When you’ve got your Meryl Streeps, your Judi Denches, your Leonardo DiCaprios, and even your Jennifer Lawrences, it’s hard to remember a time when a handful of A-list actors didn’t dominate the Oscar nomination pools every year. And yes, this year we have some first-time nominees like June Squibb, Lupita Nyong’o, and Barkhad Abdi — all of whom received well-deserved accolades and are nominated alongside more established performers. While the jury’s still out on whether they’ll have long shelf lives as Hollywood stars (hey, Nyong’o does have a shot at beating Jennifer Lawrence!), they wouldn’t be in bad company. There are, after all, over 80 years’ worth of actors who nabbed nominations and then slowly faded into cinematic oblivion. Here are a few from the last half-century that you may have forgotten.
Conti nabbed a Best Actor nomination for the 1983 comedy-drama Reuben, Reuben. (Never heard of it? I’ll forgive you, because neither had I.) Conti didn’t have much of a film career after that; he was featured in a few forgettable titles and then later turned up in The Dark Knight Rises.