February 5, 2023

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Will Adam Sandler get Oscar nom for Hustle, after Uncut James snub?

3 min read

Come to the Academy, keep Adam Sandler in the game!

The Screen Actors Guild Award nominations announced Wednesday are the first-ever 25 nominees across film and television. Among them was Sandler, who had a dramatic turn in Jeremiah Jagger’s “Hustle” as a basketball scout who discovers a street ball player in Spain. With AMPAS voting opening tomorrow, he arrives at the perfect time to earn his first Oscar nod for Best Actor.

Outside of his Independent Spirit Award win for “Uncut Gems” in 2020, the SAG nod was Sandler’s first major acting recognition in his 35-year career. Released by Netflix in early June, “Hustle” would have been scrapped if it had been with another studio for its awards potential. But the streaming giant has made Sandler and the movie one of its top priorities with a slate that includes more art-friendly titles including the war drama “All Quiet on the Western Front,” the whodunit sequel “Glass Onion” and the stop-motion animated “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio.”

So far, Sandler has received an honor at the Gotham Awards, where his hilarious and touching speech written by his daughters went viral, as well as a few regional critics mentions. Playing Stanley Sugarman, an exasperated scout for the NBA team Philadelphia 76ers, the 56-year-old comedy vet delivers an anti-type role that clearly resonated with the SAG nominating committee.

Following the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and SAG noms, in addition to the BAFTA longlist, the Best Actor race has cemented four actors – Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisharine”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”) and Bill Nighy (“Living”). The last spot revolves around Tom Cruise (“Top Gun: Maverick”), Hugh Jackman (“The Son”) and Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”), with some names bubbling over despite not appearing yet — Tom Hanks (“Auto as A Man”) and Gabrielle LaBelle (“The Fablemans”). The question is, does a large enough contingency of the actor branch make Sandler feel compelled to vote after excluding him in the past?

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No movie star is without their share of “bombs” and “critically panned” flicks, and Sandler has had several in his career with “Little Nicky” (2000) and “Jack and Jill” (2011). However, Sandler has also played respectable roles, such as the anxiety-driven Barry Egan from his Golden Globe-nominated “Punch-Drunk Love” (2002) or the musically Baker Harold from “The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)” (2017) of the Academy. Her most intimate dance came with Howard Ranner, his gambling-addicted jeweler in the Safdie Brothers’ thriller “Uncut Gems” (2019). His awards season that year included mentions from Critics Choice, Gothams, Indie Spirits, and a notable win from the National Board of Review for Best Actor. With its strong performances and anxiety-provoking pace, “Uncut Gems” went down as one of the notable Oscar snubs of the year.

Now, sitting with this major piece of industry recognition, which has considerable crossover into Academy membership, Sandler finds himself in a transitional period for stars who are traditionally more popular with consumers but are waiting for awards recognition. See first nods for Tom Hanks for “Big” (1988), Robert Downey Jr. for “Chaplin” (1992) and Johnny Depp for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” (2004).

However, for every comedy star who tries to transition into a “serious actor”, that Academy recognition never comes. Consider Jim Carrey’s three serious snubs for “The Truman Show” (1998), “Man on the Moon” (1999) and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (2004).

So Sandler can take the final best actor slot? If there was ever a moment for Sandler to receive Academy recognition, it’s now, the day before Oscar nominations begin voting.

To see the current rankings for each category, see of diversity Oscar Hub. Confirm bookmark 2022-2023 Awards Season Calendar For all key dates and timelines for the season.

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