Which Underappreciated Performances Deserve Oscar Recognition?

 
With ballots now out to Academy members, a number of critics and bloggers are making last-minute pleas to those who might be listening (or reading). This is the Internet equivalent to the old Siskel & Ebert tradition of annual "Memo to the Academy" episodes. Even if you don’t bother with the Oscar punditry on a regular basis, and even if some picks don’t actually stand a chance, this sort of coverage of the underrated or under-hyped is useful at least for recommendations of films and performances that might have otherwise slipped past us.
 
Many see the Oscars as a spotlighting tool above all else, but these days thanks to constant chatter and buzz on the Internet, some performances don’t need the additional Academy push. Everybody is already fully aware that Daniel Day-Lewis displays the best acting of the year in Lincoln. But what about the other four slots in his race? It would be great to see a lesser known actor and/or film represented, like last year’s nomination for A Better Life’s Demian Bichir. 
 
If there’s any name we’ve been hearing over and over, it’s Jack Black. While he’s not an unknown, nor really is Bernie, the movie he’s been talked about for, the role and performance aren’t believed to be the Academy’s cup of tea even if it’s thought Oscar-worthy. Black has received a Golden Globe nomination, however, so he’s higher up the ladder. Now pushes for unlikely Best Actor nominees include those for Liam Neeson in The Grey and Matthias Schoenaerts for Rust and Bone
 
Each of those is listed on a slideshow memo to the Academy at In Contention. There and elsewhere, not-to-be-forgotten performances are being highlighted even if just for the sake of reminding readers. Our own Awards Watch site lists who we'd pick if we ran the Oscars (most of our choices haven't a ghost of a chance). Pajiba.com offers up supporting actors who "don’t stand a chance," including Charlize Theron in Snow White and the Huntsman and Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect. We picked Wilson too, and why not? With a scene-stealing, breakout turn in a comedy showing up on a few major critics’ top 10 lists, she could easily fill the usual funny lady spot in the Supporting Actress category, which last year was held by Melissa McCarthy.
 
Others who shouldn’t be overlooked include Linda Cardellini, whose little-seen film Return could definitely use the boost of Academy recognition, as well as Elle Fanning from Ginger & Rosa and Anders Danielsen Lie from Oslo, August 31. Of course, it doesn’t have to be lesser-known movies. Even those disappointed by Prometheus should still acknowledge that Michael Fassbender is worthy of a Supporting Actor bid. 
 
Which performances do you hope aren’t overlooked by the Academy this year? 
 
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