CATEGORIES Features, Oscars, Awards


Frankly, we're stunned. Shocked. Stupefied, even! Surely somewhere along the way, these men and women should have received an acknowledgement from the Academy Awards. Just once. But no. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

As you read the list of talented actors who were never nominated but totally should have been, try not to hurt your neck from all the head-shaking disbelief. Luckily, there's still time for the Academy to correct its mistakes; for now, though, these stars can at least take comfort in the fact that they're already winners in our eyes.

Kevin Bacon
No, 'Footloose,' 'Tremors' and 'The Hollow Man' don't scream Oscar, but Bacon's sizzled as an underrated character actor in biggies like 'JFK,' 'A Few Good Men' and 'Apollo 13.' Still, we could forgive the Academy overlooking his small roles, but to not recognize his brave, nuanced turn as a pedophile in '04's 'The Woodsman' is just ... criminal.

Matthew Broderick
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss the fact that the former Ferris has been quietly great (and all grown up) in movies like 'Glory,' 'Election' and 'You Can Count on Me.' He's got two Tony awards, so when will Oscar wise up and realize that Broderick's the real deal? Anyone? Anyone?

Steve Buscemi
When you need a lowlife, a loser, a guy who gets dumped into the wood chipper, who do you call? Buscemi, that's who. He's a brilliant actor, with a Globe nomination ('Ghost World') and two Indie Spirit Awards ('Ghost World,' 'Reservoir Dogs') to prove it. But will Oscar ever notice? Ignoring Buscemi's body of work like this, is tantamount to tossing DVDs of all his performances into a wood-chipper.

Jim Carrey
The over-caffeinated funnyman really can act his ass off, as he proved in the ahead-of-its-time satire 'The Truman Show,' as comic Andy Kaufman in 'Man on the Moon' and in the universally lauded 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.' Yet Carrey was snubbed for each -- if there's a silver lining, given his recent choices ('I Love You Phillip Morris' ), Carrey may still get another shot.

John Cusack
He was the dean of teen movies until he astonished everyone with his dark turn as a con artist in Stephen Frears' 'The Grifters.' After being snubbed again for 'Being John Malkovich,' it looked like his luck might change, with a heralded performance in 2007's moving 'Grace Is Gone.' Alas, it seems there is no 'Sure Thing' when it comes to the Oscars.

Jeff Daniels
Those of us who loved 'Squid and the Whale' are still reeling that Daniels wasn't recognized for a terrific performance that earned him his third Globe nomination (after 'Purple Rose of Cairo' and 'Something Wild'). Could it be the Academy won't forgive him for 'Dumb & Dumber'? Geez, you film one explosive diarrhea scene ...

Mia Farrow
Really? Not for 'Rosemary's Baby'? Not for any of her collaborations with then-husband Woody Allen (especially not for 'The Purple Rose of Cairo,' 'Alice' or 'Hannah and Her Sisters')? As her on-screen performances have gone fewer and farther between, due to her focus on family and humanitarian efforts, the chances of her getting an Oscar nom become slimmer and slimmer. If it's any consolation, she's too busy saving the world to probably even notice.

Richard Gere
Sure, he's done some drippy romances, but it's still surprising that the Academy's never looked his way -- not for 'American Gigolo,' not for 'An Officer and a Gentleman,' not even for 'Chicago' (which won him a Golden Globe). On the other hand, he's been named PEOPLE's Sexiest Man Alive not once, but twice. Eat your heart out, De Niro.

Hugh Grant
The charming, usually snide Brit has a Golden Globe award for his breakout American role in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' and that's it. And while his biggest movies have been fairly straight-forward romantic comedies, Grant has always surprised audiences with a character turn -- from 'Bridget Jones's Diary' to 'About a Boy' -- that remind you there's a lot more to his range. But Grant doesn't regret his choices; he's gone on record to say that comedic performances are just as tough as dramatic roles.

