The Academy Awards are coming up this Sunday and it’s almost time to find out who the winners will be and who gets snubbed. More than likely there will be some upsets among the final choices, but chances are Leonardo Dicaprio will miss out again this year, spurring a flurry of delightful “Crushed Leo” GIFs on Tumblr. Even Leo can’t believe he hasn’t won an Oscar yet, but that puts him in a surprisingly elite club of Oscar “losers”. So if he does get snubbed again, at least he’ll be in good company.
6. Peter O’Toole
O’Toole sadly died this year after a long life and prestigious career in film and theater. He still holds the record for the most times nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role without ever having won the Oscar. His first nomination came in 1962 for his role as T.E. Lawrence in Lawrence of Arabia and his final and seventh came in 2006 for his role in Venus. He did get an honorary Oscar for his lifetime of achievement in 2003, but he always held out hope that he would win one outright. While he never did win “the lovely bugger”, there’s no doubt that he would have been deserving of the award for every single performance for which he was nominated.
5. Charles Chaplin
While Chaplin did actually win an Oscar, it happened to be the Best Score award for Limelight (1952). Given his immense accomplishments in acting, directing, and writing and the incalculable effect he has had on the film industry as a whole, it is indeed amazing that he never won in any of the major categories, despite having been nominated for Best Actor, Best Picture, and Best Original Screenplay. Then again, the Academy has never been kind to comedy – even comedy of the brand that Chaplin practiced, which came with plenty of drama and pathos to heighten its prestige. In addition to his Best Score win, Chaplin has the distinction of having been awarded two honorary Oscars during his lifetime.
4. Johnny Depp
While it’s no surprise these days that Depp isn’t winning any Oscars, back in his heyday of independent movies it was considered a scandal that such a quirky, inventive, and versatile actor was constantly overlooked by the Academy. His first nomination came in 2003 for his commercially successful role as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. The next year he was nominated for Finding Neverland, and then for Sweeney Todd in 2007. Sweeney Todd was when I officially gave up on Johnny Depp, and so too, it seems, has the Academy. While Depp has had pretty constant work in the last few years, he seems to have traded creativity and artistic integrity for a hefty paycheck. We’ll have to see if his upcoming role in Transcendence will turn the tide.
3. Citizen Kane
Okay, so Citizen Kane isn’t a person – it’s Orson Welles’ 1941 masterpiece and every film student’s worst nightmare/wet dream. There’s definitely a love/hate thing going on there. Anyway, it was nominated for Best Picture and given its prominence among “best film” lists, many people believe it must have won. In fact, it didn’t win. It lost out to John Ford’s How Green Was My Valley, which in hindsight isn’t much in the way of competition. Despite a great deal of backlash, Kane was nominated in nine different categories, but due to internal conflict and controversy within the Hollywood community, it only ended up winning for Best Original Screenplay. Not everyone realizes how hated the film was upon its initial release, especially considering its modern reputation as a masterpiece of filmmaking.
2. Gary Oldman
Gary Oldman is an actor’s actor – meaning that many great actors love and admire him, placing him among the most influential and inspiring performers working today. His range of characters and projects is indeed impressive – but for all that, Oldman has only been nominated for an Academy Award once, for his role as George Smiley in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011). Many thought he was overdue for an Oscar and was bound to walk away with the statue, but ridiculously lost out to Rene Dujardin for The Artist. While Dujardin was as charming as the over-nostalgic, emotionally manipulative, simplistic callback to old Hollywood for which he won, his performance hardly approached the subtle mastery Oldman displayed in Spy. It was a sad, soul crushing year for the Academy Awards.
1. Alfred Hitchcock
While many of Hitchcock’s movies have been nominated over the years, many of them even winning in some of the categories in which they were nominated, the man himself has never won an Academy Award. The closest he got was his Best Picture win for Rebecca (1940) – which received 11 nominations and was probably one of his least deserving films to attract Academy attention – but this popular and visionary creator of the modern thriller never received Academy acknowledgment for his masterful directing (despite being nominated five times in the category). While looking at Hitchcock’s films now many of them can seem formulaic, it was Hitchcock who first invented the formula we take for granted as modern viewers.