Adam Sandler is getting serious Oscar buzz for his performance in Uncut Gems where he plays, in the words of Lakeith Stanfield in the film’s panic-attack of a trailer, a “f*cking crazy-ass Jew.” As our own Mike Ryan wrote, “In Uncut Gems, he’s a whole other animal. It’s Sandler unhinged, but not with anger, but instead with fear and paranoia.” But for Sandler, all the glowing reviews are delayed validation for Billy Madison.
While appearing on Tuesday’s The Tonight Show, Sandler told Jimmy Fallon that he thought he was going to get an Oscar for the 1995 comedy, where he plays a man-child who has to graduate from all 12 grades of school in two weeks. “I think when I was young, I thought Billy Madison or something had a shot,” he said about winning an Academy Award. “But they took that away from me. So, I stopped dreaming.” If Sandler had been nominated, his Best Actor competition would have been Richard Dreyfuss, Anthony Hopkins, Sean Penn, Massimo Troisi, and Nicolas Cage, who won for Leaving Las Vegas. Nic Cage vs. Adam Sandler, now there’s a two-person competition I would love to see (maybe this year?). For an Oscar, but also, like, in a volleyball game.
Anyway, Sandler is fantastic in Billy Madison (he made me believe that a duck can be blue), but is it his best role? Close, but not quite. I genuinely believe he’s Oscar-worthy in the “Somebody Kill Me Please” scene from The Wedding Singer.
He was listening to the Cure a lot.