Here is a life lesson for all the young and impressionable kids out there: Things are only worth doing if you get rewarded for them. It is basic logic. Why would you do anything that doesn’t offer you something in return? That’s just an inefficient use of your time and energy. And everyone knows the two most precious commodities in life are possessions and other people’s opinions of you. Frankly, nothing else comes close to the dopamine boost you get from some stranger validating your own existence by acknowledging that you are wheat amongst the chaff. It is very important to know that without the approval of other people; you are a loser.

For an actor, winning an Oscar satisfies all of Maslow’s pyramid of needs forever. What could be better than a valuable possession that tells the world that you are important? Nothing, that’s what! Oscars are more valuable than life itself. You may be thinking “Oh Zach, that is not true. My children’s love is the most valuable thing to me”, and quite honestly, your insincere thoughts disgust me. Everyone can have kids but only gods who walk amongst us mortals win Oscars! Try getting into a fancy restaurant without a reservation by saying “But garçon, I love my children! What do you mean there is not a table for me?”. Enjoy being a starving nobody, loser. But you flash a gold statue at them and suddenly you’re the second coming of Christ.

There are plenty of talented performers who deserve to take home the gold and have yet to be recognized, and that is just a travesty. There may be nothing in this universe that saddens me more than when the elites of society are not treated as prestigiously as they should be. Can you think of any graver miscarriage of justice than that? They are the Fancy Feast of people. With this in mind, I had the idea to make a list of 10 performers who I 100% guarantee will win an Oscar someday. Go ahead and disagree with my picks. You can’t prove this won’t happen.

This list will be a little different than my previous Top 10 Lists. Instead of counting down 10-1, this will be composed of two separate Top 5 Lists: one for actors and one for actresses. They do not compete directly against each other in the award race, so it does not seem fair to make them compete head-to-head here. To qualify for this list, a performer has had to have accumulated ZERO Oscar nominations as of 2019 because there really is no skill in predicting that Amy Adams and her 6 nominations will eventually get a win. That is a layup and I am taking nothing but half court shots! Zeros to heroes ONLY!

Actors

A quick note about actors: Nicholas Cage is an Oscar-winner so if that happened, no pick is too outrageous to be true. But even I do not have the audacity to take a shot in the dark that wild. My honorable mentions are Mads Mikkelsen, Donald Glover, Idris Elba, Domhnall Gleeson, and Peter Dinklage.

5. Oscar Isaac

Oscar Isaac as Llewyn Davis in “Inside Llewyn Davis” (2013)

Do you really think it is a coincidence that the first performer I listed is named Oscar? You are out here playing checkers (No, not the burgers), and I am over here playing 8-dimensional scrabble in ancient Mesopotamian Cuneiform. You are all just rats trapped in a maze of my design. Oscar, the person, will win an Oscar, the trophy, at some point in the near future. He is handsome as Hell, has leading-man charisma and the range to play characters on all ends of the morality spectrum. Isaac has anchored major blockbuster franchises like “Star Wars” and “X-Men”, as well as thought provoking Science Fiction films, like “Annihilation” and “Ex Machina”. He already has shown that he has musical talents in “Inside Llewyn Davis” where he managed to get a Golden Globe nomination, which is like the Kids Choice Awards of movie honors. The talent is there and he already has considerable name recognition in the industry, which really helps me feel confident in this prediction. Taking his relatively young age huge appeal, it is only a matter of time before the right role comes around for him to capitalize on and bring home that sweet, sweet gold trophy.

4. Daniel Brühl

Daniel Brühl as Fredrick Zoller in “Inglourious Basterds” (2009)

Brühl is an actor I feel most people can recognize by face but have no idea what his name is. That may be due to the fact that his full name is Daniel César Martín Brühl González, and that is a fairly unusual mix of flavors, to say the least. The German-Spanish actor is actually the inspiration behind me making this list after I watched him as Fredrick Zoller in “Inglourious Basterds” because he was just that impressive. Marvel fans might recognize him as Zemo from “Captain America: Civil War”, where is one of the few villains to actually succeed with their plan. Daniel is fluent in English, French, Spanish, and German which by itself should be worth some recognition. Being able to speak multiple languages only adds to the possibilities of roles that he is able to play, and seeing as though the Academy loves WWII films, there will always be a market for charismatic actors to play Nazis. In fact, there may be no actor more equipped to handle stories from that era in Europe. He has also delivered well-received performances in many projects over the past decade or so, including Golden Globe nominations for “Rush” and “The Alienist”. The more research I do into Brühl’s resume, the more I am actually shocked he hasn’t already won an Oscar. He has got the talent and the ability to fill an impressive number of niches that I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins multiple Oscars in his lifetime.

