Everyone accepts that the Oscars never get everything correct. There are many gaffes that need to be accepted, such as
winning Best Picture, and Art Carney winning an Oscar for playing old-man cute with his cat in forgettable films Harry and Tonto in a year when Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, and Dustin Hoffman gave some of their career best performances. But this isn’t a list of so-and-so should’ve won over so-and-so. No, this list is far more movie-depressing. It’s a list of actors who’ve never been nominated for an acting Oscar.
To make this list, we wanted to focus on actors who’ve been turning in good work for at least one decade of time—without a single Oscar nomination to show for it. So despite a current three-year hot-streak that actors such as Oscar Isaac, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Elle Fanning are on, those don’t count. Hopefully, they avoid being on such a list in ten years.
Some of the actors on here faced an uphill battle due to the time they were busy giving their best performances. In Oscar history, certain decades have happened to avoid awarding villains, weirdos, or international actors. Recently, supporting actors are more of a co-leading role than they are the great, brief performances of old. Some of these actors starred in genres such as sci-fi, comedy, and action: genres that Academy turns their noses up at for not being serious enough. But all of these actors have had longevity, and worked opposite actors and directors that the Academy has embraced. So, we’ll use this space to embrace them. Dead or alive.
Please peruse our list, and let us know who surprised you in their inclusion, and who surprised you in their absence. Or who you’d assumed had surely been nominated before. And yes, we are aware that we said “actors” and included “actresses.” We decided to go classy—like the Screen Actors Guild—and go with male actors and female actors.
25 Great Actors Who’ve Never Been Nominated for an Oscar:
Next Five: Isabella Rossellini, Joan Bennett, Ewan McGregor, Danny Glover, and Nastassja Kinski
Brian Formo is a
on the featured contributor . You can follow him on Twitter at CraveOnline Film Channel ; he is a HUGE Seahawks fan, but this article was written with objective impartiality. @BrianEmilFormo
25 Best Actors and Actresses Who Haven't Received an Acting Oscar Nomination
25. Bill Paxton
Career: 35+ years (1980—Present) Could've Been Nominated For: Aliens (1986), Near Dark (1987), True Lies (1994), Apollo 13 (1995), A Simple Plan (1998), Frailty (2001), Nightcrawler (2014) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1994); Paxton True Lies has always been a fun supporting player in films that are (usually) totally ignored by the stuffy Academy: action, sci-fi, horror, etc. His closest brush with Oscar was an ensemble SAG award for Apollo 13 , and Ed Harris received the Oscar supporting nomination for that film (we would've nominated Paxton, however). But Paxton's always been the note-perfect supporting actor for director James Cameron. gets our pick for Paxton, playing the Lothario-wannabe who has to admit his lack of macho-manliness to the hulk-of-a-man that is Arnold Schwarzenegger. True Lies
Acting Nominations: Saturn Awards (Science Fiction and Fantasy Theatrical Films)
24. Steve Buscemi
Career: 29+ years (1986—Present) Could've Been Nominated For: Mystery Train (1989), Reservoir Dogs (1992), Living in Oblivion (1995), Fargo (1996), Ghost World (2001) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (2001); With Ghost World wrapping up soon, perhaps we'll soon see Buscemi fall back into the indie supporting actor groove that's he's vacated for the past few years (instead choosing to pop-up in comedic cameos). Boardwalk Empire
Our personal favorite is his romantic lead in
. An ode to passionate "losers," Buscemi's Seymour cannot relate to 99% of humanity. And Ghost World Ghost World is the love note to everyone who shares that affliction. And while that's certainly more than 1% of us—it does feel pretty isolating and lonely sometimes.
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, AFI Awards, Chlotrudis Awards, MTV Movie Awards, National Society of Film Critics, Satellite Awards, etc.
