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Surprises & Snubs Of The 2013 Oscar Nominations: Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, 'Dark Knight Rises' & More

Awards
by Oliver Lyttelton
January 10, 2013 11:47 AM
42 Comments
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The announcement of the Academy Award nominations is many things, but rarely is it dull. Every time it looks like the precursors are pointing to a predictable line-up, the Academy finds a way to throw a spanner in the works, and skip over those who seemed like sure-fire locks, while nominating those who might have otherwise been overlooked by prognosticators and predictors.

And in a year as competitive as this one, it was doubly true, so we've rounded up some of the most notable omissions and surprises of this year's crop. Anything you were raising your eyebrow about? Were your own favorites left off? Sound off in the comments section below.

The Snubs

Kathryn Bigelow & Ben Affleck
This is the big one, which virtually no one saw coming. Best Director was the most competitive category in years, but most had assumed that two of the safest nominees among them were Kathryn Bigelow and Ben Affleck, helmers of "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Argo." Bigelow was a winner only three years ago, and Affleck's arrival as a filmmaker had been celebrated all over the shop. Both were included in almost all of the precursor awards, including the DGA and certainly many thought that Affleck had a good chance at winning the award (especially once BAFTA went and nominated him as director and actor yesterday). But both missed out. Bigelow may have been a victim of the "'Zero Dark Thirty' is pro-torture" campaign, but we given the quality of the job he did, we're honestly baffled by Affleck's miss. Maybe it's a question of his stardom working against him?

"Moonrise Kingdom"
The Best Picture field was actually one of the more rock-solid categories this year; everyone agreed on the top six, and there was certainly a certain amount of agreement in recent days on "Django Unchained" and "Beasts of the Southern Wild." So the most notable snub for the big prize (given that we were never convinced by "Skyfall"'s chances there) has to be "Moonrise Kingdom," which people had been tipping since Cannes to be Wes Anderson's first nominated film, and this year's equivalent to "Midnight In Paris." It did well in the precursors (PGA, NBR etc), but ultimately seemingly couldn't capture enough first place votes to make the cut. Maybe "Grand Budapest Hotel" will do the trick, Wes?

John Hawkes
For almost a year, since "The Sessions" (then called "The Surrogate") premiered at Sundance, John Hawkes was said to be a virtual lock for an Oscar nomination. As the paralyzed man looking to build a sex life, he overcomes the baitier aspects of the role to create a wonderful turn, and that had been reflected in nominations from the SAG, the Golden Globes and many others. But "The Sessions" never performed up to expectations, and had begun to lose steam of late, so, while co-star Helen Hunt was nominated, Hawkes missed out in favor of Joaquin Phoenix. A shame certainly, but given he already has a nod for "Winter's Bone," we're sure Hawkes will be back.

Marion Cotillard
The French actress, and Oscar-winner for "La Vie En Rose," was never quite a sure thing in one of the more fluid, tricksy categories. But she'd won praise for her turn in Jacques Audiard's "Rust & Bone" since Cannes, and Sony Pictures Classics fought hard for her, lining up multiple tributes to the actress at Telluride, the AFI and the Gotham Awards, among others, and it seemed to be paying off. But it always felt like only one French actress from a Sony Pictures Classics picture would make the cut, and in the end, Cotillard was beaten out by Emmanuelle Riva, as well as Quvenzhane Wallis and the late-surging Naomi Watts.

Leonardo DiCaprio & Javier Bardem
A colorful bad guy is always a good shortcut to an Oscar nomination -- see recent winners Heath Ledger, Javier Bardem and Christoph Waltz. But not so much this year. Despite a SAG nomination, the Academy seemed to find Bardem's turn in "Skyfall" a little too similar to his winning performance in "No Country For Old Men," while Leonardo DiCaprio lost out to co-star Christoph Waltz (also a previous winner, like everyone in the category) for his "Django Unchained" turn. DiCaprio had been on the ropes for a while, once The Weinstein Company walked back their decision to campaign Waltz as lead (mark our words, DiCaprio would have got the nom if that had remained the case), but it still caused a raised eyebrow  or two to see the actor miss out here.

