Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: First Five Forgotten in 2008

Welcome back to a weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The First Five Forgotten is the sixth in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed, not to be confused with my first series, the Forgotten Five, which looked at the five films that came closest to getting nominated for Best Picture and ended up getting shut out entirely.

As Oscar season goes into hibernation for more than half the year, it’s a time to take a look back at past races. This time, I’ll be spotlighting the five performers that came closest to earning their first Oscar nominations and then ended up getting snubbed, in alphabetical order. If you feel I’ve left anyone off, please say so in the comments!

First Five Forgotten in 2008

Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married): This actress actually played the title role in the film that netted Anne Hathaway an Oscar nod for Best Actress. Her biggest hurdle towards a nomination was probably the fact that Debra Winger was also in contention for the same film, and voters elected to reward neither. Her few roles since haven’t shown much Oscar promise, but maybe her next film, another sibling-oriented movie, “Your Sister’s Sister, could change that.

Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky): This snub was easily the most egregious omission of that year. After winning the Golden Globe for her delightful, bubbly performance, Hawkins lost out to Kate Winslet and a handful of others. Mike Leigh has directed other actresses to Oscar nods before, and it’s possible he’ll do it again. Hawkins’ 2010 film “Made in Dagenham” looked like a contender but never took off, and, sadly, she’ll have to try hard to find a role quite as lovely as that of Poppy.

Eddie Marsan (Happy-Go-Lucky): This British actor racked up a bunch of critics’ mentions for his hilarious performance as a moody driving instructor, yet his lack of fame stateside probably hurt him most. Small parts in big films like “War Horse” and “Sherlock Holmes 2: A Game of Shadows” will help him there, as he continues to steal scenes in numerous British films each year. It’s possible that it could eventually lead to Oscar for him.

Dev Patel (Slumdog Millionaire): It’s always strange when the year’s biggest film and surefire Best Picture winner doesn’t have any accompanying acting nominations, and though Anil Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, and Freida Pinto were better, Patel was the choice from BAFTA and SAG. The former put him in lead, the latter in supporting, and it turned out that there wasn’t room for him anywhere. He’ll have a strong career, but it won’t be filled with Oscars.

Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire): Pinto was one of the year’s breakout stars in a positively charming screen debut as Jamal’s lifelong love interest Latika. This role didn’t make it to Oscar, but she did score a BAFTA nod, and her biggest reward was the roles she’s taken on since, with directors Woody Allen and Julian Schnabel, not to mention a part in one of 2011’s biggest movies, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.” She may not be hunting for awards, but she’ll be seen on screen for some time to come.

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