Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: First Five Forgotten in 2012

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, or further, in the case of this specific series, 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.

With the 2013 Oscar season wrapped, it’s time to take a look back at the past two years. 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 2012

Ann Dowd (Compliance): This relatively unknown veteran actress definitely scored votes for a performance that was all about the role. Portraying the manager of a fast food establishment who too readily took on the task of questioning and disciplining a suspected thief, Dowd displayed a disturbing calm and sense of duty. If only her film had landed louder.

Richard Gere (Arbitrage): This actor was actually also on my list a full decade early for his showy, Golden Globe-winning turn in eventual Best Picture winner “Chicago.” He really did nothing of note in the ten-year interval between these two, but his return to prominence in this well-received Sundance film signaled that the onetime awards contender might in fact be taking himself seriously again, though it couldn’t get him all the way.

Dwight Henry (Beasts of the Southern Wild): This near-nominee isn’t even really an actor. The baker by trade made his film debut in director Benh Zeitlin’s acclaimed film, and in theory had just as much of a shot as his eight-year-old costar Quvenzhané Wallis at earning a nomination. Ultimately, the film scored a few surprise nods, but Henry’s extremely genuine, real performance wasn’t one of them.

Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike/Bernie): It’s a big thing to be working in the movie business for over a decade and not merit a single awards nomination other than from the Teen Choice Awards, and it’s an even bigger thing to be honored for two different films in the same year from a variety of organizations. While “Magic Mike” and “Bernie” couldn’t get him far enough, obviously it worked out fine the next year when he won the Best Actor trophy.

Jean-Louis Trintignant (Amour): While I’m not sure this 82-year-old French actor was ever truly in contention, since his only precursors were European and French, I did include him in my “one possible crazy scenario” predictions because I thought that the film might go over very well with voters. It turned out it did, scoring Best Picture and Best Director mentions, but nothing for an actor who matched his much more praised onscreen wife.

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