Ryan Gosling, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender and the Top Ten Performances from 2011 not to receive an Oscar Nomination

The difficult thing about the Academy Awards is that it only lists the top five performances in a category.  With such a subjective field as acting, it is inevitable people’s favorite performances will be left off the ballot.  I actually liked all the nominees this year with only a couple of undeserving exceptions.  These are ten…well eleven others that I thought who were also deserving of nominations with some outstanding performances.

11. Jessica Chastain in THE HELP, TREE OF LIFE, THE DEBT, TAKE SHELTER, CORIOLANUS, TEXAS KILLING FIELDS – Yes, I know she was nominated for THE HELP and that’s why I’m putting her at number eleven, technically not on the list. But all good things go to eleven.  Did you know relatively unknown Jessica was in seven movies this past year? And she was absolutely phenomenal in all of them.

Ryan Gosling as Driver

10. Ryan Gosling in DRIVE, IDES OF MARCH, CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE – Gosling is destined to win himself an Oscar one of these days (check out my Top Ten Gosling Movies). Putting in solid performances in some of the better films this year, the man is unstoppable.  Unfortunately, the characters just weren’t bait worthy material for the Academy.

9. Elizabeth Olsen in MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE – Clearly a more talented actress than her sisters, Mary Kate and Ashley, Elizabeth Olsen gives an amazing portrayal of a girl confused, frightened and broken after escaping from a cult led by the always impressive John Hawkes.

George Clooney, Shailene Woodley in The Descendants

8. Shailene Woodley in THE DESCENDANTS – As the foul mouthed and opinionated teenage daughter, Woodley more than holds her own against front-runner Oscar contender George Clooney.

7. Leonardo DiCaprio in J.EDGAR – Leo is always good. In fact, he is so good this time that he actually makes you believe he’s an overweight, aging J. Edgar Hoover.  Trust me, the make-up does not deserve the credit. It’s all Leo.


6. Joseph Gordon-Levitt in 50/50 – His understated performance of a lonely young man discovering he has cancer, is unnervingly down played to perfection. Gordon-Levitt continues to prove why he is one of the greatest young actors working today.

5. Michael Fassbender in SHAME, X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, JANE EYRE, A DANGEROUS METHOD – He also was in hand full of good films this past year and was great in all of them.  But the one that was most impressive was his performance of a man painfully hiding from his sex addiction in the acting vehicle SHAME.

Alan Rickman in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

4. Alan Rickman in HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2 – The poor guy has virtually gone unnoticed.  Can’t we get a little love to arguably the best character in one of the biggest movie series of all time? Without many words and very limited screen time, Rickman gives an incredibly emotional performance in possibly the best film of the series.

3. Mia Wasikowska in JANE EYRE – There’s a reason Meryl Streep said Mia’s name so many times during her Golden Globe acceptance speech.  She perfectly portrays age-old wisdom from a trialed life within a young woman.

2. Albert Brooks in DRIVE – The only one of these I would call an outright snub.  He clearly should have been nominated and probably other than Christopher Plummer could even be the frontrunner to win it.

Michael Shannon in Take Shelter

1. Michael Shannon in TAKE SHELTER – He may have given the best performance of the year as a man slowly losing his mind with visions of a massive storm that will destroy millions.  It’s a crime he was left off so many ballots and that the film went relatively unnoticed.

By Nathan Swank

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