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2014 Oscar Nominations: The Biggest Shocks, Snubs & Surprises

by Oliver Lyttelton
January 16, 2014 11:07 AM
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Well, the Oscar nominations are in and Twitter has exploded with the usual flurry of WTF?s, OMG!s and TOLDJA!s (perhaps we follow the wrong people). And while in general it seems like a lot of the last-minute trend predictions went in the right direction (Redford went very cool for “All is Lost,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” too, though perhaps not quite icy enough to predict a near-total shut-out), in amongst the various entirely expected nominations there were a fair number of films and performances we didn’t expect to see, and a few we had to double check we didn’t (you can read our full predictions here to see how right and wrong we were).

Expect this conversation to motor on over the coming days and weeks, but here’s our first rundown of the snubs, shocks and even those pleasant surprises that were announced to the bleary-eyed few early this morning, by the President of AMPAS and her lovely assistant Chris Hemsworth who gets our nomination for Best Looking Rumble-Voiced Man Dressed In A Snazzy Suit At 5am.

Snubs & Shocks:

“Saving Mr. Banks” & “The Butler”
Not a great year for the middlebrow, this one. "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which was at one time thought to be a sure-fire Academy favorite, didn’t get a single nomination, despite having had three SAG nominations—its lack of love from the other guilds clearly showed the way on this one, although even Oprah Winfrey missing out was a little bit of a surprise. You wouldn’t want to be her assistant right now. More of an upset was “Saving Mr. Banks,” which at one point had been tipped by some not just as a surefire Best Picture nominee, but even a possible winner. As it turned out, the film, a warm crowd-pleaser that fit with the movies-about-movies narrative that proved so useful for “The Artist” and “Argo,” picked up only a single nomination, for Thomas Newman’s score.

“Inside Llewyn Davis”
Not so much a shock, because we’d felt the air coming out of this one as soon as it started to screen: Academy members just didn’t seem to respond to a film about mediocrity and failure. But given that even the similarly unfriendly “A Serious Man” was a nominee for Best Picture, it still stood an outside chance. In fact, the film did even worse than we were anticipating: the Coens and lead Oscar Isaac were snubbed, and it even missed out on a Screenplay nod, a category in which the Coens have been nominated six times (and won twice). At least it got two nominations, for Cinematography and Sound Mixing, although that’s the same number as critical and commercial disaster “The Lone Ranger.”

Paul Greengrass & Spike Jonze
In fairness, the Best Director category was brutally tough this year, so someone was always going to be left off. It’s just a shame that it was Paul Greengrass and Spike Jonze, who did some of the strongest work of the year. Interestingly, both are prior nominees, and both for films that didn’t get Best Picture nominations (“United 93” for Greengrass, “Being John Malkovich” for Jonze). This time it was the reverse, and the film got Best Picture nods without the filmmakers picking them up. After a couple of years when people like Terrence Malick and Michael Haneke were nominees, the director’s branch played it safer this time around.

Tom Hanks
There was a point at which it seemed that, after over a decade of missing out (his last nod was for “Cast Away”), Tom Hanks would come away with two Oscar nominations this year, with both his performances in “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr Banks” getting buzz. But there was always going to be blood on the floor in the Best Actor race (Oscar Isaac and Robert Redford also missed out, which many had predicted—the latter might have been a threat to win if he’d bothered campaigning, but seemed mostly uninterested in the whole circus), and Hanks was the most surprising and high-profile casualty. It’s a particular shame, because the film sees him give his best performance in a long time.

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  • Lucille | February 10, 2014 2:11 AMReply

    Brie Larson in Short Term 12 has gotta be a Best Actress snub! She was incredible in that