23. Gael Garcia Bernal
Career: 26+ years (1989—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Amores Perros (2000), Y Tu Mama Tambien (2001), The Motorcycle Diaries (2004), Bad Education (2004), The Science of Sleep (2006), No (2012) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (2004); Garcia Bernal had the hottest international-cinema hand from 2000—2006, starring in films from some of the biggest auteurs in Mexico (Iñárritu, Cuaron), Spain (Almodovar), and France (Gondry). Bad Education
Our choice from that period is
Bad Education . Pedro Almodovar is known for giving full, melodramatic roles to women on the outskirts of society, but his best male role he's written went to Garcia Bernal. In , Garcia Bernal plays both Angel, a transsexual prostitute, and Juan, who begins a relationship with the priest who molested his brother (his brother might actually be the inspiration for Angel in a friend's screenplay; the friend was also molested by the same priest). Garcia Bernal gets to go both vamp and psychotic for Almodovar—something the Spanish auteur usually reserves for his female characters. Bad Education
Acting Nominations: BAFTAs, Ariel Awards (Mexico), Chlotrudis Awards, MTV Movie Award (Mexico/Latin America), Spanish Actors Union, Satellite Awards
22. Jim Carrey
Career: 33+ years (1982—present) Could've Been Nominated For: The Cable Guy (1996), The Truman Show (1998), Man on the Moon (1999), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1999); Carrey was chasing an Oscar—and legitimacy within the acting community—during a five year run of serious dramas. He unjustly never received a nomination. Hell, we would've nominated him for his dark and bonkers turn in Man on the Moon . But when the Academy ignored Carrey's "respectable" dark and bonkers portrayal of comic The Cable Guy Andy Kaufman in a prestige film made by Milos Forman, they exposed some extreme comedic prejudice against the world's biggest movie star at the time.
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Saturn Awards (Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror), MTV Movie Awards, Kid's Choice, Teen's Choice, Satellite Awards, Online Film Critic's Awards, etc.
21. Bibi Andersson
Career: 58 years (1951—2009) Could've Been Nominated For: Wild Strawberries (1957), Brink of Life (1958), Persona (1966), Syskonbädd 1782 (1967), Scenes from a Marriage (1974), Babette's Feast (1987) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1966); it's hard for a foreign actor to get a nomination. But while the Academy truly loved Persona Ingmar Bergman, the Swedish auteur never received a directing nomination until the 1970s. By that time, Bergman had moved on to Liv Ullman as his main star, and Ullman received a Best Actress nomination to go along with a Bergman directing nomination in 1977. But all three should have—without a doubt—been nominated for . Persona
As a caretaker, Andersson delivers one of cinema's all-time best monologues, and subsequent breakdowns. Andersson's shift from relief to grief—about how her confession changes her relationship with her patient (Ullman)—is remarkable.
Acting Nominations: BAFTAs, National Society of Film Critics, Guldbagge Awards (Sweden)
20. Warren Oates
Career: 26 years (1957—1983) Could've Been Nominated For: In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Wild Bunch (1969), Two-Lane Blacktop (1971), Dillinger (1973), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), Cockfighter (1974), The Border (1982) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1971); Oates often played a drifter in films, but it wasn't just society that he didn't seem to belong to, it was the cinema of the time. He would've been perfect for the western era, but he was born too late. He would've been perfect for the 80s crime era, but he passed away too soon. Most of his characters are world-weary, and look face down at their drink. Two-Lane Blacktop
But Oates' best performance was probably GTO in
. Named after the car he drives, and identifies with, GTO is, perhaps, Oates' only character that existed in the exact right time: the time of the interstate. As GTO, Oates is the only character behind a motor who has a motormouth, and Oates relished the opportunity to spit a mile a minute. Two-Lane Blacktop
Acting Nomination: National Society of Film Critics
19. Anna Karina
Career: 42 years (1961—2003; retired) Could've Been Nominated For: A Woman is a Woman (1961), Vivre Sa Vie (My Life to Live) (1962), Le Petit Soldat (1963), Band of Outsiders (1964), La Ronde (1964), The Stranger (1967), Chinese Roulette (1976) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1962); Vivre Sa Vie Jean-Luc Godard's muse was much more than a haircut for French cool, she played women of agency. Never was their more agency in her presence than when she declares that "words should express what one wants to say" in Vivre sa Vie . What does she want to say, as a woman who slowly becomes a prostitute? A statement: it's her life to live. No one else's.
