it is one that the Academy didn't recognize him for this film.

2. Ezra Miller, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower"

In a teen drama tackling an array of mature subject matter, what keeps it from being too much of a tearjerker is the emphasis on the upbeat personalities of the central characters, performed so flawlessly by the leads. The standout is Ezra Miller as Patrick, a quintessential class clown who attempts to be upbeat and funny all the time, but beneath the facade lies deep emotional distress related to his closeted homosexuality. Miller embodies Patrick perfectly, superbly conveying both his vulnerability and his fun-loving side, and effectively alternating between the two sides of this character, ultimately endearing the viewer to Patrick.

Best moment: Tough choice, but I'd have to go with a scene in which Patrick takes Charlie (Logan Lerman) out for a nighttime drive, and the two chat in a field overlooking the city. Here, both sides of Patrick come out on full display. He starts out as his typical "never take anything seriously" self, but it doesn't take long for his troubles to get to him and melancholy to set in. This scene, so beautifully acted by Miller, is a poignant display of both Miller's range as an actor and the power of effective character development.

3. Sam Rockwell, "Frost/Nixon"

Ron Howard's dramatized retelling of talk show host David Frost's series of interviews with disgraced ex-President Richard Nixon pits Rockwell against Kevin Bacon as a representation of the extremes of both sides. Bacon's character, a personal aide to Nixon, idolizes and practically worships Nixon, and is so loyal to Nixon that one would think Nixon has used mind control on him. Rockwell's character Jim Reston, a real-life journalist who authored a book exposing the full scale of Nixon's corruption, represents Bacon's ideological opposite, longing to set up the interviews as the trial Nixon never had, and harboring a deep, genuine hatred of Nixon. Rockwell flawlessly encapsulates Reston's rage toward Nixon in a pitch-perfect performance.

Best moment: When Reston first meets David Frost (played to perfection by Michael Sheen), he asks Frost what he plans to accomplish with the interview. Not satisfied with Frost's answer, which he perceives as lackluster and overtly sympathetic toward Nixon, he unleashes a rant decrying Nixon's abuses of power as President, including the copious numbers of Americans and Indochinese killed by Nixon's foreign policy, and the trauma Nixon put the American people through, in which Reston's rage and disillusionment with Nixon come out. It's an underrated performance which displays Rockwell's acting prowess and deserves more recognition than it received.

4. Meg Ryan, "When Harry Met Sally..."

It should be pretty obvious to anyone who has since this film why I included this performance. This classic romantic comedy, boosted by Nora Ephron's memorable, witty script, set the standard for romantic comedies of the day, exploring the question of whether a man and woman could "just be friends." As Sally Albright, Ryan serves as the film's emotional center opposite Billy Crystal as Harry Burns, her romantic interest, and is a perfect fit for Ephron's banter.

Best moment: Do I even need to say it? For those unfamiliar with the movie, Ryan's best scene is possibly the film's most memorable: she and Harry are arguing over lunch in a deli over whether men can tell when women are faking orgasms. Sally contends that they can't, and to prove her point, she proceeds to fake an orgasm (fully clothed) in the middle of the deli, eventually attracting the attention of all of the other patrons in the deli. The scene exemplifies both Ephron's skill as a screenwriter and Ryan's talent as a comedic actress.

5. Shailene Woodley, "The Descendants"

This was a major upset in 2011. The fact that Clooney was nominated but Woodley wasn't, despite Woodley's performance being, in my opinion, far better than Clooney's, seemed to appeal more to Clooney's seniority as an actor than to whether he actually deserved it. Woodley's performance as Alex, Clooney's angry, rebellious teenage daughter, is truly one-of-a-kind and rich in emotion, as a teenager struggling to reconcile her mother's impending death and her marital infidelity when she was alive.

Best scene: (Spoiler alert) There are a couple of moments that come to mind, within close proximity of one another. Alex's father Matt (Clooney) breaks the news to her that her mother, who is in a coma, won't wake up and has asked via will to be removed from life support. Alex is treading in a pool when Matt breaks the news, and in one of the better moments of the film, she loses her composure and dips underwater, and a breathtaking shot captures her breaking down underwater. In the following scene, Alex drops a bombshell of her own: she caught her mother cheating on Matt. As she tearfully describes what happened, her anger and disdain for her family come to light. You watch that scene and wonder how Woodley wasn't even nominated for an Oscar for that performance. It's a mystery for sure.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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