"Looper" & "Perks Of Being A Wallflower"
The screenplay categories always have some fun curveballs (see "Bridesmaids" last year), and after their WGA nominations, many were expecting the well-liked "Looper" and "The Perks Of Being A Wallflower" to pick up nominations in Original and Adapted Screenplay respectively, even if they were unlikely to figure in elsewhere. Sadly, they both missed out; Rian Johnson's script replaced by "Amour" and "Flight," Stephen Chbosky's by "Beasts of the Southern Wild" and "Life Of Pi." There was always a degree of wishful thinking to the idea of them being nominated, but it was still disappointing to the films' fans.

"The Intouchables"
Honestly, this is one of the ones we were most surprised by. A giant, giant hit around the world (it was the 13th biggest grossing film worldwide last year, beating "Prometheus" and "Snow White & The Huntsman" to over $400 million), the French comedy was, while not especially well reviewed by U.S. critics, a big favorite of Harvey Weinstein's, especially once it beat out "Rust & Bone" to be picked by the French committee. And yet it ultimately missed out on the final five, with "Kon-Tiki" (another popularist TWC picture) taking its place.

"Rise of the Guardians"
With DreamWorks Animation expected to take a huge write-off on this season's animated disappointment, there was more bad news for the studio today. They'd campaigned hard for a nomination in the category for a film that, while it had middling reviews and disappointing box office, they hoped would appeal to the animators' branch. But whether it was the box office, or the film just not being well liked enough, it missed out, making it the first time in three years that a DreamWorks film didn't make the cut. With three films from arch-rivals Disney among the final five, that has to hurt.

"Zero Dark Thirty"
Without the nomination-happy ensemble of "Lincoln" and "Silver Linings Playbook," "Zero Dark Thirty" was never going to challenge those films for number of nominations. But with the film missing out on Best Cinematography (as well as sound mixing and, as we said above, director), it suggests that, while the film picked up five nominations,  the Academy didn't take it to their hearts in the way that the critics did. A Best Picture victory is probably a long shot at this point.

"The Dark Knight Rises"
Last year, Warner Bros hoped that the final "Harry Potter" film would benefit from a "Return of the King" effect, and see some added recognition from the Academy. It didn't pay off, but the studio had their fingers crossed that they'd get a different result for "The Dark Knight Rises" -- after all, Christopher Nolan's last Bat-film won two Oscars and was nominated for a further eight, while "Inception" was among the Best Picture picks two years ago. But in fact, the film was a washout with the Academy and for the first time since "Insomnia," a Nolan film failed to win a single Oscar nomination. Maybe "Interstellar" is the one that'll break the duck...

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42 Comments

  • Paul K | January 14, 2013 9:57 PMReply

    I was surprised that Cloud Atlas didn't get nominated for Best Editing. I can't think of any films where the editing was a clear strength to the film since Memento.

  • Jackl | January 13, 2013 10:13 PMReply

    Heartshrine, you're a total tool!!! Go back to reading the Sunday Times and shut the hell up!!! You wanker!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Travis D. | January 12, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    I love how everyone has now come together and decided to hate all over TDKR, considering most of you haters watched it more than once in theaters. Nothing more pathetic than a bunch of wannabe film elitists trying to do the hip and fashionable thing by bashing a perfectly fine film...with all the anonymity the Internet can provide.

  • HeartShine | January 12, 2013 12:27 PMReply

    The Dark Knight Rises was rubbish. It deserves awards alright, they are called: RAZZIES.

    RAZZIES for Rises.

  • MNC | January 11, 2013 5:40 PMReply

    Most critics love to think of themselves as "rebels", this is why they supported ZDT. Zero Dark Thirty was probably snubbed because it was a. just not as good as these critics would love to think or b. because it was a morally reprehensible film. I think it was a little of both. Not that the Oscars or any awards shows matter that much.
    ZDT was blatant propaganda and jingoistic pro U.S. military revenge porn. Imagine if someone made a brilliantly made film showing pedophiles as victims of evil and seductive children, or Nazis as victims of Jewish terrorism. Would critics praise that movie, no matter how fantastic it was?
    In this case critics made choices that were dubious at best. At times, the makers and critics of the film stated as to how factual and accurate it was, how methodical and precise itś recount of a supposed factual event from real CIA contacts etc etc. And then whenever someone criticized the makers or the critics, all of a sudden "well.. y'know it was just a movie!"

