Biggest Snubs & Surprises from 87th Academy Award Nominations

January 15, 2015

The LEGO Movie

This morning the nominations were announced for the 87th Academy Awards, and we'd be lying if we didn't say there were some glaring omissions in those who were selected by voters this year. Some of them are just unforgivable and don't make any sense whatsoever. Of course, it's a competitive year, so we understand some people being excluded, but when you look at some of the nominees themselves, it's easy to see where The Academy really dropped the ball with some of the nominations this year. But there were also some surprises among their many mistakes as well. So let's look at the snubs and surprises this year.

Ava DuVernay & David Oyelowo not nominated for Selma


Though Selma ended up with a Best Picture nomination, The Academy didn't feel like giving a nomination to director Ava DuVernay, and instead opted to give one to director Bennett Miller, which is odd considering the film isn't even nominated for Best Picture (more on that below). How can Miller be one of the best directors, but not have his film nominated for Best Picture? Yeah, it doesn't make sense at all. DuVernay would have been the first black female nominee for Best Director in the history of the Oscars, but instead, voters played it safe.

Meanwhile, on the acting side of things, David Oyelowo ended up getting snubbed as well. His performance of Martin Luther King Jr. brings humanity to a figure who has become mythical in history, and he deserved to be recognized, certainly more than Bradley Cooper (but we'll get to that later). This might just be a matter of the field for Best Actor being extremely competitive, but Oyelowo easily gave one of the five best performances by a lead actor this year, and it's a shame that he didn't get nominated. Here's hoping this is the start of a career that will get him a nomination sometime in the future.

Jake Gyllenhaal not nominated for Nightcrawler


Here's another case of a spectacular performance going unrecognized by The Academy, but this was one is a little more forgivable. The Academy only has five slots to give out, and while Jake Gyllenhaal's role is disturbing and creepy, the rest of the acting nominees all had impressive transformations as well. However, I would go so far to say that Gyllenhaal may have turned in a better performance than Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, so perhaps this would be better if those nominations were swapped.

Foxcatcher not nominated for Best Picture


It seems very odd that Bennett Miller can somehow be nominated for Best Director, in addition to Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo landing a Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nomination respectively, along with E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman getting nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but the film doesn't get a Best Picture nod. Now, I'm not necessarily saying that the film deserves a nomination in that category, but it simply doesn't make sense that one of the five possible Best Director nominees didn't make one of the eight potential Best Picture nominees. That's like saying, man, this meat, cheese and chips are delicious, but these nachos, not so much.

Marion Cotillard nominated for Two Days, One Night

Marion Cotillard

It's not often that foreign films end up having their actors end up with nominations in the acting categories, but that's exactly what happened with this Belgian drama starring Marion Cotillard. The actress plays Sandra, a young Belgian mother, who discovers that her workmates have opted for a significant pay bonus, in exchange for her dismissal and has only one weekend to convince her colleagues to give up their bonuses so that she can keep her job. It must be one hell of a performance, because it was enough to bump out one of the other predicted nominees…

Jennifer Aniston not nominated for Cake


Here's a film that was given an awards qualifying release in 2014, pretty much only because there was a big push for Jennifer Aniston to get a Best Actress nomination, and she didn't get it. Marion Cotillard's nomination is the one that pretty much bumped her out of the running despite previously landing SAG Awards, Golden Globes and Critics' Choice nods. But looking at the rest of the nominees, it's a little hard to argue with the way the votes fell here. Felicity Jones could maybe be swapped out, but it seems like there were just a few better performances, and it wasn't Aniston's year to make the list.

Bradley Cooper nominated three years in a row

American Sniper

As someone who does not like American Sniper, having Bradley Cooper get a nomination wasn't exactly upsetting, if only because he's the best part of a flawed, misguided narrative that avoids the most fascinating elements of the real-life subject's story. However, knowing that David Oyelow and Jake Gyllenhaal were snubbed due to this nomination, well that just doesn't sit well with me. Even so, this is a big deal for Bradley Cooper, who has now been nominated three years in a row (though one was for Best Supporting Actor) and that hasn't happened since Russell Crowe got three Best Actor nominations in the early 2000s.

Laura Dern nominated for Wild, film ignored for Best Picture


One of the more surprising acting entries came in the form of Laura Dern in Wild, a performance that hadn't really been buzzed about for any awards. And considering the film was my favorite of the year, I can't really argue with her inclusion amongst the nominees. However, I was disappointed to see that the film didn't end up with a nomination for Best Picture. This was a harrowing, beautiful tale, one that could have at least been a ninth contender for Best Picture, if not knocking one of the other nominees out of the way.

