12 Texas Bred Actors and Their Performances the Oscars Shouldn’t Have Snubbed

As with any year, the 2022 Academy Award nominations incited excitement, anticipation, speculation and backlash. It seems like the internet will never understand that everyone’s favorite films and performances can’t get in when there’s a narrow set of slots available, and the ceremony doesn’t lose any value because of one omission. While there’s a necessary conversation going on over the people of color and women who were ignored in the list of nominees, those who were honored undeniably did some incredible work in the last year.

There’s certainly an eclectic field of films out there vying for the top prizes. There’s an autobiographical story from filmmaker Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), a hilariously heartbreaking Irish dark comedy (The Banshees of Inisherin), a thrillingly relevant character study (Tar), a necessary seminar on female agency (Women Talking), one of the most startling anti-war films in recent memory (All Quiet On The Western Front), a sensational music biopic (Elvis), an unusual “eat the rich” satire (Triangle of Sadness) and some of the greatest pieces of blockbuster entertainment in recent memory (Avatar the Way of Water and Top Gun: Maverick).

At this point, it looks like the film most celebrated by young Redditors and TicTok users (Everything Everywhere All at Once) will end up taking the top prize. Is Everything Everywhere All At Once really the “Best Picture” of 2022, or is it just what’s popular right now? Some wins make more or less sense with age, and looking back, we think these Texas performers were snubbed despite their outstanding work.

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El Paso’s Debbie Reynolds performance in Singin’ in the Rain was overlooked by the Academy.

Image from Singin’ in the Rain trailer/Wikimedia Commons

Debbie Reynolds

Best Actress, Singin’ in the Rain (1952)

Here’s one that’s simply baffling. Singin’ in the Rain is included in both Sight & Sound magazine’s and the American Film Institute’s’ Top 10 lists of the greatest films ever made, and El Paso native Debbie Reynolds’ uproarious, enthusiastic performance is unquestionably an essential part of its legacy. Regardless of her omission here, it would be strange to see any list of great musical performances in film that didn’t include her.

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Robin Wright in Forrest Gump

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Robin Wright

Best Supporting Actress, Forrest Gump (1994)

Forrest Gump was an Oscar titan, taking home six awards including Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, and Best Actor for Tom Hanks. Yet despite these accolades, Dallasite Robin Wright’s heartbreakingly earnest portrayal of the girl who dominated Forrest’s life didn’t get in.

Owen Wilson

Best Actor, Midnight in Paris (2011)

You may be used to seeing Dallas’ own Owen Wilson pop up in things like Hall Pass and Wedding Crashers, but he showed that he could be unflinchingly earnest and undeniably charismatic in Woody Allen’s modern masterpiece Midnight in Paris. He earned a Golden Globe nomination in the Best Actor category, but the Oscars ignored him.

Scoot McNairy

Best Supporting Actor, Killing Them Softly (2012)

Killing Them Softly was was truly ahead of its time. The complex heist drama explores the realities of a post-financial-crash America through its impact on one crime syndicate. Although it’s a film stacked with great performances, Dallas native Scoot McNairy’s portrayal of a dim-witted robber caught in over his head has to be the most entertaining.

Matthew McConaughey

Best Actor, Killer Joe (2012)

Yes, Uvalde-born Matthew McConaughey did end up taking home Best Actor one year later for his performance in the generic “awards bait” biopic Dallas Buyers Club. However, he’s even better as the titular demented bounty hunter Killer Joe in this intimate and hilarious NC-17 black comedy based on the Tracy Letts play of the same name.

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Dallas’ own Jesse Plemons.

Jon Kopaloff/Getty

Jesse Plemons

Best Actor, Other People (2016)

While Dallas’ Jesse Plemons finally received his first Oscar nomination last year for The Power of the Dog (alongside his partner Kirsten Dunst), we’d argue that he deserved one a few years prior for his heartbreaking performance in sketch comedy writer Chris Kelly’s semi-autobiographical story of a struggling artist returning to his hometown to help his mother deal with a terminal diagnosis. Kelly’s film may not have gotten any Oscar love, but it received a warm reception upon its screening at the 2016 Dallas International Film Festival.

Woody Harrelson

Best Supporting Actor, The Edge of Seventeen (2016)

Woody Harrelson of Midland has three nominations to his name (The People vs. Larry Flynt, The Messenger, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), yet no wins. If any of his performances deserved to take home a trophy, it’s his role as Haillee Steinfeld’s frank, hilariously honest teacher; he’s the kind of mentor we all wish we had in high school.

Sasha Lane

Best Actress, American Honey (2016)

This nearly 3-hour road trip across the landscape of America is one of the most acclaimed indie coming-of-age dramedies of the 21st century. While the BAFTA awards and certain critics groups were kinder, the Oscars left Andrea Arnold’s modern masterpiece out entirely, including Sasha Lane’s (Houston) beautiful performance.

McKenna Grace

Best Supporting Actress, Gifted (2017)

It’s really rare that child performances break through, but Grapevine’s McKenna Grace holds her own against former Captain America Chris Evans in this heartwarming story of a single father caring for his intellectually gifted daughter. She manages to wade through some cheesy lines and give an utterly joyful, empathetic performance.

Dakota Johnson

Best Actress, Suspiria (2018)

If there’s anything that hasn’t changed, it’s the Oscars’ refusal to consider deserving performances in horror films. Austin-born Dakota Johnson does far more work as a tormented Russian dancer in the remake of Suspiria than any “awards bait” biopic would ever require. Johnson’s incredible physical transformation amidst haunting horror sequences is one of many reasons that Suspiria works as the rare remake that tops the riginal.

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Jonathan Majors wasn’t born in Texas, but he got here as soon as he could.

Astrid Stawiarz

Jonathan Majors

Best Supporting Actor, The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019)

Born in California but reared in North Texas, Jonathan Majors has quite a few performances under his belt that are deserving of consideration, and we’re already starting a campaign to get his latest role as Dame Anderosn in Creed III some recognition next year. However, it’s his quiet performance in this intimate study of black ownership and artistry that put this rising star on the map.

Sadie Sink

Best Supporting Actress, The Whale (2022)

Brendan Fraser could take home the Best Actor award this year for his performance as the 600-pound gay English professor Charlie in The Whale. While his co-star Hong Chau got a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her role as his caretaker, we think the heartbreaking performance by Brenham’s Sadie Sink as Charlie’s estranged daughter is even more emotional.


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