Weekend Roundtable: 2014 Oscar Snubs

Regardless of whether they win or not on Sunday, all of this year’s Academy Award nominees have already earned the respect of their peers in the industry and the privilege of announcing that fact on their résumés. (You just know that Jonah Hill will never let anyone forget that he’s a two-time Oscar nominee.) The real losers, of course, are the movies, performances or technical achievements that the Academy failed to recognize despite their worthy artistic merits. In today’s Roundtable, we take a look at some of last year’s movies that Oscar forgot, but shouldn’t have.

Shannon Nutt

One of the disadvantages of releasing a movie early in the calendar year is that, no matter how good your film might be, it’s almost always forgotten come awards season. Such was the fate of ‘42‘, which I still rank as one of the best movies of 2013. However, I’m not here to argue for the movie, but rather for the missed opportunity the Academy made by not considering Harrison Ford for a Best Supporting Actor nod. His portrayal of Branch Rickey, the General Manager and President of the Brooklyn Dodgers who made the bold choice to sign Jackie Robinson to a Major League contract, was not only one of the best performances last year, it was perhaps the best performance Ford’s given in his entire career, and certainly the best one he’s given since 1993’s ‘The Fugitive’. It’s perhaps the only time in Ford’s career that he’s disappeared inside of a character so much that you forget you’re watching the actor and believe you’re watching Rickey Branch. Sadly, Harrison Ford looks like he’s going to be one of those actors who sold a ton of popcorn for Hollywood but never got the golden statue.

M. Enois Duarte

I think the biggest snub of the year must be Tom Hanks, a two-time Oscar winner who delivered not one, but two excellent performances in 2013. Although ‘Saving Mr. Banks‘ may have been a pleasant enough if average drama, Hanks’ portrayal of Walt Disney was admirable and, frankly, quite deserving of some Academy attention. If not for that film, then why the heck not for the stunning work he did in ‘Captain Phillips‘? Granted, there were several other amazing performances last year, but couldn’t Hanks at least receive a nomination?

Aaron Peck

I have to go with a slightly lesser-known category and person here. Editor Thelma Schoonmaker was robbed of a nomination for her editing of ‘The Wolf of Wall Street‘. Instead, the Academy nominated ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ and ‘American Hustle’ over it, even though ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ is much more about the way its edited together than either of those other two films. Schoonmaker’s editing drives that story, keeps it packed with energy, and ultimately makes the entire experience as surreal and crazy as possible. A Scorsese mainstay, Schoonmaker has won Oscars for ‘The Aviator’ and ‘The Departed’. With all its nuttiness and crazy action, ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ outdoes those two movies in the editing department by a long ways, not to mention some of the 2013 movies that were nominated over it.

Luke Hickman

For the second film in row, Jeff Nichols and his movie have been completely shut out of the Oscars. In 2011, despite an impressive screenplay and performances from Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain (she was nominated for the wrong role that year), Nicholas and his film ‘Take Shelter’ weren’t nominated for a single award. The same thing happened again with his 2013 movie ‘Mud‘. After giving it a view, ‘Mud’ is one of those films that resonates with you for a long time. It’s meaty, with a lot to chew on. It’s full of great symbolism, genuine characters, high tension and fantastic performances. If I had my way, ‘Mud’ would be in the running for Best Picture, Original Screenplay, Directing and Supporting Actor (which would give McConaughey noms in both acting categories).

Jack Lilburn

I’m still perplexed that ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ received so few nominations. I suspect that the film’s less-than-uplifting story unsettled a lot of people, but Oscar Isaacs turned in a revelatory performance, and the screenplay was extraordinary. WTF?

Best Supporting Actor is always a crowded field, but nominating Jared Leto for ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ over Will Forte in ‘Nebraska‘ is a travesty. Putting on women’s clothes does not equal a brilliant performance, and I found Leto’s acting impression about as skin deep as every other performance he’s ever turned in. Forte, on the other hand, delivered a pitch perfect performance as a son coming to grips with his father’s gross inadequacies in a film that I’ll never forget. I guess he’s not as pretty as Leto…

On the documentary front, I was equally thrown. ‘Blackfish’ and ‘We Steal Secrets’ were two of the most powerful titles I’ve seen in years, yet neither got nominated. I’m a big fan of Jeremy Scahill’s work, but ‘Dirty Wars’ isn’t anywhere near as good a film, yet it beat both out. Absurd.

Josh Zyber

Although it can be argued that his modern-day, black-and-white adaptation of Shakespeare’s ‘Much Ado About Nothing‘ was a throwaway movie that Joss Whedon tossed together as a lark in between his mega-budget ‘Avengers’ extravaganzas, the film was delightfully light and breezy entertainment for literate viewers. No, I never realistically expected this movie to be remembered at Oscar time, but it contained a luminous starring performance from Amy Acker and a hilarious supporting turn from Nathan Fillion that deserve some recognition.

Which movies from 2013 do you think were snubbed by the Academy? Tell us in the Comments.

32 comments

  1. cyrollan

    i don’t understand the lack of love for Nebraska. sure it was nominated for a few things, but if you look on RottenTomatoes, it’s the lowest trending pick on Twitter! if you look on IMDB, people are tossing around hate for the movie left and right!

  2. Drew

    Perhaps a more intriguing topic for discussion would have been – Which films/artists were least deserving of their nominations?

    ‘Philomena’ and ‘Nebraska’, while good films in their own right, certainly have no business being nominated for Best Picture. There were other films that should have taken their place, amongst the nominees.

    Julia Roberts should have been nominated for Worst Supporting Actress for ‘August: Osage County’.

    There are other completely undeserving nominees, but I’ll stop there, for now.

