The Academy Awards nominations were released this morning, and through all the glee and joy, many were left out in the cold clutching air where they had hoped would be a golden statue of a bald man come February 24.
Movie Fanatic's managing editor Joel D. Amos and senior writer Micah J. Gordon break down the worst Oscar snubs of 2013.
Joel: I have to start with the glaring omission of Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck from the Best Director category. Think their Zero Dark Thirty and Argo got to Best Picture nominee status without the astute helming of those two? Hardly! With nine Best Picture nominees, I realize it's hard to honor every one of those directors, but given the fact that it was once thought that those two would fight it out against Steven Spielberg for Lincoln, now it appears to be a clear shot for the legendary director to pick up another Oscar.
Micah: Agreed! It's very surprising that two of the three most talked-about names in the directing category ended up not getting the nomination. Spielberg seems like a shoe-in now. Aside from those directors, the biggest snub for me would have to be a Supporting Actor nomination for Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. I absolutely love Christoph Waltz, and he does great things in Tarantino movies, but DiCaprio was such an enthralling, nuanced villain! It's a role we haven't really seen him play before, and he totally killed it. His monologue at the end basically made the whole film! If it weren't for Daniel Day-Lewis having like three dozen awesome monologues in Lincoln, I'd easily give Leo the award for Monologue of the Year.
Joel: And on that note, I wonder why the Academy can bestow nominations on the many deserving women of The Help, but not reward the men of Django Unchained? As you said Micah, Leo's snub was a shock. But it could be argued that Samuel L. Jackson also deserved a Supporting Actor nod. I mean look what he does in the Django Unchained trailer alone! Unfortunately for Jamie Foxx, the Best Actor category was too crowded. Speaking of actors, where was John Hawkes for The Sessions? It is an iconic performance that is otherworldly on so many levels. They give a Supporting Actress nomination to Helen Hunt and not Hawkes for Best Actor? That's crazy! Who do they think she did those scenes with that produced such emotive power... a tree? What else shocked you Micah?
Micah: Here's a big one for me, but it's in a category that doesn't really get a ton of attention: Best Score. To me, Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood has produced some of the best movie scores in recent years. His soundtrack for Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood was such a big part of why that movie was so darn good. This year, he teamed up with Anderson again to score the less-than-perfect film The Master, but the music was still fantastic. Greenwood was snubbed back in '07 for Blood because some of the music he used was repurposed from pieces he'd previously recorded, and the rules state that everything has to be completely original. The Master seems to have had the same problem, despite even less of the soundtrack coming from previous recordings. I think if those rules are keeping such amazing work from contention--and work that very much contributes to the specific tone of the film--then maybe the eligibility rules should be changed. Greenwood 2013! What say you, Joel?
Joel: I agree, for some reason Greenwood has become the Academy's version of a forgotten son. Why they would nominate all the actors and not the composer who musically framed all their work is beyond me. Also, again in a less discussed category... where is Rian Johnson for Best Original Screenplay for Looper? He was a Hollywood favorite to score a nod, even getting mentioned in some editorials of late in the Los Angeles Times and Entertainment Weekly. In an era of movies that are remakes, sequels or big screen version of TV shows, why isn't the Academy rewarding something that was so wildly original? Speaking of music... I stopped trying to analyze the Best Song choices after the Oscars ignored Eminem for his haunting Lose Yourself. Yet, I'm kind of optimistic for the future that they nominated the song from Ted. Then again, it doesn't hurt the actual broadcast that your host could also end the night a winner! Micah, final thoughts?
Micah: One last movie I would have loved to see represented somewhere is Killer Joe. I realize its gritty portrayal of depravity and violence doesn't exactly scream "Oscar Movie," but it was nonetheless one of my favorites of the year. As the film was adapted by Tracy Letts from his own stage play, I think it easily deserved a Best Adapted Screenplay nod. Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch also turned out some award-worthy performances. In general, a lot of the nominees were what we expected. The Academy generally plays it pretty safe, apart from a few well-placed surprises. Regardless, there will always be some deserved films left out of the running.