1. Johnny Depp
    There is no doubt this man undergoes total transformations for his roles. From the culturally acclaimed characters of Edward Scissorhands and Captain Jack Sparrow to the artistically noteworthy likes of Ed Wood and Finding Neverland, Depp delves into his work with complete commitment. At this point character-acting has become overly expected from him and, thus, is under appreciated even at the extremely admirable level he delivers.
  2. Amy Adams
    For years this incredible performer has been slipping into roles quietly and with an ease that stuns. Adams has a way of making performing look so effortless that it is easy to write it off in that same light, when truly her work is astounding. She's taken her turn in everything from critically acclaimed films like Catch Me If You Can and American Hustle to biopics like Big Eyes and Julie & Julia. There seems to be little Adams can't portray with believability.
  3. Alan Rickman
    Recently deceased, there is no recovering from the fact that this brilliant man is both gone and bereft of an Oscar. Of course he is loved for the Harry Potter series, Die Hard, and Robin Hood but he also provided equally well-rounded and developed characters in the likes of Sense and Sensibility, Truly, Madly, Deeply, An Awfully Big Adventure and many, many others. His deep drawl was devastating in both romantic and villainous roles, he seemed to define "well-rounded" as a performer.
  4. Tom Cruise
    Although he has lost his popularity with many critical moviegoers in recent years, there is no doubt he is an accomplished actor with a knack for portraying leading men. It is often forgotten that his performances in films like Interview with the Vampire, Rain Man, Vanilla Sky, and Magnolia propelled the story forward and ascended critical expectations. Underneath the charming action hero exterior there is no doubt true talent resonates near the surface.
  5. Helena Bonham Carter
    Though, of late, she is often dismissed by being coupled with Depp and her ex-boyfriend Tim Burton her performances are always intriguing and all encompassing. Originally she was pigeon holes in corset roles, she broke out of that trope with amazing performances in films of all time periods. The Kings Speech, Fight Club, A Room With A View, The Wings of the Dove—she has proven herself time and time again to be more than a pretty face in a gorgeous costume.
  6. Gary Oldman
    Stellar performance after stellar performance, the man has transformed himself in dozens of roles with little attention from the Academy over the years. His first and only Oscar nod was for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and this could be because of his affinity for more commercially successful roles like Sirius Black in the Harry Potter series, the title role of Dracula, and scarred/deranged Mason Verger in Hannibal. Oscar or not, his performances are always reliable.
  7. Liam Neeson
    There are few scenes in cinematic history as devastating as Neeson in Schindler's List sobbing as he wishes he "could have saved one more Jew!" He lost the Oscar that year to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia (another devastating role, it's understandable) but has continued to dish out roles equally as cathartic and encompassing as he did in Schindler's List. Now he is primarily known for the Taken series where he delves out a little less heartache a lot more ass kicking, still love him.
  8. Keira Knightley
    Another performer who has transcended the stock casting of working in just one genre. Blockbuster hits like Bend It Like Beckham, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and Love Actually made her a household name but her performances in The Duchess, Anna Karenina, and The Imitation Game make her Oscar worthy. A recent turn on Broadway as Therese Raquin showed her ease slipping into darker roles, perhaps an Oscar looms on her horizon.
  9. Ralph Fiennes
    Fiennes is not a performer known for his weak roles. Whether his character is hated or loved does not matter, what matters is his inability to create a lukewarm character. Most critically acclaimed for portraying a horrendous Nazi in Schindler's List and the romantic lead in The English Patient, but also commercially successful in the Harry Potter series and period dramas like The End of the Affair and the Ducchess— he has not failed to deliver a lively performance in any of his many roles.
  10. Edward Norton
    Though he is not known for staying in view of the public eye, his performances have garnered much respect in critics gaze over the years. Primal Fear, American History X, Fight Club, The Illusionist, Birdman, The Painted Veil—Norton is nothing if not consistently bringing thrilling and challenging roles to the screen. His memorable voice paired with an affinity for choosing off-beat but compelling films makes one wonder when he'll win the Oscar.
  11. Kenneth Branagh
    A gentleman of both the stage and screen, Branagh has recently helmed many blockbuster successes with an admirable eye for direction (Thor, Cinderella) but was originally acclaimed for his talents in acting. His works expand all genres from Much Ado About Nothing, Frankenstein, My Week With Marilyn, the Harry Potter Series, The Theory of Flight, just to name a few. There is little this master performer has not succeeded in bringing to the screen.
  12. Carey Mulligan
    Though often thrust into the role of the fragile girlfriend or wife, there is no doubt Mulligan can deliver a gut wrenching performance as well as any other. Suffragette, Far From the Madding Crowd, Shame, The Great Gatsby, Public Enemies, Mulligan seems to make carefully charted career decisions and has yet to slip up in delivering impactful and moving performances. It shouldn't be long before she is awarded for her drive and engaging presence.
  13. Hugh Jackman
    It feels as if actors who take on superhero roles are often snubbed by the Academy. One must wonder if that is the reason why Jackman has been looked over for Oscars in the past. Wolverine, Les Miserables, Kate & Leopold, Someone Like You...one can only hope he'll delve into a serious drama that will earn him the big O soon!