Top Ten Overlooked by the Oscars August 8, 2008 Ten Hollywood A-listers who have never been nominated. Heath Ledger mania begins. In fact it’s been going strong for eight months now – ever since the first six minutes of the Dark Knight was screened for selected journalists. Now, 400 million dollars later, Ledger’s electric performance as the devilish Joker is considered the actor’s lifetime performance. But will he get that posthumous Oscar? Peter Finch was the first actor to win posthumously for his role in the 1976 film Network and the Academy have dished out few posthumous wins since. But with three of Ledger’s Dark Knight co-stars vowing to nominate the actor, will Ledger be overlooked by the Acaedmy? Here are ten of the hottest actors working today who, despite flirting heavily with those roles-of-a-lifetime, fail to grab the attention of those little golden men long enough to win one: 1. Christian BaleThis young Welshman has shone in both mainstream fare and the more intelligent indie flick. He has a glistening CV of consistently excellent performances, from his debut in Empire of the Sun, to American Psycho, The Machinist, 3.10 to Yuma, and of course, Batman. His dedication to a role is unquestionable: Bale famously shed a dramatic sixty pounds for The Machinist. Surely the Academy isn’t still holding Reign of Fire against him? Anyway, that excuse is already being claimed by Matthew McConaughey… 2. Robert Downey JrThis is a bit of a cheat: Downey Jr. was nominated, for Chaplin in 1993. In the fifteen years since then, however, after fighting his personal demons, he has turned in performances equal to, and arguably better than, his portrayal of the Little Tramp: In Wonder Boys, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Good Night, and Good Luck,and last year’s under-rated crime thriller Zodiac. 3. Ewan McGregor:While his later output is decidedly dodgy, McGregor is actually one of the great British actors of his generation, as illustrated in indie favourites Shallow Grave, Trainspotting, and Velvet Goldmine. And while co-star Nicole Kidman wrangled herself a Best Actress nomination for her spectacular musical turn in Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge!, Ewan missed out, despite his heart-rendering performance as the Bohemian writer Christian. Maybe he should have donned a prosthetic nose, like Kidman in The Hours, in his follow-up…. 4. James McAvoy The Shameless Scotsman isn’t afraid to get down and dirty with a role, having cut his teeth on Channel 4’s flagship drama. And while he is new to Hollywood, starring in two of the most critically acclaimed films of the last two years,Atonement, and The Last King of Scotland, failed to get him even nominated, despite his excellent performances in both. Who knows, maybe he’ll get the nod for Wanted? Maybe not. 5. Elijah WoodHe may only look about twelve (he’s actually 28), but Elijah Wood is a Hollywood veteran, capable of conveying raw, powerful emotions on screen. How many other actors could get you to identify with Frodo’s fantastic predicament in Lord of The Rings? As well as Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy, Elijah has turned in amazing performances in Everything is Illuminated, Green Street, and Michel Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, proving himself to be very versatile. Acting since age eight, Wood has become more successful now than he was as a child actor – that rare feat, in itself, displays his talent and staying power. 6. John CusackMmm, John Cusack, the dreamy eighties heart-throb of Say Anything. But he has taken on many more roles with a great deal more integrity since those days but has never been rated by the Academy. Arguably his best turn was as the tortured protagonist of Spike Jonze’s Being John Malkovich, but he has also lit up the screen in Con Air, Grosse Pointe Blank, and fan favourite, High Fidelity. 7.Alan RickmanEveryone’s favourite baddie, Alan Rickman, has lost out on more nominations than he’s had hot shaves from Johnny Depp.His recent turn in Sweeney Todd as evil Judge Turpin was overlooked, as was his exceptional portrayal ofHans Gruber in Die Hard, or the truly nasty Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. He also played an utterly convincing Eamon DeValera in Neil Jordan’s Michael Collins. Yep, watch it again, it is him alright… 8. Bruce WillisWhile Willis’ forte is definitely the fast-paced action blockbuster, it’s a travesty that he is not recognised for his subtle talents when he steps outside this genre and proves himself as a likeable and charismatic actor. Willis’ finest efforts are to be seen in the groundbreaking The Sixth Sense, Sin City, Twelve Monkeys, Unbreakable, not to mention his more comedic parts in Death Becomes Her and Bandits. And who can forget his role as Butch in Pulp Fiction? 9. Kevin BaconArguably the most famous actor in the world, due to the game ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’, he does not yet have a little golden man on his mantlepiece. Despite a recent abundance of impressive dramatic performances from him in Mystic River and The Woodsman, not to mention his iconic past roles in Sleepers, A Few Good Men, and The River Wild, (not to mention Footloose!) Kevin Bacon has yet to impress the Academy enough for even a nomination. 10. Jim CarreyI’m sure there are people who have just snorted in disgust and resolved not to finish reading after this suggestion, but Jim Carrey has in recent years shown himself to be capable of more in-depth performances than required for Ace Ventura, most notably in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Man on the Moon, Me, Myself and Irene (in which he arguably plays two roles!) and of course, the manic, unrelenting, Cable Guy. Words : Stacy Grouden Do you foresee an Oscar for Ledger? What actor do you think deserves that Academy nod? Suggestions, omissions, and castrations – all welcome in the comment box below.