Paco Delgado

Emmanuelle Riva

The Academy Awards are not always the best place to look for fresh faces, and this year is no different. The list is full of perennial nominees, to the point of occasional absurdity. The Best Supporting Actor race is the most obvious example, all five actors having won before. Yet it doesn’t stop there. Guys like John Williams and Steven Spielberg, with five and three Oscars respectively, seem like obligatory nominations. There are others who still haven’t won, but find themselves nominated over and over again anyway, like Thomas Newman and Roger Deakins. Some categories are easier to break into than others, but on the whole, the Academy loves recognizing their favorites. This makes it all the more exciting when the elusive first nomination does happen. Whatever you think about the provenance of her performance, it’s going to be neat to see Quvenzhané Wallis on the red carpet. However, I think it’s even more thrilling when long-neglected talent is recognized at last. Gary Oldman’s nod for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy last year was by far my favorite, if only because I thought it would never happen. After someone has gone so long without getting the attention, it seems almost impossible. In that spirit, here are my five favorite first-time nominations of the 85th Academy Awards, with a look back at some of the work that somehow got overlooked in the past.

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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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published: 04.20.2014
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