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This article was first published 11 years ago

Ten GREAT Performances Overlooked By The Oscars

Last updated on: February 22, 2013 16:59 IST

Image: Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine
Raja Sen in Mumbai
We might all fight about which nominee should win or who didn't deserve her prize, but there are times when Uncle Oscar goofs up royally even before the envelope is opened.

Here are 10 performances -- from the last 10 years -- that should have been singled out, lauded and given trophies to. Instead, they weren't even nominated.

Shameful omissions, these.

Have a look at my list and share other Oscar-worthy performances you think the Academy missed out on.

Ryan Gosling, Blue Valentine (2010)

Michelle Williams was nominated for her bit in this devastatingly naked look at a breaking marriage, but she was only one half of a truly special acting combination.

Gosling shone remarkably bright in Derek Cianfrance's film, and should have been handed every award in existence.

John C Reilly, Cedar Rapids (2011)

Image: John C Reilly in Cedar Rapids
Migeul Arteta's comedy brimmed over with a terrific cast -- Ed Helms, Kurtwood Smith, Alia Shawkat, Sigourney Weaver, Rob Corddry -- but the standout performance here came from Reilly, playing insurance agent Dean Ziegler.

The Academy doesn't often reward comedic performances, but this one certainly deserved at least a nomination.

Mila Kunis, Black Swan (2010)

Image: Mila Kunis in Black Swan
Darren Aronofsky's darkly intense psychological thriller rested (quite literally) on the backs of two gifted young actresses, and while the Academy singled Natalie Portman out for praise, it overlooked her fantastic foil.

Kunis -- as the titular Black Swan -- had a terrifically twisted role and, more impressive in my eyes than Portman even. She is the reason the film remains haunting. 

Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right (2010)

Image: Julianne Moore in The Kids Are Alright
It is always a shame when one half of an acting duo is rewarded and the other loses out, and in the case of this wonderful Lisa Cholodenko drama, Moore was better than Annette Bening, who got nominated.

Playing a homemaker with eyes on a landscape design business, Moore -- as always -- is pitch-perfect.

Paul Bettany, Creation (2009)

Image: Paul Bettany in Creation

In this interesting but tragically under-viewed 2009 film, Bettany played Charles Darwin -- and did a smashing job of it.

As roles go, it's a massive acting challenge and Bettany, who lightly floats between genius and absent-mindedness, seems every bit the man who wrote The Origin Of Species.

Don Cheadle, Talk To Me (2007)

Image: Don Cheadle in Talk To Me

A wonderfully fascinating biopic, this Kasi Lemmons feature tells the story of an ex-con who turned into a radio jockey.

Cheadle is off-the-wall good as Ralph Greene, freewheeling, spontaneous and constantly credible.

It's a stunner of a performance, one I recommend heavily if you haven't seen it already.

Aaron Eckhart, Thank You For Smoking (2005)

Image: Aaron Eckhart in Thank You For Smoking

Silvertongued protagonists often make for memorable characters, and Eckhart's Nick Naylor is as articulate as a machine gun can be.

Forceful, dynamic and oscillating between charming and disarming, this is an acting job that deserved a huge ovation and, at the very least, a Best Actor nomination.


Paul Giamatti, Sideways (2004)

Image: Paul Giamatti in Sideways

The single most popular film about wine in motion picture history, Alexander Payne's Sideways did more than teach us that Pinot Noir can be white.

A crackling story about men and friendship and priorities, the film nabbed well-deserved nominations for Thomas Haden Church (Supporting Actor) and Virginia Madsen (Supporting Actress) but the Academy left merlot-hating hero Giamatti out in the cold. Grr.


Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road (2008)

Image: Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road

Winslet won the Oscar the same year for The Reader, but that doesn't excuse the shameful oversight of her being looked over for what may well be her finest-ever performance.

She's heartbreakingly good in Sam Mendes' adaptation of Richard Yates novel, relatable to a fault and blurring the line between life and acting.

I dare you to watch Winslet in this film and remain unmoved.


Sally Hawkins, Happy Go Lucky (2008)

Image: Sally Hawkins in Happy Go Lucky
This beautiful, beautiful Mike Leigh film -- about a delightfully, ridiculously optimistic schoolteacher -- is a thing of sheer, staggering joy.

Hawkins is the frequently-smiling heart of the dramedy, indefatigably cheery even in the face of the unsunniest of days.

She flummoxes, infuriates, exasperates and, above all, enchants.

Go ahead and marvel.