The Academy Awards always seem to hit a nerve with a movie lover. Either they don't give an actor recognition for perhaps their best work or they don't give them any recognition at all. Either way, their decisions manage to piss a few people off. There are actors who were nominated many times but winning that golden statuette seemed to elude them (ie, Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton). This list will focus on some of the more glaring examples (I'm limiting it to actors still working).
The Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio
He is honestly one of the best actors working today. So how is it he doesn't have an Oscar to call his own?
Nominated for: What Eating Gilbert Grape (lost to Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive), The Aviator (lost to Jamie Foxx in Ray), Blood Diamond (lost to Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland)
Should have won for: The Aviator. His portrayal of Howard Hughes is one that'll stick in your mind long after you see it. His descent into madness is haunting as well as stunning.
Neglected by AMPAS: Catch Me If You Can, Gangs of New York, The Departed, Revolutionary Road
The Actor: Ralph Fiennes
I've mentioned several times before that I admire Fiennes' work, so of course it offends me that he hasn't been fully recognized for it.
Nominated for: Schindler's List (lost to Tommy Lee Jones in The Fugitive), The English Patient (lost to Geoffrey Rush in Shine)
Should have won for: Schindler's List. His loss that year is considered one of AMPAS' biggest mistakes. He commands the film when he's on screen. He also scares the hell out of everyone with his twisted and sadistic portrayal of Amon Goeth.
Neglected by AMPAS: Quiz Show
The Actor: Julianne Moore
One of the best actresses working today and what does she have to show for it? Nothing.
Nominated for: Boogie Nights (lost to Kim Basinger in L.A. Confidential), The End of the Affair (lost to Hilary Swank in Boys Don't Cry), Far from Heaven (lost to Nicole Kidman in The Hours), The Hours (lost to Catherine Zeta-Jones in Chicago)
Should have won for: The Hours. I know some of you might say Far from Heaven, but bear in mind I haven't seen it yet. Her work in The Hours is delicate and gentle yet strong and powerful. Although Nicole Kidman won for her performance, it's Moore who gave the best one.
Neglected by AMPAS: Magnolia, A Single Man
The Actor: Edward Norton
Although he has two Oscar nominations, I still consider Norton an underrated actor. He knows how to grab one's attention with his acting.
Nominated for: Primal Fear (lost to Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Jerry Maguire), American History X (lost to Roberto Benigni in Life is Beautiful)
Should have won for: Primal Fear. This was Norton's debut as an actor and it showed that he's here to stay. He appears normal, but soon you realize that he has a dark side. It's a horrifying and in-depth performance, not common for a film debut.
Neglected by AMPAS: 25th Hour
The Actor: Ed Harris
A prolific character actor, yes, but also a very good actor. He shows range in roles that most actors can only dream of.
Nominated for: Apollo 13 (lost to Kevin Spacey in The Usual Suspects), The Truman Show (lost to James Coburn in Affliction), Pollock (lost to Russell Crowe in Gladiator), The Hours (lost to Chris Cooper in Adaptation)
Should have won for: The Hours. Along with his equally unsuccessful co-star Julianne Moore, Harris gave the best performance in The Hours (forget Nicole). He's only in the movie for two scenes, but he left a hell of an impact.
Neglected by AMPAS: A Beautiful Mind
Other snubbies: Matt Damon, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Robert Downey, Jr.
So there are mine. Who are some actors you would include?