Richard Armitage did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Thorin Oakenshield in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Richard Armitage becomes the most important character in the film, since Bilbo (Martin Freeman) is pushed mostly to the side in order to focus on the bigger power players around the battle, and if the film was spread a little thin Armitage may have been the lead. Armitage takes center stage though as the film focuses upon the gold horde that the dwarves took back after the defeat of the dragon Smaug. The first time we see Thorin's face is that of great relief after the defeat of Smaug, and he goes back to reclaim his home in the Lonely Mountain. Unfortunately the nearby men and Elves feel they are owed a portion leading to conflict. The first half of the film Armitage is given a difficult task in that he must portray Thorin at his worst, where he is only interested in the gold of the mountain, and would rather go to war with the other peoples rather than make a deal. Making it more difficult the film plays it up almost like a disease rather than Thorin just being stubborn. Armitage certainly is effective in portraying the coldness in Thorin as his mind becomes preoccupied with only holding his fortune. What I liked about Armitage's performance though is he perhaps gives it a bit more complexity than even the film desired on this front.
Armitage is good by bringing a great deal of the sense of the shattered pride in Thorin that seems to propel him even more than the gold, and he conveys a deep seeded desire in Thorin as he ignores the pleads of those asking for their share rather than simply a one dimensional evil. Armitage rightly bring a discomfort in Thorin in these scenes as his manner becomes that of the dictator King who only wants absolute obedience from his men nothing else. Armitage although does bring the needed intensity into Thorin's threats against those who try to talk sense into him, he also though does show an unease of the whole act as though Thorin is trying very hard to be something he's not, rather than having truly gone evil. Armitage as well importantly brings a feeling of sadness to allude that the whole facade is eating away at him. There's one very good moment where after accusing Bilbo after stealing something, Bilbo shows it to only be an acorn for his garden at home. Armitage makes the sudden shift of gears in Thorin feels honest as a comfort once again comes to the character, and Armitage presents it as Thorin letting his guard down, showing the real nature of the dwarf in that moment.
Many of Peter Jackson's directorial choices in the film are questionable, but Armitage consistently acts as a saving grace in the film. The oddly done sequence where Thorin rejects his greed is strangely directed, but Armitage, by giving complexity to that phase of Thorin beforehand, manages to at least make the scene work in terms of the change in Thorin's character. Another odd choice once again comes about when Jackson makes the addition of just thirteen warriors a tide turning moment in a battle that involves thousands, it is a bit silly. I have to admit that I found the sequence far more rousing than I should have due to Armitage's work. He's great in his final speech to the men as he portrays the repentance and passion in Thorin's tone, and shows Thorin becoming the King he was meant to be not the one he thought he was suppose to be. Even though the battle scene is disjointed and bloated Armitage manages to remain compelling by reflecting the emotional victories and losses very much in the moment of the action scenes. He stays convincing even when the film is not, even in his interactions with a computer generated Billy Connolly. Armitage succeeds in making Thorin's final moments rather heartbreaking as he portrays Thorin's last without sadness, but rather a poignant happiness as Armitage shows that in the end his friendship to Bilbo was more important to him than a mountain of gold. Richard Armitage's work here consistently elevates his material, never faltering when the film does, and managed to keep me invested in the film despite its problems.