Thursday, February 21, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #33: Great Performances That Did Not Receive Oscar Nominations

Thirteen Great Performances That Did Not Receive Oscar Nominations

If you are like me, you often shake your head when the Oscar nominees are announced. For various reasons (racism, politics, ignorance, etc.), many great performances fall through the cracks in the minds of the Academy voters. Below are 13 performances that I feel were overlooked when the Oscar nominations were announced in their respective years of eligibility. Please note that I am not saying that the following performances should have won Oscars. However, at the very least they were worthy of inclusion with the other nominees.

1. Jim Carrey for "Liar Liar" (1997)

The Academy has a long history of overlooking worthy comedic performances. Carrey's portrayal of a lawyer forced to tell the truth is physical comedy at its best... he worked his ass off in that movie!

2. Bobby Darin for "Pressure Point" (1962)

For those who only know Darin as a singer, his performance as a disturbed prison inmate with Nazi beliefs will be a revelation. He even goes toe-to-toe acting-wise with the formidable Sidney Poitier (who plays the psychiatrist assigned to his case). Once you watch this WW II era drama, you will never think of the game Tic-Tac-Toe the same way.

3. Ossie Davis for "Do the Right Thing" (1989)

As Da Mayor in Spike Lee's incendiary drama on race relations, Davis (above left, with Lee) gives a performance that is both funny and touching. One of my favorite scenes in the film is when he tells some of the neighborhood youth about the pain and struggle he faced in trying to raise a family.

4. Andy Griffith for "A Face In the Crowd" (1957)

If you go into this film only knowing Griffith as either good old Sheriff Andy Taylor or lawyer Ben Matlock (aka The Man With A Thousand White Suits), you better brace yourself. In his film debut as a drifter who becomes a tyrannical TV star, Griffith gives a powerhouse performance in which he shows us the dark side of fame and power.

5. Samuel L. Jackson for "Jungle Fever" (1991)

In his breakthrough role as the crack addicted Gator, Jackson (above left with Ruby Dee) was amazing. Even though the Oscars failed to give him his due, the Cannes Film Festival was very impressed. They even awarded a special "Supporting Actor" prize just for him.

6. Jack Lemmon for "Glengarry Glen Ross" (1992)

In this David Mamet film about real estate salesmen, Lemmon gave the performance of his career. As Shelley "The Machine" Levene, a former hotshot salesman who has fallen on hard times, Lemmon displayed that nervous, edgy desperation that was his forte.

7. Ida Lupino for "The Hard Way" (1942)

As a woman who will stop at nothing to ensure her younger sister's rise in show business, Lupino proves that she could play cold and ruthless characters just as well as her contemporaries Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

8. Judd Nelson for "The Breakfast Club" (1985)

In a movie filled with solid performances, Nelson's portrayal of rebellious stoner John Bender is the standout in my opinion. Although he had many funny and memorable quotes, Nelson showed that he was more than capable of playing the scared and vulnerable side of his character too.

9. Keke Palmer for "Akeelah and the Bee" (2006)

Palmer's portrayal of a South Central girl who overcomes many challenges to compete in the Scripps National Spelling Bee is both heartwarming and inspiring. The fact that this then 12 year old actress held her own with co-stars Laurence Fishburne and Angela Bassett shows you that she has a lot of promise. The mainstream media falls all over themselves praising other up-and-coming actresses such as Dakota Fanning and Abigail Breslin. Palmer deserves to be mentioned right along with them.

10. Sidney Poitier for "Raisin In the Sun" (1961)

When he was practically the only Black actor seen in major roles on the big screen, Poitier (above right with Ruby Dee) was usually cast in noble good guy roles. In this adaptation of the Lorraine Hansberry play, Poitier gets to let loose as a husband and father slowly cracking under the strain of being black and poor in America. P. Diddy has some big shoes to fill.

11. Edward G. Robinson for "Key Largo" (1948)

The fact that the legendary Robinson NEVER received an Oscar nomination for any of his big screen performances is bullshit. As a result, I had plenty of roles from which to choose when compiling this TT. I decided to go with his performance as the notorious fugitive gangster Johnny Rocco; one of the all-time great screen villains.