Acting Nominations: Cesar Awards (France)
18. Klaus Kinski
Career: 38 years (1951—1989) Could've Been Nominated For: Aguirre, The Wrath of God (1972), Nosferatu, The Vampyre (1979), Fitzcarraldo (1982), Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1982); Fitzcarraldo Werner Herzog rescued the wiry, wide-eyed, wide-foreheaded, and wily Kinski from European arthouse erotica, and the duo flourished for a decade of films. Our favorite is Kinski's opera-loving adventurer in . Kinski's bug eyes are perfect for the endeavor: moving a boat up a mountain, in order to bring an opera house to the bug-filled Amazon. Fitzcarraldo
Acting Nominations: German Film Awards, National Society of Film Critics
17. Glenn Ford
Career: 52 years (1939—1991) Could've Been Nominated For: Gilda (1946), The Big Heat (1953), Blackboard Jungle (1955), 3:10 to Yuma (1957), The Sheepman (1958), Pocketful of Miracles (1961), Superman (1978) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1953); Ford was a winning co-star in numerous female-led starring vehicles ( The Big Heat Rita Hayworth's Gilda, Loves of Carmen; Bette Davis' Stolen Life, etc.). But with his stocky build, by the time he was playing leading man tuffs, he might've been unfairly viewed as female eye candy due to his Hayworth introduction. In an image-jostler, Ford knocked around everyone in Fritz Lang's police corruption potboiler, (including leading lady The Big Heat Gloria Grahame). It's a great performance, that might've been too much a shift for proper recognition at the time.
Acting Nominations: BAFTAs, Golden Globes, Golden Apple (Most Cooperative Actor), Laurel Awards
16. Eli Wallach
Career: 54 years (1956—2010) Could've Been Nominated For: Baby Doll (1956), The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Misfits (1961), How to Steal a Million (1966), The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (1966), Movie Movie (1978) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1956); Wallach will forever be known as Tuco in Baby Doll But a decade prior, he'd given the best big screen acting debut ever in The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly. . In Baby Doll Elia Kazan's film, Wallach played creepy/sexy peek-a-boo with a 19-year-old girl ( Caroll Baker) who slept in an oversized crib and sucked her thumb.
Wallach actually was set to make a sterling cinematic debut in 1953 in
From Here to Eternity, but legend has it that the mafia threatened producers, and Frank Sinatra got the part (and an Oscar) instead.
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, BAFTAs; Wallach received a lifetime achievement Academy Award
15. Malcolm McDowell
Career: 48+ years (1967—present) Could've Been Nominated For: If... (1968), A Clockwork Orange (1971), O Lucky Man! (1973), Time After Time (1980), Cat People (1982) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1971); for the past few decades McDowell doesn't appear to say "no" to work (he has 13 films coming out this year, and had 13 appearances last year, most of which only played on TV). But there was a period where he was discerning, and delivered performances that captured the cultural malaise at the time. A Clockwork Orange
It's surprising that, since the Academy openly embraced
(nominating it for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay), that they didn't extend that goodwill to McDowell's central performance. Decades later, his Alex still makes all the icks stick. A Clockwork Orange
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, Saturn Awards, National Society of Film Critics
14. Ray Liotta
Career: 32+ years (1983—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Something Wild (1986), Goodfellas (1990), Unlawful Entry (1992), Narc (2002), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1986); In Something Wild Jonathan Demme's film, Liotta delivers all the furrowed-brow beatdowns, and discomforting laughter that should've gotten he nominated a few times already. In Something Wild, however, his performance (as a jilted ex of Melanie Griffith) throws a curveball into the narrative, instead of reinforcing it (like in Goodfellas). No longer a screwball comedy of suburban fantasy fulfillment ( Jeff Daniels' yuppie banker is kidnapped by a nymphomaniac punk, Griffith), Liotta's performance turns Wild into a dark twisted fantasy of revenge.