David Fincher, Gillian Flynn & Gone Girl not nominated

Gone Girl

With the exception of The Social Network, director David Fincher has had some tough time getting recognition from The Academy, and we're disappointed to see that Gone Girl is yet another instance where this has happened. The film didn't get a Best Picture nomination, and David Fincher wasn't nominated for Best director, but both deserve plenty of recognition for what was delivered . But perhaps the most egregious snub is that Gillian Flynn, a first-time screenwriter who did a magnificent job of adapting her own challenging book into a screenplay (her feature writing debut), didn't get a nod. It was a difficult book to adapt, but she did it stupendously.

Life Itself & The Overnighters not nominated for Best Documentary

Life Itself & The Overnighters

Two acclaimed documentaries that got plenty of critical love, but these two didn't end up with a nomination for Best Documentary. Having not seen any of the nominees in the category yet, I can't say if this is really a case of The Academy making a poor decision, but it was a bit of a bummer these two didn't get an Oscar love.

The LEGO Movie not nominated for Best Animated Film

The LEGO Movie

This might be the most offensive and unforgivable snub of the year. The LEGO Movie is one of the most creative, original and brilliant animated films I've ever seen. It's funny, heartwarming, wonderfully animated, and has a third act that is simply masterful. All of the animated films nominated are great, and clearly The Academy wanted to get some animated films in there that weren't just American-made hits. But if we keep those two films, I would actually lose Big Hero 6 in favor of The LEGO Movie. The latter was just a more stunning achievement in animation on all fronts. But co-director Phil Lord took the snub in stride:

Diversity (no, not the old wooden ship)

Dear White People

For only the second time in almost 20 years, all of the acting nominees are white. There's not a single actor or actress from a different ethnic background in any of the acting categories, despite there being ample opportunity and deserving talents. We're not saying there should always be some non-white nominees, but when there are talents that clearly deserved a nominations more than the ones that made the cut, then it's just annoying to see this kind of thing happen. The same can be said in the writing and directing categories with Gillian Flynn and Ava DuVernay being snubbed. It's just disappointing more than anything.

Anyway, those were the surprises and snubs from the 87th Academy Award nominations, but there's always something to complain about when you're trying to award the best in filmmaking while everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to the medium. And since there's a lot of politics in play when it comes to the Oscars, it's hard to get truly upset when you can just as easily have your own opinions about what performance or what film was the best. What do you think got snubbed this year?

Find more posts: Awards, Movie News



James Gunn posted something on his facebook about the Academy and The Lego Movie for anyone interested.

Rob on Jan 15, 2015


What did he post? I don't want to go to stupid FB to find something that may or may not be interesting. I want instant gratification!!

TheOct8pus on Jan 16, 2015


He starts off with "The Lego Movie was flat out snubbed. It was one of the best films of the year, not to mention one of the best animated films. It deserved to be nominated for Best Animated Film. Considering the average Academy voter is 63, perhaps the Tinkertoy Movie or the Erector Set Film would of fared better. Honestly, I don't think there can be any reason it wasn't nominated other than Academy members assumed it was a silly movie." He mentions a few other thoughts on various nominations and snubs before closing with "the Academy has a long tradition of bad choices. After all, in 1941 How Green Was My Valley beat Citizen Kane for Best Picture. That said, some of the fury that's directed at the Academy because of various nomanations is outrageous. I saw a lot of nearly violent anger this morning on Twitter. There may be good reasons to turn over cars in the street, but that Jennifer Aniston wasn't nominated for Cake isn't one of them. In the end, the Academy is just a bunch of people, like you or me, doing what they think is best. And they should have the right to not vote for whomever they want....besides the Lego Movie. I, mean that's just f**king ridiculous"

Rob on Jan 16, 2015


Not having the LEGO movie in there is just plain wrong.

theslayer5150 on Jan 15, 2015


Does The Lego Movie qualify as an animated feature? Foxcatcher not nominated for Best Picture is nuts. Just a nomination when you can have up to ten? And Gone Girl wasn't nomination worthy. It was good, not great.

Jonathan on Jan 15, 2015


If its not animated then Im very impressed with whoever started making it with Lego in 1994

Jon Odishaw on Jan 15, 2015


Not only that, the ability to see into the future so they could make relevant jokes.

Brian Sleider on Jan 15, 2015


Needless to say, there was a lot of rework done to the movie sets, and the stop-motion capture was well beyond it's years when they started filming.

Justin R on Jan 15, 2015


Haha...I meant because a chunk of it is live action. Not sure what the criteria is. Maybe that's why they balked at nominating it?

