Oscar Isaac and Kristen Stewart: Who’s due for their first Oscar nomination?

This is something interesting. Every year during the early parts of the season, I like to post about who is overdue to get an Academy Award nomination or win. Last year was no different. There’s always a ton of people deserving of attention but not receiving of it. What’s unique this time around is that no one received a nomination from the list I came up with, despite it including some of Hollywood’s best and brightest talent, both young and old. That’s unusual, and a real pity. So, instead of cursing at the dark in, I’m choosing to light a candle and give them another moment of attention today.

Below you will again see pretty much the same list I previously published, just this time with a new order. It’s a shame that they’re all still here, but it’s part of what should fuel the narrative for them finally to be recognized. For example, Zoe Kazan has The Back Sick this year to hopefully help out, while Oscar Isaac is always just shy of a nod for any of his projects. Paul Dano too is making his directorial debut, so maybe that will get him over the hump? On the flip side, we again saw Kristen Stewart snubbed for tremendous work, so there’s that. Alas.

Here now are ten actors or actresses overdue for an Oscar nomination:

10. Michael B. Jordan – Twice now Jordan has come close to getting voted in by the Academy. Fruitvale Station introduced him to them and then two years ago Creed almost won them over. Jordan is on a speeding train towards Oscar glory though, so I don’t think he has much to worry about. It’s just a shame it wasn’t this year, as I wrote about yesterday.

9. Zoe Kazan – Anyone who doesn’t consider Kazan to be overdue for a citation just isn’t paying attention. Look at The Exploding Girl or Ruby Sparks and you’ll see performances that were among the very best of their years. Even something small like The Monster last year was revelatory. Kazan is as talented a writer as she is an actress though, so it seems only like a matter of time before Oscar finally takes notice of her.

8. Robin Wright – If not for the outstanding work Wright is doing on television, she probably would already be an Academy Award nominee. For now, we just have her work on House of Cards to enjoy, but the snub for Forrest Gump definitely looms large in her past. If she gets back to film full time…watch out. Once the Netflix hit comes to an end, I suspect she’ll be in play quickly.

7. Paul Dano – Another contender who was absolutely snubbed recently, Dano has come “this” close to nominations both for Love & Mercy as well as for There Will Be Blood. Factor in his work in Little Miss Sunshine and Ruby Sparks, and well…there’s just no excuse. He’s going to no doubt win an award one day, so the nomination is just the first step. His wait likely won’t be much longer.

6. Emily Blunt – Blunt is a favorite of the Golden Globes, but that hasn’t translated to Oscar yet. She had a chance for a bit with Sicario, but The Devil Wears Prada or Into the Woods was probably her best shot so far, though she got closer than expected last year for The Girl on the Train. Going forward, she seems like another sure thing, which is a common factor on this list today, and rightly so.

5. John Cusack – A veteran actor who just never seems to get noticed by Oscar, Cusack had a chance this time around a couple of seasons ago for Love & Mercy, but he’s been snubbed many times before. Look at his work in Grace is Gone, High Fidelity, and more to see how he’s been someone just a few degrees off from where the voters are looking. It’s just a matter of him getting noticed by voters, so if he keeps working, the odds will continue to be there that it’ll one day happen.

4. Joseph Gordon-Levitt – I think that the time is nearing for Gordon-Levitt, who also seems to flirt with the Academy but never actually makes a date with them. The Walk was ignored with this most recent set of nominations, with other work like (500) Days of Summer, Lincoln, and Mysterious Skin not quite doing it for them either. As a talented filmmaker (look at Don Jon, seriously), he’s going to have ample opportunities in the years to come…

3. Scarlett Johansson – One really hopes that the Academy finally stops snubbing Johansson soon. During her big run with the Globes, she was omitted from Oscar lineups time and time again. The snub for Lost in Translation especially stings, though recently she blew us all away in Under the Skin, plus that memorable voice turn in Her. If she keeps this up, one day they’ll have to finally pay attention to her, right?

2. Kristen Stewart – Some might have laughed at this notion just a few years ago, but Stewart has done some excellent work outside of the Twilight franchise. Simply pop in Adventureland, Clouds of Sils Maria, or On the Road and you’ll see what I mean. Last year alone she impressed in Cafe Society and Certain Women, as well as Personal Shopper earlier this year. Stewart is a talented young actress, so while it should have happened for her already, it will at some point in the future…

1. Oscar Isaac – Seriously, this is just a slam dunk for me. Isaac has been overdue basically from the moment he appears on screen, working his way up to baity roles in Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year, and now Ex Machina. Precursors love him, but Oscar just can’t seem to jive with this actor of the same name. Within the next three years, I suspect he’ll be a nominee, if not a winner…mark my words.

Honorable Mentions: Jeff Daniels, Mia Farrow, Richard Gere, Donald Sutherland, and Channing Tatum

Stay tuned to see if these actors and actresses can get nominated in the years to come!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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