Biggest Surprises & Snubs from 86th Academy Award Nominations
by Joey Magidson
January 16, 2014
After basically a full year of obsessing over who and what may or may not get nominated for an Academy Award, I know have my answers, for better or for worse. The 86th Academy Award nominations were announced this morning, and there's a healthy mix of the pleasing and the puzzling. You can compare the list to what my final predictions looked like, but my focus here is going to be on what the biggest snubs and surprises were during the Oscar nomination announcement. There were some genuine shocks, some heartbreaking snubs and even some pleasant surprises, so I think there's less to complain about than usual.
There's plenty to ponder though, and that's what really counts. Below you'll find the ten most notable snubs and/or surprises from the announcement, with plenty more analysis to come. It's a long road still to go before the ceremony airs on March 2nd, so be sure to keep that in mind too. Anyway, here goes nothing!
American Hustle ties for the most nominations overall
I think we were all expecting American Hustle to do well today, but to lead the nominations along with Gravity? That was definitely a surprise. Both films got to double digits with ten, while 12 Years a Slave was next in line with nine. For this comedy to tie for the most nods though, that says something. Factor in where it got its noms (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, and Best Production Design) shows a wide range of support that belays the narrative that has this flick less than beloved. It's early, but we may have a new frontrunner in Best Picture.
Tom Hanks not nominated for Best Actor for Captain Phillips
This one hurts folks. We knew this category would be a bloodbath, but Tom Hanks had seemed relatively safe with Captain Phillips recovering over the last few weeks from its lack of buzz. He's hardly the only one on the outside looking in, as Oscar Isaac, Joaquin Phoenix, and Robert Redford were the other painful snubs. Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio were the beneficiaries of this surprising Hanks snub, with Bruce Dern, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Matthew McConaughey making up the rest.
Emma Thompson misses Best Actress nomination for Saving Mr. Banks
Over the last week or two, I (along with many of my colleagues) had become convinced that Amy Adams was going to score a nomination here for American Hustle. Most had predicted Meryl Streep as the one to suffer, though a few days ago I nearly bucked that trend and dumped Emma Thompson. I ultimately couldn't do it, figuring that August: Osage County was a candidate for a complete shutout while Saving Mr. Banks decidedly wasn't, but lo and behold, I should have followed my gut. Adams is in, so is Streep, while Thompson is out. This leaves Adams to challenge Cate Blanchett for the Oscar here, with Best Actress rounded out by Sandra Bullock and Judi Dench.
The Weinstein Company gets a Best Picture nominee in Philomena
I'd been preparing a piece about a month or so ago on how Harvey Weinstein was likely not going to have a Best Picture nominee this time around, and boy am I glad that it never got published. After all the talk about how Lee Daniels' The Butler was a surefire nominee once upon a time, that film was completely shut out and it was the smaller scale Philomena that got in, likely taking the final number nine slot. The power of Weinsteins should never be underestimated.
Dallas Buyers Club has a strong presence in many categories
This had been brewing since the guilds, but a half dozen nominations later, Dallas Buyers Club is one of the bigger success stories of the season. Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor were pretty safe bets in the final days, but Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Makeup & Hairstyling were surprises to one degree or another. With Jared Leto already close to a lock to win Supporting Actor, does this make McConaughey the new favorite in Actor? I think it just might.
Her lands some truly impressive nominations
A lot of people had been scared off from predicting this flick for too much love in the final days, but I held on tight and was mostly rewarded for my faith in Her. While Spike Jonze missed in Best Director and no one from the cast was nominated (more on that shortly), the film did get five nominations overall, spread out pretty nicely too. Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song were the fields where it showed up, and while I'd always have wanted more, I'm pretty pleased that voters took to this. It's one of the all time most unique nominees in Best Picture at the very least. Perhaps my advocacy piece helped to sway some of them?
Oprah Winfrey and Scarlett Johansson miss out in Best Supporting Actress
I'd wanted to predict the Oprah Winfrey miss, but frankly didn't have the guts. I knew I was likely wrong about predicting Scarlett Johansson to get in, but I couldn't resist. Well, I suffered in this category. It turned out that my predicted miss for Julia Roberts was poorly thought out, while my early backing of Sally Hawkins was something I should have come back to in the end. Oh well, you live and learn. The Winfrey snub is interesting though. Remember when Best Supporting Actress was potentially going to be a grudge match between her and Streep? My how times have changed in that field. Now Hawkins and Roberts will be among the field, though they're basically just watching to see who wins from the trio of Jennifer Lawrence, Lupita Nyong'o, and June Squibb.
Inside Llewyn Davis is nearly shut out
Two nominations is better than nothing for Inside Llewyn Davis, but as I said in my recent advocacy piece for the film, shame on you voters for ignoring this movie like you mostly did. No Best Picture citation, no surprise nomination for Isaac, nothing for the Coen Brothers' Original Screenplay, etc. It was miss after miss, with only an admittedly pleasing Best Cinematography nomination and a mention in Best Sound Mixing to show for the work. It's a real shame, but considering that this was the first time that I've fallen in love with a film from the Coens, perhaps it's just cosmic irony at play? It doesn't make me feel any better about this, but at least it fits in with the film itself. Llewyn would have expected this.
David O. Russell is first director with two films nominated in all acting categories
At this point, there's no denying that the Academy is absolutely in love with David O. Russell and his recent work. After getting four acting, one in each category, for Silver Linings Playbook, he did it again this year with Hustle. This makes me wonder if Russell is a bigger threat to win Best Director than some have previously thought. He's certainly the favorite for Best Original Screenplay, while Adams is coming on strong in Best Actress. If Lawrence winds up holding on and winning Best Supporting Actress, this could be the best night for comedy at the Oscars in decades.
Stories We Tell and Blackfish snubbed in Best Documentary Feature
Considered by many the frontrunner to win, Stories We Tell couldn't even get into the documentary lineup. I'm not sure why, but voters here just took to other projects. At least the film can also take some small measure of comfort in knowing that Blackfish missed a nomination here too, not to mention Tim's Vemeer as well. Now, it's a lineup that consists of 20 Feet from Stardom, The Act of Killing, Cute and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, and The Square. A solid five, and a wide open race now, but it's still a lineup missing two of the better docs of 2013.
Well, there you have it folks. There were a number of fine choices made by the Academy, but there's no shortage of things to rile up film fans as well, myself included. I'll have plenty more to say in the days and weeks ahead (including some new predictions), but what were the nominations that stood out as snubs and surprises for you all? What would you have rather seen get some Oscar love instead? Sound off below!