Saturday, February 27, 2016

5 Nominees Who Have Waited Longer Than Leo

I'm going to admit right now a couple of things.  One, I love Oscar season more than pretty much any other time of year.  I'd gladly trade in my birthday and at least three other below-the-line holidays just for another week of it.  That being said, a few narratives emerge every year during Oscar season that make me roll my eyes incessantly, and one of them this year has been the "it's Leo's time!" movement.  While I have long been a fan of DiCaprio, and would have gladly handed over a trophy for something like The Aviator or Titanic or Catch Me If You Can or even Wolf of Wall Street, The Revenant is hardly a good movie or performance, and it feels odd to give an actor whose greatest assets as an actor are his lightness of touch and vulnerability an Oscar for a film where he's asked to abandon both of those skills.

But the real problem for me with this is that Leo DiCaprio is hardly wanting for an Oscar.  Compared to other actors ranging from Glenn Close to Paul Newman to Peter O'Toole to Geraldine Page (and that's just off the top of my head), he's younger and been nominated less than them and as a result it feels preposterous that this has become such a big thing.  Is it because younger people don't know who any of these other actors are?  Wait, scratch that, I'm aware of the answer based on my social media experience.  To prove this point, I'm not just going to name-check those people up-top.  I'm going to pluck five people from this year's Academy Awards who have more nominations and have waited longer than Leo for their first competitive Oscar.

5. Ennio Morricone

Number of Nominations: 6 (Days of Heaven, The Mission, The Untouchables, Bugsy, Malena, The Hateful Eight)
Does He Have a Shot This Year?: It feels like it.  While The Hateful Eight has some polarized about its actual content, the thing everyone can agree on is that Morricone, who made his name in westerns, is the standout in the production.
Don't Feel Too Bad for Him: He actually has won an Honorary Oscar, and has three Golden Globe awards for The Mission, The Legend of 1900 (I've never heard of it either), and The Hateful Eight.  And for what it's worth, he wrote my favorite cinematic score in Once Upon a Time in the West.
The Leo Connection: One of Morricone's songs was controversially used in Leo's film Django Unchained.

4. Paul Massey

Number of Nominations: 7 (Legends of the Fall, Air Force One, Master and Commander, Walk the Line, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, 3:10 to Yuma, and The Martian)
Does He Have a Shot This Year?: The famed sound mixer seems to be out of the running this year for The Martian, as both Mad Max and The Revenant are at the top of the list.  Massey probably came the closest in 2005 when his country musical was surely in second place to the now largely-forgotten remake of King Kong.
Don't Feel Too Bad For Him: Massey took BAFTA Awards for both Walk the Line and Almost Famous.
The Leo Connection: Despite seemingly working with every other actor of Leo's peer group (everyone from Johnny Depp to Brad Pitt to Matt Damon) the two have never crossed paths.  A Leo film did, however, beat Massey's Air Force One (that would be the one about the big boat).

3. Diane Warren

Number of Nominations: 8 (Mannequin, Up Close & Personal, Con Air, Armageddon, Music of the Heart, Pearl Harbor, Beyond the Lights, and The Hunting Ground)
Does She Have a Shot This Year?: Yes, after years of trying and trying to get that Oscar (all but two of Warren's nominees were Top 10 Billboard hits), it seems that Warren will take home the trophy, though it feels a bit like a bittersweet victory since she used Lady Gaga's celebrity (the rumor is that Gaga only wrote a couple of lines in the song despite getting equal credit) to take the win.
Don't Feel Too Bad for Her: In addition to a mountain of residual checks, she's also got a Golden Globe and a Grammy.
The Leo Connection: Weirdly Warren and DiCaprio have never been on the subject despite in the 1990's gravitating toward similarly-themed projects.  Like Massey, though, Warren also lost her trophy for Con Air to Titanic.

2. Thomas Newman

Number of Nominations: 13 (The Shawshank Redemption, Little Women, Unstrung Heroes, American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Finding Nemo, Lemony Snickett's A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Good German, WAll-E (both for Song and Score), Skyfall, Saving Mr. Banks, and Bridge of Spies)
Does He Have a Shot This Year?: One would have thought that Newman taking over for John Williams would have finally done it for him, but with Morricone looking likely to take the trophy, he will continue to wander in the wilderness.  I suspect his best shot was for American Beauty in 1999, his only Best Picture so far and the year where John Corigliano came out of nowhere and nabbed a trophy for The Red Violin.
Don't Feel Too Bad For Him: Newman has six Grammys, two BAFTA's and an Emmy.  The Oscar is really the thing that has eluded him for some reason.
The Leo Connection: Both DiCaprio and Newman worked together on Revolutionary Road.

1. Roger Deakins

Number of Nominations: 13 (The Shawshank Redemption, Fargo, Kundun, O Brother Where Art Though?, The Man Who Wasn't There, No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The Reader, True Grit, Skyfall, Prisoners, Unbroken, and Sicario)
Does He have a Shot This Year?: Probably not.  It seems like Lubezki is going to threepeat in Cinematography, and even if he wasn't John Seale for Mad Max is the better bet.  Deakins' best shot was probably for No Country for Old Men, his only Best Picture winner, but he split the vote with himself and watched Robert Elswit surprise with There Will Be Blood.
Don't Feel Too Bad For Him: Deakins has three BAFTA Awards and three trophies from the ASC Awards.
The Leo Connection: Like Thomas Newman, Roger Deakins also worked on Revolutionary Road.  Weirdly none of these three Oscar magnets were nominated for the film, however, despite it getting three nominations.

There you have it-five people who have wanted that Oscar for even more times than Leo.  Does this give you new perspective or are you still clamoring for Jack Dawson to take the gold?  Share your thoughts in the comments!

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