While “Harry Potter” may be the the most successful film franchise in cinema history, it has been woefully neglected by the Academy, losing all nine of its bids to date. However, this year’s eighth and final installment, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” could be an Oscar contender for both Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor.
Alan Rickman, who played Harry’s longtime nemesis Severus Snape, could earn the first acting bid for this series. Reviews for Rickman have been positively glowing. Manohla Dargis (New York Times) said he, “lifts the movie to its expressive high point” and concluded: “that [Snape] has become such a brilliant screen character is due to Mr. Rickman, who helped elevate a child’s tale of good and evil into a story of human struggle.” Kenneth Turan (Los Angeles Times) raved, “another satisfaction, and the key to creating emotion, is the kind of strong acting that the end of a story often calls forth. Though many do well … it is Alan Rickman as the elusive Severus Snape who, as always, makes the most lasting impression.”
Among our Experts, Thelma Adams, Matt Atchity (Rotten Tomatoes) and Keith Simanton (IMDB) believe that Rickman will reap his first Oscar bid, and he has 16/1 odds in a wide-open Supporting Actor category.
Among his main rivals are five fellows who have all been nominated before but have yet to win: Christopher Plummer (“Beginners” – nominated once for Best Supporting Actor), Max Von Sydow (“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” – nominated once for Best Actor), Albert Brooks (“Drive” – nominated once for Best Supporting Actor), Kenneth Branagh (“My Week With Marilyn” – nominated four times including once as Best Actor) and Nick Nolte (“Warrior” – nominated twice for Best Actor).
Actors from fantasy blockbusters have had a difficult time with the Academy. In the last decade, only 2008 Supporting Actor champ Heath Ledger (“The Dark Knight”) and 2001 nominee Ian McKellen (“The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring”) have overcome this bias. But with Warner Bros. backing him in the derby, Rickman could cast a spell over Oscar voters.