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Eight Performances That the Oscars Will Unjustly Overlook

Congrats to everyone who's getting deafening amounts of Oscar buzz. It must be such a grand feeling. Alas, there are others who are just as deserving who will be shut out for various unfortunate reasons. Here are my eight faves who won't even get a piddling nomination.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.11.46 AM.pngEllar Coltrane, Boyhood
Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke have rightfully been given kudos for their supporting performances as the troubled parents, but the heart and soul of this sweeping movie about the cumulative importance of minutiae is the astonishing performance by Coltrane, playing their son Miles from age 6 to 18. It was quite a gamble for writer/director Richard Linklater to trust a kid actor with 12 years of filming, but it truly paid off, because you see Coltrane not only growing up, but evolving into a truly fine actor right before your eyes. Unfortunately, the reaction among the Oscar crowd is: "He's just a kid actor."

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.12.21 AM.pngMiles Teller, Whiplash
Similarly, J.K. Simmons is getting all the hoopla for playing the sadistic conductor in the taut, exciting battle of wills, Whiplash, and he's truly earned it. But Teller is his equal every step of the way as the young prodigy who's willing to play the game and fight this twisted Svengali to the finish. People must think Teller is too young to get honors, but again, that's just cocky-doodie.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.12.54 AM.pngNaomi Watts, Birdman
Naomi is great as a very colorful and complex actress in the inventive look at theatrical vulnerabilities and egos. She's also good as a Russian whore with a heart of gold in St. Vincent. Alas, that first role peters out -- one or two more scenes and she would have been a lock -- and the latter movie isn't strong enough for Oscar (though she just nabbed a SAG nomination for it). Naomi would have done better in the early days of Garbo, when you could get nominated for several movies together.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.14.39 AM.pngLindsay Duncan, Birdman
Yes, we've hit upon a film with a whole array of great acting turns. (Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Andrea Riseborough, and the aforementioned Watts are all superb. Kudos to the casting -- and the direction.) Duncan is simply riveting as a fed up theater critic who sets out to destroy Keaton's Broadway play, with fangs out. And I should know from vicious theater critics.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.16.05 AM.pngRene Russo, Nightcrawler
Jake Gyllenhaal has nabbed Golden Globe and SAG nominations for losing weight and playing a creepy video stalkerazzi in this unusual character study, but Rene is just as fabulous. She plays a sort of updated Faye-Dunaway-in-Network type producer who lusts for ratings, no matter how sleazily they're attained. Too bad no one with a ballot seems to have noticed, except for the L.A. Film Critics, who named her runner-up.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.17.08 AM.pngCarmen Ejogo, Selma
Strangely, I haven't heard any Oscar buzz for Carmen, who's great as Coretta Scott King in this well-played drama about the civil rights struggle in the 1960s. Ejogo plays Coretta as strong and supportive, but faced with occasional doubts about her husband's love and faithfulness. She's excellent in the role.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.18.15 AM.pngShailene Woodley, The Fault in Our Stars
They deprived Shailene of a nomination for The Descendants, and now she's getting snubbed again for this cancer-support-group romance. Admittedly, it soft pedals the disease element to make things way more glossy than anything in real life. What's more, it's thought of as a teen flick, and that kind of thing rarely gets nominated. But who cares? She's great!

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.18.47 AM.pngTilda Swinton, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Tilda was such a sight as the grizzled Madame D., instantly granting the film extra cult status. People also adored her in the equally out there vampire flick Only Lovers Left Alive and the extra esoteric Snowpiercer. The woman always blesses these offbeat films with her enchanted and quirky presence. Alas, the feeling is, "We already gave her an Oscar!" Could anything be dumber?

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