86th Annual Academy Award Nominations: Snubs & Surprises

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, along with Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth (Thor, Rush), announced the nominees for the 86th Annual Academy Awards this morning. As is the case every year, the Academy shocked and surprised with its well-rounded group of nominees, with numerous early favorites and Golden Globe and SAG-nominated performances failing to earn recognition. It was always going to be a highly competitive awards season thanks to the overabundance of great films this year, but no one could have predicted some of the more surprising outcomes this morning (no Tom Hanks!?). Overall, Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and David O. Russell’s American Hustle lead the year with ten nominations each, followed by Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave with nine. Other films with multiple nominations include Nebraska (6), Captain Phillips (6), Dallas Buyers Club (6), Her (5), The Wolf Of Wall Street (5), Philomena (4), and Blue Jasmine (3). Check out the Academy’s website for a complete list of nominees and continue below for Reel Reactions’ snubs and surprises of this morning’s announcement:

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American Hustle 2013 poster.jpgSURPIRSE: 4 Acting Nominations for American Hustle – Last year, David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook became the first film to earn nominations in every acting category since Reds in 1981. Just a year later, O. Russell has incredibly done it again with American Hustle, cementing his status as Hollywood’s leading actor’s director. Supporting nominations for Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper were expected (side note: they become the first pair of actors to be nominated from the same film two years in a row), but lead acting nominations for Amy Adams and Christian Bale are quite the deserving surprise, especially since the Actress and Actor categories were presumably locked down for months (see Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, and Robert Redford below). O. Russell is a clear favorite among the Academy and the ensemble-charged wonders of American Hustle paid off big time.
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Inside Llewyn Davis Poster.jpgSNUB: Inside Llewyn Davis Shut Out: The biggest travesty of this morning’s announcement was the complete lack of love for Inside Llewyn Davis, a true shock given the usual admiration the Academy has for the Coen Brothers. Like Davis, the Coen’s equally-as-personal A Serious Man failed to earn numerous guild nominations but still struck a chord with the Academy in 2010, earning Picture and Screenwriting nominations. Davis had no such luck this year. While a Best Actor nomination for the breakthrough Oscar Isaac and a Best Director nomination were never assured, the lack of recognition for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay were the morning’s biggest disappointments. The film’s only nominations were for Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing, but only two nominations for such a great movie is a hard realization to swallow.
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SURPRISE: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine: Oprah who? When Lee Daniels’ The Butler became a huge box office success in August, it seemed very likely Oprah Winfrey would get a nomination for her turn as a boozy housewife, her first film role in over a decade. She was on everyone’s prediction lists all season, but never count out the charisma of an underdog like Sally Hawkins, who is pitch perfect as Ginger, the infectiously sincere sister of Jasmine whose world is turned upside down by the hurricane that is her disillusioned sister. Hawkins is the perfect foil character for fellow Oscar-nominee Cate Blanchett and it’s great to see both of them walk away with nominations.
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SNUB: Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips / Robert Redford, All Is Lost The Best Actor category was this year’s most competitive race, with brilliant performances from Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Joaquin Phoenix (Her), and Hugh Jackman (Prisoners) never even making it into possible-nominee territory. All season, however, Tom Hanks and Robert Redford have been locks for their riveting work as men fighting for their lives on the high seas, but, shockingly, both were shut out from the race this morning. Redford was always looking like a possible snub ever since Leonardo DiCaprio came storming onto the scene, but no one could have predicted Hanks’ omission, especially since the gut-wrenching final 15 minutes of Captain Phillips are home to some of the best acting choices of his entire career.
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SNUB: Best Director Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips In another loss for the nail-biting nautical thriller, Paul Greengrass failed to pick up a directing nomination this morning, a true shock given his inclusion by the HFPA at the Golden Globes and, more importantly, by the Directors Guild of America, who has many over lapping members with the Academy. You could argue just as much for the omission of the Coen Brothers and Her’s Spike Jonze, but Greengrass was in the conversation for this category all season, quite deservedly too since no working director captures tension and lays out choreography for maximum suspense better than Greengrass.
