Oscar missed the boat with all of the “Gone Girl” snubs

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The more I think about it, the more it frustrates me that Academy members didn’t go particularly far beyond their comfort zones this year. Sure, things like Birdman, Boyhood, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and Whiplash seem like unusual Best Picture nominees, but they still have plenty in common with past Oscar favorites. I won’t even get started on how they snubbed Selma everywhere but in Picture and Best Original Song, but I will take them to task for something else…snubbing Gone Girl everywhere but in Best Actress. Not only was David Fincher’s film deserving of more in the way of citations, it would have shown some evolution on the part of the Oscar voter.

Somewhat lost in the shuffle during the rightful uproar over Ava DuVernay missing out in Best Director for Selma was that Gillian Flynn was snubbed in Best Adapted Screenplay, a category many had predicted her to win, myself included. Snubbing the most honored female writer of the year while at the same time snubbing the most honored female filmmaker of the year just looks bad. Beyond that, Flynn just delivered a knockout adaptation of her own novel with Gone Girl. It’s hard to see how anyone can say with a straight face (outside of maybe Harvey Weinstein) that Graham Moore’s script for The Imitation Game, which now likely will win, is superior to Flynn’s.

On a slightly smaller scale, Fincher missing in Director isn’t an overt travesty, but when you look at the uninspired choice of Morten Tyldum, you do shake your head. I don’t mean to be picking on The Imitation Game, but it’s exactly the sort of prepackaged Academy Award contender that’s built to get a lot of nominations and then go home empty handed. That’s just a waste to me. If you’re going to give something a handful of nods and then not see those noms turn into wins, make the cited work more interesting. Fincher springs to mind, though obviously DuVernay as well, or Damien Chazelle for Whiplash here in Director, for that matter.

Of course, there’s the Best Picture field. Having only eight nominees raises the question of which film or films missed the cut, something I always try to study. The number nine spot almost assuredly was Foxcatcher’s, so that tenth place slot was between Gone Girl and Nightcrawler. This furthers the argument I’ve made for a few years now that we should go back to a strict ten nominees. Can anyone make the case that the lineup is in any way degraded by the inclusion of, let’s say, Foxcatcher and Gone Girl? I didn’t think so.

Elsewhere, Ben Affleck was always a long shot in the crowded Best Actor field, but that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t deserving of inclusion. In the technical fields, you had prior nominees/winners snubbed all around for Gone Girl. Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score all seemed to be in play, right up until the morning of the nominations. Then, nothing. It was a real shame, with the only saving grace being that Rosamund Pike got into Best Actress. It’s appalling to think about how close the movie came to being completely shut out.

In the end, it sort of is what it is in this case, but one really does look at the nominees and see how things would have been better with more Gone Girl in it. Unless Pike pulls off a miracle and upsets Julianne Moore in Actress, Fincher and Flynn’s film is going to go home empty handed, which is fine…it just should have had more opportunities, that’s all.

Stay tuned to see if somehow Gone Girl can pull an upset with Pike in Best Actress!

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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