Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: First Five Forgotten in 2007

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 2007

Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild): This young actor, who broke out in 2002 with several film roles, was a SAG nominee for his performance as a young man who abandons society to live in the wild. The film, for no discernible reason, faltered come Oscar time, and Hirsch got left off the list in favor of surprise nominee Tommy Lee Jones. His roles since have been too supporting for Oscar to notice, but I imagine he’ll get there one day.

Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood): After a prominent role a year earlier in “Little Miss Sunshine,” Dano went toe-to-toe with powerhouse actor Daniel Day-Lewis as a preacher trying to get him to change his ways. The film surged to a strong showing on Oscar nominations day, but Dano got left out in favor of the much more prominent and unmatchable Day-Lewis. His parts since have been interesting, though I’m not sure he’ll ever be quite mainstream enough for Oscar voters.

Jennifer Garner (Juno): This Golden Globe and SAG winner for TV’s “Alias” finally found a quality film to star in, yet none of its cast, including fellow TV transplants Jason Bateman and J.K. Simmons, got recognized aside from star Ellen Page. Garner has established herself as a comedy leading lady, and I suspect that’s what she’ll continue doing in the future, rarely taking on Oscar-worthy roles.

Kelly Macdonald (No Country for Old Men): A key supporting part in a Coen brothers film put this Scottish actress in the spotlight, but only Javier Bardem made it to the Oscars, despite some buzz for Macdonald, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin along the way. Fortunately, Macdonald found a superb role on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” and has been earning Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her work. Whether or not she’ll search for a major film role again is uncertain.

James McAvoy (Atonement): He came close the year before for “The Last King of Scotland,” but it was too hard to put him in any category, so this obviously lead role should have put him at the head of the competition. For some reason, the film experienced considerable backlash , and he was out of the race. Since then, he’s performed consistently, and I assume it won’t be long before the part of a lifetime comes along.

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