Michael Stuhlbarg missed out on a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor for “Call Me By Your Name,” with his co-star Armie Hammer nabbing it instead. And both were snubbed by the SAG Awards. That cements my idea that Stuhlbarg is one of the most underrated, underappreciated actors working in cinema today.
He pops up in quite a few films and, no matter how big or small his part, he always leaves a lasting impression and turns in a great performance. Indeed, he’s in three Best Picture contenders this year, with roles in “The Post” and “The Shape of Water” as well as “Call Me By Your Name.”
Let’s take a look at 10 of those best performances here and hope that the academy makes room for this undervalued actor in the Oscar race for Best Supporting Actor. It would be his first Oscar nomination, which is surprising in and of itself when you consider his resume.
10. “Hugo” (2011)
In Martin Scorsese‘s Oscar-winning fantasy film, Stuhlbarg plays Rene Tabard, a film historian and author who helps and works with Asa Butterfield’s Hugo to eventually meet Ben Kingsley’s Georges Melies.
9. “Doctor Strange” (2016)
He has only a small role in this Marvel epic, but he still leaves an impression as Dr Nicodemus West, a rival and competitor to Doctor Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch).
8. “Men in Black 3” (2012)
A comic turn here, he plays Griffin, an alien with clairvoyant abilities, who tangles with agents J (Will Smith) and K (Tommy Lee Jones). His harmless, insightful demeanor adds warmth to the comic performance.
7. “Trumbo” (2015)
Stuhlbarg is well known for portraying real-life people. In this docudrama about the Red Scare, he is actor Edward G. Robinson, who initially supported Dalton Trumbo’s cause but later named him when testifying before Congress.
6. “Arrival” (2016)
Stuhlbarg provides solid support to stars Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner as Agent Halpern in this sci-fi flick.
5. “Lincoln” (2012)
As George Yeaman, a Democratic Congressman from Kentucky, the actor stands out in an all-star ensemble led by Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln.
4. “Blue Jasmine” (2013)
He is not afraid to take on roles that show him in a less flattering light, like Dr. Flicker, the creepy dentist who pesters Jasmine (Cate Blanchett) with unwanted sexual advances.
3. “Steve Jobs” (2015)
He portrays Andy Hertzfeld, one of Jobs’ subordinates, who often falls foul of the inventor. Stuhlbarg conveys the mixed emotions of this computer programmer who was instrumental in the early success of Apple.
2. “A Serious Man” (2009)
Eleven years after making his film debut in “A Price Above Rubies,” Stuhlbarg landed his first leading role in this character study from the Coen brothers. He plays Larry, a Jewish man living in Minnesota whose personal and professional lives crumble, leading him to question his faith. He earned a Golden Globe nomination for his efforts.
1. “Call Me By Your Name” (2017)
Stuhlbarg plays Mr. Pearlman, a teacher living in Italy whose teenage son (Timothee Chalamet) falls in love with Mr. Pearlman’s visiting graduate student (Hammer). It’s a small, understated role but includes a powerful scene reminiscent of other Oscar contenders in recent years like Viola Davis in “Doubt” and Michelle Williams in “Manchester by the Sea.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.