And the award for Biggest Snubbee goes to…10 actors who deserve Oscars

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And the award for Biggest Snubbee goes to…10 actors who deserve Oscars

Randi Peterson

After the Golden Globes, some people have again cried out about how unfair it is that Leonardo DiCaprio has again gone home empty handed. Leo’s a great actor, he does deserve an Oscar, and he will surely get it one day (hopefully sooner rather than later, because Leo gave blood in “Django Unchained,” and there’s no knowing how much farther he’ll go).

His role as Calvin Candie in “Djagno” was brilliantly executed, but his biggest rival came from the same set, a Tarantino-Christoph Waltz duo that has twice proven powerful, if not invincible. If there were an award for Biggest Snubbee, he would undoubtedly score a nomination, but, once again, he would go home empty handed. Here are 10 other actors who deserve an Oscar, but have never received one.

Brad Pitt: Brad Pitt isn’t just a pretty boy. Sure, he was named Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine twice, but he has also earned four Oscar noms and five Golden Globe noms, which only earned him a single Golden Globe. He has proven, time and time again, that he is an actor to be respected as he has excelled in a variety of roles, from the serious “Fight Club” to his goofy character in “Burn after Reading.”

Matt Damon: Matt Damon doesn’t fit in with this list as he has won an Oscar, but for Best Original Screenplay for “Good Will Hunting” (which also earned him a Best Actor nomination). He hasn’t shied away from the stranger roles, like Wilhelm Grimm in “The Brothers Grimm,” contrasting with some mainstream action roles like in the “Bourne trilogy” and “Green Zone.” While the action movies won’t get him the Oscar, they helped him gain popularity and showcased the versatility of his acting, which could help him take home the golden guy one day.

Robert Downey Jr.: With the popularity of Iron Man, RDJ’s career has made an incredible rebound after the criminal troubles he had several years ago. However, he hasn’t been taking roles that will get him an Oscar (sorry, Marvel fans). In “Tropic Thunder,” he took on a challenging role of an actor who is trying to play a black man (despite being white). While the movie is comedic and even a bit ridiculous, Downey’s performance was incredible, and earned him a nomination. RDJ has the skills to win an Oscar, but his ability to win one will depend on the roles he chooses in the future.

Ed Norton: Norton’s career is young, but has been extremely successful. From his very first role as Aaron Stampler in “Primal Fear,” he received outstanding recognition (including a supporting actor nomination). Since, he has had few roles for which he has gone unrecognized by some type of film award institution. At 43 years young, he has ample time to find the right film and the right role to win an Academy Award.

Johnny Depp: Johhny Depp has made a career of playing weirdos. From Edward Scissorhands to Captain Jack Sparrow, Depp has never been afraid to take on an odd role and add his own spin to make what could have been a Jar-Jar Binks-esque joke of the movie world (if handled incorrectly) into one of the most beloved characters. He has earned three Academy Award nominations, for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,” “Finding Neverland,” and “Sweeny Todd.” He is still young and will at some point be giving an acceptance speech at the Academy Awards (and Helena Bonham Carter will be right there with him).

The Brits: In the 84 previous years of the Academy Awards ceremony, there have been 84 men given the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, or the earlier equivalent. Only 17 of these awards have gone to a British actor (two of which went to Daniel Day-Lewis). Which doesn’t make sense, as anyone who has watched an average British film and an average American film could tell you that British acting trumps American acting any day of the week. This can be attributed to the country’s respect of theater as an art, one that respects the history of the art, instead of a country that generally picks their favorite actors based on appearance (what is a Kardashian?). That’s not to say that there aren’t good American actors, but it seems that the Academy has repeatedly overlooked the country with the greatest supply of great actors. Here are some of their best.

Ewan McGregor: Like most British actors, McGregor started his career in theater, but has since transitioned to the film scene as Hollywood’s hipster. With the exception of “Star Wars” and “Angels and Demons,” he has taken roles in many smaller films that no one has really heard of. Most recently, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” earned him a Golden Globe nomination. He avoids the mainstream roles, and has played anything from a gay prisoner, opposite of Jim Carrey in “I Love You Phillip Morris” to the role of Elmont, the leader of the king’s guard in “Jack the Giant Slayer” (to be released later this year). His skill and variety make him worthy of more recognition than he gets.

Liam Neeson: He came close with his performance as Oskar Schindler, but was beat out by a deserving Tom Hanks. For whatever reason, in recent years, he has been taking literally any role thrown at him. If he doesn’t stop doing movies like “Taken” and “Clash of the Titians,” the acting world may lose all respect for him, and it will be difficult to take any of his roles seriously, regardless of the skill. If he starts being more selective with his roles and really putting his all into a good film, he has the skills to take home an Oscar. (FYI: Liam Neeson is Irish, but he was born in Northern Ireland, making him technically British.)

Alan Rickman: Believe it or not, he’s done more than play Severus Snape. He has made a long career of theater and has appeared in a variety of films. He seems to have an affinity for sci-fi and fantasy movies, which probably won’t help him with an Oscar bid, as the Academy is in infatuated with serious historical dramas (“Galaxy Quest” isn’t really Oscar-worthy). However, in 2013, Rickman is set to portray Ronald Regan in “The Butler,” a historical drama about a butler who served eight presidents (on an unrelated but interesting note, John Cusack will play Nixon and Robin Williams will play Eisenhower). While Rickman has a supporting part, the historical part gives him a chance to catch the attention of the Academy.

Ian McKellen: The fact that Ian McKellen has not won an Academy Award is almost a point of embarrassment for the Academy. He has had a brilliant career as an English stage actor, and his skills are easily transferred to the silver screen. He has won multiple Laurence Olivier awards (a British theater award), a Tony, a Golden Globe, and five Emmy nominations, with only two measly Academy Award nominations. No actor has a larger respect for the art of acting and everything it should be. If the Academy is insistent upon not giving him an Oscar for a specific role, they minimally should recognize him with an honorary Oscar.

Gary Oldman: Gary Oldman may be the ultimate snubbee. He has never received a Golden Globe nomination and has only received a single Academy Award nom. This is entire Gary Oldman’s fault. His problem? He’s too good. In almost all of his roles, he abandons his identity as Gary Oldman and completely assumes the identity of his character. Often times, it’s impossible to identify him in a film if you’re not really watching for him. His acting is too good; he just blends in. In America, he’s only really known as Lt. Jim Gordon from Batman or that one guy who’s always the bad guy. As one of the greatest actors of our time, he has not even come close to receiving the recognition he deserves.

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