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Last week, Gary Oldman ended his three-decade reign as Oscar’s most perennially snubbed talent, scoring a nomination for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
His Harry Potter co-star Alan Rickman wasn’t so lucky: his well-reviewed performance in the final Potter film gave the British star his best shot at a nod in years, but the movie’s lack of awards momentum killed his chances.
Is Rickman the greatest living British film actor to never be nominated? Here are five Rickman roles that warranted recognition from the Academy:
Die Hard (1988)
Hans Gruber is where the legend of Rickman began, a role that remains iconic a quarter-century after the thriller pack theaters. Before you declare Die Hard “not an Oscar film,” note that the Academy has nominated worthy supporting actors in so-called “cheesy” blockbusters before (Fred Astaire in Towering Inferno, Alec Guinness in Best Picture nominee Star Wars, and Pat Morita in The Karate Kid, anyone?)
Truly, Madly, Deeply (1990)
Evidence of the Rickman range: his earthy, whimsical performance as Juliet Stevenson‘s ghostly lover was 180 degrees away from Hans Gruber. (Of course, this was many years before just showing up in an Anthony Minghella film meant an Oscar nomination.)
Sense & Sensibility (1995)
The Academy nominated Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet for their roles in Ang Lee‘s adaptation of Jane Austen‘s novel, but Rickman’s BAFTA-nominated work as the upstanding Colonel Brandon was criminally overlooked by Oscar.
Michael Collins (1996)
Rickman played a real-life figure (Irish revolutionary leader Éamon de Valera) with a measured sense of dignity that at times outshone star Liam Neeson. Once again, BAFTA nominated him, the Motion Picture Academy did not.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2 (2011)
When Deathly Hallows, Part 2 premiered last summer, it was clear that Rickman’s acting in this final film was something special. The New York Times’s Manohla Dargis singled out Rickman’s work as the movie’s “expressive high point,” adding that Snape “has become such a brilliant screen character… due to Mr. Rickman, who helped elevate a child’s tale of good and evil into a story of human struggle.” Daniel Radcliffe added, “I do think it’s the performance of his career. I think he should get nominations for best supporting actor because it’s so touching and beautiful what he does.”
But fans hoping for a belated, Return of the King-like acknowledgment of the Harry Potter film franchise were disappointed: the film was a non-factor on year-end lists and reaped only three technical Oscar nods. And Rickman once again was ignored.
What roles did we miss? What will it take to finally get Rickman an Oscar nomination? Let us know below:
See more posts by Kevin Wicks
Kevin Wicks founded BBCAmerica.com's Anglophenia blog back in 2005 and has been translating British culture for an American audience ever since. While not British himself - he was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri - he once received inordinate hospitality in London for sharing the name of a dead but beloved EastEnders character. His Anglophilia stems from a high school love of Morrissey, whom he calls his "gateway drug" into British culture.