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Oscars: The Snubs & The Surprises Of The 85th Academy Awards

by Oliver Lyttelton
February 25, 2013 11:50 AM
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Skyfall Dench Mendes Deakins
The "Skyfall" Team Lose Again
007 film "Skyfall" (which won two awards) was notable for having a number of bridesmaids, so to speak, among its crew. Roger Deakins' nod was his tenth without a win, composer Thomas Newman was on eleven nods with, again, no victory, and Greg P. Russell, up for Sound Mixing, had a whopping sixteen nominations  without being asked up on stage. And yet, despite the success of "Skyfall" elsewhere in the evening, all three lost out. Part of the reason is probably down to the Oscar ballots, which list the film, rather than the nominee (even for Best Director, interestingly enough). So even if the voters knew who Deakins was (and it's entirely possible that many don't), they're still going to be more inclined to go for the film that they thought was prettiest, in this case "Life of Pi." 

Zero Dark Thirty Jessica Chastain
"Zero Dark Thirty," "Silver Linings Playbook" & "Lincoln"
Not every film that poured millions into their awards campaigns justified the expense. "Zero Dark Thirty," an early front-runner thanks to critical plaudits, picked up only a single award, for Best Sound Editing (and even that proved to be a tie). The writing had been on the wall for a while, but it still has to be disappointing (especially as it was the best of the nominated films). Meanwhile, "Silver Linings Playbook," which some had touted as having the potential for some major upsets, also took only the single prize from its eight nods, Jennifer Lawrence's Best Actress trophy. Not a disaster, but Harvey must be feeling the sting this morning. Finally, Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," the most nominated film, won only two prizes from twelve nods. It's not quite "The Color Purple" (which went 0 for 11 back in the day), but for a film that many had assumed ahead of release could be a beast, it's not a happy result.

Ang Lee Oscars
Ang Lee Denied Best Picture Again
"Argo" winning Best Picture was hardly a surprise, but it did mark the second time that Ang Lee has won Best Director without the film itself taking Best Picture (Lee's victory for "Brokeback Mountain" was trumped by "Crash" wining the big prize). It's hardly a "snub" we suppose; Lee joins a fairly exclusive club of people who've won Best Director twice. But one wonders what it'll take for a Lee-directed film to win Best Picture. Perhaps his mooted "Cleopatra" with Angelina Jolie?

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  • rodion | February 28, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    Of course Brave won, it was completely obvious. It was the safest movie to give an Oscar to. Nothing scary, like stop-motion or being in Black and White. Just simple and boring, the academy's favourite choice.

  • Bill | February 27, 2013 12:51 AMReply

    Words which will not be spoken by Christoph Waltz any time soon: "I'm sorry Quentin, but I must decline your flattering offer. I've looked at the script, and this just doesn't feel like it's for me."

  • Kurskij | February 26, 2013 11:45 AMReply

    While "life of pi" BP win would have been well deserved, it's not surprising "Argo" managed an upset. They had to acknowledge Affleck after the snub (even if Oscars don't technically work that way).
    The fact that Lee won Best Director is a joy by itself.

    He'll definitely have another shot at Best Picture. The man is wonderful even if he somewhat failed to give R+H wizards their due in his speech.

    Miranda on the other hand... Sure, it's not easy to get this kind of consistency out of picture riddled with VFX, but Deakins outdid himself yet again on Skyfall.

    My reaction after watching it was "Don't know what all the fuss is about, but it's a terrific looking picture".

    11th should be a charm for Roger. He is outstanding.

  • John | February 26, 2013 9:37 AMReply

    I still don't understand how Ang Lee won Best Director and how the film won best cinematography. It's almost entirely CGI. What did he do, exactly?

  • Ranch | February 26, 2013 10:30 PM

    Congratulations to Oliver Lyttelton on apparently not having any idea what a director ONCE HAD TO DO.

  • Ranch | February 26, 2013 10:28 PM

    Congratulations to Oliver Lyttelton on apparently not having any idea what a director ONCE HAD TO DO.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | February 26, 2013 10:50 AM

    Congratulations on apparently not having any idea what a director does.

  • Milano | February 25, 2013 5:09 PMReply

    Technically, "Crouching Tiger" (and Ang Lee) won best picture; it was just best foreign picture....

  • Johnny Ronny | February 25, 2013 2:46 PMReply

    "There have only been six ties in the history of Oscar -- the statistical chances of it occurring are slim enough that it's surprising that it's happened at all."

    That is just so very, very wrong. An incredibly unintelligent statement.

  • cirkusfolk | February 25, 2013 12:53 PMReply

    Lets not forget the SNL factor. Harvey Weinstein had both Jen Lawrence and Cristolph Waltz host the variety show before Oscar ballots were turned in. Looks like it worked in their favor.

  • Elie | February 25, 2013 12:18 PMReply

    With Sense and Sensibility, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain, and now Life of Pi, the Academy clearly loves Ang Lee a lot but not enough to ever give the poor man Best Picture.

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