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by Ben Lyons, E! Entertainment

It’s Oscar weekend, and this year the Academy has honored a diverse group of performances including a few of Hollywood’s A-List, as well as some seasoned veterans and bright newcomers.  All in all, I think 2009 shaped up to be a great year in film, rich with roles worthy of praise and admiration.

Previous winners Penelope Cruz, George Clooney, Morgan Freeman and Meryl Streep will all be in the house. Same goes for Matt Damon (he won for writing), Sandra Bullock, and Jeff Bridges. Young Hollywood stars Carey Mulligan, Anna Kendrick, and Gabourey Sidibe will rub shoulders with first time nominees Christopher Plummer and Stanley Tucci.

Despite this impressive list of talent, there are a few names of course that come to mind that were left out of the evening’s festivities. There just isn’t room for everybody. Here’s a look at some of my favorite performances that didn’t make the cut, but surely won’t be forgotten.

Melanie Laurent ‘Inglorious Basterds’
We felt her terror, rooted for her revenge, and fell in love all at once. The beautiful and courageous French actress shined in Tarantino’s first war picture, which is nominated for several Oscars this year.

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Anthony Mackie ‘The Hurt Locker’
This marks the second time in the New Orleans native’s career where his co-star has earned a Best Actor nomination. First it was Ryan Gosling in ‘Half Nelson’, now it’s Jeremy Renner. Mackie as always brought it in my pick for Best Picture this year. He’ll be back as a nominee soon…

 

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Zoe Saldana ‘Avatar’
Behind all of James Cameron’s technical wizardry there’s a beautiful and compelling performance from the Navi Princess. She was our tour guide, teacher, and protector on Pandora. Now after roles in ‘Star Trek’ & the highest grossing film ever made, Saldana is a star.

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Tobey Maguire ‘Brothers’
Peter Parker proved once again that he is a super hero of dram

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