  • LauraHopeCrewes | January 20, 2014 5:17 PMReply

    Shocks: RUSH for Best Film Editing (simply brilliant editing -- should be the winner), ALL IS LOST for Best Original Score, 12 YEARS A SLAVE for Best Cinematography, Robert Redford for ALL IS LOST--Best Actor, ALL IS LOST for Best Motion Picture. Disappointments: Tom Hanks for SAVING MR. BANKS--Best Supporting Actor (this performance could have been a disaster in a lesser actor's hands), Octavia Spencer for FRUITVALE STATION--Best Supporting Actress, Woody Harrelson for OUT OF THE FURNACE--Best Supporting Actor, and the lack of attention to RUSH and LONE SURVIVOR in general. Delights: Meryl Streep for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY ("over the top," "way too big" are the criticisms I've been hearing. Nothing could be more false. It is simply an astonishing performance. While we always admire her for the degree to which she and her character become one, this time after a minute or two I genuinely forgot it was her. I'm here to tell you: if you've ever known anyone taking that many different kinds of prescription drugs, you'll know that a lot of this performance is mild compared to the real thing), and remembering THE GREAT GATSBY for it's wonderful technical accomplishments. Sick delight: Oprah's lack of a nomination for LEE DANIEL'S THE BUTLER. Sue me -- enough with the Oprah.

  • Erik393 | January 19, 2014 5:17 AMReply

    My Snub list - 1. Man of Steel for visual effects. Seriously Academy Voters, you pick Iron Man 3 and Lone Ranger over this and Pacific Rim. Shame on you.
    2. Best score for Hans Zimmer for 12 Years a Slave. I thought there were 2 shoe ins for this category... 12 Years a Slave and Gravity. At least Gravity made it.
    3. Best Makeup (and hair) for the Evil Dead remake and The Hobbit(2). Honestly, remember the good old days when people actually voted for the BEST MAKEUP like the old horror films, films like Passion of the Christ, the first Narnia and Lord of the Rings. You know, the films that actually DID have the best makeup in film that year. Even The Hobbit didn't get a nomination this year but yet Lone Ranger, Bad Grandpa and Dallas Buyers Club did. I could easily explain why I think each of those nominations are a joke when compared to other films this year.
    4. Daniel Bruhl (Rush), Matthew McConaughey (Mud) or Colin Farrell (Saving Mr. Banks) for Best Supporting actor OVER Jonah Hill. I honestly don't know why Jonah Hill was nominated. He played a complete bumbling fool that was so annoying to watch.
    5. People say Tom Hanks was the biggest surprise. I say Spike Jonze was the BIG snub. After seeing HER I thought for sure he was a lock. I recently saw Nebraska and knew Jonze got screwed. While Alexander Payne did a good job once again, Jonze had a lot more to do with HER. You had a much more interesting script and cinematography to work with. Sorry but if you've JUST got a good script with good performances then I don't think that earns you a best director nod, especially when your film is in black and white when it doesn't need to be.
    6. Emma Thompson for Best Actress. I'm not afraid to say this... "Oh my god Meryl Streep is in a movie. We have to nominate her...again!" F that!!! Was Meryl Streep good?....yes. Was Emma Thompson better?.... HELL YES! Emma Thompson had to carry an entire film and she did it to perfection for Saving Mr. Banks. Another big SNUB.
    7. Lana Del Rey for Best Song 'Young and Beautiful' (The Great Gatsby). When The Great Gatsby came out, love it or hate it, that was Lana Del Rey's award to lose. The song was beautiful and played perfectly with the film. I'm tired of songs being nominated that only play during end credits. Young and Beautiful pops up here and there in the film. But at least Frozen got the nod (and will win).
    8. The Way Way Back - Best Supporting Actor Sam Rockwell. Forget what I said earlier. Sam Rockwell deserved a nomination for his ability to deliver some of the funniest lines written in any movie this past year. His role was hilarious and heart warming and one the best this year.
    9. Best Screenplay The Way Way Back. Along with fantastic character development, this film had a simple but yet great story to it. And on top of that most of the lines are the best written this year. It was the 'In Bruges' of this year.
    10. Allison Janney best supporting actress. Again, I really do think The Way Way back was forgotten by a lot of people and thats a shame because there are so many great surprises from this film. And one of those surprises is Allison Janney as the drunken neighbor. She was amazing and reminds me of every drunken mother you see at parties. I would have easily bumped Sally Hawkins for Janney.

  • TC | January 18, 2014 7:32 PMReply

    Re: Zimmer's 12 years snub, I think it's also possible people are tired of his recycling the Thin Red Line chord progression. Arguably the best bit of score (the atonal music over the boat sequence) was written entirely by the additional music composer. Meaning it was not in the 5min suite Hans gave to his guys. Hans process can get some amazing results but makes it hard to nominate an individual.