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SURPRISE: Best Song Happy, Pharrell Williams – As if Pharrell wasn’t already having the year of his life thanks to his work with Daft Punk and on Blurred Lines, the mega producer can now add Oscar-nominee to his long lists of accomplishments. The Best Original Song category is never one to gush over, but this year is an exception thanks to great tunes and expected nominees from Frozen (“Let It Go”) and Her (“The Moon Song”), as well as this surprise nomination for the gloriously giddy Happy, which is basically the musical equivalent of a humungous smile, off the equally as pleasing soundtrack to Despicable Me 2.
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Stories We Tell poster.jpgSNUB: Stories We Tell & Blackfish, Best Documentary – It was a great year for documentaries – and nominations for The Act Of Killing, Cutie & The Boxer, and 20 Feet From Stardom are well-deserved – but the omissions of Blackfish, about the imprisonment of killer whales at SeaWorld, and Stories We Tell, a genre-meshing doc about director Sarah Polley’s family, are particularly painful. Stories is especially a disappointment since it showed up on numerous critic group lists and was universally acclaimed.
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RELEASE DAY FOR THE ALL IS LOST SOUNDTRACK feat. the original song AMEN : ) We hope you enjoy this album and this incredible film due out on Oct. 18th in the US. You can download it on iTunes or pre-order the CD on Community Music’s store here.SNUB: Best Score All Is Lost, Alex Ebert – It’s too bad the recent Golden Globes took place after Oscar nomination ballots were due, for recent Globe winner Alex Ebert failed to earn a nomination for Best Score from the Academy. Like Steven Price’s nominated score for Gravity, Ebert’s elegiac and expansive All Is Lost compositions are instrumental to the experience of the film, giving the work a deeper, more haunted sense of loneliness.
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The Butler poster.jpgSURPRISE: No Love For Saving Mr. Banks & Lee Daniels’ The Butler These two films, both crowd-pleasing dramas that over-preformed at the box office a la The Blind Slide, had instantaneous Oscar Buzz thanks to their acclaimed pedigrees and Academy-friendly topics, and both have racked up lots of recognition with critic groups, but neither were shown any love from the Academy. The Butler was completely shunned, in a move that has to have Harvey Weinstein quite angry, while Banks only got a Best Original Score nomination for Thomas Newman.
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SNUB: Emma Thompson, Saving Mr. Banks A BAFTA, Golden Globe, and SAG nominee failing to earn an Oscar nomination is the very definition of “snub”, and such is this case this year for Emma Thompson, who has earned high acclaim for her prickly turn as Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers. American Hustle’s Amy Adams was always a dark horse on the edge of a nomination, but many thought her inclusion would come at the expense of Meryl Streep (August: Osage County) and not Thompson. As it turns out, Thompson’s high-strung author is no match for Streep’s pill-popping matriarch and Adams’ double-timing con woman.
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Philomena poster.jpgSURPRISE: Best Picture, Philomena – The love for the sweet Philomena has been growing more and more all awards season – thanks to the much revered performance by Oscar-nominee Judi Dench – and it finally peaked today with the film’s nomination for Best Picture over earlier favorites Inside Llewyn Davis and Saving Mr. Banks.
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Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa.jpgSURPRISE: Best Makeup & Hairstyling, Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Never in a million years would I expect to hear Oscars and MTV’s Jackass in the same sentence, but such is the nature of the Academy! Who would have thought the transformative work to turn Johnny Knoxville into an 80-year-old grandpa would get Oscar love over the flashy curls of American Hustle and the Hobbits and Elves of The Desolation of Smaug? As a big fan of Bad Grandpa, this is pleasant surprise.
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Prisoners2013Poster.jpgSURPRISE: Best Cinematography Roger Deakins, Prisoners In a move that must have made our critic Mike Murphy explode with joy, Prisoners picked up a single nomination this morning for the acclaimed, still Oscar statue-less Roger Deakins. Prisoners was the first great film of the Fall Season and Deakins mesmerizing work (reflections, mirrors, mazes are all deftly incorporated into shots) was a lot of what set the mood for this dizzying kidnapping mystery.
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Pacific Rim FilmPoster.jpegSNUB: Best Visual Effects, Pacific Rim In a category that doesn’t mean much since Gravity has had the win in the bag since it debuted in October, it’s still shocking to see a lack of a Visual Effects nomination for Pacific Rim, whose CGI, complete with enormous robots, grotesquely giant Kaijus, and ginormous, swelling waves, was the very definition of jaw-dropping and eye-popping.
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SNUB: Best Supporting Actress Octavia Spencer, Fruitvale Station The extraordinary Fruitvale Station was always going to have a hard time receiving Picture, Actor, Director, and Original Screenplay nominations, but its one hope for the slightest recognition from the Academy was Octavia Spencer, partly because the Supporting Actress field was unusually weak this year and partly because her role as the mother of the slain Oscar Grant was soulful, painful, and emotionally vibrant. It’s a shame to see her and the incredible film miss out on their one opportunity for Oscar love.

What are your snubs and surprises for this year’s Oscar nominations?

Ellen DeGeneres hosts the big show Sunday, March 2nd on ABC.

Article by Zack Sharf

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