Yet another year, yet another series of Oscar nominations where the nominees are somewhat obvious, and the usual suspects. Despite the Oscars’ consistently low ratings, the nominations remain much discussed until the night of the big ceremony, and this year the Academy locked out some considerably great performances by minority actors. This is five great Performances by People of Color that the Academy ignored.
Jennifer Lopez – Hustlers
Jennifer Lopez has never been what I’d call a good actress, but in “Hustlers” she brings a new dimension that has never been seen before. As Ramona, she’s a beautiful stripper who will do whatever she has to to survive, even if it means stabbing her own friends in the back. Lopez is a powerhouse scene stealer in what is a pretty damn good crime thriller, and it’s a shame she didn’t get a Best Supporting Actress Nod.
Lupita Nyong’o – Us
No matter what you think about “Us,” Lupita Nyong’o’s performance is absolutely mesmerizing as she’s required to play two characters of different dimensions and knocks it out of the park. While “Us” is a great film, Nyong’o is the reason to see Jordan Peele’s bizarre thriller, as she is absolutely fantastic as a domestic mother fighting for her family, and a–savage mother who is—yes—fighting for her family. She was robbed of a Best Actress nod.
Ana De Armas – Knives Out
De Armas is wonderful in the hit ensemble murder mystery as immigrant care taker Marta who is the center of a very unusual murder involving a famed mystery writer. As Marta, Ana De Armas is charming, empathetic, very funny, and interesting, especially in the little quirk she has where she’s incapable of telling actual lies lest she be reduced to projectile vomiting. De Armas is great as the inadvertent kind heart stuck in the center of a den of snakes and warranted a Best Supporting Actress nod.
Taika Waititi – Jojo Rabbit
Director Taika Waititi is very good and funny as imaginary friend Adolf Hitler, who plays against main character Jojo throughout the narrative. Although many thought Waititi was playing the figure to a charming effect initially, Waititi actually turns Hitler in to an adversarial and bungling character that eventually begins to feud against Jojo when he gains a conscience. As Hitler, Waititi is hilarious and deserved a Best Supporting Actor Nod.
Naomi Scott – Aladdin
In an otherwise lackluster remake, Naomi Scott worked well as the reworked version of Jasmine. This Jasmine was a lot fiercer and much more complex, and Naomi Scott often commanded the screen not just with her portrayal of this new Jasmine, but with her excellent vocals, to boot. She deserved a Best Actress nod as one of the only really memorable elements of Disney reboot.