Topanga Messengers critic reviews the notable snubs from this years Oscar race.
The 85th Annual Academy Award nominations are just as good as the awards themselves but for very different reasons.
During the Oscar ceremony viewers relish and/or guffaw at the winner, look for faces of the categorical losers and keep tally on their predictions while said winner thanks god, spouse and agent (not necessarily in that particular order).
Nominations are a different breed. Since the ceremony is at 5:45 a.m., you read about it instead of watching it.
Therein lies the magic, however. Scrolling down the categories, you see the usual suspects until you realize a familiar name or two arent there.
Go ahead. Reread it. Theyre still not there. At that point, either in your head or aloud, you say, Oh, ho ho! No! They didnt!!!
Then again maybe thats just me.
Either way, here are the notable snubs for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Well get to predictions later.
Performance by an actor in a leading role:
Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Hugh Jackman, Les Misérables
Joaquin Phoenix, The Master
Denzel Washington, Flight
John Hawkes, The Sessions. Even though the film was in limited release, The Sessions was a film with big heart.
Playing an artist confined to an iron lung, Hawkes acting ability was only confined to dialogue and facial expression. This is saying a lot since 90 percent of communication is non-verbal.
The actor is an absolute force playing menacing characters (Winters Bone, Martha Marcy May Marlene) but its great to know he can play against type.
I dont think he wouldve won the category, but he shouldve been invited to the party.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role:
Alan Arkin, Argo
Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook
Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master
Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln
Christoph Waltz in Django Unchained
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WEINSTEIN COMPANY
Leonardo DeCaprio was not nominated for an Oscar for his role in Django Unchained, directed by Quentin Tarantino, who was also snubbed by the Academy.
Leonardo DiCaprio (sort of). Youve seen those MVP races in sports where two great talents are on the same team and end up splitting the votes; same thing here in what amounts to a pick-em game between DiCaprio and the nominated, Waltz.
Django Unchained has made its bones on being controversial and brutal; DiCaprio is at the forefront of that.
The same could be said for Samuel L. Jackson. For an actor who has a Ray Lewis intensity on screen, Jackson hasnt been this intense since Pulp Fiction. Playing the definition of an Uncle Tom, Jackson deserves credit for pushing the envelope and keeping the audience uncomfortable.
Achievement in Directing:
Amour: Michael Haneke; Beasts of the Southern Wild: Benh Zeitlin; Life of Pi: Ang Lee; Lincoln: Steven Spielberg; and Silver Linings Playbook: David O. Russell
Quentin Tarantino, Django Unchained; Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty; Ben Affleck, Argo.
Utter travesty here. Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained are spiritual brethren in the eyes of Tarantino and fans alike but (older) voters didnt see it that way. Sadly, revisionist history is only fun when the criticism doesnt hit home.
Its contradictory to applaud Basterds for its tale of revenge on Hitler while failing to have the same scope on something as taboo as slavery in America.
Zero Dark Thirty is a different story. It cant win. It just cant. Much like 2006s United 93 didnt win (let alone get a nomination), someone cant win an award off tragic American deaths. Call it political or moral, but thats the standard. Never mind the fact that Bigelow is a master of action or dramatic tension, Zero Dark Thirty has been pigeonholed as the movie about Osama Bin Laden. Its fractionally true but its a shame nevertheless.
Argo baffles me. It seems to have all the makings of a Best Picture winner: Great film (nominated), great actors (nominated) and a great script (also nominated) about Hollywood. Is the shoddy argument that Affleck made directing Argo look too easy, leading to an excuse that the film is more style over substance? (Cue Ben Affleck sadly nodding )
Best Picture of the Year:
Amour: Nominees to be determined
Argo: Grant Heslov, Ben Affleck and George Clooney, Producers
Beasts of the Southern Wild: Dan Janvey, Josh Penn and Michael Gottwald, Producers
Les Misérables: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward and Cameron Mackintosh, Producers
Life of Pi: Gil Netter, Ang Lee and David Womark, Producers
Lincoln: Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Silver Linings Playbook: Donna Gigliotti, Bruce Cohen and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
Zero Dark Thirty: Mark Boal, Kathryn Bigelow and Megan Ellison, Producers
Bernie: Richard Linklater.
This snub is more insulting than anything else given that there is an empty slot for a nomination. The film, based on a true story, is biting, pervasive while equally funny and dramatic. Its Linklaters best work since Dazed and Confused and Jack Blacks best work ever. This is the biggest missed opportunity.