Drake completely dominated hip-hop in 2013 with an album that went gold-and-beyond in its first week and a subsequent sold-out country-wide tour. But it's no secret that he's got grand designs on selling out the box office as well. After all, he got his start making audiences feel things by acting on Degrassi.
Now that he's conquered rap, a return to Hollywood is just a matter of when. If his calculated music industry moves are any indication, tonight's hosting gig on Saturday Night Live is a major step towards taking over the screen, small and silver. (His cameo in Anchorman 2 wasn't cutting it.)
But of course, Drizzy's long had acting aspirations since way back in the day, the Acura days. He wants to be taken just as seriously as a thespian as he is an artist, so on the eve of what will hopefully be a successful stint on SNL, Complex has ranked his previous appearances that held awards-worthy merit. Read on for Drake's Most Oscar-Worthy Acting Moments.
Written by Frazier Tharpe (@The_SummerMan)
Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update" (Oct. 2011)
"Moment 4 Life" video (Jan. 2011)
Nomination: Best Teen Heartthrob
Drake's appearance in BFF Nicki Minaj's music video is full-on Disney movie teen heartthrob fare. You’ll never see Nicki Minaj make a video this sugary again, and though at the time Drake probably would’ve gladly accepted a role he had to beat the guys from Game of Thrones out to get, given his current pop culture status, those days are over.
Then again, if the world decides we need a new Princess Diaries, here’s your prince charming in full effect.
"Find Your Love" video (May 2010)
Nomination: Best Simping in a Drama or Comedy
"Hold On, We’re Going Home" is the better, more fully realized version of "Find Your Love," and that goes for the videos as well. This visual finds Drake exploring his taste for narrative, but things take a darker turn than "HOWGH," when vacation simping lands The Boy in hot water with the local crew. You fully buy Drake as the fool for love here, but even in the early Thank Me Later days, that didn’t require much in the way of suspension of disbelief.
Degrassi, "Time Stands Still" (Dec. 2004)
Nomination: Best Dramatic Fall in a Melodrama or Comedy
The moment that started it all, from the flexing of Aubrey "Drake" Graham's acting chops to the Wheelchair Jimmy jokes that endure to this day. It all began with Degrassi, the Canadian teen drama, and its bold depiction of a school shooting, one in which Jimmy Brooks, Drake's character, got caught in the crossfire.
Drake may go on to star in many films that will ask a lot of him, perhaps even physically. But he can star in a Michael Bay film and still never fall to his knees at the hands of a bullet as beautifully as he does here.
There are a lot of other great Degrassi moments from Drake, especially the episode where he tries to figure out how to get a boner in the wake of the shooting, but this is the moment that everyone will always remember.
"Take Care" video (April 2012)
Nomination: Best On-Screen Chemistry
What, you thought Aubrey only had blockbuster aspirations? If the visual for Take Care’s title track could be filed under a genre, it’d be ART. Picturesque mountaintops, muted color schemes, inexplicable shots of animals that are up to you to interpret, and smoldering gazes/poses that project the song’s themes of loneliness and desired connection. And, of course, Rihanna. Yeah, don’t be surprised if Drake pops up with an OVO arthouse film at Film Forum or something one of these days. Young Stan Brakhage out here, making epic personal narratives about nature and grinding and shit.
"Marvin's Room" video (June 2011)
Nomination: Best Actor in a Drama or Comedy
The notoriety of this track tends to overshadow the greatness of its visual. Taking a cue from Kanye West's We Were Once a Fairytale short with Spike Jonze, Drake fully embodies the lonely bachelor whose tale of thirstiness and rejection he details in the song. He's at the bar, forcing pained smiles and taking down shot after shot, then suddenly he's creeping on women so hard they stop seeing him through Hollywood Walk of Fame star-framed eyes. Then there's the bathroom mirror. So. Many. Feelings. This video may be even more relatable than the song is. Cut it off quick, before you start feeling a way. No one wants to see you cry reading something on Complex.
2011 Juno Awards "Old Money" Skit
Nomination: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Short
He’s got a leading man aura, but comedic chops, too. Consider Drake the Rap Game Channing Tatum. Hopefully his stint on SNL tonight is just as winning as this awards show sketch that finds the OVO general courting an elderly audience in an old folk’s home in order to widen his demographic. Unlike other previous attempts at comedy, all of the jokes land, and what's more important: his delivery is on-point in a skit that finds him oscillating between straight man and goofball.
"Hold On, We're Going Home" video (Sept. 2013)
Nomination: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama
"Hold On, We're Going Home" isn't just a music video. It's an audition tape. If rap's Young King is also in it to become Hollywood's next leading man, then this is him going down the requirement checklist.
Roguish good looks: peep how he pulls off the '80s swag.
A counter-balance of sensitivity: refer to that heart-rending gaze (pictured above) as he laments his lost love.
As far as action move heroics go, he gets a B. He doesn't look quite so believable during the gunplay. But he's getting there. Ryan Gosling, watch your back, he's feeling like the throne is for the taking.