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, National Society of Film Critics, MTV Movie Awards
13. Dana Andrews
Career: 38 years (1940—1978) Could've Been Nominated For: The Ox-Bow Incident (1943), Laura (1944), A Walk in the Sun (1945), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Daisy Kenyon (1947), Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950), In Harm's Way (1965) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1943); Andrews was an under-appreciated noir actor. More composed, than menacing; but in noir nothing is as it seems, and everything is a front. It was his composition that made him so heartbreaking in The Ox-Bow Incident The as a man who's pleading for his life—while the manlier men, the more menacing men, men without time on their side—hold a makeshift tribunal in the middle of the night. Ox-Bow Incident,
Acting Nominations: Golden Apple Awards (Most Cooperative Actor)
12. Harry Dean Stanton
Career: 59+ years (1956—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Straight Time (1978), Alien (1979), Wise Blood (1979), Paris, Texas (1984), Fool for Love (1985), Wild at Heart (1990), The Green Mile (1999) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1984); Stanton's own forever-stubbled, always wrinkled face is a cinematic landscape unto itself. Paris, Texas Wim Wender's used that weathered landscape in Paris, Texas . Landscapes are easier to wade through than emotions, and Stanton has been wandering aimlessly through the desert for years. Stanton's performance is a marvel when he finally attempts to make amends to a child, a wife, a brother, and himself.
Acting Nominations: Screen Actors Guild
11. Myrna Loy
Career: 55 years (1925—1980) Could've Been Nominated For: Love Me Tonight (1932), The Penthouse (1933), The Thin Man (1934), Manhattan Melodrama (1934), To Mary—With Love (1936), After the Thin Man (1936), I Love You Again (1940), The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), Cheaper By the Dozen (1950) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1934); in an immensely fun film series about a married couple who attempt to solve murders for the kicks, it's Loy who was the most fun, and has the best lines in The Thin Man ; but it was The Thin Man William Powell who was nominated for an acting award, perhaps because he plays the titular character. Their marriage is a partnership, and their performance is linked. You shouldn't nominate one, and not the other. But the Academy inexplicably did.
Award Nominations: None. ; Loy won a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award
10. John Goodman
Career: 32+ years (1983—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Raising Arizona (1987), Sea of Love (1989), Arachnophobia (1990), Barton Fink (1991), The Big Lebowski (1998), Bringing Out the Dead (1999), Beyond the Sea (2004), Argo (2012), The Gambler (2014) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1991); Goodman generally has an "aw shucks" glean; but in Barton Fink Goodman gives an explosion. He has good intentions and tries to put good feet forward, but he's in a personal hell, and to hell goes those good intentions. Barton Fink
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Saturn Awards, Satellite Awards
9. John Turturro
Career: 35+ years (1980—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Do the Right Thing (1989), Miller's Crossing (1990), Barton Fink (1991), Quiz Show (1994), Clockers (1995), Box of Moon Light (1996), Grace of My Heart (1996), O Brother Where Art Thou? (2000) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1990); there's a reason why Turturro and Goodman are lumped together: they are the Coen Brothers' best main-players who've never been nominated (surprisingly, the only acting nominations that've come from the Coen Bros films are Miller's Crossing Frances McDormand, Javier Bardem, and William H. Macy; with the exception of McDormand, the nominated actors aren't Coen staples).
Turturro perhaps has a better resume than Goodman when you remove the Coen collaborations, but that mostly has to do with being a
Spike Lee pinch-hitter, as well. After Turturro's first collaboration with Lee—the racist, but not cartoonish pizza-chef in the Coens scooped him up for the selfish, unreliable gangster in Do the Right Thing— . In Coen film's Turturro always looks out for number one, and Goodman looks out for more. It's frequently the downfall for both of them. Miller's Crossing
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirt Awards, National Society of Film Critics, MTV Movie Awards, Chlotrudis Awards, David Di Donatello Awards (Italy), etc.
