How about an Oscar nod for Steve Carell?

Dan_lThe halls of most major retail operations have been decked with holly, cardboard snowflakes, and cartoon turkeys, which can mean only one thing: The Academy Awards are coming! In the spirit of the season, EW’s own Oscar prognosticator Dave Karger posted a gallery last week of early front-runners, but I was bummed to see that Steve Carell isn’t getting much buzz for his work in Dan in Real Life.

I know some of you probably think that’s an insane idea. Best Actor Oscar nods, after all, are supposed to be reserved for guys who play tortured heroes, morally ambiguous villains, and outsize real-life characters (bonus points if they’ve got well-documented quirks or accents). They don’t go to romantic comedy leads, right?

But as Dan, a widowed father of three who finds an unexpected (and unexpectedly complicated) chance at love, Carell is magnificent. His character’s repeated attempts to derail his teenage daughter’s love affair are hilarious without ever feeling forced, and yet his warbled last verse of Pete Townshend’s "Let My Love Open the Door" during a family talent show reduced me to tears. (Yeah, I’m an easy crier, but still…) As Owen Gleiberman points out in his A- review of Dan in Real Life, "the whole movie spins around Carell’s inspired performance as a man who is going quietly nuts because the universe has decided to toy with him." If that’s not worthy of a little Oscar love, then what the heck is?

What say you, PopWatchers? Do you think Carell deserves to at least be considered alongside Clooney, Hanks and Mortensen this awards season? And while we’re on the topic, what other loopy, longshot Oscar nominees are on your wish list?

addCredit(“Dan in Real Life: Merie W. Wallace”)


Comments (172 total) Add your comment
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  • Ben S

    It’s a shame that no one ever gets recognised for voice work during awards season because Peter O’Toole’s performance as Anton Ego in Ratatouille was marvellous.

  • Bobby Rowe

    I’ve never seen a comic actor able to be so hilarious why so REAL. The realness actually makes everything he does even funnier.
    Before the haters jump down my throat, I realize that his performance on The Office definitely veers outside believability. I agree…but despite that, Michael Scott is still human, and you root for him. I have no idea how he pulls it off.
    Give him some statues.

  • DC

    Remember Bill Murray, a nod…for “Dan in Real Life” it sounds like a Hallmark Card disguised as a movie

  • Erin

    Adrian Brody in The Darjeeling Limited and Keri Russell in Waitress are my picks to WIN Best Actor and Best Actress. These were the funniest and most surprisingly poignant movies of the year, and their performances showed entire new layers to their already well-noted talents.

  • paige

    its a sure-thing that he will not be nominated… he wouldve if the movie did well critically and financially but since it didnt his chances are slim to none… i dont even see a golden globe nomination… he would have had a better chance if he was a woman, hence why angelina jolie will be nominated for A Mighty Heart

  • sTivo

    While “Dan in Real Life” was a terribly awkward film, where the idea of “real” fell flat on mostly everyone who saw it, I do see Steve Carell being nominated for a multitude of reasons that go far beyond the movie. People love him as a TV actor and a writer, and given that he was in a movie that he was actually good in, his chances are up there with the rest. It will be a nod for his career so far, and not necessarily his film. It’s happened before.
    As for other shock nominees, I can see John Travolta being up for supporting actor in “Hairspray.” I was surprised to see him omitted from the predictions; Oscar/The Golden Globes love a hunky actor in drag. And, since Oscar seems to love Johnny Depp, I see a nod going to “Sweeney Todd,” of course, it all depends on if he can actually sing. For actress, it’s a tough year, among a few mildly provocative performances. I can’t really think of too many that “wowed” me, beyond what was already mentioned in the list.

  • Karen

    Carell’s performance in “Dan in Real Life” is what took me back for a second time. And a third time.

  • Karen

    Carell’s performance in “Dan in Real Life” is what took me back for a second time. And a third time. Who knows? He could be the black horse for the noms.

  • new yorker

    He really was very good in Dan in Real Life. The only downer for me in the movie was Dane Cook who I think is a bad actor first of all, funny as hell as a comic, terrible as an actor. And secondly, I couldn’t follow the logic that a guy like him could land a girl like Juliette Binoche. Anyway, Steve Carrell is very good and carries the movie well.

  • Ryan

    Wasn’t “Dan” filmed QUICKLY after “Evan Almighty” bombed? Regardless, Carell will not get an Oscar nod for this film. As every actor knows, one minute you’re the toast of the town, then…not so much. The Academy voters will not be able to separate over the top “Michael Scott” from sad sack “Dan.”

  • sarah

    It would be nice if The Hunting Party or one of its stars (Richard Gere or Terrance Howard) got a nom. I liked that movie a lot!
    I also really want Casey Affleck to at least get a Golden Globe nom…though there’s buzz over him right?

  • sarah

    It would be nice if The Hunting Party or one of its stars (Richard Gere or Terrance Howard) got a nom. I liked that movie a lot!
    I also really want Casey Affleck to at least get a Golden Globe nom…though there’s buzz over him right?

  • sarah

    ahah so nice I had to post it twice. ooops

  • Laurie

    Saw Dan last night and it was great. Even my friend with a very dry sense of humor loved it. I am recommending it to all.

  • emily

    I totally agree, Steve was incredible. I cried during “Let My Love Open the Door” too.
    I also think Glen Hansard deserves a Nod for Once.

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