Home Uncategorized Robert DeNiro: It’s Been 20 Years Since His Last Oscar Nomination

Believe it or not, it’s been two decades since Robert DeNiro was last nominated for an Academy Award. It was 1992, and the movie was “Cape Fear.” It was second nomination in a row– in 1991, it had also been Best Actor, for “Awakenings.” He lost both times. Prior to that, DeNiro had won in 1981 for “Raging Bull.” His other win was in 1975 for “The Godfather Part 2” as Best Supporting Actor.

DeNiro was also nominated for work in “The Deer Hunter” and “Taxi Driver,” his most imitated role. He lost both of those times.

Now after all this time, DeNiro could be up for a Best Supporting statue from “Silver Linings Playbook.” His role as Pat Senior, the understanding yet slightly eccentric father of Bradley Cooper, is a killer– without bullets. After a generation of doing comedies like “Meet the Parents” and “Analyze This,” DeNiro combines his best dramatic and comedic skills to pull off the role.

His scene with Jennifer Lawrence, a cinch for Best Actress, in the “Silver Linings” kitchen, is a total Oscar scene stealer. Lawrence, as Tiffany, roars in and confronts Pat Senior about where she was each time the Philadelphia Eagles have recently played.

Later, DeNiro delivers the movie’s most memorable line to Cooper: When life reaches out with a moment like this it’s a sin if you don’t reach back.” It’s a show stopper.

In Toronto, when DeNiro attended the premiere screening, he emerged with tears in his eyes. As Pat Senior, he holds this lovable yet dysfunctional family together. DeNiro not only supports Cooper and Lawrence, but plays brilliantly with co-stars Jacki Weaver and his real life pal, Paulie Herman.

DeNiro will heavy competition from other players in this category including Philip Seymour Hoffman from “The Master,” Tommy Lee Jones from “Lincoln,” Eddie Redmayne from “Les Miserables,” Alan Arkin in “Argo” and both Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz (who’s really a lead) in “Django Unchained,” as well as dark horse Javier Bardem in “Skyfall.”

Voting for the Academy Awards online opens today for members.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.
4 replies to this post
  1. I haven’t seen the SLP because the last two times I went to see a Jennifer Lawrence Movie I walked out — Winter’s Bone and Hunger Games. I think I fell asleep on Hunger Games. So I have sworn off Jennifer Lawrence. As for DeNiro — I know you can’t play gangsters all your life, but those were his best roles. Does it strike anybody else that the same actors get nom’d for awards over and over again every year or every other year? It’s getting a little boring.

  2. It would help if DeNiro would actually pick some good roles. In the past 20 years he has tried mightly to become a commedian – something he is not particualrly good at since he thinks it means to mug to the camera. I used to look forward to his films but they stopped being noteworthy following his brief turn in Goodfellas. So no, I don’t think he ‘deserves’ an Oscar nom.

  3. Roger, I don’t understand your ( and others) profound love for Silver Linings Playbook. It is only okay- not great nor good. One of the things that hurt this film is Jennifer Lawrence. She was miscast in her role. She didn’t bring the right amount of intelligence, strength, maturity ( she is too young for the role) , sexuality, charisma, complexity, and grittiness to her role. Plus, she didn’t have any real heat with Bradley Cooper. Cooper gives a good performance, but Chris Tucker was severely underutilized and he wasn’t funny. How can a director not allow a gifted comedic actor not to be funny ? Robert DeNiro gives a nice acting turn, but it is not one of the best supporting acting performances of the year. After seeing this film, I forgot most of this movie. One critic compared this movie to Moonstruck- no way. Moonstruck blended comedy and drama well, and the characters and dialogue stay with you. And, I wanted to visit NYC because of this movie. I can’t say that about Silver Linings Playbook.

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