8. Jean-Louis Trintignant
Career: 59+ years (1956—present) Could've Been Nominated For: My Night at Maud's (1969), Z (1969), The Conformist (1970), Flic Story (1975), Confidentially Yours (1983), Red (1994), Amour (2012) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1970); Trintignant has a neighborly quality, and his performances might be easy to overlook. For example, the heartbreaking, physical performance from The Conformist Emmanuel Riva in , can only truly break your heart if Trintignant makes you feel his character's lingering connection to her; which he certainly does. Amour
There was a time when
Bernardo Bertolucci's was the most modern film ever made. And while it is frequently referenced for both its storytelling weave of flash-forwards and flashbacks, and for inspiring lighting techniques of America's 70's titans Coppola and Scorsese, Trintignant's performance was equally modern. It was internalized. You had to feel that every action he took was encoded to be opposite of what his character wanted to do. His performance tells two stories with each choice he makes. For Bertolucci the character is a political pawn, for Trintignant the conformity is a human tragedy. Conformist
Acting Nominations: Cesar Awards (France), European Film Awards, National Society of Film Critics
7. Mia Farrow
Career: 51+ years (1964—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Rosemary's Baby (1968), John and Mary (1969), Zelig (1983), Broadway Danny Rose (1984), The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Radio Days (1987), Alice (1990), Husbands and Wives (1992) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1968); with Rosemary's Baby Woody Allen's track record for writing leading and supporting female roles that've gone on to win multiple nominations and wins, it seems improbable that Farrow would go un-nominated. Farrow starred in 13 Allen films in a row; Farrow only took one role for a decade that wasn't in a Woody Allen film and that was . Supergirl
But as impressive as many of Farrow's roles were as Allen's decade-long muse, her most sterling work is still Roman Polanski's devil-worship shocker
. Farrow's performance hinges on the hush-hush approach we have to pregnancy, and how few women—for centuries—understood their own bodies' function in the "miracle of childbirth." The romantic notion of pregnancy is removed because Rosemary wants to be pregnant, and her husband says it was achieved while she slept. Rosemary has no agency in becoming pregnant, or in deciding how to care for the child inside her. The only decision that she is able to make on her own is whether or not to kill it when she learns she's carrying Satan's spawn. That's horror. And Farrow makes it human. Rosemary's Baby
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, BAFTAs, National Board of Review, Saturn Awards, David Di Donatello Awards (Italy), Henrietta Awards, Laurel Awards, Razzie Awards
6. Toshiro Mifune
Career: 48 years (1947—1995) Could've Been Nominated For: Seven Samurai (1954), Throne of Blood (1957), The Bad Sleep Well (1960), Yojimbo (1961), High and Low (1963), Red Beard (1965), Grand Prix (1966), Hell in the Pacific (1968) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1965); Mifune was much more than just Red Beard Akira Kurosawa's main samurai. He also played businessmen, feudal lords, and WWII generals. In he's a 19th century doctor, who is required to save the impoverished, the whorish, and the decadent with equal attention. And similarly, when he fights, it's slaying all walks of life with equal attention. Death comes to all, but dignity can be given to all deeds. And Mifune was a consistant dignified performer. Red Beard
Acting Nominations: BAFTAs, Mainchi Film Awards (Japan), Blue Ribbon Awards (Japan)
5. Scarlett Johansson
Career: 21+ years (1994—present) Could've Been Nominated For: The Man Who Wasn't There (2001), Ghost World (2001), Lost in Translation (2003), The Girl With the Pearl Earring (2003), Match Point (2005), Scoop (2006), Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008), Don Jon (2013), Her (2012), Under the Skin (2014) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (2001); Johansson is only 30 years old and is likely to get a nomination at some point in her career, but if you look at her credits it's absolutely absurd that she hasn't already had multiple. Ghost World would've been the proper place to start. Johansson's Rebecca falls into the herd of normalcy, after spending high school banded together with Enid ( Ghost World Thora Birch) as outpost binocular-watchers of homogenization. Rebecca is the first to the front-lines, and her spirit is killed and replaced.