Jonathan on Jan 15, 2015


Good point. The few scenes that were live action might have had something to do with it....but seriously, if that's the reason, then the Academy can suck it.

TheOct8pus on Jan 16, 2015


Well The Lego Movie looked pretty damn animated to me. And Gone Girl is no less awards worthy as the rest of these overly pretentious "great" films. The Academy is just full of shit.

John Doe on Jan 16, 2015


The Academy screwed up a lot of nominations this year, again.

Andrew on Jan 15, 2015


At this point, fuck the Academy. Seriously, besides its history, the Academy is meaningless to film lovers. (This is Johnny Neat, posting from my sons pc.)

DavyNeat on Jan 15, 2015


I couldnt agree more about the lego movie, especially with all the love it got from critics. If anything, I feel like the movie could have be nominated purely based on the technical achievement in visual effects and it would have been completely justified.

jay on Jan 15, 2015


Love the Lego Oscar tweet, thats fucking WIN!

Brian Sleider on Jan 15, 2015


I look at the Academy Award like I look at the Nobel Prize, meaningless.

Brian Sleider on Jan 15, 2015


Don't forget the Grammys, MTV awards, People's Choice Awards, Emmys, Tonys, Golden Globes etc... The only ones worth anything are the Razzies because they don't take themselves seriously

TheOct8pus on Jan 16, 2015


Planet of the Apes not nominated for best visuals...the f***?

JBroti on Jan 15, 2015


Can't tell if you're complaining, or if you just missed the fact that it was nominated. If you missed it, i'm here to reaffirm that all is well and apes is up for nomination. If complaining, I respect all opinions so carry on.

Danimal on Jan 15, 2015


I indeed forgot the fact. Literally a minute after I wrote that comment, I released it was nominated. I should've deleted my comment. But thanks for the heads up and positive reinforcement, Danimal.

JBroti on Jan 17, 2015


Very nice example of a very short but extremely mature debate. OP makes little mistake, is pointed at that in very polite way, and then admits mistake and thanks other poster. Wish the rest of the world would resolve issues that way...

Nash on Jan 17, 2015


Am I the only one who thought Interstellar was among, at least, the top 5 movies of the year?

bat0u on Jan 15, 2015


Not at all. Fantastic movie.

ragethorn on Jan 16, 2015


Agreed. The few key misses have made this year's awards another big disappointment.

DAVIDPD on Jan 16, 2015


Well, Lego Movie was overrated anyway.

Tuomas Lassila on Jan 16, 2015


Said no one else.

Lead Faun on Jan 17, 2015



Guest on Jan 17, 2015


Wrong. Search the internet, there are many others.

Tuomas Lassila on Jan 17, 2015


That's why it's an exaggeration. ALMOST no one else thinks so.

Lead Faun on Jan 17, 2015


I haven't considered the Oscars(tm) relevant since they snubbed Pulp Fiction in favor if Forrest Gump for best picture back in 1994.

mph23 on Jan 16, 2015


I think it was a weak year overall for the Oscar films. I've liked most of these movies but none of them are overly memorable. I think this is a Shakespeare in Love / Chicago / Ordinary People type of year where people are going to look back and think...WTF? Agreed that Lego, Interstellar, and Wild should have been included and Oyelowo should have been an easy pick. Personally I think after the Academy handed awards to 12 Year a Slave last year, and with all that's gone on in Ferguson, the Academy shied away from anything race related....which is kind of a sad. But one could also argue that perhaps they're not taking the bait that Oprah offered when she pushed this film out this particular Oscar season. I don't agree that the director was snubbed, because I was annoyed by a lot of the shots in the film that were almost two off center and lack of moving shots. The film had great emotional tone, but was visually boring. Based on the nominations it looks like the Academy is getting ready to hand Boyhood a lot of Oscars including Best Picture. It's the only one that has director, screenwriting and best pic nominations.

UrAllThumb on Jan 16, 2015


Hard to imagine that movies are not nominated beacause of the skin-color of the people involved in that movie. Possibly I am to naive to understand that concept. Who would benefit from only nominating movies that display white actors? I am white myself but I don't see what's in it for me. The USA has a non-white president, had a non-white Chief of Staff, had a non-white Secretary of State, etcetera. Even the most conservative people should know by now that it's a colorful world and that people from all kinds of origins are involved in all levels of society. So what's going on in Hollywood? Are they trying to turn back time? Or is this just by coincidence a year in which white folks made relatively good movies?

Nash on Jan 18, 2015

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