Weekend Roundtable: 2015 Oscar Snubs

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.

Shannon Nutt

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.

Mike Attebery

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.

Brian Hoss

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.

Luke Hickman

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.

Josh Zyber

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.


  1. Drew

    Let me preface my comment by admitting that David Fincher is my second favorite filmmaker of all time. I may be biased. Having said that, I truly believe that ‘Gone Girl’ was one of the best films of the year, as well as the best film of its type, in the last several years. It deserved a Best Picture nomination, regardless of who directed it.

    David Fincher deserved a Best Director nomination, as well. How does he get nominated for his worst film — ‘The Curious Case of Benjamin Button’ — but not for one of his three best films? Bennett Miller’s nomination for ‘Foxcatcher’ is a joke and a travesty. The film isn’t even nominated for Best Picture, and there’s nothing remotely good about its direction.

    David Oyelowo absolutely should have been nominated for his work in ‘Selma’. He is a revelation. His performance is on par with what DDL did in ‘Lincoln’.

    Ava DuVernay composed some of the most stunning and breathtaking frames contained within any film of the last several years. In fact, there were a couple of shots that were composed in such a way that they literally made me gasp. The only flaws in her direction of ‘Selma’ were minimal, and a result of the water behind her ears. Overall, her achievement in direction was superior to all but a couple of others, last year.

    There’s no need to go into any detail for my next two snubs. We all know how masterful and peerless Paul Thomas Anderson is. ‘Inherent Vice’ was possibly the best film of the entire year. It should have been nominated. Anderson’s direction of it is downright astonishing. He should have been nominated.

    Finally, no actor approached what Jake Gyllenhaal accomplished in ‘Nightcrawler’. Not even close! Not in the same galaxy. Jake should be taking home the Best Actor Oscar. This is indisputable. How was Carell nominated?!

    • Chris B

      Not to bash the film but, did the framing for the first 20-30 minutes seem kind of odd to you? It looked like the image was stretched or blown-up to me. I’m guessing it’s just PTA being a psychopath (in a good way) again but I was wondering if anyone else noticed it…

      • Drew

        Not at all. It looked great. It was mesmerizing. If I had to guess, I would assume that you just got used to its magnificence. 🙂

    • Chris B

      Gone Girl starts off incredibly strong, but by the end has taken a flying leap into complete and total fucking absurdity…

    • Opinionhaver

      I feel Benjamin Button is a masterpiece. But it is definitely not worse than Panic Room no matter how you feel about it.

  2. Chris B

    I thonk Boyhood is a little overpraised as well, the idea that it was shot over 12 years is neat but the movie really dragged the last half hour.

    I wish Edge of Tommorow had gotten a nod for it’s screenplay, I know it’s not the kind of movie to be in the oscars but I thought it was extremely well-written. Ditto for The Lego Movie.

  3. Drew

    “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?”

    I’m not sure why you think that the count of Best Picture nominations isn’t limited. It most certainly is. The current rules state that as few as five, and as many as ten films may be nominated for Best Picture.

  4. Chris B

    I wish the oscars had some category to honor summer blockbuster type movies. I know there’s the technical categories like visual effects and so forth but it just seems like there should be a way to honor movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy for the sheer blast of entertainment they are…

      • Chris B

        Then You my friend, are dead on the inside. What do you even like? Every time you comment on here it’s always sarcastic as hell. What do you even like?

        • Frank

          Yes, I am dead on the inside because I don’t like movies based on comic books. Don’t worry, you’re on the winning team. As long as the masses are entertained by them, Hollywood will keep making them. Same goes for you zombie and vampire lovers! There’s no point in listing what I like…..we already know Lawrence Of Arabia wasn’t a “sheer blast of entertainment” for you. Perhaps it would have been if it was all CGI and Peter O’Toole wore Spandex.

  5. I can’t admit to getting too bent out of shape about Oscar snubs. A good performance is a good performance and it doesn’t need to be validated by a golden statue. That being said, I would of liked to have seen Jake Gyllenhaal among the best actor category. He played such a fascinating character in a most original movie. One of my favorites for 2014.

  6. Drew

    I forgot to mention Shailene Woodley for Best Actress, for ‘The Fault in Our Stars’. I really thought that she would be recognized. I’m convinced that if the film would have been released between mid-November and mid-December, she would have secured a nomination.

  7. Opinionhaver

    The LEGO Movie should have been nominated.

    It’s funny Shannon thinks Chadwick Boseman will get mainstream attention as Black Panther, as if a) T’Challa is more iconic than Jackie Robinson or James Brown, or b) the Academy gives a shit about Marvel either. Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a damn good movie, good enough even to be nominated for Best Picture, and if it had the same basic plot but had some Jason Bourne type character instead of a shield slinging costumed hero, it probably would have been.

    And yes, Matthew McConaughey’s performance is as deserving as anyone else’s this year. ANYone else’s.

    • I was referring to Chadwick Boseman becoming more of a household name among your “average” moviegoer – I certainly don’t think playing Black Panther is going to bring him any industry kudos.

      • Opinionhaver

        That’s what I thought you meant, hence my part A. In any case, let’s hope so. More opportunities for the kid can only be good for everyone.

  8. William Henley

    I was thinking The Wind Rises and Stalingrad, but the first had a limited engagement in 2013 before being released nation-wide in 2014, and Stalingrad was released in Russia in 2013 before coming to the us in 2014.

    Godzilla was kinda snubbed, but in the fields where it should have been nominated, such as sound editing and visual effects, the nominations are so strong, I cannot really fault the Acadamy for not nominating it.

    Maleficent had some interesting visuals, but once again, strong category. Best costume design, though, seems to fit this film. As far as story and directing and acting, the movie was Meh, but visually, this movie was stunning.

    A movie like Edge of Tomorrow maybe should get an honorary award or something – I can’t really think of a category that this movie should be nominated for out of the available categories, but it deserves some recognition. Maybe a new category for Most Interesting or something (that is probably where Boyhood should be as well, in a Most Interesting or Most Intriguing category).

    How did The Tale of Princess Kaguya get on the 2015 nominations? It was released in 2013.

    • Chapz Kilud

      I actually went to see The Wind Rises twice. It was a beautiful movie. But I can see how it got overlooked.

      I agree with Luke Hickman that Interstellar should have been nominated more. Despite many things I don’t like about the movie, I think the emotional aspect was portrayed very well. I’d hate to see that movie end up winning nothing.

      • William Henley

        I read that the limited engagement for The Wind Rises when it was released in 2013 was so that it would make the nominations for 2014. However, as I said, The Tale of Princess Kaguya was also released in 2013, but it is on this years nominations. Seems like there is no rhyme or reason to that.

  9. Oyelowo and DuVernay definitely should have been nominated over Miller and Carrell. Jake Gyllenhaal should have been up there too. After seeing The Imitation Game I feel like people just love saying Benedict Cumberbatch so much they decided to nominate it for as many awards. as possible. I thought Gone Girl was highly overrated, and would prefer Rosamund Pike’s spot be taken by Essie Davis or Agata Trzebuchowska.

  10. Freakyguy666

    Sarah Snook in Predestination (technically film was released I’m 2014). Playing both a man & a woman and changing her voice–not to mention playing an American accent (she’s Australian)–and playing opposite herself in several scenes…I think this one was simply just overlooked.

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