Jennifer Jason Leigh
Leigh built up a career with emotionally draining roles in films like 'Rush,' 'Last Exit to Brooklyn' and most famously 'Single White Female,' racking up multiple critics' choice awards; she received a Golden Globe nom for her performance in 'Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle,' but no Oscar. The next year it looked like she was poised to finally get a nomination for her method turn as a drug-addicted singer in 'Georgia,' but it never came to pass. Maybe the Academy is still stuck on her "American girl" image from 'Ridgemont High.'

Steve Martin
Historically, Oscar doesn't look favorably upon comedy, so -- despite five Golden Globe nominations -- the guy who gave us one of the funniest performances ever in 'The Jerk' has a big fat goose egg in the Oscar nod column. Academy voters, wake up and smell the genius -- and please don't let 'Pink Panther' make you think less of him.

Ewan Macgregor
It may be in his contract that he must drop trou in every film, but that's not why we're such devoted McGregor fans (really!). He's not afraid to portray lowlifes ('Trainspotting,' 'Young Adam'), the lovelorn ('Moulin Rouge,' 'Big Fish') or Obi-Wan Kenobi. We just wish the Academy would find it in them to give him an invite to their party.

Gary Oldman
Oldman is probably one of the best actors alive, but he does it so effortlessly, everyone tends to forget that fact. That's the only way to explain how the Academy could completely fail to acknowledge roles as versatile as 'Sid & Nancy,' 'State of Grace,' 'JFK,' 'The Contender' and 'Bram Stoker's Dracula.' And we'll even risk angering Batman fans by admitting that he deserved a nomination for his role in 'The Dark Knight' just as much as Heath Ledger.

Dennis Quaid
Quaid scored a Golden Globe nod and an Indie Spirit Award win for his portrayal of a closeted gay husband in 2002's 'Far From Heaven,' but the Academy didn't echo the kudos. As long as he keeps taking roles like 'Smart People', we bet he'll end up in good (read: Oscar-nominated) company someday.

Isabella Rossellini
With her model-perfect looks, Rossellini didn't have to say a word to entrance us. But with her film-legend pedigree (Mom is Ingrid Bergman; Dad is director Roberto Rossellini), it's no surprise she wowed us on screen: Her performance in 1986's 'Blue Velvet' gave us chills. Oscar was, alas, indifferent.

Meg Ryan
Thrice Golden-Globe-nominated for romantic comedies, Ryan never received props for her fine dramatic work as a heroic soldier in 'Courage Under Fire' or as an alcoholic mom in 'When a Man Loves a Woman.' Perhaps if she had, she wouldn't have delivered such an emotionally and, yes, physically naked turn in 'In the Cut.' You decide if that's a good thing.

Harry Dean Stanton
Being a character actor means you don't get to chance to steal the spotlight too often, so the 84-year-old Stanton has hadn't too many chances to get top billing. But that doesn't mean he can't control the screen whenever he appears. And even though we'll concede that 'Repo Man' never stood a chance, it is a downright injustice that he was never acknowledged for his haunting work in 'Paris, Texas,' one of the most praised and beloved films of the 1980s.

Donald Sutherland
Sutherland, you old dog. You've done 'M*A*S*H,' 'Klute,' 'The Day of the Locust,' 'Ordinary People,' all multiple-Oscar-nominated. And yet, for some reason, you've never made that exalted short list yourself. This sounds like a conspiracy worthy of Jack Bauer. Get him on it. We think you've got some pull there.

Bruce Willis
In our humble opinion, it's ludicrous that Willis didn't get a nod for 'Die Hard,' not to mention his Golden-Globe-nominated turn in 'In Country' and his underrated work in 'Sixth Sense.' But it's not like John McClane gives a crap about awards, anyway.

Jeffrey Wright
Still not a household name, Wright is one of the most exciting actors in the biz. He's chameleonic in films like 'Broken Flowers', 'The Manchurian Candidate', 'Quantum of Solace', 'W' and 'Cadillac Records.' But his best chance for Oscar glory, for a stout turn in 'Syriana,' was overshadowed by eventual winner George Clooney.