If there's one thing the Academy loves, it's biographical movies. Bonus points if the film is a period piece with a catchy title. Also, it helps if the subject of the biopic has any of the following qualities: plays a competitive game/sport, is extremely intelligent, had a uniquely eventful life, is eccentric in personality, is attractive, or is a cultural icon. The movie Pawn Sacrifice, which is about U.S. chess champion Bobby Fischer, has literally all of those things. But one thing it doesn't have is an Oscar-winning actor in the lead role. Fischer is played by Tobey Maguire, who somehow has never won an Oscar despite having played many starring and supporting roles in critically-acclaimed films. But the tables may be turning with this latest project, prompting critics to wonder if Tobey Maguire could win an Oscar for Pawn Sacrifice.
Opinions so far have differed — Slate noted that the actor is "gunning" for an Oscar, while other outlets have commented that Maguire's performance is noteworthy but won't be able to compete with the many exemplary portrayals we've already seen from male actors this year. I myself would love to see Maguire win an Academy Award, especially because many of his wonderful performances in well-known films so far have gone unrecognized. For example...
Red Pollard In Seabiscuit
The film received seven Academy Award nominations, including one for Best Picture, but none for Maguire despite his heartwarming portrayal of jockey Red Pollard. This is even more of a burn given that Maguire intensely prepared for the role, losing a large amount of weight and maintaining the slim jockey figure while filming 14 hours a day.
Homer In The Cider House Rules
Michael Caine won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role of a doctor at an orphanage, while Maguire's character had to clean up all of Caine's messes but received squat in terms of nominations. He didn't win Charlize Theron's character, either. Sad day.
Nick Carraway In The Great Gatsby
The entire narrative of this movie takes place through Nick's eyes, but the subtlety of Maguire's portrayal of this genuine, perceptive character is overshadowed by the atrocious behavior of pretty much everyone else in the movie.
Peter Parker In Spider-Man
Okay, so I'm not saying this role was Oscar-worthy, but it was absolutely iconic. Also, Maguire said he nearly suffocated filming that kissing scene. That's commitment.
Even though no one has made a meme about it, Tobey Maguire has definitely been overlooked by the Academy for far too long. He's clearly going for the gold in Pawn Sacrifice, though; the actor prepared for a decade in order to nail this role. He told Variety, “It’s been about 10 years since I first started looking into this as a film. I read anything I could get my hands on, watched everything I could watch and talked to anybody who would talk to me who knew Bobby." With that kind of persistence, it seems plausible that Maguire could take home one of the coveted gold statues. And if not, well, he and Leo can hang out and talk about it...
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