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Seven presidential roles that weren't nominated for Oscars

Daniel Day-Lewis might win an Academy Award for playing Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, but the annals of film are filled with thousands of less-distinguished presidential portrayals. What are some highlights of the ones deemed non-Oscar-worthy? Here are seven:

1. The Monroe Doctrine (1939)

This short about the history of U.S. responses to Spain's influence in Latin America is only 22 minutes long but features depictions of no less than six presidents: Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Polk, Fillmore, Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt. The most amazing part? Millard Fillmore is played by an actor named Millard Vincent.

2. The Battle of Stalingrad (1949)

Franklin D. Roosevelt, along with Hitler and Stalin, are all characters in this three-hour epic about one of the bloodiest battles in human history. Oscar bait, right? Not quite: The film, which made in the U.S.S.R., is mainly a pro-Stalin propaganda piece and FDR is played by Soviet actor Nikolai Cherkasov.

3. Backstairs at the White House (1979)

According to this TIME article, the only president to never appear as a character in a feature film is Warren G. Harding. However, Harding appeared in this made-for-TV film about support staff in the White House, in which he is played by George Kennedy, better known as Captain Ed Hocken in the Naked Gun film series. And who plays the White House's chief usher in this film? None other than Naked Gun's Lieutenant Frank Drebin, Leslie Nielsen.

4. Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure  (1988)

Yes, Lincoln examines Lincoln's role in ending slavery, but does it examine his philosophies of being excellent to each other and partying on, dudes? Robert V. Barron, who plays Honest Abe in this sci-fi comedy classic, also played him on three TV series: Love, American Style, Out of This World and Get a Life

5. J.F.K.: Reckless Youth (1993)

Because who wants to see presidents played by 50-something actors wearing makeup to make them look even older? Watch this, and you can see a (future) president played by 27-year-old Patrick Dempsey.

6. The American President (2000)

Not to be confused with the The West Wing's film predecessor from 1995, this PBS series covers every president elected before its release. While presidents are "played" only in voice, there are some amusing sounding credits nonetheless: Walter Cronkite as George Washington, James Carville as Andrew Jackson, Don Imus as Andrew Johnson and Billy Graham as James Garfield. 

7. Barackula: The Musical (2008)

I'll just let the IMDB summary take it away for this short, in which Justin Sherman plays the then-candidate: "Barackula is a short political horror rock musical about young Barack Obama having to stave off a secret society of vampires at Harvard when he was inducted into presidency at the Harvard Law Review in 1990. Obama finds that he must convince the vampire society that opposing political philosophies can coexist or else the society may transform Obama to the dark side."

-- Dan Wohl /