14th Dec2017

Culture Dump #20: 5 Actors who REALLY want to win an Oscar!

by Simon Bland


The 90th Academy Awards is just a few months away – and you can tell. The industry has stepped up its game by firing out its best and brightest titles in the hopes of bagging gold – but who’ll come out on top? While Oscar predictions can often be hit and miss, some stars wear their intentions very much on their sleeve when it comes to Academy approval. People like…

Joaquin Phoenix

When actors pick roles the old saying goes: one for them, one for you. Unless you’re Joaquin Phoenix. The Gladiator star seems to have dedicated his entire career to fully immersing himself in characters most likely to land him on the Best Actor shortlist. While he may have only been nominated thrice (Gladiator in 2001, Walk The Line in 2006 and The Master in 2013), you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s happened more, having starred in look-at-me awards fodder Her, Inherent Vice and Irrational Man all in the last decade alone. This year’s no different, with Phoenix doubling-down on his personal quest by playing none other than the Son of God in Mary Magdalene. Thems some big sandals to fill. Jesus Christ, somebody give this guy an Oscar. ​

Amy Adams

Some stars have been around long enough to vary their output to suit all audiences whilst still managing to juggle their dedication to earning an industry nod. Amy Adams has dabbled in almost every genre going – from big budget kids films like Enchanted to questionable tent-pole epics like Man of Steel – and yet at the same time she’s proven time and time again that there’s much more going on beneath the surface. 2005’s Junebug flagged this aspect of her character early on and it’s continued with powerful performances in 2008’s Doubt, 2010’s The Fighter and most recently 2016’s quiet sci-fi Arrival. Adams may be following up her appearance in Tom Ford’s artfully shot Nocturnal Animals with a return to popcorn cinema in Justice League and Disney sequel Disenchanted but it feels like it’s only a matter of time until she bags gold.

Jake Gyllenhaal

Jake Gyllenhaal burst onto the scene in 2001’s Donnie Darko, a film that was possibly a little too bizarre for major industry recognition at the time but one that perfectly showcased the burgeoning actor’s talent and potential. He may have been unable to resist the occasional big studio paycheque (Prince of Persia, we’re looking at you) but Gyllenhaal has consistently returned to roles with depth, pathos and the ability to appear on the radars of Academy voters. In 2006, he came tantalisingly close with Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain and has tried restlessly to return to that spot in the years since, with smart choices like 2013’s Prisoners, 2014’s Nightcrawler and 2016’s Nocturnal Animals. With his new one Stronger pulling on heart strings by telling a real-life Boston bombing tale, perhaps 2017 could finally be his year.

Michelle Williams

It takes some serious acting chops to receive four Best Actress nominations, especially when you consider the time and effort it takes to fully embody a character worthy of receiving that accolade. Then there’s all the additional press and promotional work that so often comes hand-in-hand with pushing for Academy recognition, all when you could very easily be making a decent living with big payday roles in summer blockbusters. And yet one look at Michelle Williams’ IMDB page showcases her dedication to constantly churning out high-brow content. Whether it’s showcasing all colours of a long-term relationship in Blue Valentine, taking centre stage in My Week With Marilyn or playing opposite grief in Manchester By The Sea – Williams’ end-goal is clear. Your move, Academy.

Steve Carell

He made his name by making us laugh in Bruce Almighty, Anchorman and of course, America’s superb adaptation of The Office but Steve Carell clearly has higher aspirations than tickling a few funny bones. His serious slant was teased relatively early on when he played a suicidal teacher in the ace Little Miss Sunshine but it was his transformative portrayal of the troubled John du Pont in 2014’s dark drama Foxcatcher that made his intentions of Oscar glory crystal clear. While his goal may be set, making the transition from token funnyman to the owner of a gold bloke is no easy task (Robin Williams did it but not many others have) but by continuing to surprise audiences with roles like the one he files in this year’s Battle of the Sexes, Carell could very well be in with a chance.

Did I miss anyone out? Let me know in the comments section below!


Comments are closed.