When, at last February's Oscars, Leonardo DiCaprio was named Best Actor, it felt like the entire world sighed in relief. For months, the actor had campaigned hard to be honored for his work in The Revenant, and the public had campaigned right alongside him, making #GiveLeoAnOscar a popular hashtag, tweeting their horror over his past losses, and passionately commiserating over his sad awards show history. When he won, it felt, for many, like the most snubbed actor in Oscar history had finally gotten his due — except, in reality, that wasn't the case. At all. Sure, DiCaprio had lost out on some big awards, but so had plenty of other stars. Some, like Amy Adams, have lost even more Oscars than DiCaprio, yet no one's made memes about their snubs or begun campaigns in order to get them honored.
On the surface level, it makes no sense. Adams has been nominated for five acting Oscars, one more than DiCaprio was prior to his Revenant nod. She's been working steadily in Hollywood since the early '00s, appearing in beloved and acclaimed films like Enchanted and The Fighter. She's a likable, highly talented actor who's never had a scandal or controversy. She's a favorite among many, a star equally skilled at singing Disney hits and battling with Christian Bale.
Despite all this, though, not many people care that she hasn't yet won an Oscar. Sure, there are a few sad Twitter posts and grumbles from her fans each time she loses out on a win, but by and large, Adams' snubs haven't garnered nearly the same amount of outrage as, say, DiCaprio's have.
amy adams is the new leonardo dicaprio— emma (@emmy_dew) February 7, 2017
amy adams is 100% leo dicaprio 2.0 w this ive been cheated at the oscars 200000 times— ㅤ (@devspatels) January 31, 2017
Amy Adams is the new Leonardo DiCaprio of the Oscars and it breaks my heart.— Isabella Chirico (@irc29) February 19, 2017
So what gives? Well, for one thing, Adams is a likable actor — but DiCaprio is one of the most beloved stars in Hollywood. A former teen heartthrob who's stayed in the spotlight ever since his '90s breakout, DiCaprio has millions of fans who've literally grown up with him, watching him find success and become an adult. They were there when his performances in films like Romeo + Juliet made him a Tiger Beat-covering teen idol, and when he didn't get an Oscar nomination for Titanic, unlike his castmates. They rooted for him when his work in The Aviator and The Departed turned him into a serious star, and when he lost out on each Oscar, year after year. And along the way, they followed his often-hilarious tabloid exploits (those "Leo Hiding From Paparazzi" photos, anyone?), which have helped maintain his image as a talented, lovable guy you just can't help but root for.
There have been other former teen idols who've become movie stars, of course: Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, even Jared Leto. But none have achieved quite the same level of success as DiCaprio, and so the passion fans feel for him, especially when it comes to the Oscars, is unparalleled. It's not that Adams doesn't have fans, or that people don't want her to win, too. But the fervor that DiCaprio's supporters feel about his losses just isn't there when it comes to Adams or, really, anyone else. Perhaps it's because of the type of roles each actor chooses. In the years leading up to his Revenant win, DiCaprio's performances each seemed more "Oscar-worthy" than the next. There was the gunrunner jailed for smuggling diamonds, the drug-addled stockbroker obsessed with making money, the 19th century fur trapper left for dead in the wilderness — as the years went on and the losses piled up, DiCaprio's roles grew in intensity and prestige.
Adams, meanwhile, took quieter, supporting parts, ones meant to show off talent, but not claim all the viewers' attention. Her sweet writer was the balance to Meryl Streep's irresistible chef in Julie & Julia; her manipulative con artist was overshadowed by Jennifer Lawrence's unstable mother in American Hustle; her beleaguered wife stayed out of the spotlight while Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix's characters took center stage in The Master. Even her work in 2016's Arrival, a movie lauded by critics, was more understated than those of her peers, a performance based on telling a story, not stealing the show.
But while that kind of work is valuable, and impressive, it's not showy — and it's a lot easier to be outraged over a performance not winning when every scene the actor's in screams "give me an Oscar, right now." How could the Academy ignore DiCaprio, for instance, when every role he took was so huge and unforgettable? Even when the campaigns for him to win took on humorous tones (see those amazing "Leo DiCaprio's Oscar" memes), there was still an underlying frustration present: that an actor who clearly tried this hard, who'd been working for this long, deserved — no, needed — to win.
The lack of fanfare over Adams' snubs is understandable, but that doesn't mean it's fair. Each nomination she's earned has been for a high-quality performance, and even the roles she's taken that haven't earned Oscar nods, like her work in Arrival, have frequently been deemed some of the best work done on-screen that year. It's a shame that Adams hasn't won an Oscar yet, and while it's a comfort to know that, at 42, she still has plenty of time to pick up a trophy, it's frustrating nonetheless.
And Adams isn't alone. Glenn Close has six nominations under her belt, but no wins; Annette Bening, meanwhile, a snub this year despite excellent work in 20th Century Women, has four. These actors are considered some of the best in the business, but no matter — when it comes to winning Oscars, they just haven't made the cut. But while many were shocked by Bening's most recent snub, for instance, you're unlikely to see any #GiveAnnetteAnOscar campaigns or memes depicting her in tears over the losses. The level of passion people had for DiCaprio's award struggles is unique to him, an actor whose career and roles chosen have shown him to be hungrier, and more desperate, for that golden statue than any of his peers.
Perhaps that'll change down the road, if Adams gets some meaty leading role in a biopic — Oscar bait if there ever was — or Close makes Oscar history with a few more nominations that all end in loss. But for now, the sad fact is that the world simply doesn't care about snubs like Adams' the same way they do DiCaprio's, no matter how many nominations she earns or Oscar wins pass her by. At least Adams doesn't seem fazed; she keeps churning out one excellent performance after another, no matter what happens during each year's awards season. Her losses may hurt her, and they certainly hurt fans — but that won't stop her from giving each role she takes her all, whether the Academy recognizes her for it or not.