Emergency: We’re less than two weeks from the Oscars, and I still have an entire Academy history to lament. Let’s give props to the ten actors who’ve deserved an Academy Award most, yet have found themselves empty-handed. I’ve ranked them according to how much I’ve wept rethinking each slight.
10. Alec Baldwin
Yes, I’m trying to fix the gaping hole in my heart where 30 Rock once lived, but I also bring up the name of Jack Donaghy’s maker for a pertinent reason — he is a dynamite screen presence. If his chilling “Always be closing” monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross weren’t scary and bad-ass enough, he’s proved himself capable AND cuddly in Working Girl, The Aviator, The Departed, and The Cooler, where he notched his first and only Oscar nomination. Surely the man who racked up six straight Emmy nominations for lovingly patronizing Liz Lemon should win one damn Oscar for bringing the heat onscreen.
9. Amy Adams
Now hear this: Amy Adams has amassed four Oscar nominations in a very short period of time, which means she deserves a full hogshead of respect. Personally, I found her performance to be the only awesome thing about The Fighter, and I would’ve given her the trophy over Melissa Leo — no matter what I was asked to “Consider.” Adams also delighted us with nominated performances in Doubt and The Master (not to mention a killer breakout role in Junebug), but the bottom line is she’s given us utter versatility and warranted every ounce of adulation that’s come her way. I forgive her for that endlessly chirpy blogger voice in Julie and Julia.
8. Patricia Clarkson
Six Feet Under superfans salivate at the sight of this still-somehow-underrated actress, even though she did earn a single Oscar nomination for her work in the Katie Holmes starrer Pieces of April. She was simply unforgettable in the essential 2000s jams Far From Heaven and The Station Agent. What will it take for this natural actress to become an Oscar frontrunner? I’m thinking a Bonnie Raitt biopic.
7. Gary Oldman
Sid and Nancy is as bracing and emotional a biopic as I’ve ever seen, and since 1987, Gary Oldman has garnered heaps of sympathy for never picking up a nomination for his role as the iconically emaciated, perhaps stabby Sid Vicious. He’s worked tirelessly in everything from Leon: The Professional and Murder in the First to the recent string of Batman films, and he finally won a nomination or his work in the criminally dull Tinker, Tailor, Solider, Spy. Dear Academy: Let’s clear this one up in the next five years. Thank you.
6. Annette Bening
I can’t even pick my favorite Annette Bening role. Is it the shifty, slinky criminal of The Grifters? The jaw-droppingly miserable Carolyn Burnham of American Beauty? The exasperated lesbian mother Nic of The Kids Are All Right? Hell, I’d nominate Barbara Land of Mars Attacks too! Annette Bening is perhaps our most dependably watchable movie star, since she is utterly believable and usually fun in just about anything. She’s got the kind of X-factor that tames and sedates Warren Beatty. Lethal stuff.