1994’s 1-2-3 comedic punch of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, and Dumb and Dumber vaulted Jim Carrey from In Living Color small screen MVP to one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. $20 million paydays followed and, four years later, the Canadian phenom entered the awards conversation.
For Peter Weir’s prescient satire The Truman Show, Carrey’s performance mixed the funny with the dramatic for the first time in a major role. Solid box office numbers and impressive reviews followed. Ed Harris was nominated for a Supporting Actor Oscar in addition to Weir’s direction and the original screenplay.
Yet a nod for its headliner was inexplicably left on the cutting room floor. This was even after he won Best Actor (Drama) at the Golden Globes. To be fair, other nominations in the main acting derby featured heavy hitters: Tom Hanks (Saving Private Ryan), Ian McKellen (Gods and Monsters), Nick Nolte (Affliction), and Edward Norton (American History X).
If I had a magic wand, I probably would put Carrey in over the somewhat surprise winner – Roberto Benigni for Life is Beautiful. Nearly a quarter century ago, Carrey’s omission stands as another example of actors known more for laughs coming up short. He still has not managed to get on the Oscar radar and lately his cinematic output has been Sonic the Hedgehog related. The Truman Show, in all reality, should’ve been his contender.