Why Dramas Like Uncut Gems Are Harder For Adam Sandler

Adam Sandler in the Safdie Brothers' Uncut Gems
(Image credit: (A24))

Since starting out on Saturday Night Live in the ‘90s, Adam Sandler has been a comedy staple in Hollywood. But every once in a while, the actor ventures into more serious subjects. Such as in 2005, when he collaborated with Paul Thomas Anderson for Punch-Drunk Love, or when he worked with Marriage Story writer/director Noah Baumbach on 2017's The Meyerowitz Stories. And this year, many predicted he might snag an Oscar nomination for starring in the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems.

Adam Sandler ended up being snubbed by the Academy for his incredible performance in Uncut Gems, but the movie is a good reminder about how great of a dramatic actor he really is. He does admit it’s something that’s out of his comfort zone though. In Sandler’s words:

I’ve done so many comedies. I have so many comedies that play on TV I don’t have a hard time getting back into that. When I get to do something like this, like Uncut Gems, I haven’t done that many dramas, maybe I’ve done like six or seven over thirty years worth, it’s a different experience. I’m always excited about doing them. It’s a different excitement for me, because I’m not sure of myself.

As the actor points out, it’s quite easy for him to play the comedy side that he’s amassed a huge following over the years. And he still does very well with them three decades into his career. Adam Sandler’s Netflix movie Murder Mystery was even the most popular original title for the streaming platform last year. Dramas pose a challenge for him through which he’s never found the same comfort.

While speaking alongside Adam Driver, Shia LaBeouf, Robert De Niro, Tom Hanks and Jamie Foxx in THR’s Actors’ Roundtable, Adam Sandler explained the “lighter” feel on the sets of his comedies that he continues to enjoy. However, he did particularly love the challenge found on a drama set such as Uncut Gems. He talked about the excitement of reading a sharp script and going to different emotional places when Sandler moves over to drama.

Adam Sandler also talked about being hard on himself on drama projects when he doesn’t feel like he got to the place the script demanded. Other actors present at the roundtable (including distinguished Oscar-winner Robert De Niro) find themselves doing the same thing after dramatic scenes.

Once again, the Academy has shut out Adam Sandler from the Best Actor category, and much of it looks to be due to his comedy roots. Oscar voters recently said they didn’t get behind his Uncut Gems performance because overall, he doesn’t fit the specific brand they look for in the category. Plus, they didn’t appreciate an “arrogant” comment he made on the Howard Stern Show.

The Academy showed similar treatment to Eddie Murphy for his well-recieved role in Dolemite Is My Name and Awkwafina for The Farewell. Considering the Academy’s taste, Uncut Gems may have been too edgy for them too.

Uncut Gems is still playing in theaters.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.