Great actresses: no Oscars

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Academy Awards gets it right most of the time. But when looking at the overall winners, some things just don’t seem right. Below are five actresses that remain among the most talented, if not the most talented. They simply can’t be left out when talking about screen goddesses and yet they’ve never been acknowledged. These are the top 5 actresses who’ve never won the Oscar for Best Actress:

Note: I’ve only included actresses that are still active. Otherwise, Deborah Kerr and Natalie Wood would’ve surely been included.)

5. Winona Ryder

From her sweet performance in ‘Edward Scissorhands’ to her recent frightening portrayal in ‘Black swan’; Winona always gives a great performance. She has been nominated one time in the Best Actress category for her performance in ‘Little Women’. A big snub by Jessica Lange in if you ask me as Ryder’s acting was strong and honest. After her 2001 arrests, her career hasn’t been what it once was. After a four-year long hiatus, she came back with mediocre films, such as ‘Sex and Death 101’; then followed disasters such as ‘The informers’ and ‘Stay cool’. Though her performances are mostly solid, she doesn’t get the right opportunities to really shine. Her most recent film ‘The Dilemma’ is another disappointment in Winona’s career. I truly believe that if it weren’t for her shoplifting scandal, Winona would’ve had a whole other career, most probably with Oscars in tow. Valuable lesson (re)learned: in Hollywood, it’s inevitable that your professional and personal life intervene a bit.

4. Glenn Close

When I stumbled upon Glenn Close during research for this post, I was simply shocked. She has always remained among my classic favorites and I really think the world of her. In 1987 she was Oscar snubbed by Cher; they were both in the Best actress category for respectively ‘Fatal Attraction’ and ‘Moonstruck’. Cher’s performance was very good, but when you think about the fact that Cher has an Oscar while Glenn Close doesn’t… it just doesn’t sound right. Glenn was so good as the psychopath, Alex, that her performance haunts me to this very day. The following year, Glenn was once again nominated in the Best Actress category for her memorable performance in ‘Dangerous Liaisons’. Though her portrayal of the icy femme fatale was immortal, all five actresses deserved their nomination which made it a close call. In the last 15 years or so, her career has dwindled immensely. She has mostly worked on children movies and ensemble films. However, I have high hopes for her working progress ’Albert Nobbs’.

3. Diane Lane
I literally love every career choice this woman has made. After two slow decades, she proved to Hollywood that she’s in it for the long run. She’s one of the most versatile actresses I know; from thriller to rom-com, from erotic drama to biopic. From the late nineties to this very day, I love every role she has portrayed. She has earned one Academy Award nomination in 2003 for her performance in ‘Unfaithful’. The nominees that year were again phenomenal, which didn’t work out too well for her. I praised her performance, though I don’t think it’s the only one worthy of the Oscar.  Unlike the former two on this list, Lane’s career is still very much active. I have high expectations for her performances in the future.

2. Julianne Moore

I bet this one may come as a shock for some people; I know I was appalled. Julianne Moore has to be one of the best actresses ever. She is a chameleon of the highest level; having portrayed roles as different as water and fire. Though I disagree with many of her career choices, she has made a lot of great ones to compensate for them. She has been nominated twice in the Best Actress category. First in 2000 for her role in ‘The end of the affair’ –one of my favorites. Then again in 2003 for her performance in ‘Far from heaven’ where she got snubbed by Hilary Swank. This year, she got totally snubbed of a nomination in the category of Best supporting Actress, but I’ll write about that later. Moore has had three decades in this business and I’m sure her Oscar wins are yet to come.

1. Michelle Pfeiffer
Where do I even start? When starting this post I said quietly to myself: “Wait a sec, Michelle has never won an Oscar.” Then I started repeating it again and again (yes like a crazy person) and I realized how ridiculous that sounded. Michelle Pfeiffer has never won an Oscar. I’d laugh out loud if it wasn’t so immensely ridiculous. Oscars were founded to acknowledge the very best in Film. I’d say they’re doing a pretty lousy job not giving her one of those things. This is definitely one of those things that can suddenly anger me.
Michelle Pfeiffer is a screen legend, no doubt about it, drama is definitely her best side and she has portrayed tons of amazing characters. So why is it that in all the years she has been active, no one in the Academy has stood up and said “Hey, Michelle Pfeiffer doesn’t have one, how dumb is that?!” Well, someone probably has, but they’ve never done anything about it now have they? When I think of all the less talented actresses that have won Oscars, I just get sick. Reese Whiterspoon, Halle Berry, Sandra Bullock; it’s preposterous!
Michelle has been nominated (only) twice; in 1990 for her outstanding performance in ‘The Fabulous Baker boys’ and in 1993 for her role in ‘Love field’. She should’ve been nominated for a lot more of her films though. It’s hard to believe Renee Zellweger got a nomination for ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ in 2002 while Michelle didn’t get nominated for ‘I am Sam’. And it’s plain silly that last year,
Sandra Bullock walked away with the Oscar for Best Actress (The Blind side), while Michelle’s Léa (Chéri) didn’t even get nominated.
Yes, the Academy really messes up sometimes. There’s a silver lining though: Michelle is still as great as ever and returning this year with multiple movies. She’s going to get that Oscar someday; I’m sure of it!b


Anonymous said...

I agree with you Chelsea, that Michelle will get the Oscar one day. Much like Paul Newman somebody at The Academy will realise it's time to right a great wrong, but when you look at her career from Cheri, through I Am Sam and White Oleander all the way back to Married To The Mob, she should already have won 5 or 6 times.
I'm suprised to realise that Glenn Close has never won either! She was awesome in Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liasons....another one that got away for Michelle!
Julianne Moore and Diane Lane are still strong contenders but it's a shame about Winona, I've always had a soft spot for her ever since Mermaids.
Well done for mentioning Natalie Wood too, a great actress and beautiful lady, what a tragic loss.

Lesya Khyzhnyak said...

I want Moore to finally get an Oscar someday. I would also include Amy Adams to my list :)

Jack L said...

I'm shocked that Moore hasn't received one yet, she's very good.
I'm sadly not very familiar with Michelle Pfeiffer's body of work, I've seen Scarface and The Age Of Innocence and thought she was very good in both. I need to see more of her work...

Also Winona Ryder is great, one of my favourites. Especially in Edward Scissorhands.

Great post, I had no idea these actresses had never received Oscars before reading this!

Chelsea said...

@ Paul: Yes, Michelle should've won for supporting actress for DL too. I hate that all her Oscars got snubbed! Just wait, we'll all laugh in the end :D

@ Lesya: Amy will have plenty of chances. She's still young and growing towards a great actress.

@ Jack: Thanks :)
You should go see all of her movies, and fast! lol

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