The Oscar nominations have been announced and Gravity and American Hustle are leading the pack with 10 nominations apiece. There were plenty of surprises and snubs in this early morning announcement live from Los Angeles.
First off… why wasn’t Tom Hanks’ name called? The man turned in two Academy Awards-worthy performances in Captain Phillips and Saving Mr. Banks and was widely considered a lock for Best Actor for Captain Phillips and likely to be nominated for Supporting Actor for Saving Mr. Banks. And the two-time Oscar winner never heard his name called. That is frankly, the biggest shock of the day.
Also missing from the nominee list was Hanks' co-star from Saving Mr. Banks, Emma Thompson. Her portrayal of P.L. Travers, as we stated in our Saving Mr. Banks review, was nothing short of a miracle. For that matter, where was Saving Mr. Banks from this nomination morning? It was completely shut out.
Many thought Robert Redford was a lock for Best Actor for his career best performance in All Is Lost. Redford too was snubbed, but in this year with so many incredible Best Actor-worthy performances, I don’t think you can say the word “snub” too easily. Yes, Hanks was snubbed because we thought given the two performances, one would surely score him a nod. But Redford was competing in a tight field and he was simply a casualty of a great year.
A surprise and snub landed in the Best Supporting Actress category. We love that Sally Hawkins scored a nod for her incredible work in Blue Jasmine. And it is somewhat of a shock that Oprah Winfrey did not get nominated for her work in Lee Daniels’ The Butler. In fact, where was The Butler on this nomination morning? It was completely shut out, even if it seemed like the perfect Oscar-bait movie!
Noticeably absent from the Best Picture category, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Song categories was the Coen brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. We thought that the film was astounding and the Academy adores the Coen brothers. Sure, it got a nod for Sound Mixing and Cinematography, but that’s it? Seriously? We knew Oscar Isaac was a long shot for Best Actor, but we are frankly quite surprised the film got no other love.
There was even a snub in the Best Documentary category as Blackfish failed to be honored. We think this is particularly shocking because at the heart of this category, traditionally, are films that are meant to shake up the system and command its audience to action. The documentary that exposed Sea World’s practices of capturing and training killer whales has spurned such outrage, that the park itself was shaken to its core. The fact that Blackfish was not nominated may be the biggest shock of all this morning.
As for surprises… well, Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street scoring a Best Supporting Acting nomination was no doubt warranted, but we didn’t think he would make the cut. It was an uncanny performance and Movie Fanatic could not be more thrilled for the traditionally comedic actor to earn his second Oscar nomination of his career.
One could call the fact that there are five nominees for Best Animated Feature a surprise. Experts predicted that there would be only three: Despicable Me 2, Frozen and The Croods. Yet, the addition of The Wind Rises (one of our Top 10 Animated Movies of 2013) and Ernest & Celestine shows that animation has grown exponentially in power in the last several years and the Academy has finally caught up.
The complete and utter absence of Fruitvale Station is a shock. Perhaps it came out too early in the year for voters to recall what a masterpiece it was. But no love for star Michael B. Jordan or Octavia Spencer for Best Supporting Actress -- we thought if nothing else it would earn a Best Picture nomination. But alas, it is not to be.
Philomena landing a Best Picture nod closes out our snub and surprises look as a joyous surprise. We knew Judi Dench would score a Best Actress nod, but giving that little film some love in the Best Picture category is a stroke of genius. It is truly one of the best films of the year -- we just thought it might shoot under Oscar's radar. We were never so thrilled to be wrong!