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Five Actors Who Deserve an Academy Award

Updated on January 15, 2015

Five Actors Who Deserve an Academy Award... but haven't yet received one.

If this were all-inclusive it would be a very long list, and would include the likes of Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, and Peter O'Toole. The Academy sometimes realizes what an injustice it is that some of the best in their field haven't received the annual awards, so occasionally they present an honorary award.

But this lens is about those annual awards - specifically Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor - and actors who should receive one, but haven't.

So. What about the current crop of actors in Hollywood? There are quite a few really good ones, with a small handful who are absolutely outstanding - bringing something unique and real to every performance they tackle, and taking on an assortment of roles that prove they're not one-trick ponies in the field. Here are my top five current actors that I believe are overdue for an Academy Award.

This is NOT an assertion that the performances listed were necessarily superior to other nominees from that year, because I'm not looking to criticize other actors here. Rather, this is a recognition that the five actors listed here have each created a body of work of Oscar caliber, with a special mention of at least one movie apiece that epitomizes the quality of their acting.

Val Kilmer

Should have won for: Tombstone

Possibly the best acting performance ever to be completely snubbed by the Academy. Val Kilmer's Doc is often cited as the best part of a movie filled with stellar acting performances. I'll admit - I'm not even really a fan of Westerns, yet I love his acting in this film so much I've watched it several times.

Other great acting by Val Kilmer can be found in:

The Doors, in which he plays Jim Morrison - another role he should have received an award for.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang - just... why don't more people watch this movie? It's brilliant and funny and so deserving of more recognition than it received when it came out. (I've included a video clip link below, in the Robert Downey Jr. section.)

Real Genius, Top Gun, Willow, The Saint, The Salton Sea - he's fantastic in every type of role he tackles.

Val Kilmer as Doc Holliday in Tombstone

Val Kilmer Movies

Which Do You Think He Most Deserved an Oscar For?

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Robert Downey, Jr.

I've been a fan of RDJ's at least as far back as Less Than Zero (which I was far too young to watch at the time!), and have always felt he was an incredible, versatile actor.

He was nominated (deservedly) for Best Actor for Chaplin, but lost to Al Pacino. No slouch, Pacino, but RDJ is at least as Oscar-worthy. He saw another nomination, this time as Supporting Actor, for Tropic Thunder, but again lost. He's due for a win!

I would've loved to see him get a nomination and Oscar for Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Hollywood doesn't award comedy performance very many Oscars, but RDJ's Harry Lockhart is a fantastic performance. As luck would have it, though, 2005-2006 saw a number of other really Oscar-worthy performances, and there wasn't room for this one to see even a nomination. Doesn't mean it didn't deserve one, though.

Robert Downey Jr as Harry Lockhart in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Robert Downey Jr Movies

Which movie do you think Robert Downey Jr most deserved an Oscar for?

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Jim Carrey

Should have won for any of these:

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind


Man On the Moon

I've always felt that people don't give Jim Carrey enough credit. And by "people", I mean people in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts. When he steps always from comedy and focuses on drama, he turns in remarkably touching performances. I've been a fan of his ever since the TV-movie, Doing Time on Maple Drive. While he's best-known for his comedies, I think his real talent is in bringing sensitivity and humanity to his dramatic roles.

Jim Carrey as Joel in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Jim Carrey Movies

Which movie do you think Jim Carrey most deserves an Oscar for?

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Johnny Depp

Three times nominated, but no wins so far. Over-the-top characters like Captain Jack Sparrow aren't usually the type of roles that win Oscars. I'm not sure whether that's because the roles don't seem to call for emotional depth, or whether they just seem like too much fun to be "work". But IMO, any character that becomes iconic so quickly has been performed well enough to deserve the nod. Still, there have been other Johnny Depp roles that deserve an Oscar as much, or more. Depp takes on more of a variety of types of roles than almost anyone else acting today. From Donnie Brasco to Alice in Wonderland, from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to Chocolat - he does it all.

While I've been watching him ever since 21 JumpStreet (the series), I really knew he was an outstanding actor when I saw him as Ed Wood. I could list a half-dozen movies I think he deserves an Oscar for, but this one is first on the list.

Johnny Depp as Ed Wood

Johnny Depp Movies

Which movie do you think Johnny Depp most deserves an Oscar for?

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Brad Pitt

Should have won an Oscar for: Fight Club

I could also mention Inglourious Bastards, or Meet Joe Black, or Se7en, or Twelve Monkeys. Brad Pitt can developed into an actor who can turn in an intense performance since his early days doing guest roles on Head of the Class and Dallas. But while he's been receiving critical acclaim since Legends of the Fall and Interview with a Vampire, and while he's received four nominations over the years, he's never yet brought home an acting Oscar. He's definitely overdue for one, given the number of quality performances he's kicked out over the years.

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club

Brad Pitt Movies

Which of these movies does Brad Pitt deserve an Oscar for?

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All of the photos of the actors found on this lens were obtained from Yes, scrolling through dozens of photos of these guys was grueling work, but it had to be done!

The video clips can all be found on, and their creators can be found by clicking "More Info" in the top right corner of each clip.

Those are my five picks. Do you agree, or who would you suggest instead?

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      2 years ago


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      3 years ago

      Val Kilmer should have at least been nominated for his performance n Wonderland.


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