Five most underrated individual performances in Oscar nominated films

There are three breed of actors: The good actors, the bad actors, and the badass actors. Today, we will be discussing the latter of the lot. But before we move there, let’s focus on the initial two categories. There are good actors who deserve every praise for their impeccable performance on screen. For instance, Heath Ledger and Joaquin Rafael Phoenix who stole the show with their stellar performances in the role of the Joker in Dark Knight (2008 film) and Joker (2019 film).

Then, there are actors who are widely criticized despite winning an Academy Award and are always under public scrutiny. A famous example is Casey Affleck who won the best actor for his role as Lee Chandler in Manchester by the Sea (2016 film). But then, there are those actors who give performances of a lifetime but are overshadowed by their co-stars or never get the desired recognition they should have had. Today, we look at five cinematic performances that didn’t win an Oscar but went on to win the hearts of millions of fans worldwide.

Leonardo DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Leonardo DiCaprio is hailed as one of the best, if not the best actor of all time. He even went on to win the Academy Award for his show stellar performance in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directed 2015 film, The Revenant. But, was it Leonardo’s best performance as an actor? I don’t think so.

Enter, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, a film starring Johny Depp in the role of Gilbert Grape and Leonardo as his younger brother, Arnie Grape. DiCaprio portrayed the role of a mentally challenged kid to perfection. He was so intense with his acting that as a viewer you’d empathize with him. For a 19-year-old to pull off a delicate role with such brilliance, the world knew they were up for something classic in the future. DiCaprio was nominated for the award that year (as Best Supporting Actor) but didn’t win the Oscar.

Will Poulter in The Revenant

The one and only Oscar that Leonardo DiCaprio has in his bag came in the 2015 film, The Revenant. The film is widely recognized as a work of art. An Astonishing film with anchoring performances by Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy that overshadowed a great cinematic performance by Will Poulter. He was not the first or the second lead but delivered a top-notch performance in the role of Jim Bridger. Though Poulter is known for his comic performance in We are the Millers, he left an everlasting impact as Jim Bridger and looked like a method actor on a mission to be one of the world’s finest ever.

Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds

Inarguably, one of the most underrated individual performances of all time that will go down in history as one of the finest French ladies to grace the Quinton Tarantino classic. If Brad Pitt and Christoph Waltz were the Torso, the film was built upon; Melanie Laurent was its heartbeat. Melanie Laurent played the role of a fugitive Jewish woman Shosanna Dreyfus who wanted vengeance. The French woman delivered the performance of a lifetime and her craft won her recognition worldwide. She was the hidden gem of Inglourious Basterds, a film that saw Christoph Waltz win the best supporting actor.

Samuel Leroy Jackson in Django Unchained

Another classic by Quinton Tarantino featured Jamie Foxx in lead and Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DeCaprio as supporting actors. While some hail it as the finest De Caprio performance till date despite Academy honoring Waltz with the best supporting role, the movie saw the brilliance of Samuel Leroy Jackson as Stephen Warren, a senior slave of Calvin Candie portrayed by DeCaprio.

Jackson is a star to watch especially when he plays the stuttering fool in front of others and the change in personality to a cold-blooded murderer, is a treat to the eyes. If you haven’t watched the film, I’d recommend you to give it a go and feel the hate for the role he portrayed because it is an act no other could pull off to perfection as Jackson did. 

Helena Bonham Carter in Fight Club

I know, I am breaking the basic rule of the fight club, by talking about it, but I can’t resist from getting into trouble. Talking about underrated performances, how can one leave the biggest cult classic out of the debate, which is undoubtedly the most underrated movie of all time? Fight Club brought many things to cinema and to the viewers. The biggest of those was the rise of dark comedies masquerading as Neo Noir drama.

With the revival of such films, it also saw delightful performances from a star cast that featured marvelous performances by Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in Fight Club. But, the most underrated performance came from Helena Bonham Carter who portrayed Marla Singer to subtle perfection. Playing a character of a strong-willed woman who came across as being a complete nutcase, she won a lot of hearts and amassed the critical acclaim for her brilliant performance. Err. Not an Oscar!