    The line of domination and wanting to be dominated throughout the movie is the key here, either by a powerful government, a powerful idea, a powerful lie, a powerful man, a powerful woman, an empire or a U.S. torturer is comforting and a relief for supporters of Imperialism of any kind.

    It is security in a perceived insecure world. And this was it's ultimate propaganda model.

  • John | January 11, 2013 9:48 PM

    lol

  • Miles | January 11, 2013 4:07 PMReply

    Is no one championing THE IMPOSSIBLE? I thought that movie was amazing.

  • JD | January 11, 2013 10:02 AMReply

    Of the films I have seen that have been nominated & I have yet to see Lincoln, Zero DArk Thirty, Les Mes & Django Unchained, I'm glad that Life of Pi & Silver Linings Playbook did so well. Didnt like The Master & while I'm happy to see Philip Seymour Hoffman being nominated, I dont think Pheonix or Adams should have gotten nominated, the former being hard to understand in it with the latter coming into a scene, sprouting boring platitudes & then leaving a scene. Beasts shouldnt be nominated for anything. Terribly overrated. The young girl just screamed throughout that whole movie. The main guy in life of Pi should have been nominated for best actor. While I liked Naomi Watts in The Impossible, does anyone not agree that her role is more of a supporting role & not the main role? Tom Holland, who plays her eldest son, has the main role, was great in it & should have been nominated. Due to Silver Linings Playbook been nominated in all 4 acting categories as well as best film, director & script, I'm going to place all my bets on it walking away with everything.

  • hank | January 10, 2013 4:17 PMReply

    Seriously guys, were surprised The Dark Knight Rises got "snubbed"?

  • Jarrod | January 11, 2013 5:17 AM

    YOD says: "Batman suck, and ... umm, anyone that disagrees with me is a killer. Yeah, that'll make me sound informed."

  • Northern Star | January 10, 2013 10:47 PM

    I'm not surprised at 'TDKR' being snubbed, they snubbed 'The Dark Knight' in 2009 and that was a game-changing masterpiece of modern mainstream cinema... but by clearly and overtly snubbing Kathryn Bigelow for purely political reasons, the Academy once again shows itself an outdated and nakedly partisan body made up of out-of-touch old white liberals, last time I even take notice of the Oscars...

  • Yod | January 10, 2013 9:58 PM

    Playlist probably just put that in there to keep the death threats at bay.

  • Grego | January 10, 2013 4:55 PM

    Um....yeah, considering that as stated above Nolan films always are nominated for something. Notably, this is the first year Wally Pfister hasn't been nominated in I don't know how long, and the film featured the most groundbreaking use of IMAX camera yet, or at least the most use of it. Plus, Hans Zimmer's score, at the very least, stands out from the pack by virtue of being clangy rather than melodic. And the editing down the stretch is rather remarkable.

    Re: cinematography, it amazes me that both films that shot in 65 or 70 mm this year were shut out of that category. DKR and The Master.

  • Kyle | January 10, 2013 3:56 PMReply

    De Niro missed out on the Golden Globes, not SAG

  • Dix | January 10, 2013 3:51 PMReply

    It´s become a cliché question, but What the hell does Leonardo DiCaprio have to do to get even a nomination? Seriously. His acting is second to none, he challenges himself, shows his range, works hard, he even puts butts in their goddam seats and brings home the bacon. But, no, they had to nominate five old farts who have already won. And two of those were lead actors, not supporting. It´s fucking depressing.

  • sobeit | January 13, 2013 3:21 PM

    You are so right. DiCaprio is totally being robbed, AGAIN!

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • JD | January 11, 2013 9:56 AM

    I couldnt agree more. Beasts of the Southern Wild is an incredibly overrated movie. I nearly fell asleep so many times through out it. The little girl isnt even that good. She screams quite a lot & that is it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:34 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:33 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:32 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:31 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • MalickFanBoy | January 10, 2013 2:28 PMReply

    The Oscars keep disappointing me every single year. Best films and people behind them get snubbed, for the most part anyway. But whatever... It's just the Oscars.

    Also, I'm happy for the success of beast of the southern wild... I enjoyed the flick for what it is. But at the same time... I can't remember a more OVERRATED movie. It's an okay movie. That's it.

