OSCARS: The 8 Most Egregious Omissions

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Zachary Shevich

Zachary Shevich

2013 was a year full of strong films, and the Academy’s decision reflected that nominating nine films for Best Picture; however, all but three above-the-line nominations went to movies nominated for night’s big award. The exceptions are all well-established actresses in films with multiple nominations. A lot of lesser seen movies like Mud and Short Term 12 were ignored, while overlooked favorites like Before Midnight and Prisoners received just one nomination. But nonetheless, even from the major films there were snubs that ranged from shocking to expected. Below, in no particular order, are the 8 omissions that are simply the hardest to come to terms with.

8. Alex Ebert (All is Lost) for Best Score - Coming off a Golden Globe win for his score, Ebert seemed like a likely nominee for the Academy Awards, but the Edward Sharpe frontman was left off in favor of the annoyingly predictable John Williams appearance. Much is made of All is Lost‘s one-actor Redford’s ability to carry a movie all alone, but he’s accompanied by Ebert’s score in parts, and it’s a heavy task that the film tends to handle with beauty and appropriate subtlety.  Honorable Mention: Hans Zimmer (12 Years a Slave)

7. Thelma Schoonmaker (The Wolf of Wall Street) for Best Editing - The Wolf of Wall Street is not a perfectly edited film. That much should be obvious, as the 3-hour Scorsese epic was turned in under a tight deadline, cut down from a 4-hour version which many people said couldn’t be shortened. So while segments like Wolf‘s Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous parody aboard the “Naomi” stick out as having been oddly placed, it’s the film as a whole which is an achievement. A 3-hour comedy, in an era where people clamor for comedies to be shorter than two hours, that only briefly drags and occasionally moves at a frantic pace only a team like Scorsese and Schoonmaker could have dreamed up.  Honorable Mention: Dan P. Hanley & Mike Hill (Rush)

6. Sean Bobbitt (12 Years a Slave) for Best Cinematography – Like all of Bobbitt’s collaborations with director Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave is a film that exercises patience in a media environment that’s increasingly ADD. Bobbitt’s camera holds on long shots for what feels like minutes at a time, and gives the audience moments to register the emotion on an actor’s face. It’s one of the more beautifully picture films of the year, and it’s a frontrunner for Best Picture, so it’s hard to fathom how Bobbitt missed out here. Honorable Mention: Barry Ackroyd (Captain Phillips)

5. Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station) for Best Original Screenplay – Best Original Screenplay has long been a category where underrepresented indie films that can’t break through into the larger categories (sorry, Wallace) find some acclaim, but this year’s category is full of movies with at least two other nominations. Ryan Coogler, making his feature film debut, crafted one of 2013′s most touching films, one that should be part of a public dialog (especially in light of cases like Trayvon Martin‘s), and one that earned far less than it deserved. While Fruitvale Station‘s screenplay is far from perfect, there’s certainly a strong argument in favor of it rather than the by-the-numbers Dallas Buyers Club or Woody Allen’s sixteenth screenplay nomination. Honorable Mention Destin Cretton (Short Term 12) whom this paragraph could have just as easily been about

4. Margo Martindale (August: Osage County) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role - This category already holds Julia Roberts, whose August work is among her best performances, but it’s a case of category-fraud as Julia’s role is really a lead that has been campaigned as supporting (a decision that obviously came to fruition). But it’s Martindale who brings a farm sense of Southern family charm to the Weston house in August: Osage County, only for her character to provide one of the most gut-wrenching blows of the film’s final act. Her performance is somehow both full of life and loud, yet subtle. It’s the standout of the film.  Honorable Mention: Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street)

3. Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) for Best Director - Greengrass’ work has been largely overrated up to this point, but in Captain Phillips he keeps the shaky cam below the nausea threshold and crafts an edge-of-your-seat thrill ride. Shooting in the middle of open waters, Greengrass directs non-actor Barkhad Abdi to an Oscar-worthy performance and allows the tension to steadily rise for the 2+ hours of Captain Phillips. This claustrophobic thriller is yet another instance of a strong Best Picture nominee’s director being left out.  Honorable Mention: Spike Jonze (Her)

2. Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) for Best Actor in a Leading Role - It’s really hard to argue against any of this year’s nominees for Best Actor. In fact, this is a year where 10 actors could have been nominated and some people would still complain that Michael B. Jordan was left out. But Hanks, who’s made a living of playing the everyman is doing career-best work as the rigid Captain Richard Phillips. His performance is heartbreaking in its final scenes but the slow build in his vulnerability is part of the tense ride that is Captain Phillips. It’s a movie that likely wouldn’t have worked nearly as well without his powerhouse performance, and while Hanks doesn’t need any more praise after a career as grand as his, he certainly deserved it here. Honorable Mention: Robert Redford (All is Lost) & Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis)

1. Inside Llewyn Davis for Best Picture - Ten years from now, will you remember seeing Philomena? Will you look back fondly on Dallas Buyers Club, or just its fantastic performances? And wouldn’t it just have been nice to have the full 10 Best Picture nominees in a year with as many good films as 2013? The Coen Brothers’ flawed folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis is not their best effort, but the Coens do complex characters in their sleep at this point. At its best, Llewyn is vintage Coens, particularly when John Goodman or Stark Sands open their mouths, but the meaning of the cat will certainly be pondered over for years, while other Best Picture nominees will be forgotten.  Honorable Mention: The Spectacular Now

 

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One Response to “OSCARS: The 8 Most Egregious Omissions”
  1. Don Malvasi says:

    Sarah Polley was also colossally gypped when her groundbreakingly original Stories We Tell took an Oscar backseat to safer, far more traditionally-conceived documentaries. If she was ignored because her unconventional fictionalized recreated segments didn’t meet the standards of the stodgy purists in the documentary industry, shame on them and their reactionary dogma!

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