Acting Nominations: Golden Globes, BAFTAs, Saturn Awards, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, American Comedy Awards, Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, British Independent Film Awards, Broadcast Film Critic Association Awards, Chlotrudis Awards, Gotham Awards, Irish Film and Television Awards, MTV Movie Awards, National Society of Film Critics, Online Film and Television Association, Online Film Critics Society, Satellite Awards, People's Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards
4. Isabelle Huppert
Career: 43+ years (1972—present) Could've Been Nominated For: The Lacemaker (1977), Violette (1978), Loulou (1981), Story of Women (1988), La Separation (1994), La Ceremonie (1995), School of Flesh (1998), The Piano Teacher (2001), 8 Women (2002), White Material (2009), Amour (2012) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (2001); Huppert has always been a modern woman—in WWII-set The Piano Teacher , she offers abortions; in 1930s-set The Story of Women she uses her wealth to commit crimes—so it makes sense that her most volcanic performance (in Violette Michael Haneke's ) would take an old world instrument (the piano) and make it sexual and violent. More of a coming of rage film, than coming of age, Huppert is a predator. The Piano Teacher
Acting Nominations: BAFTAs, Cesar Awards (France), National Society of Film Critics, Online Film Critics Association, Chlotrudis Awards, European Film Awards, David Di Donatello Awards (Italy), German Film Awards, Lumiere Awards (France), Russian Guild of Film Critics
3. Gong Li
Career: 28+ years (1987—present) Could've Been Nominated For: Raise the Red Lantern (1991), The Story of Qiu Ju (1992), Farewell My Concubine (1993), To Live (1994), Temptress Moon (1996), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Miami Vice (2006), Curse of the Golden Flower (2007) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1991); Gong was the beautiful muse for the first seven films of Raise the Red Lantern Zhang Yimou's illustrious career; she suffered as courtesan, and concubine for many of them, before finally staring in one of the director's recent martial arts films ( ). But as with many actors, our introduction to their suffering and woe is the strongest. The first cut is the deepest. For Western film audiences, that was The Curse of the Golden Flower . Raise the Red Lantern
Acting Nominations: National Board of Review, National Society of Film Critics, Asian Film Awards, Golden Rooster Awards (China), Chlotrudis Awards, Hunder Flower Awards (China), Hong Kong Film Awards, Golden Phoenix Awards (China), David Di Donatello Awards (Italy), Satellite Awards
2. Edward G. Robinson
Career: 57 years (1916—1973) Could've Been Nominated For: Little Caesar (1931), Five Star Final (1931), The Little Giant (1933), The Whole Town's Talking (1935), Kid Galahad (1937), The Sea Wolf (1941), Double Indemnity (1944), The Woman in the Window (1944), Scarlet Street (1945), The Stranger (1946), Key Largo (1948), House of Strangers (1949), The Cincinnati Kid (1965) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1948); the Academy's aversion to nominating gangster roles kept one of the most menacing early gangsters behind the velvet rope. Key Largo James Cagney got invited to the big party by singing America's praises in , but Robinson rarely dropped the Tommy Gun. Yankee Doodle Dandy
When he did, Robinson often played suicidal and murderous characters. In the pre-Code days he was too menacing to be nominated, and in the Code days his collaborators (
Fritz Lang, Michael Curtiz, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder) were always fighting the censors. Robinson's characters always stayed in the muck. And his amazing career was only rewarded with a Lifetime Achievement Oscar two months after he died.
Shamefully, the Academy missed numerous occasions to justly single him out when he was alive. And man—as an actor—he was so alive!
would've been simple to single out because he had Bogie on his side. But you could make a case for most every film he made from 1931-1949. Key Largo
Acting Nominations: Laurel Awards; Lifetime Achievement Academy Award (posthumous)
1. Donald Sutherland
Career: 52+ years (1963—present) Could've Been Nominated For: M*A*S*H (1970), Little Murders (1971), Klute (1971), Don't Look Now (1973), The Day of the Locust (1975), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Ordinary People (1980), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Six Degrees of Separation (1993), Without Limits (1998), Panic (2000), Pride and Prejudice (2005) Should've (At Least) Been Nominated For: (1980); Sutherland has been a calming presence for decades. His smile assures. His facial hair turns upright. And his voice has a syrupy, assured hum. Ordinary People
Sutherland has never been flashy (except maybe his under-seen, great cameo in
his preacher incited rage Little Murders; long-before the Red Wedding, y'all). He's generally calm, contained, reliable. Real. Even his famous sex scene ( ) is rumored to be real. Don't Look Now
Everyday realness is that's something that's hard for Oscars to reward. But look at Sutherland's filmography: very few actors are still giving great performances after four decades. But Sutherland still is. Usually actors lose whatever their "it" factor was. Sutherland's "it" factor is grounded candor.
Nothing exemplifies this quality more than his great, anchor performance in
. Mary Tyler Moore gets to break dishes, Timothy Hutton gets to throw punches and talk about suicide. Emile Hirsch gets to tell Hutton that it's not his fault. But Sutherland has to keep all these people from going off the rails. He has to be the figure that is turned to for reassurance. He's the anchor. And that's why he's been so steady for so long. Shame on the Academy for not recognizing him, yet. But, even at 79, we think Sutherland still has time to continue to deliver grounded, soulful performances. And perhaps might become the oldest to receive a first nomination. Ordinary People