Monday, April 22, 2024

Robert De Niro Snubbed by Academy as “The Irishman” Scores 10 Nods: Was It His Politics That Turned Voters Off?


Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” scored 10 Oscar nominations today. But it should have been 11. Missing from their list was Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, the lead actor/character from the movie.

De Niro, who gives a beautiful, subtle performance and drives the movie from beginning to end, has been overlooked by almost every group this awards season. He’s considered our finest actor for his catalog of performances in movies like “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “Goodfellas,” and more recently, “Silver Linings Playbook.” He has two Oscars.

So what’s going on? Could it be his outspoken condemnation of Donald Trump? Possibly. Even in liberal Hollywood it’s possible to over do it. De Niro has never wasted a second to denounce Trump in graphic terms. He’s called him every name in the book. He’s even suggested attacking him.

De Niro has suggested Trump be “hit by a bag of sh-t.” He’s said Trump and his kids should “disown” each other. “I wouldn’t want to be related to them,” he’s declared. He’s said that Trump needs to be humiliated. De Niro has gone in strong, never once letting up.

Often, instead of promoting “The Irishman” in interviews or at SAG screenings, the great actor has stuck with the Trump offensive. He’s gotten loud applause and cheers wherever he’s gone. But the lasting effect seems to be that Academy voters remember his politics more than the performance as Sheeran.

And some may not agree with him. I know I do, and plenty of Academy voters may be thrilled to hear one of their leaders voice their opinion. But some may disagree with De Niro or wish he’d kept the volume down. Particularly at SAG screenings, the people who go like to hear about acting. They already know about Trump.

If his politics prevented a nomination, for De Niro it may have been worth it. He’s had lots of awards. He cares passionately about our country, and felt he had to make his voice heard on the subject of Trump. It was his sacrifice to make. But I wish he were in that group of nominated lead actors.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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.

Read more

In Other News