What does it take to get an Oscar nomination? That answer rests on many factors.
The genre of a film, for example, seems to have a lot to do with whether it even gets noticed. Overwhelmingly, Oscar nominations go to dramas while comedies seldom get the same recognition.
Another factor is whether or not the performance has a singular scene in which the actor is allowed to convey the full spectrum of emotion.
In the end, though, regardless of the genre and emotional impact of a performance, nominations seem to be a little bit of a crapshoot. More often than not, a lot of great performances slip through the cracks.
Here’s our list of 8 performances that we feel should have at least garnered an Oscar nod (and maybe even taken home a trophy).
1. Roman Griffin Davis (Jojo Rabbit)
Never has a Nazi sympathizer been so adorably clueless (maybe it’s because he’s a 10-year-old). Fellow castmates Thomasin McKenzie, Taika Waititi, Sam Rockwell and Oscar-nominee Scarlett Johansson help carry the load. But there’s no mistaking that the real heavy lifting in this comedy-drama is done by Davis.
2. Catherine O’Hara (For Your Consideration)
In 2020, Catherine O’Hara was finally honored by the Television Academy for her brilliant comedic turn in Pop TV’s Schitt’s Creek, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to consider her equally brilliant turn as Marilyn Hack in Christopher Guest’s mockumentary.
3. Jacob Tremblay (Room)
Actors depend on each other to elevate one another’s performance, and Oscar winner Brie Larson was partnered with someone who certainly gave her a lot to work with. When looking over Jacob Tremblay’s performance, the Academy must have forgotten there were two people in that room.
4. Debbi Morgan (Eve’s Bayou)
With her spellbinding performance in Eve’s Bayou, Debbi Morgan had us believing she’d earn an Oscar nod, but alas, like her character in the film, Morgan was cursed with no nomination.
5. Andy Garcia (When a Man Loves a Woman)
Unfortunately, Andy Garcia’s role as an enabler to Meg Ryan’s alcoholic didn’t get noticed by the Academy, which was a sobering surprise if you pardon the pun.
6. Tammy Blanchard (The Invitation)
Blanchard’s intoxicating performance is the heart of The Invitation, and her portrayal in this horror/thriller will break yours.
7. Ben Foster (Hell or High Water)
If you need any further proof of how difficult it is to secure an Oscar nomination regardless of talent and body of work, then look no further than Ben Foster’s magnificent performance in Hell or High Water.
8. Fairuza Balk (The Craft)
If Manon is the stadium that God and the Devil play on in this movie, then Fairuza’s performance is the film’s MVP.