Earlier this month, the Academy announced their nominations for their annual Oscar ceremony. As always, there are obvious snubs and other surprises. Here are a few that stood out to me.
- Eight Best Picture nominees (out of a possible 10)
I will admit, I don’t exactly know how the Best Picture nominees are selected. From what Wikipedia tells me, a film must earn 5% of the first-place rankings during voting to appear on the nominee ballot. (Let me know if this is egregiously wrong). So in a way I can understand why certain movies don’t end up in the Best Picture pool. However, 2014 was a great year for movies. Some movies that seemed like obvious choices–Intersteller or Foxcatcher, for instance–or movies that deserve to have more recognition (Nightcrawler, anyone?) were left off of this shortlist. This is just a small discrepancy that I have with the Best Picture nominations. At least Whiplash got a much deserved nod.
- Laura Dern gets nominated for Best Supporting Actress
This is awesome! Most (if not all) other major award ceremonies brushed past Dern’s performance in Wild, where she plays Reese Witherspoon’s deceased mother in flashbacks. I loved her in this movie. The pair of Witherspoon and Dern made Wild a great film, in my opinion. Although I don’t think Dern will ultimately win (see who I think will win here), I am delighted that she was recognized. Wild is a movie worth seeing for her and Witherspoon alone.
- The Lego Movie finally gets recognized for “Everything is Awesome” in the Best Original Song category…but doesn’t get a Best Animated Feature nomination
The Lego Movie is one of the only animated films I saw this year, so I can’t really speak to the quality of the films that got nominated in that category. However, The Lego Movie was great. Everything in it was awesome…to pun on the song that (awesomely) got nominated in the Best Original Song category. “Everything is Awesome” (music and lyrics by Shawn Patterson) will likely lose to Selma’s end credit song “Glory,” but it’s still good to see the hilarious song get some credit. I just wish that The Lego Movie as a whole could get some recognition where it is deserved. Come on, Academy!
- Selma gets super-snubbed!
I’m not going to go ahead and call it racist like some people have been doing. But Selma definitely deserves more than what the Academy gave it. It is great to see it among the Best Picture candidates. However, David Oyelowo got snubbed despite an amazing performance (granted he was snubbed in one of the most jam-packed-with-talent categories of the year). More shocking was the lack of Ava DuVernay in the Best Director category. She could have easily replaced Bennett Miller or Morten Tyldum. And she could have been a legitimate contender at that.
- No love for the Swedes
Force Majeure blew me away (and it made my shortlist of favorite 2014 movies, which can be found here). The movie was so simple and yet so enthralling to watch. As far as the Golden Globes race for Best Foreign Language Film went, I could have seen Majeure winning despite powerful opposition from Leviathan and Ida. I admittedly haven’t seen the three unmentioned films in this category yet, but I have a sneaking suspicion that after I have I will still wish that Force Majeure had received a nomination.
- The Documentary Category
I can’t in good conscience talk about this category due to the fact that I have yet to see any of the nominees. But I would like to mention briefly my love for Jodorowsky’s Dune, a documentary trying to extrapolate the grand design and ultimate failure of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Dune, a movie that had ridiculously high ambitions but was never made. This movie enthralls in a way that documentaries can’t always do. Jodorowsky is an eccentric character, and his attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s novel makes for a truly and absurdly amazing story. Even if all five of the Best Documentary Feature nominees are better technical films than Jodorowsky’s Dune, I am nonetheless sad to not see that title among the Oscar shortlist.
As always, thanks for reading!
What do you think of the Oscar nominations? Any snubs stand out to you? Who do you think will take home the gold on Feb. 22? Leave a comment!
–Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)