    As far as snubs go, I know Tom Hanks has already been mentioned, but I’ll still mention him.

  3. Ryan M

    I agree with Luke in that Mud was overlooked completely, and undeservedly so. Like 42, it was released very early in the year and probably disappeared from the Academy’s collective consciousness during awards season. However, it was a superb film with great performances from the entire cast. Disappointed does not begin to express how I feel about its total and complete snubbing.

  4. Drew

    Most undeserving:

    Bradley Cooper – ‘American Hustle’ (Can he play any other character than Bradley Cooper?)

    Biggest snub:

    The 5-6 other actors that should have been nominated, in place of Bradley Cooper.

    Side note: Couldn’t he just call himself Brad? Why Bradley? How are we supposed to take him seriously, when he goes by Bradley?

  5. Drew

    Worst snub:

    Scarlett Johansson – ‘Her’ (Her performance is the foundation of the film. If she doesn’t knock it out of the park — and she absolutely does — the film falls flat on its face. There’s a reason why she replaced Samantha Morton, after she had completed work on the entire picture.)

  6. Elizabeth

    I have to heartily agree with the choice of Harrison Ford in 42. I don’t know how many times I saw the trailer and didn’t realize that was Ford on screen. It wasn’t until I either heard or read that he was in the movie that I finally realized it was him. For someone as recognizable as Harrison Ford to disappear that far into a character is an impressive accomplishment.

  7. Elizabeth

    If I had to pick someone undeserving, I’d go with Jennifer Lawrence. It’s not that she isn’t a terrific actor and seems to be a terrific woman in real life, it’s that she basically plays the same character: white trash. In ‘Winter’s Bones’ it was poor white trash. The ‘Hunger Games’ cast her as a future dystopia white trash. In ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ she took on slightly crazy white trash. And last year she took on the role of drunkard white trash in ‘American Hustle’ the comedy that wasn’t one. Honestly I love the woman but her roles thus far are basically variations on the same theme.

  8. Drew

    To follow up on my Bradley Cooper comment, let’s all agree that Harrison Ford – ’42’ should replace Bradley, in the Best Supporting Actor category.

  9. Drew

    Elizabeth,

    It doesn’t matter if what you say about Jennifer Lawrence is true or not. To call her nomination for ‘American Hustle’ undeserving is heresy. She is, by far, the best thing about that film. In fact, without her performance, I don’t know that ‘Hustle’ would even be above average. If you replace her with another actress, I’m afraid that whole movie goes down the toilet.

    Whether or not it was a variance of characters she has played before is irrelevant. It was still an absolutely outstanding — and deserving — performance.

    • Elizabeth

      Jennifer Lawrence’s performance might have been the best part of “American Hustle” but that’s faint praise. Best editing should go to whoever put the trailer for that movie together. They managed to make what was a dull, slow moving drama look like an exciting, interesting period comedy. That was a better con job than the one in the movie.

  10. Timcharger

    Yeah, I was really surprised (Wall Street was surprised, too; the stock moved big that day), that Blackfish was not nominated.

    I can’t help think that since Private Equity has moved in big time in producing Hollywood films. Their influence is spreading.

  11. John Burton

    I’ll add my name to the snub of “Mud”. Great story, great performances, and a great movie. Should have gotten a nomination.

  12. Daniel Bruhl – Best Supporting Actor (Rush)
    Joaquin Phoenix – Best Actor (Her)
    Margot Robbie – Best Supporting Actress (The Wolf of Wall Street)
    Best Editing – Rush

  13. Roger

    Christ almighty Drew, couple opinions haven’t you. Thought Wall Street was hugely overrated. Well made but 3 hours of excess and drivel. My least favourite from Scorsese and Leo respectively.

    Thought that although there were some good performances in 12 Years, the movie itself was rather boring. Loved Her, Captain Phillips was great, American Hustle was fun but more of a chore than Silver Linings, Gravity was beautiful.

  14. Eric

    My favorite movie of the year was The Way, Way Back, and while I knew it would be overlooked, as all comedies are, it really annoys me that the amazing performances by Sam Rockwell and Steve Carell were overlooked completely. Even more embarrassing is that it was ignored for best original screenplay. I hate snobs who believe that only heavy dramas deserve recognition by the academy.

  15. Timcharger

    Sorry Harrison Ford fans…

    While I agree that Ford was really good in 42. I wonder if he really was THAT good. Even Shannon admitted, Ford has sucked for 20 years, and we might just be surprised he could still act. I think we may be grading him on a curve.

    We’re not saying: that Rickey character was so well acted.
    We’re saying: that was Harrison Ford?! Wow, HE could still act?!

  16. Chris

    Watched American Hustle last night Elizabeth and I totally agree. It seemed like a mediocre imitation of better movies directed by Scorsese and P.T. Anderson…

  17. William Henley

    Biggest Snubs

    Best Actor – Tom Hanks (Saving Mr Banks)
    Best Actress – Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks) and Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief) (note – Sophie has won several awards in other award shows for her role in this movie)
    Best Picture – The Book Thief
    Visual Effects – Pacific Rim

  18. Casey Knight

    The Butler should have been nominated for best picture. Everyone in the industry feels that by casting Oprah Winfrey, gives the film an unfair advantage. I disagree. She had a powerful performance in this picture, as did Forest Whitaker.

  19. Lord Bowler

    One movie that was snubbed entirely was Lone Survivor (other than the nomination for Sound).

    I didn’t expect it to be nominated in most of the top categories, but expected at least an Adapted Screenplay or Directorial Nomination.

    The seals portrayed were even left out of the “Everyday Heroes” montage… Jessica Chastain made it in as the CIA Agent in Zero Dark Thirty.

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