  • The T | January 18, 2014 7:10 PMReply

    Really sad to see a movie like prisoners not get any love. Gyllenhall and Jackman nailed their roles, even Dano executed a great character with minimal dialouge. Even down to that chilling tune was an excellent mood enhancement. Hope the producers,directors,case, etc... know that they did a great job and hope more films envoke such emotion as this one did. Can't wait to see how many awards the hunger games takes home this year for being the new twilight series and a fictional load of ........

  • Steve Barr | January 18, 2014 3:02 PMReply

    I wish you had been right about Wolf of Wall Street being ignored . Martin Scorsese is an empty suit . The film was a bloated bore . DeCaprio was very good . Jonah hill had great teeth . Scorsese has been making the same movie for over thirty years . As for the screenplay - if all the f-words , nudity and drug use were removed you wouldn't have a movie .

  • Rob Coates | January 17, 2014 9:49 AMReply

    Thelma Schoomaker has won 3 Oscars- Raging Bull (1980), Aviator (2005) and Departed (2006).

  • Rob Coates | January 17, 2014 9:53 AM

    Oops! Aviator was 2004.

  • Ryan | January 17, 2014 8:01 AMReply

    Thelma Schoonmaker won for The Departed and The Aviator, not Hugo.

  • Idioteque... | January 16, 2014 6:06 PMReply

    Is no one going to talk about how Place Beyond the Pines was snubbed? Definitely a best picture and best director worthy nominee but the bigger screw is Ryan Gosling deserved a Best supporting actor nod over a lot of those guys. He could definitely replace Bradley Cooper and Bakhard from Captain Phillips. And Jake Gyllenhaal and Hugh Jackman not getting acknowledged for their performances in Prisoners? Hugh was terrifying he could easily replace Bruce Dern.

  • Don't You Know? | January 16, 2014 7:16 PM

    A snub is something that people expected to get nominated or had nomination buzz. Pines, while quite good was released in March/April and never had a prayer for Oscar hopes. At least your Jackman posit is reasonable; there was some talk for him and it was released during awards season.

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 6:26 PM

    That was my favorite film of the year, followed by American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club. It was simply released too early in the year. Had it been released at the same time or in the same format as say Out of the Furnace, I'm sure it would've gotten something. Same goes for Mud.

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 1:35 PMReply

    I would also call Bad Grandpa a surprise nom. Sure it involved heavy makeup but no more than the same character on the first three Jackasses. I just hope it freakin wins now that it's nominated. That's a line they have to put on the bluray cover. Oscar nominated film, ha!

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 1:15 PMReply

    I think the Sean Bobbit snub for cinematography was the biggest shock. Even though I'm not wanting 12 Years a Slave to win Best Pic, I agree it was the best looking film. From the trailer alone I called it to win the Oscar. There are so many single shots I could pull from the film and mount them as artwork. And especially considered the film scored so many other nods, honesty this should've taken Inside Llewyn Davis' place. The cinematography Oscar is not that imperative for a win for Best Pic (more so for Editing) but it sure helps. Oh well. I guess this is another one in the bag for Gravity even though in that film u can't even tell what's real or not. I mean can a DP actually get an Oscar for shooting a film entirely on green screen?

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 1:37 PM

    Actually let me edit this. 12 Years a Slave should've taken Prisoners spot. I love Deakins but you can't nominate him for every film he makes. Besides, giving him a nom knowing he won't win makes me think they are just toying with him now :(

  • lee | January 16, 2014 1:08 PMReply

    LOL no hairstyling nomination for American Hustle.

  • Jackie | January 16, 2014 1:07 PMReply

    How did Bale have little buzz when he had been nominated left and right by BFCA, HFPA and the Baftas?

  • jen | January 16, 2014 1:00 PMReply

    Romeo + Juliet ('96) would have been nominated in '97 and Happy-Go-Lucky came out in '08...

  • NewYorker | January 16, 2014 12:53 PMReply

    either tho i don't watch foreign language films, im kind of suprise that Blue Is the Warmest Color didn't get a nomination. this adele can't spell her last name, seems like a pretty good actress, hope she does more films here in America.

  • nf | January 16, 2014 3:11 PM

    'Blue' was not eligible, per its release date. The distributor chose to release the film outside the eligible window.

  • Anonymouse | January 16, 2014 1:18 PM

    why don't you watch foreign language films? kinda missing out on amazing stories via the lens of different cultures.

