Sins of Omission: 13 Past Performances The Academy Should Have Nominated

They have a right to be pissed.

It’s the most important morning of the year. Hollywood is temporarily jolted from its stupor for a ten-minute rollercoaster of natural highs and shattered dreams. Nothing but … shattered dreams.

It’s those shattered dreams that immediately become the focus after the Oscar nominations are announced. With only five slots per category, deserving actors are excluded, and that’s when the fun begins, as the discussion about the “snubs” commences.

That was especially true this year, as a flurry of serious contenders were nowhere to be found. Charlize Theron, Tilda Swinton, Leonardo Dicaprio, and Albert Brooks were the names most bandied about, along with Andy Serkis (and they should really either nominate him, or give him a special Oscar for his unique contributions to film.)

Of course, Oscar has a history of overlooking interesting and memorable performances. Let’s take a look at a few notable Oscar omissions. Some of them may be obvious, some may be obscure, and some may be … controversial, but they all deserved that early morning wake-up call. And because an entry has to warrant an exit, we’ll kick out one of the real nominees!


Joan Cusack in Addams Family Values

The 1993 nominees for Best Supporting Actress were:

Winona Ryder in The Age Of Innocence
Anna Paquin in The Piano (winner)
Holly Hunter in The Firm
Rosie Perez in Fearless
Emma Thompson in In The Name Of The Father

Addams Family Values was vastly superior to the original film, thanks primarily to the inspired comic performance of the faboo Joan Cusack (well, and the Thanksgiving pageant, of course). Her climactic speech has been used in acting auditions and can be recited verbatim by gay boys around the world at a moment’s notice:

My parents, Sharon and Dave. Generous, doting, or were they? All I ever wanted was a Ballerina Barbie. In her pretty pink tutu. My Birthday. I was 10, and do you know what they got me? Malibu Barbie. That’s not what I wanted! That’s not who I was. I was a Ballerina, graceful, delicate! They had to go.

With Joan in, which real nominee should get the boot? Well, Holly won Lead Actress for The Piano, so her eccentric secretary can be replaced.


Cher in Mask

The 1995 nominees for Best Actress were:

Geraldine Page in The Trip To Bountiful (winner)
Whoopi Goldberg in The Color Purple
Meryl Streep in Out Of Africa
Anne Bancroft in Agnes Of God
Jessica Lange in Sweet Dreams

Cher had finally proven her acting chops in Silkwood, so it was a surprise she didn’t get a nod for playing Rusty Dennis, who raised her disfigured son with help from Sam Elliott and the friendliest biker gang in film history. Cher was warm, tough, and real, and even though she didn’t receive her well-deserved nom, she did receive her Academy booklet on how to dress like a serious actress.

With Cher in, which real nominee should get the boot? Anne and her shrill nun.


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