Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: First Five Forgotten in 2006

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 2006

Ben Affleck (Hollywoodland): After winning an Oscar with Matt Damon for writing the screenplay for “Good Will Hunting” in 1997, Affleck nearly got recognized for his acting almost a decade later for playing tragic hero George Reeves, the TV portrayer of Superman. Affleck got a Golden Globe nod, but the film didn’t catch on with other audiences. Affleck came close to Oscar again in 2010 with “The Town,” and he may or may not get another shot in the future, though he doesn’t seem to be going for Oscar roles.

Sacha Baron Cohen (Borat): This wild entertainer managed to win a Golden Globe and earn an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for his bigoted Kazakhstani reporter. I predicted Cohen to get an Oscar nod, but ultimately, it seems other actors were taken more seriously. Cohen is taking on meaty roles these days, but I don’t think Oscar is in his future, though another Golden Globe certainly could be.

Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking): This Golden Globe nominee and former ensemble player turned in a ferociously fantastic performance as an advocate for cigarettes, embodying and carrying his film. The film got forgotten by Oscar voters and couldn’t even manage a screenplay nomination, sadly. Eckhart probably came close again two years later for “The Dark Knight,” and eventually he’ll have another shot if he manages to land a part that’s high-profile enough to get him the attention he needs.

Catherine O’Hara (For Your Consideration): The irony of O’Hara being snubbed is almost too perfect. After playing a woman destroyed by an Oscar snub in this offbeat comedy, O’Hara was a longshot to begin with, considering the film didn’t earn too many nominations. O’Hara doesn’t aim for mainstream parts, so I think critics’ awards are in her future.

Michael Sheen (The Queen): It’s always strange when an actor earns almost universal praise in a film that only gets recognized for one of its stars. 2006 was Helen Mirren’s year, yet Sheen’s Tony Blair didn’t get further than a BAFTA nomination. Sheen earned an Emmy nod for playing the same role in a TV movie, and he continues to do solid work in a variety of projects, so he might just get another chance to prove himself and earn an Oscar nomination one day.

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