3. David Tennant

David Tennant as Killgrave in “Jessica Jones” (2015)

British nerds everywhere, rejoice! The 10th and best incarnation of the Doctor (I shouldn’t need to say this but I will: From Doctor Who) makes this list for many reasons, some of which are me being a bold visionary of the future, and others are me just being an observant human being. The obvious reasons he is here is because he is an extraordinary actor who knows how to tackle a variety of roles. He is Scottish, and like most British actors, he is a master of dialects and can be a chameleon of sorts, playing people from all over the world. Honestly, the only reason he has not broken into the mainstream for the film industry yet is that he seems to be very dedicated to television, where he has been a consistent superstar for many years now. My bold prediction is that I believe the Oscars will eventually add a few competitive categories as they eventually catch up to modern filmmaking practices, and one of those categories will be Best Performance by a Voice Actor. Tennant has quite the filmography of voice acting gigs on TV and film, and his talent for creating new unique dialects is among the best ever. He began his career as a Shakespearean stage actor, so I have no doubts he could also win for a live-action role, but his prowess in voice acting just provides so many opportunities to win that Oscar gold in the future.

2. Cillian Murphy

Cillian Murphy as Thomas Shelby in “Peaky Blinders” (2013)

Did you know that Cillian Murphy was almost Batman? If it wasn’t for Christian Bale, the man who I so bravely claimed is the best film actor in the game now, Cillian might have already been a household name. This is another case of an actor who is more recognizable by face than he is by name, but he is great in almost every project he participates in. The reason I put the Irish actor on this list is that many of the best filmmakers in the business love him. Murphy has appeared in 5 Christopher Nolan films, as well as Danny Boyle and Ron Howard pictures, among many other successful projects. Since 2013, he has also been the lead actor on the critically acclaimed television series “Peaky Blinders”. These are directors that consistently create award-worthy projects and his proximity to them will be an important factor in landing a role that will garner Oscar attention. With his undeniable ability, it seems inevitable that Cillian will get the hardware someone of his capability deserves.

1. Ewan McGregor

Ewan McGregor as Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005)

I need to say this: It is an ABOMINATION that Obi-Wan Kenobi has never even sniffed an Oscar nomination. I mean that actually isn’t 100% accurate since Alec Guinness was nominated for an Oscar for playing Obi-Wan in the original Star Wars, but the younger, far more charming Obi-Wan has never been nominated, and that is just unacceptable! Ewan is just an amazing human being and he deserves the world. He can sing, has mastered multiple accents, and somehow made the writing of the George Lucas Star Wars Prequels sound charismatic and sincere. Considering he has been a well-known commodity for a long time now, it is surprising that he has not scored that one role to catapult him to the Oscar podium yet, but that just means he is an easy pick for me on this list. He has everything going for him, including the fact that he has begun directing films as well, so I see nothing but an overstocked trophy case for him in his future.

Actresses

Marissa Tomei won an Oscar for “My Cousin Vinny” so miracles have been known to occur. I think my picks are more reasonable than that. My honorable mentions are Scarlett Johansson (Yup, she has never been nominated), Morena Baccarin, Emma Watson, Rose Byrne, Karen Gillan, and Gabrielle Union.

5. Auli’I Cravalho

Auli’l Cravalho performing “How Far I’ll Go” at the 2017 Oscars

Auli’l Cravalho convinced me of this prediction from the first moment she took the stage at the 2017 Oscars as a 17-year-old, where she performed “How Far I’ll Go” from Disney’s “Moana” and single-handedly made every lesser talent in the world crap their pants in unison. When I was 17, I was so awkward that everyone just accepted my floppy head of curly red hair as an accessory to my stupid personality. Meanwhile, Auli’l lights the world ablaze with some of the greatest live singing I have ever heard at the most watched Hollywood event on national television. Anyone who can rise to the occasion as she did is a literal force of nature and will simply take an Oscar one day. Her acting career is still young so she does not have the largest filmography yet, but she has already starred in a major Disney animated feature and a role in the TV drama “Rise”. Considering how brief her career has been to this point, it is apparent that her talent is easily recognized by casting directors and I expect her to have an incredible career ahead of her.

