Oscars 2014: Was it Really Snubbed?
Every year, when awards nominations are announced, the word “snub” tends to be thrown around a lot. However, I think this happens because people want every great movie to be rewarded for their work without thinking of who should be cut. Thus I get treated to Huffington Post headlines like “OPRAH MOVIE SNUBBED” and “OPRAH MOVIE SNUBBED AGAIN” which may be click bait, but nonetheless indicate how we want everyone to be included. 2013 was a particularly crowded year for awards contenders and while Sundance and Cannes winners Beasts of the Southern Wild and Amour were nominated last year, Fruitvale Station and Blue is the Warmest Color had no such luck1. So for something to be a snub for me, I have to prefer it to something else. I loved Moneyball, but did Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt really deserve nominations over Albert Brooks for Drive and Michael Fassbender for Shame? I don’t think so. Of course this is strictly opinion, so I have to note what I haven’t seen: The Butler, Fruitvale Station, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks and August: Osage County.
I’m no big fan of Ron Howard, but I’ve got to say that I quite enjoyed Rush. The races were exciting, the script had an unexpected amount of humor and the performances were excellent. Do I agree with its imdb rating that places it as one of the best sports movies of all time above Raging Bull? No not really, so I can’t say I’m upset about it not getting nominated for Best Picture? But what about Daniel Bruhl? The kid from Goodbye Lenin gave an excellent performance and outshined the far more well-known Chris Hemsworth. The rules are I have to replace someone, so who would I cut? Uh, Jonah Hill. I’ve got nothing against the guy, even though some of his performances are grating and annoying, but I guess I just don’t think of him as deserving over far more accomplished actors. I was also pulling for long shot James Franco for Spring Breakers and I usually hate James Franco. Verdict: Yes it was snubbed.
All is Lost
Robert Redford was the favorite to win Best Actor and he wasn’t even nominated? Well it was a crowded year. Looking over the nominations for Best Actor, I can’t think of one I would prefer to have been cut over Redford. But where did all that hype come from? It certainly wasn’t because of director J.C. Chandor whose debut film Margin Call didn’t get a lot of attention. And as far as survival film goes, the story of one man who doesn’t speak much made it far less of a commercial crowd pleaser than similar films like Gravity and Life of Pi. The only reason really why it was considered an awards contender at all was because of Redford. It shouldn’t really surprise anyone that it didn’t get nominations, however good it may have been. Verdict: As much as I liked it, no.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis had the opposite problem that All is Lost did. It has the well-known directing team of Joel and Ethan Coen, but the unknown lead actor Oscar Isaac. Again, as far as Best Actor goes, it as a crowded year so it’s hard to say. As far as Best Picture though, I believe it was one of the best films of the year, so yes, it was snubbed. What would I cut? The very well-acted, but not really that great Dallas Buyers Club. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew McConaughey, who’s been on a roll lately, and Jared Leto deserve their nominations and maybe even deserve to win. The film, though, is a pretty standard Oscar-bait “important message” movie. I give the script points for not being overly sentimental and schmaltzy and for being kind of fun for a movie with depressing subject matter, but you have to make cuts and being good just isn’t good enough. Verdict: It was snubbed.
Blue is the Warmest Color may have been disqualified for not being submitted in time, but its chances were still questionable.
– David Gonzalez