  • Bauggs | January 10, 2013 10:17 PM

    I hadn't heard that you were disappointed, tell me more. Seriously though, I agree.

  • Sayithowitis | January 10, 2013 2:20 PMReply

    I would say the other surprises were (personal ones though as I am now fully aware about how political these award seasons can be by now): Alan Arkin - who was good in Argo but wouldn't go as far to say his performance stood out against all the other supporting actors in the film (not to mention every single supporting performance in Killing Them Softly was far more interesting and challenging); Jennifer Lawrence - she was really good in Silver Linings but don't feel the role was particularly difficult and no where near the same league as Cotillard's in Rust & Bone (I also think that the film was the most overrated film this year - it was simply just better than the average romantic comedy, but a brilliant cinematic achievement??).

  • And | January 13, 2013 11:26 AM

    And i would add to that The Master not getting nominated for cinematography? Wtf??

  • Carl | January 10, 2013 2:13 PMReply

    Affleck, Biglow, Hawks & Cotillard are some of the biggest snub I've seen in years! Cotillard really deserved it, WTF a 9 years old girl what a shame to even consider her.

  • Jim | January 10, 2013 2:10 PMReply

    I am shocked and very disappointed for Marion Cotillard! Nine, Inception, Midnight in Paris and now Rust & Bone! Unbelievable! Chastain & Lawrence became double nominees before her, THAT'S CRAZY!

  • Edward | January 10, 2013 1:52 PMReply

    Great piece, but holy crap there are a lot of crybabies out there. You'd think they woulda made the film themselves or something. It's just a (kinda shallow) awards show. Chill, children (and funny to watch some of the Oscar-bloggers who you thought might be impartial by now hyper-ventilate on Twitter).

  • cirkusfolk | January 10, 2013 12:47 PMReply

    Other than the directing category, I am pleased with these nominations. So glad Dark Knight Rises got nothing. Maybe this will make Nolan take notice, as that film was soooo lazy. Also glad Skyfall and Bardem weren't nomed as well. That filmed lacked too. I like that Deakins got his 10th nom for it but hope he doesn't win. Needs to be for a better film. Also glad Tom Hooper didn't get a nod for director as I swear he was going to become the Academy's new Stephen Daldry. Sad that Leo didn't get a nom though.

  • Jill | January 10, 2013 12:46 PMReply

    Lots of disappointed people today. Here's a great rant from a disgruntled movie mogul...

    http://mankabros.com/blogs/chairman/2013/01/10/again-the-academy-of-motion-picture-arts-and-sciences-can-f-itself/

  • Marko | January 10, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel was snubbed. It seemed like it be a shoo-in what withthe Academy being filled with a bunch of out of touch old people.

  • Sean | January 10, 2013 12:09 PMReply

    another major patch of snubs: anything technical for the Master.
    Greenwood and Malaimare both deserved awards, or at least nominations.

  • Kari | January 10, 2013 2:43 PM

    I agree, Sean! The Master is not PTA's best but goddammit, Greenwood's and Malaimare's work is brilliant...

  • RJNEB2 | January 10, 2013 12:07 PMReply

    Another correction: Thomas Newman isn't the first composer to score a nod for a Bond film. Marvin Hamlisch managed the feat in 1977 for "The Spy Who Loved Me". Sadly, John Barry never did.

  • Joe | January 10, 2013 12:02 PMReply

    A couple of quick corrections, if you don't mind. Riva is not the oldest acting nominee - she's the oldest-ever nominee for Best Actress (or maybe for any lead nominee). But Gloria Stuart is still the oldest nominee overall (supporting).

    Also, I think you may have the younger than/older than list reversed regarding Zeitlin. I know he's certainly NOT younger than John Singleton, who remains the youngest person ever to be nominated for Best Director.

  • Jess | January 10, 2013 12:29 PM

    Thanks Joe, James and RJNEB2, we've corrected the text.

  • James | January 10, 2013 12:04 PM

    Also Pete Lord/The Pirates! didn't receive a BAFTA nomination... bizarrely. Seems the Yanks have better taste when it comes to animation.

  • Tania | January 10, 2013 11:51 AMReply

    Marion Cotillard deserved more the nomination than Wallis and Lawrence

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