The films that will sadly be shut out on Oscar nomination morning

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In less than two weeks, the mystery is going to be solved in terms of who and what receive Academy Award nominations (with some mystery going away earlier today with the announcement of the Producers Guild of America nominations, but I’ll chime in on that tomorrow). At the same time, we’re also going to find out about the films and performances that are going to be snubbed for Oscar love. In some cases, movies are going to be shut out entirely. Most of the time, it’s more or less deservedly so, but their are always contenders that should have fared better in the awards season. Today, I wanted to shed some light on the flicks that almost assuredly are not going to be cited in any way, shape, or form, by members of the Academy. Sure, Oscar voters could surprise you, but I wouldn’t hold my breath…

Here now are ten films that are unfortunately set to be shut out when nominations are announced:

10. Tusk – No Kevin Smith film has ever competed at the Oscars (though rumor has it that Chasing Amy was the number six in Best Original Screenplay that year) and this horror-comedy won’t change that run, only in part due to mostly poor reviews (even if I dug it). At the same time though, Tusk features old school monster movie makeup and a rubber suit costume that I would have loved the Academy to have noticed/recognized. It won’t happen, but I’d do backflips if a Best Costume Design nomination came through.

9. Draft Day – A theme you’ll see a few times here in this column today is unfairly maligned films, with this sports drama being another prime example. It’s got a good enough script to have at least competed in Best Original Screenplay, though that field is obviously stacked. Ivan Reitman’s flick was unjustly ignored, something his son can also sympathize with this year as well (more on that below). It deserved a better fate than it received, plain and simple.

8. Edge of Tomorrow – Now, there’s a small chance that a tech nomination could come through for this Tom Cruise vehicle, but in a fairer world it would be a lock for a Best Film Editing nomination. Doug Limon’s movie didn’t do quite the business most expected it to, but it was a critical favorite and one of the more satisfying blockbusters of 2014. It might show up somewhere, but more likely than not it’ll be snubbed, and that’s a real shame indeed.

7. Wish I Was Here – I’ve sang the praises of Zach Braff’s sophomore feature a few times already, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to do so again. My colleagues ignored it, but the supporting performance of Mandy Patinkin, not to mention Braff’s script, were worthy of at least being considered (Best Original Song too). The whole Kickstarter related controversy started this one off on the wrong foot, so it was almost Dead On Arrival from the start. Alas, it shouldn’t have been this way.

6. The Skeleton Twins – Both Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig gave career best performances in this dramedy, so it was at one time believed to be a dark horse with the Oscars. Then, snub after snub at precursors like the Golden Globes and Independent Spirit Awards basically killed those chances. Again, even something like Best Original Screenplay vanished in a hurry. I’m not sure it would have ultimately gotten nominated regardless, but it was a film that was worthy of more consideration.

5. Obvious Child – It was a bummer to see Jenny Slate all but ignored throughout the season, especially after her more than meets the eye comedy more or less was universally praised leading up to the film’s release. She gives a star making performance, so while Best Actress was always somewhat of a long shot, she should have been more in play than she turned out to be. This is a snub that isn’t surprising, but is still on the disappointing side, all the same.

4. Black or White – For a moment, it looked like Kevin Costner might really be in play for this passion project he made with Mike Binder. He had put his own money into the production and was really out there campaigning. Then, things just sort of dried up. Unless members of the Academy are about to pull a stunner, this one is going to be snubbed all around. It’s a worthy contender for Costner, who’s rarely been better. I just wish more voters had bothered to give it a legitimate chance.

3. Under the Skin – A surprise Best Original Score nomination isn’t out of the question (or perhaps even Best Sound Editing or Best Sound Mixing), but Scarlett Johansson really deserves to be in the Best Actress conversation for this one of a kind character study. It’s a performance unlike any we’ve ever seen from her before, something that plenty of my colleagues have pointed out. To be fair, the movie is difficult and not Academy friendly, but the quality of the work should have trumped that. Alas.

2. The Fault in Our Stars – It’s no secret that I believe this film deserves a Best Actress nomination for Shailene Woodley as well as a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination for scribes Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, but it’s a real shame that apparently no voters seem to. Neustadter, Weber, and Woodley will be Oscar nominees soon enough (and quite possibly director Josh Boone as well), it just unfortunately won’t be for this gem. It’ll have to hope for a long shot Best Original Song citation at best, though a shut out is seeming like the probably option now.

1. Men, Women & Children – The most unfairly disliked film of 2014, this is instead something that should be competing in the Best Picture race, though at the very least a Best Adapted Screenplay citation should have been a given. The acting is top notch, the editing crisp, and the filmmaking by Jason Reitman is among the most confident of his career. I think my colleagues completely missed the point of this one, seeing it as a cautionary tale against the internet when it’s far more complicated of a film than that. No matter the case, this film should have been an Oscar player, not a sure fire shut out. What a shame.

Stay tuned to see if any of these films surprise at all on nomination morning!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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