Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: First Five Forgotten in 2005

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 2005

Eric Bana (Munich): The lead role in Steven Spielberg’s epic drama was his first major American part that could have netted him awards attention, but the film faltered in its path to its eventual Best Picture nomination, resulting in a complete awards season shut-out for the Australian actor. His roles since have been diverse and eclectic – “Star Trek,” “Funny People,” “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” and “Hanna” – but they won’t net him an Oscar nod.

Jeff Daniels (The Squid and the Whale): The lead in this Noah Baumbach dramedy wasn’t Daniels’ only brush with Oscar, but it was his most recent. The film managed a screenplay nod, but even his costar, regular Oscar nominee Laura Linney, couldn’t get recognized past a Golden Globe nod. At this point, he’s probably past his prime, and this unusual role would have been his best shot.

Scarlett Johansson (Match Point): Woody Allen films tend to get at least two Oscar nominations: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress. Unfortunately, “Match Point” didn’t catch on with Oscar voters, and Johansson’s fourth Golden Globe nod in three years didn’t lead to Oscar. Johansson is making high-profile films these days, though Oscar isn’t exactly on her radar, with “The Avengers” next out of the gate.

Alexander Siddig (Syriana): This Sudanese “Star Trek: The Next Generation” star was shortlisted by many as a potential nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his role as a forward-thinking Arab prince, but ultimately he got lost as an unknown name among a large cast which singled out only George Clooney, who ended up winning. Siddig isn’t likely to contend again, though he’s sure to get good independent dramatic parts.

Ziyi Zhang (Memoirs of a Geisha): This Chinese actress broke out in the Oscar-winning “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” and scored the lead in this gorgeous epic from Rob Marshall, fresh off Best Picture winner “Chicago.” She got nominated for a Golden Globe and a SAG, but lost out to a native English speaker, Keira Knightley, in the end. She’s not likely to get an English role quite as baity as this one again, though she’s likely to have a bright future ahead of her.

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