Every year the Academy Awards has the chance to surprise and disappoint movie fans with extreme measure. We live for this day, when the Oscar nominees are announced and we feel happiness for a certain beloved movie slipping into the Best Picture race (Philomena!) and anger that another favorite was left out of the same category (Inside Llewyn Davis!). And of course with only nine titles named for the top award, it's both fun and frustrating wondering what should have been the 10th.
With this year's nominations, announced this morning, there were fewer shockers than usual. Maybe because there weren't any really popular mainstream movies that didn't actually have a chance. No fanboys are crying for the lack of Pacific Rim in the Best Picture bunch, are they? If anything, it is a bit baffling that the movie isn't among the visual effects nominees. But great effects are all over the place these days. I'm almost more suprised that The Wolf of Wall Street didn't show up in the category (see the astonishing FX reel among others here).
Some of the unexpected nominations we're glad to see include Jonah Hill for Best Supporting Actor in The Wolf of Wall Street -- it was uncertain given his lack of Golden Globe recognition -- and the Cannes-winning Cambodian documentary The Missing Picture in the Best Foreign Language category. We're also pleasantly surprised to see Cutie and the Boxer and Dirty Wars in the Best Documentary Feature category, as they also weren't necessarily front-runners there.
My snub list also starts in the doc category, though, as Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell is my favorie movie of last year. Though less a favorite of mine, Blackfish being absent there is more of a shocker given its popularity and its influence. My second favorite movie of 2013 is Inside Llewyn Davis, and while I'm upset it's not up for any major awards I don't know that I believe its performances were among the best of the year. Tom Hanks and Robert Redford and maybe (maybe) even Joaquin Phoenix seem more absent from the Best Actor category than Oscar Isaac.
As far as other actual acting snubs go, my biggest issue is with Margot Robbie not being recognized for The Wolf of Wall Street. Not only is she terrific, but now Scorsese's near-record, career-wide success with acting nominations from his films is imbalanced in favor of male performances 12 to 10. It still would have been with Robbie nominated, but less so. And speaking of the women of The Wolf of Wall Street, how on Earth did editor Thelma Schoonmaker not get a nomination? Because the movie is long, I bet.
What were the best surprises and worst snubs of the 2014 Oscar nominations?
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