Every year, the Oscars hand out awards in four acting categories. Often, the winners and nominees have done outstanding work (Emma Stone and Mahershala Ali thoroughly deserved their wins last year). But there's always performances that fall through the cracks of award season for a variety of reasons - the type of movie or performance, the time of year the film was released, etc. Here are some of 2017's best performances likely to be ignored by the Oscars.
The Entire Ensemble - It
The most refreshing thing about this year's surprise horror blockbuster It was that, unlike many other horror films, it did not treat its characters as cannon fodder. The seven young lead actors (Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff) display the humor, awkwardness, and wildly conflicting emotions that characterize adolescence. The scenes between the kids are just as enjoyable (if not more so) than the scary scenes. It is a horror movie where it actually feels like something real is at stake - you care about these kids. A lot of that is thanks to its excellent lead performances.
Jessica Rothe - Happy Death Day
A second horror performance finds its way onto this list with Jessica Rothe's work in Happy Death Day. She plays a college sorority sister who gets murdered only to wake up and have to live the day over and over again until she can stop her killer. It's an enjoyably silly film, but part of the reason it is enjoyable is Rothe's performance. She has to simultaneously be shallow and catty but still sympathetic. And just like Blake Lively in a similarly overlooked performance from last year's The Shallows, she is on screen the entire movie. If she was weak or mediocre, the movie would have been dead on arrival. But Rothe shines and the result was a pleasantly surprising horror film.
Jeff Goldblum - Thor Ragnarok
The Marvel movies are almost always professional and competent. But comic book fatigue has set in for me. Thor Ragnarok is still a pretty good film, but there are times when it sags under the weight of the Marvel multiverse. However, there are times when it breaks free of the Marvel assembly line. Those moments come largely from Jeff Goldblum's offbeat performance as the Grand Master, a fey hedonist running an intergalactic fight club. The movie springs to life whenever Goldblum is on screen, playing a man who's silly and sleazy, but still no one to be trifled with. He's the strangest, funniest comic book bad guy to grace the silver screen. If comic book movies are to keep from becoming stale, they'll need more stuff like Goldblum's performance here.