And The Oscar Nominees Should Be…

I have done really well on my annual attempt to see all the big Oscar nominees by show time (Sunday, February 28) – and even better to anticipate them by nomination time (Thursday, January 14). After seeing a great New York Times article listing who Manhola Dargis, A.O. Scott, and Stephen Holden thing the nominees should be, I decided to have a hand at my own list.


From the Times, I learned how many films I still haven’t seen that are quite notable, even if they will be ignored the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. They cite The Assassin, Experimenter, Results, Clouds of Sils Maria, Tangerine, 99 Homes, James White, The Diary of Teenage Girl, and two films I just never got around two seeing, Magic Mike XXL and Grandma. So for an amateur film buff, I might have done all right, but I have miles to watch.

Here are my thoughts on which Actors should be nominated based on the power and quality of their work. They ignore the Academy’s usual disdain for certain genres. They also don’t accept a lead role being positioned as supporting to help move an actor into a more winnable category.

Best Actor

  • Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
  • Gera Rohrig, Son of Saul
  • Jacob Tremblay, Room

I proudly nominate two children and in their rightful category as Best Actor.


Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett, Carol
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Teyonah Parris, Chi-Raq
  • Daisy Ridley, Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  • Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road

Academy hates Sci-Fi and though there is a small chance Theron will see a nomination, it is unlikely.


Supporting Actor

  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Tom Noonan, Anomalisa
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Jason Staitham, Spy

Academy hates comedies and almost never nominates any comedic actor in a funny role. Kevin Kline and Diane Keaton are the rare exceptions for true comedies (not dramas with a few laughs).


Supporting Actress

  • Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, Anomalisa
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Wikander, Ex-Machina
  • Kate Winslet, Jobs

Winslet was the best thing in Jobs. Wikander will be nominated for her very good work in The Danish Girl, but (along with Rooney Mara) in a category fraud of Supporting Actress. Jennifer Jason Leigh was quite good in The Hateful Eight, but she, and the whole voice cast, was outstanding in Anomalisa. No voice actor has ever been nominated.


Obviously making a list of 5 means excluding other fantastic performances. This list is a bit premature thanks to the Times reminding me of at least 10 films with stellar acting roles that I haven’t seen. So I’ll hold off my Top 10 films of the year until I have seen a few others.

What were your favorite acting performances of 2015?

6 comments on “And The Oscar Nominees Should Be…

  1. Susan Izeman says:

    I thought Bryan Cranston was breathtaking in Trumbo. I haven’t done as well as you have in keeping up with the movies, but I would be stunned if he’s not nominated.

    • mkaiserman says:

      Cranston was on my short list, but adding the kids (Attah and Tremblay) meant outstanding adults wouldn’t make it. My list is who I would nominate. But you are right and the Academy will nominate him.

  2. Jonathan Malamy says:

    Manhole Dargis?? Autocorrect or misogyny?

  3. David Bravo says:

    The lead actress in Brooklyn should be on your list.

    • mkaiserman says:

      Saoirse Ronan was my #6 pick and a difficult cut. If anything I put in Daisy Ridley since she will not be getting Oscar love and Ronan almost certainly will.

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