There have been many foul-ups in the history of the Academy Awards, of that it is certain. The infamous case of Marisa Tomei comes to mind. Paramount of these mistakes are the times they simply gave it to their favorite actor that year, regardless of the performance he gave. Indeed, the winner had a previous performance that was way more powerful, memorable, or simply better acting. Here’s Three cases of that.
The gentleman star won Best Actor for playing a bad guy, when his work in Courage Under Fire was inspiring and emotional. I had more fun watching Ethan Hawke in Training Day, and think he was more deserving that year. If not Courage Under Fire, he should have at least been recognized sooner, before he slipped into the Man-With-A-Dark-Side phase.
This one really gets carbon scoring on my inner droid. The year before, Crowe was up for Best Actor for The Insider, where he pretty much owned the entire acting community when it comes to character development. His portrayal of real life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand was so simultaneously believable and haunting, it was a shame he lost to Roberto Benigni, of all people. To make matters worse, the year after Gladiator found him nominated again for A Beautiful Mind, which won Best Picture. Russel did not win, because obviously, the Academy felt they had already lauded him enough with the token Gladiator award. Boo! (Which brings us back to Denzel’s award.)
Actually for my money, this guy really shone best in A Streetcar Named Desire.
And one more for the case of someone getting the award before his best performance…