12. Ray Sharkey for "The Idolmaker" (1980)

In this cult film about the early days of rock and roll, Sharkey (above left with Peter Gallagher) played a Svengali-like songwriter/manager whose control freakishness threatens to destroy him and everyone he cares about. His performance is dynamic from start to finish.

13. Alfre Woodard for "Down In the Delta" (1998)

In a change of pace role as a drug addicted single mother who turns her life around after being sent by her mother to live with relatives in Mississippi, Woodard (above right with Wesley Snipes) is believable both before and after her character's transformation.

What are some of your favorite performances that were ignored by Oscar? Although I chose to stick with those that weren't nominated, feel free to pick Oscar nominees that didn't win.

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pjazzypar said...

I agree wholeheartedly about your choices. You must be reading my mind. You'll see what I mean next week. But seriously KeKe Palmer was superb in the role as Akeelah. I have yet to see "A Face In The Crowd" and I am really anxious to because it is hard to imagine Andy Griffith as anything but a sweet, sweet man. I actually enjoyed Jim Carrey in "The Majestic" and "The Truman Show" two of his non comedic roles. I don't think people can accept him in that way. You know I love me some crackhead gator. Excellent list.

SJ Reidhead said...

Edward G. Robinson had one of the GREAT movie entrances in Key Largo! You are right about that one, for sure.

The Pink Flamingo

Sandy Carlson said...

I'm with you on this whole list! You have marvelously good and discriminating taste.

Morgan Leigh said...

Great list! :) Happy Thursday!

Holly Smith said...

I agree with you on a bunch of these.

First of all, I think Liar Liar is one of Jim Carrey's best performances ever.

I remember Samuel L. Jackson in Jungle Fever. He was pretty darn convincing as a crack addict.

But, my favorite on the list is Keke Palmer in Akeelah and the Bee. A while back, it was playing almost every day on either Showtime or HBO. It is so my kind of movie. I'll admit that it made me cry happy tears the first couple of times I saw it. Being that I was a teacher of kids about that age, I just thought it was so realistic. She did a great job, and definitely should have been recognized!

Candy Minx said...

A terrific idea for A Thursday Thirteen list! Ozzie Davis and Jack Lemmons performances you listed for sure...some of the others I wil check out by adding to my "renters list" I love Jungle Fever I love Jackson in almost everything...I even watched half of Snakes on Plane because of him...

Here is my Thursday Thirteen list:

Chelle Y. said...

I loved Akeelah and the Bee. It was such a sweet movie!

Nicholas said...

I've only seen one of those: jack Lemmon in Glengarry, Glenn Ross. Yes, it was an excellent performance. I worked in sales for 20 years and i met that character several times!

Cricket's Hearth said...

I agree with you, there have been many performances overlooked over the years!

Joyismygoal said...

I loved #9

The Gal Herself said...

I soooo agree with #4. Andy Griffith is truly amazing in that role, and seeing him as the vulgar restaurant owner in Waitress reminded me of that. Alao, everyone should see Face in the Crowd, just for insight into talk radio. The more things change, the more they stay the same,huh? BTW, I think this is the first time I got to your TT BEFORE you hit mine! Please come by. It's movie-related, too.

Di said...

I have one for nominated, should have won. Annette Benning. I can't believe she's never won. Her performance in American Beauty was stellar.

The Flying Monkeys said...

Oh yeah KEKE is great, as is The Breakfast club guy!

great list, I enjoyed it very much! Come check out the NASTIEST THING over on my blog!

Jay said...

That's an outstanding list. I like all of them but most of all Ossie Davis, Sidney Poitier and Andy Griffith.

In fact, not only was Andy Griffith great in "A Face in the Crowd" but that that movie was just a really, REALLY great movie period!

Open Grove Claudia said...

I was bummed when Simon Pegg didn't get a nod for Shaun of the Dead. :)

Of course, that's like the only movie I remember. lol! I do like your choices - I even SAW some of those movies.

You know, you do a great job making this entertainment stuff interesting and personal. It's a real talent.

Happy TT! :)

Natalie said...

I completely agree with your list. KeKe Palmer was great as Akeelah as was Jim Carey in Liar, Liar.

Happy TT!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

You're totally right about Judd Nelson in that role. I think I fell for stoner types because of that role; I was looking for their soft side. Sadly, it was lacking in most others.

