Everyone deserves an Oscar nom - again
Entertainment Weekly has a piece about the 100 greatest Oscar snubs ever — you can read it here — but once again they're adding without subtracting. That's like governing without taxing. Grover Norquist would be proud.
The list is made up of actors and actresses who weren't even nominated for what we now consider classic performances. At no. 24, for example, we get Denzel Washington in Philadelphia. EW writes that Tom Hanks deserved his Oscar for the same film but “Washington, as the ambulance-chasing homophobe, had the harder task. He had to coerce audiences, ever so gently, into realizing that his character represented our own ignorance, and then drag us on his path to enlightenment.”
But EW ignores its own harder task. If Washington gets a nom in 1993, who doesn't? Daniel Day-Lewis for In the Name of the Father, Laurence Fishburne for What's Love Got to Do With It?, Anthony Hopkins for Remains of the Day or Liam Neeson for Schindler's List? Who does EW snub?
It's bad enough that they're doing this from an historical perspective that allows them to seem smarter than the Academy by touting classic film roles — Rita Hayworth in Gilda (no. 21), Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange (no. 17), Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (no. 9) — but add some teeth to the argument. Add some hand wringing. I thought their no. 6 choice was inspired: Susan Sarandon in Bull Durham. I thought: Yeah! Great performance. Totally bought her in that role. Then you look at the other best actress nominees from 1988: Glenn Close in Dangerous Liasons, Jodie Foster in The Accused, Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Meryl Streep in A Cry in the Dark and Sigourney Weaver in Gorillias in the Mist. Now it's a little tougher. For my part, I'd pick Sarandon over Griffith or Weaver but EW doesn't want to make any hard choices, just easy ones.
Aren't these lists disposable enough? Make them about something. This list could be about how overlooked performances tend to come from genre films (horror, comedy) while the nominated performances tend to come from overserious dramatic films. And of course this is still going on. The Academy is still doing this. Talk about that and at least you're talking about something slightly relevant.