12 years a slave, 20 feet from stardom, 2014, a serious man, academy awards, adele exarchopolous, ain't them bodies saints, alone yet not alone, american hustle, august: osage county, Benoît Debie, blackfish, blue is the warmest color, blue jasmine, bradford young, cate blanchett, coen brothers, cutie and the boxer, dallas buyers club, dirty wars, emma thompson, gabriela cowperthwaite, gravity, her, howard's end, inside llewyn davis, james franco, jehane nouhaim, jonah hill, joshua oppenheimer, justin timberlake, karen o, la vie d'Adele - chapitres 1 et 2, lee daniels, louis psihoyos, meryl streep, nebraska, no country for old men, oprah winfrey, oscar isaac, Oscars, philomena, precious, sally hawkins, sarah polley, saving mr. banks, sense and sensibility, spring breakers, stories we tell, the act of killing, the butler, the cove, the paperboy, the square, tom hanks, wolf of wall street, woody allen
Today the morons in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released the nominations for the 24 categories for the Academy Awards which take place on March 2. As usual, they missed the mark (according to this guy) in many different spots again this year. Let’s get down to what sucked and what didn’t…
Make no bones about this, the Coen Brothers‘ Inside Llewyn Davis getting only two nominations (a well deserved nomination in cinematography and one for sound mixing) is robbery. The Academy should be brought up on charges for this shit. A friend who is also a film professor aptly stated. “Ignoring [Oscar] Isaac‘s performance is bad, but how can it not even be nominated in any of the music categories?” Well said, Seth. This is arguably the Coen‘s best film since No Country for Old Men, and I would give an argument that A Serious Man was similarly gypped for awards back in 2010. Isaac‘s aforementioned performance is spectacular, and that he sang his own vocals is all the more amazing. Surrounded by a fantastic cast, which surprisingly includes Justin Timberlake who was at least tolerable in his time onscreen, this film deftly evokes the early 60s music scene in New York so well. I’m flabbergasted that it was basically shut out. It will lose both of its categories to Gravity. And to address the snub this film received in the Original Song category I have this to say – pick one song, any one song, from the soundtrack and you have an infinitely better choice than the four of the five chosen for that category (Karen O – I dig your song, you’re cool in my eyes). The predilection of the Academy to give nominations and awards to songs from animated films is a fucking trend that has to stop. Please. Shit is tired. Has anyone even heard of the film Alone Yet Not Alone, by the way?
The feature documentary category was where perhaps the two biggest other snubs occurred. That Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s Blackfish and Sarah Polley‘s Stories We Tell didn’t make the cut is as criminal as Inside Llewyn Davis being nearly shut down. Both are fantastic films that have an incredible reach far beyond the screen. Blackfish has been the centerpiece of criticism focused on SeaWorld and their bullshit literally being the catalyst behind massive protests at places like the Rose Bowl Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and causing 12 of their 14 scheduled musical acts to cancel upcoming concerts at their flagship park in Orlando, Florida. This film is as pertinent as Louis Psihoyo‘s Oscar-winning The Cove with regards to treatment of marine mammals and I just can’t see how it missed out. I will say that Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act Of Killing and Jehane Noujaim‘s The Square are exceedingly deserving of their nominations (Act of Killing I would list as the second best film of the year and The Square would certainly make it’s way to my top 20) and I really enjoyed the other three nominees as well. I just don’t think the other three (Dirty Wars, Cutie and the Boxer and 20 Feet From Stardom) were as good as Blackfish or Stories We Tell.
I still think it’s bullshit that La vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 et 2/Blue Is the Warmest Color didn’t make the cut for Best Foreign Film. Adèle Exarchopoulos being left behind for the Best Actress category is to me, the biggest acting snub of the year. I think it’s the best performance of the year in any category. That’s a hard thing for me to say since Cate Blanchett, my favorite living actress, turned in what I believe to be her best performance in Blue Jasmine, and who will likely take home the Oscar.
Let’s start with those that can be presumed as snubs…
I have yet to see Lee Daniels‘s The Butler, but I think most people thought, including me, that it would at least get one nomination, that being Oprah Winfrey for best Supporting Actress. It didn’t. I’ve not been a fan of either of Lee Daniels‘ other films (Precious had some fine acting spots and the story was gutting, but his direction is overwrought and if you recall correctly, The Paperboy got my vote as the worst film of the year last year) but I am intrigued by this one and do plan on seeing it.
Saving Mr. Banks also got no nominations, even for Academy favorite Tom Hanks, who didn’t even get a nod for Captain Phillips. I think most people expected at least Emma Thompson to get a nomination, but the Academy couldn’t pass up a chance to nominate Meryl Streep for the 1,456th time for August: Osage County instead. Thompson has been nominated three times already (and won 2 Oscars, one for writing Sense and Sensibility and the other for her acting work in Howard’s End) so I wouldn’t put it on the same level as Ms. Winfrey‘s snub.
While it shouldn’t surprise me, I truly think that both Benoît Debie and Bradford Young should have been nominated for their photography in Spring Breakers and Ain’t Them Bodies Saints respectively. While I think Spring Breakers was a mess, an interesting mess, but a mess nonetheless, I thought the photography was wonderful. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, however, lands squarely at #6 in my best of 2013 list (yet to be published).
The non-snub surprises would have to start with Jonah Hill earning his second Oscar nom for The Wolf of Wall Street. I loved the movie, but wasn’t too high on his performance. His teeth were sweet, though.
Sally Hawkins‘ nomination for Blue Jasmine has to be the next biggest surprise, and a pleasant one at that. I thought she was fantastic as Cate Blanchett‘s white trash sister, Ginger. Say what you will about Woody Allen‘s personal life, but the man can direct great performances. This is one of them.
Glad the Academy Didn’t Nominate…
I thought I would include this because there was buzz around it all year, but thanks to the Academy for not nominating James Franco in Spring Breakers. I’m not what you would call a Franco fan to begin with as I think his body of work is average at best, but this performance was ridiculous and didn’t stand up against those who were nominated and those who were passed over. Couple that with the fact that he reportedly based his character off of the literal worst rappers in history, I’ve got nothing for it. This might be one of the few things the Academy got right.
All right – Who gets your vote for Best Picture?: