If there’s anything that 2018’s roster of films has proved, it’s that it’s high time for Nicolas Cage to win another Oscar. Cage picked up an Academy Award in 1996 for his work in Leaving Las Vegas and earned a second nomination for 2003’s Adaptation. But we’re thinking Cage deserves another win: He works harder than any arguably other living actor, and he commits 100 percent to every single role — even when he’s a black-and-white detective version of Spider-Man from an alternate dimension.
The B-roll of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a delight from start to finish — including looks at Shameik Moore’s Miles Morales, Hailee Steinfeld’s Spider-Gwen, Jake Johnson’s Peter Parker, Luna Lauren and Brian Tyree Henry as Miles’ mom and dad, Liev Schreiber as Kingpin, and Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker — but it’s Cage’s brief appearance in the recording booth that makes the snippets of behind-the-scenes footage worthwhile.
The resigned “ahh” he lets out as he talks about his pain! The little crease in his brow! It feels like a crime that there’s no way to submit B-roll footage for awards consideration. Cage has got the facial expression, stance and gestures down to the point that it’s almost a pity that his performance wasn’t left as live action.
“He’s really Peter Parker from the ’30s,” Cage told Entertainment Weekly of his particular Spider-Man. “I tried to channel those noir films with [Humphrey] Bogart, and have those kinds of sounds that he might make with [James] Cagney, or Edward G. Robinson, that kind of way of talking. I tried to give the character that.”
That Bogart fixation is one you can follow to Dog Eat Dog, the 2016 film Cage made with Paul Schrader, and if you’re still craving more of the actor, make sure you see Mandy, one of the best films of the year — and, less facetiously, the performance Cage should be getting an Oscar nomination for.