Thanks to the fact that 2014 was such a brilliant year for film, practically every Academy Award category this year can be seen as a tight race – but there is one that really stands above them all. The crop of Best Actor candidates this year was absolutely incredible, to the point where you almost wish they changed the rules to allow 10 nominations instead of the normal five. Because they didn’t, however, there are many amazing performances that aren’t being celebrated the way they should today. That’s definitely not okay, so we’ve decided to do something about it.

While congratulations are certainly due to Steve Carell (Foxcatcher), Bradley Cooper (American Sniper), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman) and Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything), we’ve put together a list of the five other performances from 2014 that could have just as easily been recognized by the Oscars. Read on for our picks!

Jake Gyllenhaal
Jake Gyllenhaal - Nightcrawler
The Academy Awards has a long, long history of choosing the "safest" choices for nominees and winners – explaining why every year’s list is filled with numerous big name biopics and period dramas – and this year the biggest victim of that fact is Jake Gyllenhaal’s blistering performance in Dan Gilroy’s Nightcrawler. Playing Leo Bloom, a young man who works shooting footage of violent crimes for a local morning news station in Los Angeles, Gyllenhaal puts on one of the most terrifying, sociopathic performances of recent memory, to the point where you spend much of the movie agog at the depths of his monstrosity. Taking a visage akin to hungry coyote hunting the urban landscape for any kind of meal, Gyllenhaal’s performance is not only a powerful, but a transformative one as well, and it’s a true shame that the Academy didn’t feel the need to recognize his brilliance.

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