She's golden at the box office, so why does Hollywood's little golden guy continue to elude Cameron Diaz?
The Cuban-American movie star -- whose new movie "The Other Woman" kicked "Captain America's" butt at the box office on April 25 -- has plenty in common with Hollywood's biggest A-listers: Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Gwyneth Paltrow, Meryl Streep, Jude Law and Sandra Bullock. But unlike all of them, Diaz has never been honored with an Academy Award nomination. Why?
There's been something about Cameron Diaz for a LONG time (pun intended). She became an overnight star with one of her very first performances (1994's "The Mask"), and a few years later, she made all Latinos proud when she starred opposite Julia Roberts in the global box office hit "My Best Friend's Wedding" (1997), as Kimberly Wallace -- a privileged and somewhat naïve college student who Dermot Mulroney chooses to marry over his longtime best friend (played by Roberts).
It's not easy to out-smile and out charm Julia Roberts -- actually, it's impossible! -- but Diaz's beautiful smile, infectious laugh, gorgeous blue eyes, and the terrible singing she did in that hilarious karaoke scene -- made audiences fall in love with her. Diaz didn't receive an Oscar nomination for the movie, but she should've! It's the role that made her one of America's sweethearts.
A year later, Diaz landed the role that cemented her A-list status in Hollywood: the role of Mary in the Farrelly Brothers comedy, "There's Something About Mary" (1998). Her performance as a golf-loving, hot-dog eating guy's gal who cursed like a sailor and loved baseball games was the perfect blend of funny, sexy and smart and earned her her first Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by An Actress in a Motion Picture -- Comedy/Musical. The performance also earned her nominations at the ALMA Awards, the American Comedy Awards, the Blockbuster Entertainment Awards -- and the New York Film Critics Circle named her their Best Actress. (A nomination from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and critics groups often foreshadows an Oscar nomination, but that didn't happen for Diaz. She was once again snubbed by the Academy).
With her looks and A-list status, Diaz could've gone on to choose roles that showed off her beauty, as opposed to her talent. But she didn't do that. In 1999, a year after "Mary," Diaz played down her looks for the role of Lotte Schwartz -- the pet-obsessed wife of an unemployed puppeteer -- in director Spike Jonze's ("Her,") film "Being John Malkovich." And while playing down good looks has helped many actresses win Oscar nominations, it didn't help Diaz -- despite scoring both a Golden Globe nomination and a Screen Actor's Guild nomination for her performance in the film. She was once again snubbed by the Oscars.
Still, Diaz continued to challenge herself as an actress after "Malkovich." She was badass as Christina Pagniacci, the owner and General Manager of a professional football team in Oliver Stone's "Any Given Sunday" and she stole every scene she was in in Cameron Crowe's "Vanilla Sky" (2001) as Julie Gianni -- Tom Cruise's suicidal ex-girlfriend. The role earned Diaz nominations at the Globes and SAG Awards and a bunch of critics awards including Boston Society of Film Critics and
the Chicago Film Critics Association Awards. (Most actresses who earn that many nominations and key precursors easily score an oscar nomination. But Diaz was snubbed once again.
After that, she went on to do every type of movie there is: a funny rom-com ("The Sweetest Thing"); the crime drama "Gangs of New York" (directed by Martin Scorsese), and the voice of Princess Fiona in the "Shrek" movies. And in 2005, she gave one of the best performances of her career in director Curtis Hanson's "In Her Shoes" (2005) -- a heartbreaking and emotional performance as Maggie, a 30-something party girl overcoming dyslexia and dealing with her mother's death. The film didn't earn Diaz any big nominations, but it should've. The performance proved once again that she's one of the best character actresses in Hollywood.
But, seriously, why hasn't the Academy noticed Cameron Diaz? She works with great actors and great directors (see: Scorsese, Hanson, Jonze, Farrelly), takes on a wide range of roles and consistently delivers great performances. She's also one of Hollywood's biggest and most bankable stars (her latest movie debuted with $24.7 million and 12.8 million internationally in its opening weekend) and she's beautiful, which usually helps actors land nominations!
Of course, Diaz isn't the only Latina to be snubbed by the Academy -- Latinas continue to be underrepresented at the Oscars. In fact, the last time a Latina won Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Oscars was... well, never.
Latinas have been nominated for Best Actress, including
Colombian actress Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace"), Mexican actress Salma Hayek ("Frida") and Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro ("Central Station"). But a Latina has never taken the Best Actress trophy home...
And a few Latinas have won Best Supporting Actress, including boricua Rita Moreno for "West Side Story" (1961), Cuban-American actress Mercedes Ruehl for "The Fisher King" (1992), and Mexican-born actress Lupita Nyong'o, who won this year for "12 Years A Slave." Spanish actress Penelope Cruz also made a lot of Latinos proud with her 2009 win for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." But that's not a whole lot!
Let's hope the Academy starts noticing Diaz and other talented Latinas in Hollywood.
Maybe she'll become the first Latina to win Best Actress at the Oscars!