Hoyeya said...

I disagree with only two of your choices and wholeheartedly agree with you about Keke Palmer. She was magnificent in Akeelah and the Bee. I became completely put out with the Academy when they overlooked Maia Morgenstern for her role as Mary in The Passion of the Christ.

CQ said...

I agree with you on most of these especially with #10.

Malcolm said...

Pjazzy: I am fairly confident that you will enjoy "A Face In the Crowd". According to their schedule, TCM will be airing it again on Wed April 30th at 10 am EST.

By the way, I can't wait to see your TT next week.

SJ: Good call on Edward G.'s entrance in "Key Largo". Director John Huston said that seeing Edward G. in the bathtub reminded him of a giant lobster.

Sandy: Thank you very much!

Holly: The Academy needs to stop being so uppity and give credit to more comedies. I read yesterday that Samuel was going through addiction at the time and that he felt his role in "Jungle Fever" was cathartic for him.

Because of your background as a teacher, I can see why "Akeelah and the Bee" affected you the way it did. One of my favorite parts was when she pretended to jump rope during the spelling bee to assist her with a difficult word.

Candy: Thank you! Another one of my favorite parts in "Do the Right Thing" is when Ossie Davis goes into the Korean store and finds that they don't have any Miller High Life.

Chelle Y.: I stumbled upon "Akeelah and the Bee" about 30 minutes into it last summer. I liked it so much that I checked to find out when it was coming on again so that I could watch it from the beginning... which I did the next day.

Nicholas: I'll bet you have some great stories about your dealings with Shelley Levine types from your years in sales.

Cricket: There have been so many, that I might make this an annual thing for Thursday Thirteen come Oscar time.

Joyismygoal: Wow, "Akeelah and the Bee" is getting a whole lot of love from you and other bloggers.

The Gal Herself: When I received the notification that you had left a comment, I too was thinking that this was the first time you got to my TT before I did yours. I have heard some really good things about "Waitress". I'll have to ask my girlfriend to put it in her Net Flix queue (if she hasn't already).

Di: Thanks for stopping by and playing along. I only caught a part of "American Beauty". I'll have to check it out again. I did like Bening's work in "Bugsy" and "The Grifters".

The Flying Monkeys: I remember a critic at the time felt that both Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez were worthy of Oscar consideration for their work in The Breakfast Club.

Jay: One of the great things about "A Face In the Crowd" is that although it's over 50 years old, it is still relevant today.

Open Grove: Thanks for the positive feedback about my Thursday Thirteens. I try to make them as entertaining as possible. It would be easy for me to just list the actors/movies, etc., but what fun would that be?

Natalie: If the people who commented on this post were Oscar voters, Keke Palmer just might have a little golden statuette on her trophy shelf.

Susan: It's too bad that real life sometimes doesn't imitate reel life.

Hoyeya: Don't leave me hanging... tell me the two performances on the list with which you disagree. :-)

I still watch the Oscars every year. However, I first realized that they were a bunch of BS when "Out of Africa" won a boat load of awards, while "The Color Purple" was shut out.

CQ: "A Raisin In the Sun" is one of those movies that I will watch every time it's on, even though I have seen it repeatedly.

Lara Angelina said...

Great list and I agree on every single one...! I'm not sure I could come up with a better or more well rounded list!
Terrific TT!

Xakara said...

Great list Malcolm! I agree with you on all the ones I've seen :)

There's temptation to offer my own, but I'll refrain and just say

Happy TT

~Xakara <----Please use this link

Lynne said...

Interesting list. Those are all great performances, I agree.

The Rock Chick said...

I haven't seen all of those movies, but most of the performances you've listed were fabulous, especially Judd Nelson and Jim Carrey's..for some reason, both of those performances were very memorable to me!e

maggie said...

Thanks for visiting my TT! I love your list. In particular, Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club was just outstanding. To this day, I remember his lines and how he delivered them with the right balance of tough and vulnerable as the character demanded.

Diana said...

Oooh...I haven't seen some of those movies. I'll have to add them to my "to see" list! Thanks for stopping by my blog!!

Anonymous said...

Samuel L. Jackson in "Black Snake Moan". Seriously wonderful movie.

