Ever since his cinematic debut with 1992’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’, Quentin Tarantino has made several critically and fan acclaimed films. Tarantino is the kind of director that can get the best performances out of pretty much any actor, so much so, that these performances are often some of the best in their respected years. Sure, some of his characters have recieved nominations and wins, like Christoph Waltz for Hans Landa ( Inglourious Basterds ) and Dr. King Schultz ( Django Unchained ), but many worthy contenders have not recieved the same love from the Academy. So, here are a list of performances from Tarantino movies, that in my opinion desereved a nomination, if not a win.
In chronological order, these are:
Pam Grier – Jackie Brown 1997
The lesser known actress Pam Grier gave a terrific performance as Jackie Brown in the movie of the same name. She plays the sassy LA flight attendant barely making enough money to live, to help her finances she turns to a life of crime, smuggling money out of Mexico to weapons dealer Ordell Robbie. This all works out just fine, until the cops catch her with drugs that were planted on her. She now has to work as a double agent with a weapons dealer, and the police.
Samuel L. Jackson – Jackie Brown – Ordell Robbie 1997
Speaking of Ordell, Sam Jackson lost out on one of several Oscar worthy performances, just in the Tarantino category alone. He was nominated for Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, but that’s it. As stated before, Ordell is an illegal weapons dealer, who knows just about everything there is to know about guns. He builds tension, suspense, he’s smart and he’s just a damn well done character. Even though Robert Forster was an incredible actor and gave off argueably the best performance of his career, it can be argued that Sam was equally as good, if not better.
Uma Thurman – Kill Bill – The Bride
Though she recieved a nomination for Mia Wallace kn Pulp Fiction, her best role came out almost a decade later, where she reunited with Tarantino. The main reason Thurman or any of the Kill Bill actors didn’t revieve any nominations was most likely due to the two volumes release issue. Michael Madsen ( Budd ) said ( loosely quoted ) “If Kill Bill were released in one piece, like it was supposed to, they would’ve gotten at least nominations.” One of these includes the film’s main actress, ‘Beatrix Kiddo’, usually called by her nickname ‘The Bride’. Her character is an ex-hitwoman, who assasinated people with her trusty katana. After being put into a coma by her former lover, Bill ( David Carradine ) she goes on a mission to ‘Kill Bill’.
David Carradine – Kill Bill – Bill
Speaking of Bill, the veteran actor played The Bride’s ex. Giving off one of the best performances of his career. Bill is the masterind behind The Bride’s former assasination squad. He’s smart, cunning, charming and somehow always seems to know exactly what to say to every situation that happens to him. Originally though, Carradine was not supposed to play Bill, Warren Beaty and Bruce Willis having both been considered for the role. I imagined the film with both of them, Carradine was definately the better of the three.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Calvin Candie – Django Unchained
DiCaprio has gone a long way since breaking out as the boy who didn’t realize there was plenty of space on that door to float. In Django he played the deranged slave plantation owner, Calvin Candie. The only character Tarantino ever wrote, that he genuinally hated. At his introduction, he seems like a wild, over the top ruthless madman who runs a secret fight club with his slaves, which he is. He slowly appears to be a more gentleman like character, leaving the audience to think, maybe it was just a one time thing. Boy were they wrong, everything hit the fan once his “Three little dimples” monologue hit, revealing his two-sided personality once more. The main reason I believe he wasn’t nominated, is simply because of his lower screentime compared to Christoph Waltz.
Samuel L. Jackson – Major Marquis Warren – The Hateful Eight
Sam Jackson’s second and final spot on the list, where he played Major Marquiss Warren, where even though like Foxx, DiCaprio and Waltz, he also gave off a brilliant performance for Django Unchained, the competition, along with his limited screen time, makes it personally acceptable to me that he didn’t recieve the nomination. Yet for The Hateful Eight, though there wasn’t really a lead role, Sam Jackson was the closest there was to one. He brilliantly displayed the African-American bounty hunter, untrusting of his surroundings, or shady folk around him. Along with the rest of the cast, he played his part perfectly. Balancing his performance to make a relatable character, with a nice dash of sinisterness.
Kurt Russell – The Hateful Eight – John Ruth
The second actor from The Hateful Eight, is Kurt Russell. Like Marquis Warren, Ruth was also a bounty hunter, in fact, the two knew each other before winding up in a Wyoming stage coach together. If I’m being honest, Russell probably gave the most memorable performance of the film, his dialogue alone being so carefully tailored to both the time the film was set, and his character deserves a nomination in itself. He also had of cinema’s most memorable moustaches.
That was my list of Tarantino characters that deserved Oscars. Are there any other characters/ actors you think deserved a nomination? If so, lemme’ know in the comments below.
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