4. Millie Bobby Brown

Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven in “Stranger Things” (2016)

Millie Bobby Brown is only 15 years old and already has earned 2 Emmy nominations. That alone should justify this spot for her but I’ll give you more because I am just generous like that. Since securing the role of Eleven in the amazing Netflix show “Stranger Things”, she has experienced a sort of meteoric rise to superstardom that has made her a household name and a highly sought-after commodity in Hollywood. According to her IMDb biography, which should be considered the gospel, she got into acting when she was bored and a top scout said: “she has instincts you cannot teach”. Essentially, she is just hardwired to be an actor and a damn good one at that. It is common knowledge that I love actors who master multiple dialects, and she was so convincing as Eleven from Hawkings, Indiana, that my tiny mind shattered to pieces when I heard her speak in her natural British tones. It takes many actors decades to master accents and she has it down to a science as a teenager. It only added to my confidence in her when I saw a video of her singing an Amy Winehouse song on the internet a few weeks ago, and I felt so inadequate as a human being. She is just grossly talented and is proof that we are all not created equally.

3. Christina Hendricks

Christina Hendricks as Joan in “Mad Men” (2007)

Christina Hendricks is one of the most underutilized talents in Hollywood today. It baffles me how she does not have a bigger presence in film than she does, but she seems to be more focused on television for the moment. First off, she is a redhead and us gingers must look out for each other. I first saw Hendricks on the science-fiction western “Firefly”, where she played a multifaced thief, who, despite only appearing in two episodes, had so many layers to her that no one really knows what her name is. She gained even more notoriety in “Mad Men” where she played Joan, the often-sexualized femme fatale secretary and partner, who displayed ambition, cunning, and vulnerability in a very layered character who experiences the world in a unique way. For her troubles, she was nominated for 6 consecutive Emmys. Hendricks has now moved into a lot of voice acting roles in movies and television, including spots on “Rick and Morty” and “Toy Story 4”. She has displayed a sort of gravitas to her, that one either has or does not, to go along with wit and the willingness to try different roles that makes her perfect for this list. Frankly, I see her fitting like a glove into the female lead of a Coen Brothers dark comedy, and now that I type that out, I will be really disappointed if that doesn’t happen soon.

2. Gina Rodriguez

Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva in “Jane the Virgin” (2014)

If you have read my review of Annihilation, and I know you all have, you might remember how I said that Gina Rodriguez delivered one of the better performances in the film. She had such an intensity to her that stemmed from paranoia, and her actions were the most human of everyone. At the time, I had not really heard much about Rodriguez, but I was very impressed, to say the least. Now that I have done some research, I can see that I might be a little late to the party. It seems many sources on the glorious interwebs also consider her to be one of the most prominent rising stars in the industry. She has won a Golden Globe for her leading role in the television series “Jane the Virgin”, a show currently boasting an astounding 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. She has been widely praised for taking a character and premise that could be too outrageous to be believable and making her a grounded human with real charm within a telenovela soap opera. And so, while I may have only recently discovered her, it seems as though Hollywood is well aware of her presence and is eager to see what else she can do. The combination of her undeniable talent and the apparent abundance of opportunity in front of her makes me feel like an Oscar in her future is simply an inevitability.

1. Robin Wright

Robin Wright as Claire Underwood in “House of Cards” (2013)

Robin Wright has been an established actress in Hollywood for decades now, and it is surprising that she has not gotten an Oscar nomination yet. And despite her being more seasoned than most of the Actresses on this list, I still have the most faith that she will win an Oscar one day, and I make that decision solely based on her performance in “House of Cards”. As Claire Underwood, she won a Golden Globe and was nominated 3 times in 5 seasons of the show’s run. She was ruthless and calculating, and everything you could have ever wanted in a compelling political character. The reason I use this as the basis of my prediction is that there will definitely be a Hillary Clinton biopic created in the near future, and Robin is the perfect choice for the role. Claire was loosely based off of Clinton and Wright has shown that not only does she have what it takes to handle a character that is so ambitious yet under constant fire, she is the best woman for the job. Major political and historical figures are always poised to get the Oscars’ attention and in today’s political climate, the one who scores that role might as well get the trophy when they sign their contract.

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