The biggest snubs from Oscar nomination morning

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After a few days (and a weekend) to digest what the Academy did with their Oscar nominations, I wanted to chime in now with a look at the biggest snubs from that fateful morning. There has been a lot of attention paid to a handful of snubs, but there are plenty of them, both in terms of large and small films. Obviously I won’t be listing them all, but I do have ten specific ones in mind that I want to share with you now. I’ll also be looking at the surprise nominations in a day or two, but today is for just the snubs. Oscar voters did quite a job ruining a few folks’ morning last week, that was for sure…

Here now are ten of the biggest snubs from last week:

1. The Lego Movie in Best Animated Feature – Especially considering the somewhat weak field, it was an absolute shock that The Lego Movie wasn’t nominated here. Pretty much a lock to have won (or not, knowing what we know now), it would have been the only animated film nominated anywhere else, with its Best Original Song citation. What should have been an inspired choice by the Academy is instead an egregious snub.

2. David Oyelowo in Best Actor – We knew that no one was a lock in Best Actor, but still…David Oyelowo missing for Selma stings. Worse still, it’s possible that he wasn’t even number six, with the equally worthy Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler (consider him an honorable mention) right there with him. Best Actor was the bloodbath it was expect to be, but that doesn’t mean Oyelowo wasn’t a huge miss by voters, because it was.

3. Interstellar in Best Cinematography – My biggest personal snub, seeing Hoyte Van Hoytema’s incredible visuals in Interstellar left out of Best Cinematography is a borderline crime. Big budget science fiction filmmaking with an experimental twist from Christopher Nolan doesn’t come along every day, so while another honorable mention of mine would have been Interstellar missing in Best Picture (though we all knew that was happening), this snub is a real bummer in my eyes.

4. Ava DuVernay in Best Director – Obviously the most publicly derided snub, the writing was somewhat on the wall after the DGA snubbed DuVernay for Selma. Still, she deserved to be in the lineup over someone like Morten Tyldum for The Imitation Game, in my humble opinion. As Selma saw its hopes dimish, this was a possibly, but a sad one many hoped wouldn’t happen. DuVernay will be back, but this is definitely a shame.

5. Life Itself in Best Documentary Feature – You never know what’s going to happen in Best Documentary Feature, as proven here when this one time frontrunner was snubbed. Roger Ebert had a complicated relationship with the Academy and filmmaker Steve James often seems to be overlooked, so perhaps this was more likely than we thought. Still, it stung when the category chose to exclude my pick for the best documentary of 2014.

6. Gone Girl in Best Adapted Screenplay – Another huge miss, as Gillian Flynn’s script for Gone Girl was looking like a potential winner in Best Adapted Screenplay. Not only did this throw the category into chaos and excludes one of the best scripts of the year, it really makes voters look bad in snubbing a female screenwriter. You want to believe that gender and race never have something to do with voting, but between DuVernay and Flynn, it’s definitely a discussion that’s going on currently.

7. Foxcatcher in Best Picture – Considering the fact that Bennett Miller scored a Best Director nod, an accompanying Best Picture nom for Foxcatcher seemed all but assured. Then, the lineup was announced and Miller became a Lone Director. The film certainly is a less than traditional contender, but with multiple acting nominations, citations in Director and Original Screenplay, as well as a below the line mention, the cards and stars were aligned. This is one of the lineup’s more puzzling snubs, honestly. It just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

8. Jessica Chastain in Best Supporting Actress – Perhaps a vote split with her Interstellar performance ultimately felled Chastain, but her snub for A Most Violent Year is still somewhat surprising. Personally, I was more impressed with her work in the former than in the latter, but that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t have been a better choice than Meryl Streep for Into the Woods, as one example. Oscar seems to be a big Chastain fan, which only makes this an odder miss. A Most Violent Year just didn’t get seen by enough voters in the end, I suppose.

9. Birdman in Best Film Editing – The Academy often misconstrues the Best Film Editing field as a place to honor “Most Editing”, so it’s not a complete surprise that Birdman missed here. At the same time though, you have to assume that plenty of voters knew how much editing there actually was in the movie. The act of simulating one fluid shot takes a lot of editing magic, to say the least. It’s rather odd that the branch didn’t take notice of it, frankly.

10. Jennifer Aniston in Best Actress – This wouldn’t have been a shock if not for the fact that Aniston seemed for all the world to be in line for a nomination. Her performance in Cake had caught on with the precursors, after all. In the end though, the looked elsewhere and left Aniston out in the cold. Perhaps we fell victim to a campaign, but still…it wasn’t expected.

Stay tuned for a look at some of the nomination’s biggest surprises later this week!

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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