The Lone Non-Oscar Nominee: A History of Rude Trailer Billing

Why individually bill your cast as "Academy Award Nominee" when one of them isn't? Doesn't that hurt their feelings?

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The throwback-y trailer for The Judge is quite deserving of both love and mockery, given that it has all the hallmarks of a '90s Oscar-bait drama, down to the billing, and I'm sure Vincent D'Onofrio is still smarting about it. In case you don't know what I'm talking about, here's how the actors are billed on-screen: Academy Award Nominee Robert Downey Jr., Academy Award Winner Robert Duvall, Academy Award Nominee Vera Farmiga, Vincent D'Onofrio who's clearly never done anything good with his life, and Academy Award Winner Billy Bob Thornton.

Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. But poor D'Onofrio, a fine actor in his own regard, sticks out like a sore thumb in that cast list since he's never netted an Oscar nod. This is a hilariously common trend in movie trailers: someone makes the decision to credit the cast with their trophy wins or nominations, realizes there's one or two actors who lack that credit, but barrels on through anyway. It's an easy YouTube rabbit hole to fall down: which movies, in an effort to puff themselves up to audiences about their massive prestige, ended up being horribly rude to one actor?


It's pretty clear why the Adaptation trailer makes the choice to bill Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep as Academy Award Winners. Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman's meta-movie about the difficulty of screenwriting is tough to encapsulate in a couple of minutes, and while the trailer does a good job of preparing you for the insanity, it helps to remember that this is fully-stocked with talent. Including poor Chris Cooper, who gets an "and" credit to salve his lack of a nomination. The irony is, of course, he won a trophy for this role.


Look, when you've got a cast this deep on your hands, you want to show them off. But this is a thriller being released in September. Do we really need to dangle Oscar nominations in front of the viewers? Because yes, Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Terrence Howard are all nominees, and Melissa Leo is a winner. But Maria Bello has to be placated with "Golden Globe nominee" (ouch) and Paul Dano gets nada.



Now come on. Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman both get credited for their acting trophies, with specific citations below (Meryl's win for Kramer vs. Kramer is ignored, perhaps because it was in the piffling supporting category). Amy Adams, who is at this point already an Oscar nominee (for Junebug, and she'd score her second for Doubt) gets nada. RUDE.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Do we really need to tell the audience that Judi Dench and Maggie Smith have Oscars? Is there anyone who's really gonna fight you on that? Tom Wilkinson has some nominations too, so Bill Nighy gets left out in the cold and given the "Golden Globe Winner" credit, which always somehow feels even worse.

Miss Potter

Now I'm sure everyone involved would like to forget that they worked on this horrendous Beatrix Potter biopic. But especially Ewan McGregor, who is the lone non-nominee among Renee Zellweger and Emily Watson. 


Pretty simple: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine all get Oscar credit, and Joaquin Phoenix gets nothing. Not to worry, he'd be nominated for the first time this very year—but for Gladiator.

Little Children

First: this is a wonderfully atmospheric and tense trailer for a film that didn't quite deliver on all that promise. Second: Academy Award Nominee Kate Winslet (she hadn't won yet), Academy Award Winner Jennifer Connelly ... and Patrick Wilson. Patrick sees what you're doing there. He takes no solace in your "and."


This one delivers the devastating blow through voice-over, which is even worse and more pronounced. Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench and Lena Olin are sitting pretty. Johnny Depp gets the "and" (at this point hasn't gotten any of his three nods!). Alfred Molina gets a big bowl of nothing. He just glowers at the camera with barely-disguised rage.


This is similar to the no credit for Amy Adams situation, but it's even worse. Liam Neeson and Laura Linney get their own billing, complete with "Academy Award Nominee." Then, Timothy Hutton, who has WON an Oscar (for Ordinary People), something those two hacks Liam and Laura still haven't pulled off to this day, gets lumped in some weird three-actors-in-one-shot credit (with Peter Sarsgaard and Chris O'Donnell) that doesn't even give him his due. Hutton. Don't let them shove you around like this.

Reach Me

Without a doubt, the strangest situation of them all. I barely understand what this yet-to-be-released movie even is. It has an Expendables 3-level random-ass cast list (Nelly! Tom Berenger!), including a couple of crossovers (Sylvester Stallone! Kelsey Grammer!). Anyone who has an Oscar nomination gets their due. Except for Danny Aiello, who was nominated in 1989 for Do the Right Thing. He's credited as an "Academy Award Winner." Danny, you might want to check with Denzel Washington, because I'm pretty sure he got the trophy that year for Glory. Just sayin'. 

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