The good, the bad, and the downright ugly of the Oscar nominations

I warned you, didn’t I? I told you there would be some painful snubs this year, but even I’m taken aback at a number of the Academy’s decisions this year. When you have this good a year in film, this is always going to happen. Too many wonderful films, too many amazing performances, too much choice. With only five nominees, it’s always going to mean disappointment for some, but we’ve got more than a few disappointments this year. Alas, let’s not be entirely negative. There were some wonderful surprises and well deserved nominations as well, so let’s break it down, beginning with the positives.

THE GOOD

Despite all our fears of the film being too edgy and ‘offensive’, the Academy certainly warmed to The Wolf of Wall Street more than we all expected. Leonardo DiCaprio’s nomination is just a delight, especially after so many snubs over the years, and he instantly becomes the dark-horse for the Best Actor race. And it was great to see Scorsese, and yes even Jonah Hill, in the mix too.

American Hustle dominating with 10 nominations. It’s the front-runner now. Don’t listen to anyone that tells you otherwise. It was always hoped that it would follow Silver Linings Playbook, in earning nominations for all four acting spots, but nobody thought it was possible, especially for Christian Bale, but it pulled it off. Just that fact alone proves how much the Academy love it, and it speaks volumes for its Best Picture chances. Bale is the heart and soul of that movie, and he so richly deserves his nomination. I just assumed in the overcrowded Best Actor category that he would be forgotten, but I’m more than happy to be wrong here. It’s also wonderful to see Amy Adams get in, even at the expense of Emma Thompson (more on that later). Astonishingly, this is her fifth nomination in seven years. Mark her as your dark-horse. Every other actress in this category has won before, which works incredibly in Adams’ favour.

The huge tally for indie darlings Dallas Buyers Club, Her, and Nebraska. Not a surprise, but still wonderful to see.

Gravity. Enough said.

Frozen. Again, enough said.

The nine nominees for Best Picture. Thank you Academy, for picking nine fucking amazing films. There are no WTF nominees this year, like Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close or War Horse. They all deserve to be there.

THE BAD

American Hustle not being nominated for Best Hair/Makeup. Really? Did you watch the movie with your damn eyes closed?

Well I was wrong about poor Oprah, wasn’t I? I knew it was a distinct possible, but god damn, I never thought they’d actually do it. She was the frontrunner for the longest time, so to not even be nominated is just staggering. Zero nominations for The Butler is also a bit of a shocker. Maybe the film came out too early, but heck, so did Blue Jasmine, and that didn’t hurt its nomination tally. You’ll hear the racism card played, that one ‘black film’ is all the Academy can tolerate each year, and 12 Years A Slave nabbed that token. I found The Butler to be a bit of a bore, so maybe that’s why it isn’t here.

Not a single nomination for former front-runner Rush. Daniel Brühl’s snub is particularly hard to accept. The Academy clearly dismissed this as a genre film, which is it far from. How you invite Chris Hemsworth to read out the nominations, and then not give his film any love at all, is beyond me.

What the hell is Alone Yet Not Alone, and why it is nominated for Best Original Song, over people like Ed Sheeran and Lana Del Rey? Evidently, it’s an independent Christian film, that seemingly no one has heard of or seen. Right.

THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY

Saving Mr. Banks. Look, I knew they wouldn’t nominate it for Best Picture. I even knew they wouldn’t nominate Tom Hanks.  But to not nominate Emma Thompson, for her glorious performance, is just an outright travesty. Yes, the Best Actress race was too full this year, and there were six women vying for five spots, but there is no way Thompson didn’t deserve to be there. Say what you like about the film, and its apparent lack of truthfulness when it came to the depiction of Walt Disney, but you cannot deny Thompson’s performance was a standout. Any other year, and she would’ve won the damn thing. Not only that, but for a film this wonderful to only receive ONE nomination is disgraceful, Disney bias or not.

The snubs of Robert Redford and Tom Hanks. I knew Redford’s refusal to shmooze and campaign would work against him, but that shouldn’t matter. A legend returns, in a legendary performance, and that should equal a nomination. To carry a film by yourself is no easy feat. You recognised that with Sandra Bullock, so why did Redford not get his dues too? The man was the frontrunner for the last 4 months for a reason. To ignore him completely is just ridiculous. And then there’s Hanks. A man looking at being a double nominee, ends up not being nominated at all. Despite my love for the film and his performance, I can handle the Saving Mr. Banks snub, but there’s no reasoning behind the shameful Captain Phillips snub, especially given the film received a handful of other nominations. The last ten minutes of that film are like a masterclass in acting, and just on those ten minutes alone, he should have been nominated. Remember when the Academy used to love Tom Hanks? I miss those days.

Inside Llewyn Davis – apparently this film wasn’t released this year. Two paltry nominations. A complete joke.

Blackfish not being in the Best Documentary Feature race. Remove all the hype and fuss over the Seaworld backlash, and you still have the best documentary of the year. Yet it didn’t even register a nomination? Somewhere, the orcas are crying.

All in all, I suppose things played out much as we all expected. There are always shockers. There are always surprises. There are always snubs. After 20 odd years of watching this circus, there is still no way to tell how these things will go. I won’t start making winner predictions until we get a bit closer to Oscar night. For now, it seems to be shifting American Hustle‘s way, but so very much can change between now and when voting closes, so let the games begin!

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