The Oscars Friend Zone

(Borat voice) You never get thissssss

A funny thing happened on the way to the forum. In this case the forum is Olivia Coleman delivering the best Oscars speech this year. Glenn Close recorded her 7th nomination without a win (a fact I only learned from listening to the great Sean Fennessey’s Big Picture podcast), cementing her status in what I’d like to dub the Oscars Friend Zone. It’s like the SNL five-timers club, but instead of awkwardly avoiding Alec Baldwin you’re perfecting your “I’m just happy I was nominated face.” The Academy likes all of these people, but not like that. They just want to meet up for drinks and complain about how hard it is to find funding for a non-Marvel movie.

Now I could just list a bunch of nominees and leave it at that. Instead I’ll do 6 and I’ll give them a corresponding character from Friends, which is a show I’ve never actually watched but I’ll hope I know enough about through sheer osmosis. First only 2 simple ground rules: the person must have been nominated at least 5 times (again hat tip to Mr. Fennessey) and they must have never won a competitive Oscar, with one notable exception. So with that let’s see who are some of the all time Velmas to Meryl Streep’s Daphne?


Glenn Close (7 Nominations) – Phoebe

Best Chance to Win: The Wife (2018)/Fatal Attraction (1987)

Why not start with the most recent example? I’m not gonna lie, I don’t remember shit about Phoebe which is about what most of America would say about The Wife. As you’ll see below, Close wasn’t the only one robbed at the Oscars this year, but her loss to Coleman was the most shocking. It was like getting mugged in Manhattan now. Really? I thought they fixed this? I didn’t expect some immigrant to steal my gold statue. Close should be equally mad that she lost out to the acting powerhouse that was Cher in 1987’s Moonstruck. (At least Lady Ga Ga had the common decency to not be rewarded for her mediocre performance) Here’s to hoping Close finds her version of marrying Paul Rudd in season 9…a makeup Oscar for losing the makeup Oscar for losing the original Oscar she should have won.

Peter O’Toole (8 Nominations) – Ross

Best Chance to Win: Lawrence of Arabia (1963)

Unfortunately someone had to be Ross and that great indignity befalls Mr. O’Toole. Mainly because I bet Ross’ favorite movie is Lawrence of Arabia. It just seems like a given for a scientist(?) or librarian or whatever smart job Ross had(who needs Google). I doubt he could ever be as whiny and annoying as Ross, really could anyone? For my case though I’m going to assume he received his honorary Oscar in 2003 because he wouldn’t stop bitching about the Academy royally fucking up throughout his entire career. Maybe that’s a bit harsh to Academy. After all, when O’Toole delivered a career defining turn as the eponymous Lawrence he just so happened to run into Gregory Peck doing the same thing in To Kill a Mockingbird. Now there’s something to whine about.

Bradley Cooper (7 Nominations) – Chandler

Best Chance to Win: A Star is Born (2018)/Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

It’s crazy to think that we’re not even a decade removed from Cooper playing a drunk in The Hangover and now he’s writing AND playing a drunk in A Star is Born and has 7 Oscar nominations to boot. Cooper is the most charming of these 6 and I’d say there’s an 85% chance he’s wearing his girlfriend’s panties in the pic above. (I definitely know that was Chandler because that happened in a post-Super Bowl episode that pretty much the entire country watched) Rami Malek beating Cooper this year is like when Chandler slept with Phoebe. I cannot fathom what the hell were they thinking and I can’t be positive it actually even happened. But you can’t beat the shitty luck when he had to go up against Daniel Day Lewis’ Lincoln portrayal the year he starred in a role he was born to play: insane Eagles fan. You can hide under fleece half-zips in Jeffrey Lurie’s owner’s box all you want Brad, but we know you’re rocking sweatpants and a Mike Mamula jersey underneath that.

Greg P Russell (16* Nominations) – Joey

Best Chance to Win: Skyfall (2012)

You notice a little asterisk next to his nominations total? That’s because he was originally nominated 17 times, but had his most recent nom revoked because he got caught lobbying via phone, which is a thing the Academy tends to frown upon. If you’re thinking who’s dumb enough to break Academy rules to risk their Oscar, the answer is the sound mixer for almost all of Michael Bay’s movies. That’s a move so dumb only Joey Tribiani could pull it off. Bonus points to Russell for looking like Matt LeBlanc’s pasta loving uncle. I’m not gonna act like I know the intricacies of sound mixing, but Skyfall seems like the big semi-classy tent pole movie that the Academy likes to throw a bone to. Sadly he ran into a juggernaut in Les Miserables that year

Amy Adams (6 Nominations) – Monica

Best Chance to Win: The Fighter (2010)

From what I can remember Monica was a real go-getter and there’s nothing that screams over achiever like averaging an Oscar nom every other year to start your career. Also like Monica, Adams is reduced to being a supporting player. That’s not only a comment on where most of her nominations come from, but also speaks to how it’s tough to make a case for her to have won any. Her best role is probably as Charlene in the Fighter. It’s too bad she had to share the movie with Melissa Leo who treated every scene like she was Randy Johnson and every poor co-star was a dove just trying to innocently fly through the infield.

Stanley Kubrick (13 Nominations) – Rachel

Best Chance to Win: 2001: Space Odyssey (1968)

Ok so here’s where I cheat a little because technically Kubrick has won at Oscar, though it was for visual effects. Does that even count? It’s just like when Rachel was married in the beginning of Friends, at least I think she was. (Again I could look this up pretty easily but what’s the fun in that) Every director since has been trying to make his own 2001: Space Odyssey much like all of your aunts had that long bob haircut in 1997. Kubrick is the star of this pack and his character shows it. The fact that he lost out on Best Picture and Best Director to Oliver! is possibly the greatest travesty in Oscars history. If you’re talking about Oliver! today out of this context you either: have a very specific class at USC Film School or have the worst friends ever. You know how I know Oliver! sucks? If you type in the title (with exclamation point) in IMDb it’s not even one of the 8 results that show up. Thankfully Kubrick will forever be known as the one we saw in the cast and said “man she’s gonna be a movie star, why is she slumming it on TV?”

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