  • Denise | January 16, 2014 12:49 PMReply

    I did not watched the movie so I can't really advocate or share "outrage", but I thought Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips was the biggest surprise snub for me, considering how almost every other award has shown recognition, plus he's Tom Hanks! Everyone is happy he's out of the slump of Cloud Atlas and Larry Crowne.

  • Jose | January 16, 2014 12:47 PMReply

    I'm very surprised that "Blue is the warmest Colour" didn't get a Best Foreign Film nod...

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 1:07 PM

    Where have u been? It wasn't eligible.

  • Denise | January 16, 2014 12:46 PMReply

    2 quick corrections:

    "We like to think it’s the Academy’s mea culpa for not nominating the British actress for “Happy-Go-Lucky” last year."

    Happy-Go-Lucky came out in 2008. Though I would agree was a bit of a snub.

    "Owen Pallett (also known as Final Fantasy)"

    He dropped the Final Fantasy name in 2009 (after some legal troubles with the video game people.)

  • Xian | January 16, 2014 12:38 PMReply

    It's not DoP... it's just DP in the industry. :) Just sayin'.

  • cirkusfolk | January 16, 2014 1:06 PM

    Funny. I thought DP stood for "double penetration" in the industry......oh, wrong industry :)

  • dave's deluxe | January 16, 2014 12:43 PM

    Xian, if these internet critics columns are grammatically correct and spell-checked, you should consider that a miracle. I'm just here for the laughs.

  • whattrev | January 16, 2014 12:27 PMReply

    Blue Jasmine nominated for best original screenplay over Inside Llewyn Davis is bizarre. Thought it was one of Woody Allen's laziest scripts to date - great concept but dialogue was overexpositional, and no wonder he writes these scripts in a year!

  • whattrev | January 16, 2014 12:27 PMReply

    Blue Jasmine nominated for best original screenplay over Inside Llewyn Davis is bizarre. Thought it was one of Woody Allen's laziest scripts to date - great concept but dialogue was overexpositional, and no wonder he writes these scripts in a year!

  • elie | January 16, 2014 12:01 PMReply

    Schoonmaker won for The Departed and The Aviator not Hugo, in 2011 the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo won the editing category
    Very nice article

  • Ugh | January 16, 2014 11:55 AMReply

    I've worked with the people who made Alone Yet Not Alone. Produced by a rather wealthy Texan about his "illustrious family history". I'm not saying they bought their way in. Yet I'm not NOT saying they bought their way in.

  • j | January 16, 2014 11:38 AMReply

    "We like to think it’s the Academy’s mea culpa for not nominating the British actress for “Happy-Go-Lucky” last year."

    While we're on the subject of mea culpas - Happy-Go-Lucky came out in... 2008.

  • newyorker | January 16, 2014 11:30 AMReply

    for me 20 snubs i belive are
    1-Spring Breakers(best supporting actor for james franco & best cinematography)
    2-Disconnect(best picture, best actor for Jason Bateman & Best Cinematography)
    3-Prisoners(best supporting actor jake gyllenhaal, best picture, best actor for hugh jackman)
    4-The Butler(best actor for Forest Whitaker, best supporting actress for Oprah Winfrey, best costume design, best score, best adapted screeenplay & best make & Hair)
    5-Spectacular Now(best adapted screenplay, best actor for Miles Teller, best actress for Shailene Woodley)
    6-Monsters University(best animated feature)
    7-Fruitvale Station(best actor for michael b. jordan, best supporting actress for Melonie Diaz, best cinematography, best score, best original screenplay)
    8-Inside Llewyn Davis(best picture, best actor for Oscar Isaac, best original song)
    9-Man Of Steel(best visual effects, best score, best supporting actor Michael Shannon)
    10-Oz: Great and Powerful(best costume design, best production design & Best Hair and makeup)

  • Melissa | January 16, 2014 11:44 AM

    I am glad to see that someone else liked and appreciated Prisoners. That was my favorite movie of the year -- I loved it. It was riveting and perfect.

  • Van | January 16, 2014 11:29 AMReply

    As big a shock for me as any was the failure of the extraordinary "The Past" to get a Best Foreign Film nod.

  • elie | January 16, 2014 12:03 PM

    Thank you, well said, it's as good as A Separation

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