10 roles for which Willem Dafoe should have received an Oscar, according to Reddit


Willem Dafoe is one of the strangest and most eccentric actors working today, so it’s hardly a surprise that director Robert Eggers wants him to play Nosferatu in the upcoming remake of the 100-year-old movie. The actor has so many fascinating roles and he brings something unique to every one of them, which is why he could be great as the Dracula-inspired vampire.

But, surprisingly, he has never won a single Academy Award in his storied career, whether it’s in a supporting or lead role. Dafoe has been nominated four times, but undeservedly lost out every time. However, Redditors have debated which of his performance most deserves the statuette, whether it’s a theatrical superhero villain, a self-mutilation-heavy horror movie, or a feature-length Mr. Bean movie.

The Florida Project (2017)

Poralexc thinks the actor should have gotten a statue for The Florida Project, noting, “it really showed his range even though it was a supporting role.” Dafoe rarely has leading roles, and most of his performances are supporting acts, but that’s just a testament to how great of an actor he is. He steals the show from the lead actors any time they’re on screen together, and The Florida Project is a perfect example.

RELATED: 10 Best Willem Dafoe Movies, According To Ranker

The drama is about a six-year-old girl who lives with her unemployed mother in The Magic Castle, a motel in Kissimmee managed by a man named Bobby Hicks (Dafoe). While Dafoe might not have won an Academy Award for the role, he was at least nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

The Lighthouse (2019)

The Lighthouse is a psychological horror that follows two lighthouse keepers who slowly lose their minds. It’s an ambiguous movie that’s open to interpretation, as some think it has deeper meanings and is an allegory for Prometheus, and others simply take it at face value as a survival horror.

Laser_Disc_Hot_Dish thinks Dafoe should have earned an Academy Award for his performance, noting, “He is so good in that movie. His last monologue is the best quote in the whole movie.” While he has a career full of them, Thomas Wake is Dafoe’s most eccentric character by far.

The Boondock Saints (1999)

The Boondock Saints is a cult classic revenge movie that was one of many Quentin Tarantino-influenced pop culture-referencing films to follow in the wake of Pulp Fiction. And while the film was critically hated, it was a huge hit with general audiences. Dafoe plays Paul Smecker, a detective hunting down the two vengeful brothers.

Tylercreatesworlds explains, “He fires a shot at one of the mob guys, then the camera does a little closeup on his face, his lip quivers, just the expression on his face showed fear and confidence, it was unforgettable.” Few actors are so controlling of their micro-expressions, and Dafoe does it better than anyone, especially in the 1999 movie, and it’s yet another supporting role that stole the movie.

Antichrist (2009)

The cabin in the woods narrative is a tried and true formula in the horror genre, and that’s applied to Antichrist too, but the 2009 movie isn’t exactly like the horror-comedy The Evil Dead. Antichrist isn’t for the faint of heart, and, coming from the warped mind of Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier, it’s the most vulgar and off-putting film he has ever made.

RELATED: Lars Von Trier’s Horror Movies Ranked, Worst To Best

The movie follows a couple who retreat to a cabin in the woods to mourn the passing of their newborn baby, only it quickly turns into a stomach-churning survival horror that’s full of self-mutilation. Vdubmechanic thinks Dafoe should have gotten an Oscar for playing Him in the film, noting, “His performance in Antichrist was legendary.”

John Wick (2014)

The John Wick franchise has become a massive series with a revolving door of incredible supporting characters. And the film is another example of Dafoe unassumingly taking a supporting role that he simply has fun with, just like The Boondock Saints, as he plays Marcus in the first movie.

JafariSin notes, “I love his death scene in John Wick. Played it perfectly and went out like a G.” However, while the death scene is well acted and well shot, Dafoe is certainly underused in the 2014 movie. The assassin series has made better use of the supporting cast in the later movies, but for the most part, Marcus is just used as ex machina, as he appears out of nowhere to save John when he can’t possibly save himself.

Spider-Man (2002)

The Green Goblin is undoubtedly the role that Dafoe is best known for, as, when Spider-Man was first released in 2002, it had the highest-grossing opening weekend of all time. Reworked argues that Dafoe treated the role like he was in an arthouse drama. The Redditor makes a great point, noting, “The goblin was campy and threatening, but Osborn arguing with himself and monologuing to the mirror was just horror.”

An Oscar has only been handed to two actors for roles in comic book movies, both of which were for playing the Joker, but Dafoe was criminally overlooked for his role as Osborn. Not only that, but he’s the MCU’s best Spider-Man villain too, as Dafoe reprised his role for the multiversal movie Spider-Man: No Way Home.

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004)

The Wes Anderson-directed The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is one of the director’s weirder movies, as it follows a submarine crew who go on an expedition to get revenge on a shark that killed one of Steve’s employees. It’s the most typical Anderson film, as it’s full of slow-motion shots of the leads walking, classic ’60s rock music, and intentionally monotonous dialogue delivery, all of which are the filmmaker’s signature moves.

RELATED: 8 Best Songs In The Life Aquatic

But amongst the film’s style is a genuinely emotive story. MannyMoSTL believes that Dafoe’s role as Klaus Daimler deserves recognition for how surprisingly funny of a performance it is. The Redditor posits, “Too many comedies and comedians are overlooked. Dafoe is a great dramatic actor, but his turns in comedy? Genius.”

The Northman (2022)

Once again working with The Lighthouse director Eggers, Dafoe’s role in The Northman is even stranger, as he plays Heimir, the jester of the village. The character oversees a spiritual ceremony that prepares Amleth for his ascension and becomes a berserker.

TheComicSocks notes, “His role in The Northman was made for him. Willem Dafoe just has that presence on film where you always know who he is but never how he is going to appear.” The actor actually has very little screentime in the two-hour and twenty-minute movie, but it’s still so effective, and he’s running rings around anyone else in the shot.

The Last Temptation Of Christ (1988)

Raging Bull and After Hours are frequently mentioned as Martin Scorsese’s best movies of the 1980s, but one that’s undeservedly overlooked in The Last Temptation of Christ. Regardless of audiences’ religious views, there’s no denying that the film is an ambitious epic. It looks great and it has the most inspired casting ever.

FormalWare claims, “That film challenged and inspired me. And Dafoe was note-perfect as Jesus, in over his head, trying to come to terms with his divinity and his destiny, while wishing he could be Everyman.” While Dafoe has been somewhat typecast as playing creepy characters with a mysterious and troubled backstory, playing Jesus Christ was his breakthrough into the mainstream, and it remains one of his best roles to date.

Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007)

In a way, Mr. Bean’s Holiday beats Tropic Thunder at its own game, as it makes fun of the movie industry and actors and directors who take themselves way too seriously, just like the 2008 comedy. The movie does that through the character Carson Clay (Dafoe) a filmmaker who wrote, directed, and starred in his own pretentious black-and-white movie, which is premiering at none other than Cannes in the 2007 slapstick movie.

Ranjithd notes, “He was spectacular as Carson Clay in Mr. Bean’s Holiday. Definitely one of his best performances.” While the Redditor might be half-joking, very few classically trained actors are willing to make fun of themselves. And it’s a testament to how underrated of a comedy actor Dafoe is that he can hold his own against Rowan Atkinson.