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The Top Seven B-Movie Actors Who Deserved an Oscar

by dsussman   March 26, 2010 at 10:00AM  |  Views: 9,359

Contrary to popular belief, a large number of B-movie actors are easily some of the most beloved artists on the planet. This is why I find it quite perplexing that huge names like Tom Hanks and Russell Crowe take home awards year after year while some of our favorite entertainers seem to go unnoticed by the mainstream. So why no love from the Academy? It’s time to take this into our own hands and dish out some much-deserved honors…

Photo: J. Vespa/Getty Images


7. Bruce Campbell

Oscar-winning Roles: Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep and Ash in Evil Dead 2 (Can’t believe I just typed that)

Does this really need any explanation? We all know every fan of Ash would get a serious kick out of seeing someone as awesome as Bruce get acknowledged by one of the snootiest of all award shows.

I’ve always felt that most award shows get it wrong on how they choose a winner when it comes to the acting categories. They seem to single out skill instead of focusing on how entertaining the actor is in the role. In my opinion, just being flat-out entertaining can truly outshine someone with more technical skill. Bruce is the perfect example of this. The man really hasn’t been in any critically-acclaimed films, but the everlasting devotion of his fans proves how far slapstick physicality, classic one-liners, and some serious charisma can get you. The man is a legend in my book and deserved some kind of an award for his work in the Evil Dead series as well as his awesome portrayal of Elvis in Bubba Ho-Tep. I’m f***ing serious, people.

6. David Carradine

Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Oscar-winning Role: Bill in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 and Woody Guthrie in Bound for Glory

The late, great David Carradine was in a lot of movies. Some good and some bad. The only constant has been Carradine himself. Most only know him for his role as Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu and as Bill in the now-classic Kill Bill series, but Carradine’s talents run just a tad deeper.

Cult/B-movie-lovers will most fondly remember Carradine for his work with Roger Corman. Death Race 2000, Deathsport, and Thunder and Lightning are just a few of the cult classics Carradine starred in. My personal favorite has to be Death Race 2000. As Frankenstein, David Carradine plays the most celebrated racer of the Annual Transcontinental Road Race and racks up points for the number of innocent pedestrians that are murdered by his killer car. Badass. These movies aren’t the greatest ever made, but they are damn entertaining and Carradine has a huge part to play with his natural charisma. Lots of s**t blowing up also helps.

Carradine’s work as Woody Guthrie in 1976’s Bound for Glory also shows his versatile skills as a thespian. I think people have thrown Carradine into a very basic acting category because of his calm demeanor and subtle delivery. Either way, the man is a legend in the game and deserved something for his endless string of amazing work.

5. Christopher Lee

Photo: Prestige/Getty Images

Lifetime Achievement Award

With over 266 films under his Dracula belt, Christopher Lee has been entertaining sci-fi and horror fans since 1948 and is still going strong today. Lee is one of the screen's true cult icons and has really deserved a worldwide tip of the hat to his legendary career for quite some time. From his numerous portrayals of Count Dracula to giving Yoda a serious run for his money as Count Dooku in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, Lee has entertained fans the world over.


4. Harry Dean Stanton

Photo: Jack Carroll/Getty Images

Oscar-winning Role: Bud in Repo Man

What a pleasure it is to give Harry Dean his just due. From Repo Man to Escape from New York, Mr. Stanton is easily one of the most underrated actors of all time and hasn’t gotten nearly enough acclaim for his unlimited talents. Even with small roles in films like Wild at Heart, Stanton shows off depths that most actors only dream of having. Harry Dean is basically the equivalent of a blue collar actor and I’ve always felt that he’s so consistent as an actor that movie watchers tend to take him for granted. I know I’m not alone here when I say that Harry Dean Stanton’s Brain in Escape from New York and Bud in Repo Man are two of the greatest characters cult cinema has to offer. Harry Dean is a true class act.


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