This time ever year, voters in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences make their nominations for what they believe were the best movies of the prior year. And this time every year, viewers like us gripe about all the movies or acting performances the Academy failed to acknowledge. Well, let’s get griping. What do you think were this year’s most egregious Oscar snubs?
M. Enois Duarte
Aside from a ridiculous nod for Best Original Song, I find ‘The Lego Movie‘ to be the most shocking snub this year. The film, in my opinion, deserves better recognition – perhaps even a nomination for Best Picture because it’s really that good. How is it NOT nominated for Best Animated Feature?! That category should just be a given.
What about the visual effects, stunning cinematography, the brilliant original screenplay or even the awesome directing by Phil Lord and Christopher Miller? The actual nominees were all expected and predictable, but other than ‘Birdman’ and arguably ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, there are really no surprises in this year’s categories. It’s very disappointing not to see ‘The Lego Movie’ given more respect aside from its intentionally silly song.
When this topic came up last year, I picked a movie starring Chadwick Boseman as my biggest snub (in that case, Harrison Ford as Best Supporting Actor for ’42’). Well, guess what? This year I find myself pointing towards another Chadwick Boseman movie, this time for Boseman himself. He was just incredible playing the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, in the bio-pic ‘Get On Up‘.
As I stated in my Blu-ray review of the movie, Boseman just doesn’t play Brown; for over two hours, he becomes him in a performance that I can’t believe was not only ignored by the Academy, but most of the other major awards shows too. I keep saying that Boseman is one of the best and most underappreciated actors working in Hollywood right now. Don’t worry, though. He’ll finally get some mainstream attention when he stars in Marvel’s upcoming ‘Black Panther’ movie.
No one loved and understood the movies better than Roger Ebert. ‘Life Itself‘, the film about Ebert’s life, has been one of the best reviewed documentaries in years. It was certainly one of my favorite films of 2014. So how in the HELL did the Academy fail to nominate it?
Though unflinching in its depiction of Ebert’s struggle with cancer in his later years, was his relentlessly upbeat attitude toward life just too much for the Academy voters to process when gathering together their favorite guilt- and misery-fests for the documentary category? This type of snub, combined with the ridiculous number of nominees these years, makes the Oscar just about meaningless to me.
I’m almost entirely cynical when it comes to the Academy Awards, and years like this are a big reason why. The glitzy categories are completely dominated by movies designed to be Oscar vehicles, most of which were released during the Oscar season. And what do most people feel are the biggest snubs? The other Oscar vehicles. Thus, my Oscar snub is Hugh Jackman for (Spoiler Alert!) ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb‘. Had he played the exact same cameo role in ‘Birdman’, he would have been a shoo-in for a Supporting Actor nomination.
I’m about to be “that guy.”
Although nominated for production design, sound mixing, sound editing, visual effects and score, I believe that ‘Interstellar‘ was more-than-deserving of even bigger awards. I’m not saying that it deserves to win all of these categories, but definitely deserves to have been nominated.
First, there’s Cinematography. ‘Interstellar’ is absolutely gorgeous. Having seen it on 35mm, digital IMAX and 70mm IMAX, no movie has ever looked better on the big, bigger and biggest screen. It was a visual treat that I repeated many times just because I knew I’d never get that grand experience once it left IMAX theaters. Then there’s the Original Screenplay category. How long has it been since we’ve seen a science fiction film as creative and original as this? Not only is the complex science behind it factual, but it was made intelligible by a brilliant screenplay and enjoyable through heartfelt drama.
Next up is Best Actor. Matthew McConaughey’s performance may not be better than those of Eddie Redmayne, Michael Keaton, Benedict Cumberbatch or Bradley Cooper, but it’s definitely better than Steve Carell’s in ‘Foxcatcher’. Carell wore heavy makeup and acted creepy. So what?
While I liked ‘Boyhood’, that movie is going to win awards solely based on Richard Linklater’s gimmicky shooting concept. That shouldn’t give him a Best Director nomination. ‘Boyhood’ is still a rather drawn-out, excessive and unfocused film. And, finally, there’s Best Picture. In a category whose count of nominations isn’t bound, how did the most creative and gorgeous movie of the year not make the cut?
Having bickered for long enough, as long as Hans Zimmer’s score wins the Oscar, I’ll be happy.
Wes Anderson’s ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘ received Oscar nominations in nine categories, including Best Picture and Best Director, so I don’t exactly feel bad for the movie missing out on much acclaim. However, the lack of a nomination for Ralph Fiennes as Best Actor is a little disappointing. Unfortunately, this likely stems from the Academy’s longstanding bias against comedies. Unless an actor gets put through an emotional wringer for a role, the Oscar voters assume that he or she isn’t really doing any serious acting.
Yet as any actual actor will tell you, comedy is much more difficult to perform than drama. Fiennes, an actor who’s built an entire career on dour, heavy drama, turns out to have a surprising felicity for generating laughs too. He’s truly delightful in the role of the cultured sophisticate (yet frequently crass) hotel concierge M. Gustave. In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever seen Ralph Fiennes have fun in a movie. That deserves some attention.
Now it’s your turn. Tell us about the movies, acting performances, music, cinematography, visual effects, etc. that you can’t believe weren’t nominated.