And honestly, Anton Yelchin in Alpha Dog. Ben Foster in, pretty much anything.

There are so many.

Pamela Kramer said...

Very cool list indeed! I have to agree with you on some of those but the rest I haven't seen. Maybe I should add them to my Netflix queue. Happy TT.

Byrning Bunny said...

I'm glad you included a comedian in this list. I understand why they get left out, but as you stated, they work their butt's off and deserve to at least be recognized. Most of the other choices I agree with too, and there were a few that I haven't seen, so now I'll have some good ones to look for. Thanks.

Byrning Bunny said...

I'm glad you included a comedian in this list. I understand why they get left out, but as you stated, they work their butt's off and deserve to at least be recognized. Most of the other choices I agree with too, and there were a few that I haven't seen, so now I'll have some good ones to look for. Thanks.

No Nonsense Girl said...

Great topic Malcolm! :)

Happy T 13! :)

The Mama Bear said...

I agree for 8, 9, 10, 12 and 13 most definitely...can't really say on the other ones.

Nicole Austin said...

All great movies. Its a shame they never received the nod.

Malcolm said...

Lara Angelina: Thanks for the kind words... I appreciate it.

Xakara: Aw, I wish you would have shared some of your Oscar snubs.

Jessica: I know that you are a fan of "The Breakfast Club" from way back. To me, Judd was given some great lines and didn't let any of them go to waste.

Maggie: During my freshman year in college, me and many of my friends had "The Breakfast Club" memorized. Of all the roles, John Bender (Nelson) was the one we quoted the most.

Diana: If your "to see" movie list is anything like mine, you will need at least a month to catch up, lol. Thanks for paying me a visit.

Michael T: And my list of "too see" movies is growing once again. The premise for "Black Snake Moan" was very intriguing to me. I'll have to put in a request for my girlfriend to Net Flix it.

Pamela: Thanks for stopping by! If you do happen to check out any of the films on this list, feel free to stop back and let me know what you thought.

Byrning Bunny: I think it's funny how snobbish the Academy can be when it comes to honoring comedy. It's like the old saying goes, "dying is easy comedy is hard."

Mama Bear: Back when we first got cable in the early 80s, I watched "The Idolmaker" numerous times. It's a shame that Ray Sharkey's life and career were cut short.

Nicole: Truly a shame.

Nap Warden said...

I will be showing my generation here but #8 is my favorite!

Dane Bramage said...

Andy Griffith had a few roles where he was downright evil.

As for never nominated, Donald Sutherland has been repeatedly overlooked. I think he was excellant in "Eye of the Needle". And Ordinary People too.

X. Dell said...

Some pretty good performances here.

I'm sure you saw the outtakes of Liar, Liar where (I think) Swoozie Kurtz is trading insults with him, and takes him by surprise when she yells out "overactor." That's what I thought of his perfomance there as well. However, I think he is a very fine actor, and has given some sparkling performances in Man on the Moon, and The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I didn't see Nelson, Lupino, or Darrin in those roles, but I think the others are excellent choices.

Infinity Goods said...

The only one I've seen is Liar, Liar and I agree with you. I'm sure I would agree with you for Sidney Poitier and Jack Lemmon. These two actors are fantastic.

Angelika said...

I've only seen a few of those movies. But Akeelah & the Bee was a pleasant surprise when I saw it. :-)

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Malcolm said...

Nap Warden: You could easily lie and say that you discovered "The Breakfast Club" from watching airings of it on USA or Comedy Central. :-)

Dane: Did you ever catch the TV-movie "Gramps" starring Griffith and John Ritter? Andy was the devil incarnate in that film. I agree with you about Donald Sutherland. He has turned in some solid work over the years that at least was worthy of an Oscar nom.

X. Dell: If the outtakes were in the closing credits of "Liar Liar", I saw them... but don't remember the details. I forgot about "Man On the Moon"... Jim Carrey was damn good in that.

Infinity: Both "Raisin In the Sun" and "Glengarry Glen Ross" come on TV fairly regularly. Both are well worth a look if you are able to catch them.

Angelika: I am a sucker for movies like "Akeelah and the Bee": movies about underdogs who overcome various obstacles to triumph in the end.

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