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the-fighter

Image Credit: Jojo WhildenNormally, campaigns for Oscar nominations end when the selections are officially announced. But lobbying for The Fighter‘s Mark Wahlberg, who failed to land a nod for his portrayal of boxer Micky Ward, continues, as his co-stars point to his rock-solid performance as the heart of their film. “I was surprised he didn’t get nominated,” co-star Jack McGee, who played Ward’s father, told EW at the DGA Awards Saturday night. “The character he played was hard because it was so subtle. In real life, Mickey was not a gregarious person, a person who had some trouble, not a big personality.”

Though Wahlberg’s omission isn’t necessarily a snub, The Fighter became the first film in 40 years (The Last Picture Show) to have three or more of its cast nominated and yet not have its star recognized. Christian Bale, who himself had been neglected by the Academy for previous workmanlike performances, appreciates Wahlberg’s predicament. “You can only give a loud performance, like the one I gave, when you have a quiet anchor, a stoic character — I’ve played that one many times, and it never gets any notice,” Bale said, addressing his co-star during his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. “Kudos to you for that. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have gotten away with it.”

You don’t have to be an Oscar savant to know that the Academy has a craving for characters with afflictions and accents, and Wahlberg joins a long list of masterful but underrated performances who were overshadowed by more actor-y co-stars. Tom Cruise in Rain Man andTim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemptioncome to mind.

Do you think Wahlberg was unjustly overlooked by the Academy? And what other examples can you think of where an actor or actress seemed to be penalized for playing “normal” so well?

(Reporting by Nicholas White)

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