The Biggest Nomination Surprises

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 Every year, the best actors, actresses, singers and epic movies are celebrated by the Academy Awards, which is considered to be the highest honor in Hollywood. The 17,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) vote to choose the best of the best in the film industry, often honoring the most acclaimed commercial successes and critical favorites. However, there have been many surprises over the years with certain talent snagging nominations. Here are some of the biggest nomination surprises in Academy Award history.

Marlon Brando and “The Godfather”

One of the most surprising Oscar nominations came in 1973, when Marlon Brando earned a Best Actor nod for his iconic turn in “The Godfather.” At the time, the groundbreaking crime drama was considered to be highly controversial and the nomination was viewed by many as a shock. Eventually, Brando won the award, making him the first performer to win an Oscar for a lead role in a film that was critically controversial, and paving the way for future actors to earn Academy recognition for their artistry.

Sylvester Stallone and “Rocky”

Another surprise Best Actor Oscar nomination came in 1977 when Sylvester Stallone earned a nod for his performance in “Rocky.” It was the first time the Academy opened up to the idea of recognizing a movie in a new genre, and they ended up awarding Stallone with his first and only Oscar. Stallone crafted the role of Rocky Balboa himself, writing the screenplay in just three days to create the story of an underdog boxer who rises up and fights for what is right.

Catherine Keener and “Being John Malkovich”

In 2000, Catherine Keener became a surprise nominee for Best Supporting actress for her performance in the quirky comedy “Being John Malkovich.” Keener played a character named Maxine, a woman who has an affair with the titular character of the movie. It was the first time Keener had been nominated for the Academy Awards and it opened the door for other independent films to be honored in the future.

Melissa Leo and “The Fighter”

Melissa Leo earned a surprise nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the 2010 sports drama “The Fighter,” and then went on to win the award. Leo’s character, Alice Eklund, was a tough-as-nails matriarch of a boxing family and it was the performance that won her the award. The Fighter was also a huge commercial success, becoming the third-highest grossing boxing film of all time and putting Melissa Leo in the spotlight.

Jennifer Hudson and “Dreamgirls”

In 2007, Jennifer Hudson made her first-ever acting credit with the musical drama “Dreamgirls,” and it ended up garnering her an Oscar nomination. It was the first time a black actress had ever been nominated for her debut performance, and it helped pave the way for other newcomers to receive the recognition they deserve. Hudson went on to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, further cementing her status as a Hollywood superstar.

The Oscars are always full of surprises and these five actors are great examples of how the Academy votes for their own. They choose to acknowledge performances that often go unnoticed or underappreciated, as well as those that are groundbreaking and deserving of recognition. From Marlon Brando in “The Godfather” to Jennifer Hudson in “Dreamgirls,” these five surprising Oscar nominations have been a source of inspiration for aspiring actors, showing everyone that anything is possible in Hollywood.

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