As part of my continuing list-coverage off the upcoming Oscars, I thought I’d go with the 10 people that I was like… holy shit. They were nominated for an Oscar? Really? If you think the Oscars regret Nicolas Cage, then you haven’t seen this list yet.
Also, for this list, I picked only actors and not singer/actors. A lot of singers end up getting their Oscar nomination through Best Original Song, so while it might surprise you that Lady Gaga and Pharrell are Oscar nominees, they’re not known primarily for their acting.
1) Randy Quaid- Best Supporting Actor- The Last Detail
That’s right. Randy Fucking Quaid managed an Oscar nomination. However, Randy Quaid used to be a legitimate, respected actor. The early part of his career was him doing respected films, like The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon, and Midnight Express. It’s just easy to think of who he is now, and remember his silly work in films like Kingpin or Independence Day and think that’s representative of his whole career. Yet, I was still shocked when I saw that he was nominated.
2) Gary Busey- Best Actor- The Buddy Holly Story
Another one like Quaid, where the actor is currently known for being batshit crazy, so its impossible they ever really contributed anything worthwhile to film, right? Well, busey managed a Best Actor nomination in a biopic. It seemed to be a bit of a fluke performance from him, as he started diving heavily into villains and action movies afterward. He definitely didn’t stay in “Oscar bait” territory.
3) Kristin Wiig- Best Original Screenplay- Bridesmaids
Of course, everyone knows Matt Damon and Ben Affleck won their Oscar for writing Good Will Hunting. Kristin Wiig has been chasing acclaim in films like The Skeleton Twins, you’d think Wiig was trying to get a nomination, but she already was nominated for writing Bridesmaids.
4) Sacha Baron Cohen- Best Adapted Screenplay- Borat
In keeping up with the writing theme, Cohen also managed an Oscar nomination as a writer. Many thought he might upset the Best Actor category with a nomination for his outrageous performance as Borat, but he had to settle for just a nomination for writing. But at least he got nominated, right?
5) Jennifer Tilly- Best Supporting Actress- Bullets Over Broadway
Tilly has basically been exactly the same in every film. That’s why it’s so surprising that she somehow managed an Oscar nomiatio for Bullets Over Broadway, a comedy. Not even for Bound, or something a bit more dramatic. Tilly would go on to use her Oscar cred with Bride Of Chucky. And she wouldn’t be the first Oscar nominated actor to become a talking doll…
6) Brad Dourif- Best Supporting Actor- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Yes, the voice of Chucky is an Oscar nominee. Dourif has been in so many awful movies and straight to video releases that it’s hard to imagine he was ever a serious actor capable off a nomination. I mean, he was in Critters 4. FOUR.
7) Seth McFarlane- Best Original Song- Everybody Needs A Best Friend from Ted
McFarlane actually picked up an Oscar nomination, in the same way Trey Parker and Matt Stone did for writing Blame Canada. Except, they don’t really act, so it was hard to include them in the top 10. But McFarlane does act, in films like A Million Ways To Die In the West. Sometimes, he doesn’t do just voiceover work.
8) Jim Rash (and Nat Faxon)- Best Adapted Screenplay- The Descendants
Not many people know Nat Faxon, but a lot of people know Jim Rash from his portrayal of Dean Pelton on Community. Did you know he’s actually an Oscar WINNER? Yes, he won, along with Faxon and Alexander Payne for the screenplay to The Descendents. Rash and Faxon would go on to direct The Way Way Back.
9) Jackie Chan- Honorary Oscar
I feel like not enough hoopla is being made about the fact that Jackie Chan is about to win an Honorary Oscar this year. Obviously he’s made a huge contribution to film but he’s never really given an Oscar worthy performance. He was in the Karate Kid remake, playing the same role that got Pat Morita an Oscar nomination (Yes, Pat Morita was nominated for The Karate Kid), but that wasn’t enough.
10) Michael Lerner- Best Supporting Actor- Barton Fink
Lerner is one of those character actors you see and don’t know their name. Of all the names I saw on the lists of nominees, Lerner’s surprised me the most, because he never seemed to get the career boost most character actors get from being nominated. Usually, when a William H Macy gets a nomination, they get elevated into more prominent roles. Lerner never got that boost. He’s never been a lead, or even a supporting lead. It’s nice to know that the Academy does see these actors, and occasionally nominates them.