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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?