Every year, maybe even more this year, there are incredible performances that fall by the wayside. This last year gave us a plethora of wonderful performances from veterans and newcomers alike, but not all of them were given the awards attention they may have deserved. Here are the 12 best actors and actresses that didn’t receive major nominations for their stellar work:
** Nominees must not have been nominated for the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild or Independent Spirit Awards**
Keanu Reeves – John Wick: Chapter 2
It may have taken until he was in his early 50’s but Keanu Reeves was finally handed the role he was born to play. Using his background in weapons training and martial arts, Reeves commits one-hundred percent to the tortured hitman, John Wick, who also happens to really love dogs. For John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves upped his training regimen to include judo, jiu-jitsu, and stunt driving on top of his training patterns from the first film. He also got involved in the screenwriting process – Reeves cut lines of dialogue he felt were too expository or talky for Wick’s character. His performance is intentionally cold and cut-off from the rest of the world. As such, Reeves has given us one of the best action characters in decades and John Wick’s story is far from over.
Ray Romano – The Big Sick
It is a very easy thing for a sitcom actor to get typecast and spend the rest of their career struggling to get meaningful roles. This seemed to be Romano’s fate ever since Everybody Loves Raymond concluded, but with The Big Sick he was finally given a chance to showcase his acting potential. Romano’s performance as the worried father of a daughter stuck in a coma is both delightfully familiar to his sitcom days and uniquely and deeply emotional. His conversations with Kumail, whether about life, love, or something more mundane, are extremely awkward, supremely entertaining and truly meaningful. Romano added so much to this film and I hope that because of this role he will be given more chances to show his more dramatic side.
Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes
Andy Serkis has always been an extremely talented actor, but never before has he truly been able to let his talent shine like he does in War for the Planet of the Apes. A fitting close to his tenure as Caesar, the film rests largely in his performance. While war and battle bookend the film, this is not your usual war film; It is more of a war for Caesar’s soul as he must face the consequences of his lust for revenge. Serkis’ performance must convey the battle within Caesar almost wordlessly and he knocks it out of the park. This is, hands down, the greatest performance I have ever seen from Andy Serkis. He may be under layers of digital effects, but the performance is entirely his. Credit to the digital effects artists as well, but Serkis deserves awards recognition to his contribution to one of the best finale’s to a trilogy I’ve ever seen.
Hugh Jackman – Logan
No matter the quality of the films in the X-Men franchise, there was always a constant: Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine, Logan. Rarely has a singular actor imbued an entire saga of films with such gravitas as Jackman brought to the screen in the character of Logan. Jackman made even the worst of the X-Men films slightly watchable with his brooding and ultra-violent portrayal of the ageless mutant. In Logan, James Mangold’s tribute to said character and Jackman’s final film as Wolverine, we see the culmination of all that came before it. My heart ached as I watched the character I had grown to love fading and dying on screen in front of me. However, that was Jackman and Mangold’s vision for the character – what happens when Logan’s time is up? It’s evident that Jackman put his entire being into his final film as Logan, and filmgoers were given one of the best films of 2017 as a result.
Daniel Craig – Logan Lucky
It is always very interesting when an actor or actress completely transforms themselves for a role. Daniel Craig, who is known normally for his calm and cool performance as James Bond, did this for the unusual role of hillbilly inmate Joe Bang for Logan Lucky. Everything about him is so different that it is hard to believe it is the same actor. The most impressive aspect of his transformation is his over the top southern accent. He speaks in a higher pitch than he normally does and this helps him to really stick his most comedic lines (“I am IN… CAR… CER… ATED!). Before his turn as Joe Bang I had no idea how truly funny Craig can be and he is a major part of what made Logan Lucky one of the year’s best comedies.
Ryan Gosling – Blade Runner 2049
Ryan Gosling is almost always underrated it seems. Despite putting in awards-caliber performances year in and year out, he only has two Oscar nominations and there always seems to be some kind of knock against him. Once again, 2017 was a year that people didn’t seem to notice how great he was as he delivered yet another stellar performance in Blade Runner 2049.
In the film, Gosling plays K, a replicant cop who discovers reality-altering things about himself and world he’s living in throughout the course of the film. What I loved about Gosling’s performance is how controlled it is. Throughout much of the film, he is the intense, stoic cop, but as the story progresses he become more and more unhinged. We feel the characters anxiety and dread as he learns every new bit of information. Every revelation is not only understood, but felt because of Gosling’s performance. By the end of the film and one of the most beautiful moments of the entire performance, Gosling has not only led us on a journey filled with heady, philosophical questions, but a journey of real emotion. Blade Runner would not be the film it is without Gosling.