Actors who got cheated out of Oscar nominations

As with every year, you can't have a list of Oscar nominations without some notable snubs. This year, there were plenty to pick from in the acting categories, which missed opportunities to honor everyone from up-and-coming stars to underrated supporting players. We've chosen some of the most especially unfair examples to highlight here. Maybe next year?

Michael Keaton

When Spotlight first emerged as a legitimate contender, many predicted that one of its stars, Michael Keaton, would easy land a nomination, especially after he came so close to winning the Best Actor Oscar in 2015 for Birdman. But once the precursor season started, his name was pretty much nowhere to be found—with the exception of a Best Actor award from the New York Film Critics Circle, anyway. Part of the reason he might have missed a nomination could have to do with the fact that the film's distributor, Fox Searchlight, chose to campaign all of its principle castmembers in the Supporting categories, instead of letting Keaton compete in the more star-friendly Best Actor. That put Keaton's more subdued performance at risk of being overshadowed by Mark Ruffalo's more in-your-face character. Which, as we know now, is what ultimately happened.

Kristen Stewart

Kristen Stewart almost erased the terrifying and painful memories of her performance in the Twilight saga in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria, in which she played a young assistant to a veteran actress (Juliette Binoche). That alone is enough to give anyone an Oscar nomination. Heck, we'd give her a win. Granted, Academy voters are probably hesitant to nominate anyone from Twilight so soon after it inflicted harm upon millions of moviegoers, and rightfully so. If anything, Clouds of Sils Maria may lay the groundwork for a nomination for Stewart somewhere down the road.

Michael B. Jordan

The only thing more surprising than a critically acclaimed performance by Kristen Stewart is the resurgence of the Rocky movie franchise, which happened in late-2015 with the release of Ryan Coogler's Creed. Among the unexpected treasures in the movie: its leading performance by rising star Michael B. Jordan, who took the outdated franchise and made it relevant, touching and oftentimes emotional. Creed now marks the second time Jordan's name has entered the Oscar race; he was previously in the running for his performance in Coogler's Fruitvale Station. Perhaps his third try will finally be the charm.

Sarah Paulson

The Weinstein Co. pulled a ridiculous move when they opted to campaign Carol star Cate Blanchett for Best Actress and her co-star, Rooney Mara, for Best Supporting Actress, even though Mara basically had about the same amount of screen time as Blanchett. The blatant category fraud, which Academy voters sadly obliged, made it impossible for the film's true Supporting Actress, Sarah Paulson, to get a well-deserved nomination. In just a short amount of screen time, Paulson, who played Carol's former lover-turned best friend, Abby, crafted a character that was equal parts strong, sympathetic, and mysterious. She could create an entire backstory with a single glance. Between the Carol snub and the multiple Emmy losses for American Horror Story, what's it gonna take for Paulson to get some love in Hollywood?

Idris Elba

Idris Elba earned rave reviews, not to mention a slew of precursor nominations, for his chilling performance in Netflix's Beasts of No Nation. So, what kept him off the final shortlist? Some might argue that the Academy is biased against that whole "Streaming movies online is the way of the future!" theory. That could be true to some degree, considering a lot of current voters are older white dudes who are probably just finding out what Netflix is. But considering a lot of voters now watch movies on DVD or online screeners, the argument can't entirely hold up. Sadly, Elba probably missed out because the competition was just too strong. On the eve of the nominations, predictors were still considering about 10 contenders.

Alicia Vikander

Okay, fine. Alicia Vikander did get an Oscar nomination. Congratulations! She just got honored for the wrong movie. While she was totally good in The Danish Girl, in which she played the wife of one of the first known people to ever have sexual reassignment surgery (played by Eddie Redmayne), it's absolutely ridiculous that anyone even thought her character was supporting. Much like Rooney Mara in Carol, Vikander's character in The Danish Girl was unequivocally a lead, and deserved to be recognized in the correct category. If anything, it would have made room for her to be nominated for Ex Machina, a legitimately supporting performance that also happened to be her very best of the year.

Jacob Tremblay

Room, the haunting story of a mother and son who are held captive in a one-room shed for years, was one of the strongest performers among the Oscar nominations this year. It even earned a surprise nomination for its director, Lenny Abrahamson, over presumed frontrunner Ridley Scott (The Martian). That might be why it's especially sad to see Jacob Tremblay's name not on the list of nominees. Room arguably wouldn't have been as successful had it not been for Tremblay's heartbreaking and emotional performance, which balanced so well off of Brie Larson's devastating work. On the bright side: if Tremblay is this good of an actor at just nine years old, he's bound to win an Oscar one day.

Charlize Theron

We loved the fact that the Academy rallied behind George Miller's post-apocalyptic thrill ride, Mad Max: Fury Road. We just wish the love had spread to some of its actors. We're mainly talking about Oscar-winner Charlize Theron, who gave new life to the female action hero with her performance as Furiosa. Strong, determined, and brutally heroic, Theron quietly carried the movie with the kind of iconic stature not seen since Sigourney Weaver's Oscar-nominated turn in 1986's Aliens. Between this and Theron's snub for Young Adult in 2011, it's about high time the Academy invited her back to the party.