This year’s Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday, and there were some HUGE surprises and even bigger SNUBS.
In case you missed it, here’s the run-down according to USA Today:
SURPRISE: Eight best-picture nominees. Ever since the Academy expanded the best-picture field from five to a possible 10 nominees in 2009, the category has been filled with nine or 10 contenders each year. Today, only eight films made the cut, led by perennial favorites Boyhood, Birdman and The Imitation Game, and underdogs Whiplash and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
SNUB: Jennifer Aniston. Many thought the comedy star was a sure thing for best actress, given her dramatic, transformative turn as a chronic-pain sufferer in Cake. But despite her aggressive awards campaign, and Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild awards nominations, Aniston failed to bake her critically dismissed vehicle (44% approval on RottenTomatoes.com) into an Oscar contender. Her shut-out wasn’t astonishing to everyone, though: She “gives a very good performance in Cake. I don’t know if its an award performance, but it’s a very good performance,” film historian/critic Leonard Maltin says.
SURPRISE: Marion Cotillard. With Aniston out, Oscar winner Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) snuck into the category with her understated turn in French drama Two Days, One Night, for which she received a New York Film Critics Circle award earlier this month. The actress is considered “an Academy favorite, and this a real interesting performance she gives in Two Days, One Night,” Fandango Oscar expert Dave Karger says. “That’s the great thing — you want some surprise, even if it is at the expense of another deserving actor.”
SNUB: Clint Eastwood. Despite the strong showing of late-surging box-office smash American Sniper, which picked up picture, actor (Cooper), editing and adapted screenplay nods, the veteran filmmaker didn’t make the cut for directing. “I thought Clint Eastwood might get a director nom,” Maltin says, noting his Directors Guild of America award nomination. “But there are (eight) best-picture nominees and five spots for the directors. Not everyone is going to get in.”
SNUB: Selma. Another notable snub among the directors is Ava DuVernay, whose critically revered Selma has taken a hit in recent weeks, due to disputes over its depiction of former President Lyndon Johnson. Although the Martin Luther King Jr. drama scored a best-picture nomination, it was notably overlooked in the actor (Oyelowo), original screenplay and editing categories. “Certain movies prove themselves to be critic films and not Academy films,” Karger says. “I think Drive was one a couple years ago. Selma may be one of those this year, too.”
SNUB: The Lego Movie. Long thought to be a virtual lock — and expected winner — in the best-animated-feature category, the action-comedy hit was passed over in favor of Big Hero 6, Golden Globe winner How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The Boxtrolls, as well as little-seen, but well-reviewed foreign entries The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea. Its omission “is a true shock,” Karger says. “I thought that movie would win, much less get a nomination. I’m very perplexed by it. I wonder if it was too cool for the Academy’s animation branch, but that is very upsetting and shocking to me.”
SNUB: Gone Girl. Although it’s one of the highest earners of this season’s awards contenders — racking up $167 million to date, according to Box Office Mojo — the toxic marriage thriller proved too much to swallow for most Oscar voters, only mustering one nomination for best actress (Rosamund Pike). It failed to land nods in key categories such as picture, director (David Fincher), adapted screenplay (Gillian Flynn), score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross), cinematography or editing.
SNUB: Unbroken. The World War II drama’s awards momentum slowed a long time ago, after receiving middling reviews, and missing out on nominations from the Golden Globes and Directors Guild awards. Despite its robust box office performance, the Academy continued to neglect Angelina Jolie’s second directorial feature effort, which was only recognized in cinematography and sound categories.