On Sunday night, Hollywood royalty will gather for their annual industry awards, allegedly recognizing the best performances both in front of and behind the camera for the past year. The “Academy” seems to have found a near perfect host in Neil Patrick Harris, who can combine old school entertainment with modern snark and a healthy helping of charm. All the old signifiers will be on full display: the red carpet interviews, the questionable dance numbers, and the interminable speeches. As always, audiences will lap it all up, maybe with a drinking game to help the hours fly by.
Despite recent revelations that confirm long standing suspicions that Academy members are voting for reasons other than the actual quality of the performance, the awards and surrounding hoopla still convey the sense that, no matter who ultimately wins, the 20 actors nominated did give some of the best performances of the year.
For those who haven’t yet filled out their office Oscar pool, here’s a handicapper’s guide to the nominees:
Boyhood had the momentum following the Golden Globe, but has lost some steam. Some have suggested that its novel production schedule is more praiseworthy than the actual finished product. Based on pre-Oscars buzz, Birdman seems to have taken the lead, and will probably win…though the box office performance of American Sniper may give voters pause.
Eddie Redmayne will probably take home Best Actor, despite reservations that playing a disabled character is a short cut to winning an Oscar. Should those protests be loud enough, Michael Keaton or possibly Bradley Cooper could sneak in and win it…but that won’t happen. Julianne Moore will almost certainly win Best Actress, as only Reese Witherspoon provides any real competition, but in an equally under-the-radar movie. Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons are both locks in the supporting categories. Trust me, these are this year’s sure things. Nobody else is close.
That said, and to bring some much-needed perspective to the celebration, we’d like to remind these performers that their career choices were not always so award-worthy. Whether the result of desperation, foolishness, bad advice or simply being cast in an ambitious failure, all of our nominees have at least one skeleton in their career closet (the nominees this year don’t include any first timers like Barkhad Abdi or Quvenzhane Wallis this year, for better or worse).
Without further ado, here is our list of the worst performances by all 20 of the actors and actresses nominated for 2015 Academy Awards.
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