17 February 2014 8:35 AM, PST | The Backlot | See recent The Backlot news »

We’re less than two weeks away from the Oscars, and that means it’s once again time for my favorite activity: griping about the past!

One of my biggest Oscar pet peeves is when actors who portray real-life roles garner more attention — for no good reason — than actors who portray fictional characters. The Academy has long been too pleased with big-named thespians who prove they can imitate recognizable figures. Sometimes the attention is justified (Sean Penn in Milk and Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose come to mind), but often real-life roles become filler nominees in the supporting categories. Here are nine examples of Oscar-nominated performances that caught fire with the academy simply for being based on a known personality.

1. Jason Robards as Howard Hughes in Melvin and Howard

Melvin and Howard is a movie that teaches you to appreciate its examination of a Utah man’s humdrum lower-middle-class existence, »

- Louis Virtel

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