Oscar This: A Best Actor nod for Joe might push Nicolas Cage to keep pushing himself

This year’s Oscar nominations are announced on January 15. In anticipation of the conventional wisdom the Academy will likely uphold, we’re highlighting unlikely candidates—the dark horses we’d love to see compete on Oscar night.

The years blend together for Nicolas Cage. I’m speaking not as his biographer—for all I know, his every day is a completely distinct National Treasure-style hunt through New Orleans catacombs for a different set of rare dinosaur bones—but as a fan. I’ve followed him through his many periods: the Bruckheimer action hero; the downcast neurotic; and the guy who seems weirdly obsessed with witches and sorcery. But around the time he followed Trespass, Seeking Justice, and Stolen, I had to gently break my habit of automatically and zestfully pursuing his every project. I’ll still see his movies when I can, hoping he’ll enliven a crummy …

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