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Worst Oscar snubs of the past 25 years: Best Actor/Actress category

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As we move on to part two of the Oscar snub discussion, we’ll focus on the leading actor and actresses aka The Richard Burton Category. I trust that you read the first article detailing the worst snubs in the supporting category and if not just click here.

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Now, whether you think that someone was snubbed must depend on your opinion of their competition in that given year, and again each person’s opinion is completely subjective. This is why many film critics feel that there’s no such thing as a snub - basically saying that our view of a snub is based on our personal opinion and prejudices.

But, instead of lecturing people on their taste in films, film critics should attempt to educate people in the aspects of what exactly makes a film or acting performance superior to others. Yes, it’s still the individual critic’s opinion, but let’s not let all those film studies classes that sit idly on our resumes go to waste.

So often, film reviews sound like something the critic wrote while typing with one hand, holding a thesaurus in the other with a list of technical film phrases pulled up on their computer. Most reviews I’ve read feel as if the critic is focusing much more on the quality of his or her writing and not the quality of the film they are reviewing. The purpose of a film critic should be to use the knowledge that they have to help the reader understand what’s good or bad about a film and why, not to suck all of the attention to themselves and their ego-driven writing. If English majors have to google the words you’re using to understand what you are trying to say, then you are missing the entire point of why you’re writing.

Critics seem to be writing reviews for other critics instead of the everyday person who may not have such an extensive vocabulary. So while you’re writing, ask yourself this question. What is the major goal of your film critiques? Is it to help regular people understand your opinion or to impress any Rhode Scholars that might take time away from quantum mechanics to read your piddly review?

Now that I’ve finished my spiel, we’ll move on to the topic of snubs in the Best Actor/Actress category. Think about this list of stars: Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Paul Giamatti, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Matt Damon, Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, Robert Downey Jr., Gary Oldman, Edward Norton, Harrison Ford and Will Smith. These are some of the highest grossing actors the past 25 years, but they have one more thing in common; none of them have ever won an Oscar for acting. Perhaps they just weren't the best the years they were nominated. Or perhaps the voters are completely out of touch with the very art they are tasked with awarding.

The following list deals with a few of these actors and others who’ve been snubbed for the Best Actor/Actress Oscar award, which I’ve named “The Richard Burton Category”. Burton was nominated for best actor seven times and left empty-handed every time. This could have been called “The Peter O’ Toole Category” for the recently deceased acting legend who was nominated on eight separate occasions without winning, but in my humble opinion Burton’s performance as George in the 1966 classic “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” is one of the finest performances ever put on screen.

The groundbreaking film single handedly brought about the end of the old MPAA ratings for its language and adult content – content that would appear relatively pedestrian by today’s standards. It was also nominated for 13 Oscars, winning five, but somehow the Academy completely snubbed Burton. I should warn you that it is a black and white film based on a play; but if you can pry yourself away from talking robots, aliens, and shootouts for a few hours, please sit down and watch this film and try not to be amazed by Burton’s ferocity.

That being said…To the slideshow!


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