Least Necessary Oscar Nomination: Judi Dench

    What do you get when you put Dame Judi Dench in a boring British film with plenty of other old farts? Oscar nominations galore! The actress Hollywood always goes to when it has a part for an old, feisty British woman has earned her fifth Oscar nomination for playing yet another old, feisty British woman in the mediocre “Mrs. Henderson Presents.” True, the Dame’s got class and she can certainly act, but that’s no reason to throw Oscars at her every time she appears on screen.

    This year’s nomination seemed especially unnecessary, considering Oscar snubbed some of 2005’s best performances. The academy ignored Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello’s performances in “A History of Violence” and Ralph Fiennes also failed to hear his name called for his work in “The Constant Gardener.”

    Plus, the Dame already has a gold statuette to flaunt. She won it for her eight-minute performance in “Shakespeare in Love,” where she played Queen Elizabeth I, who was — you guessed it — old and feisty.

    Wouldn’t it have been more appropriate for the Academy to recognize riskier performances: say, Scarlett Johansson in “Match Point,” or Vera Farmiga from “Down to the Bone”? Leave it up to the Oscars to give credit where it’s not due.

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