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Entries in Oscar Snubs (31)

Thursday
Jan152015

The Five Stages of Grief via Oscar Nominations

Though Oscar nomination morning is my Christmas -- the day I anticipate so heavily each year when all the prezzies are ripped open -- it's not all happiness. Oscar also gives out lumps of coal on this day each year. Let us celebrate five big snubs (or omissions if you hate that word) representing each stage of grief so that we can work through it and move on.

Though SELMA got a Best Picture nod, it was ignored in every other category but Song

DENIAL I'm pretending that American Sniper, a conservative leaning (though not unartful) celebration of war heroism didn't crash the party late and win a ton of nominations (which encourages the studios to do that December/January glutting) while the progressive Selma -- which we actually need unlike a film about someone who's good with a gun! -- couldn't muster up more than two nominations.

 

ANGER Ava DuVernay, who would have been the first woman of color nominated for Best Director, should have been among the five Best Director nominees. She handled a large scale historical film and made it reverberate with danger, grief, inspiration, courage, and immediacy which is more than can be said for most historical epics. And it's only her third film! Can't wait to see what number four is like. As a subset of this stage of grief: anger. The Oscar nominations are just another reminder that Oscar does not value female narratives, not behind the scenes or onscreen. Movies about men trying to find themselves, or redemption or triumph over adversity score. Movies about women or people of color doing the same things do not (see: Wild and Selma, this year and examples in many other years; Oscar is a boys club)

BARGAINING The Lego Movie which I felt would meet more resistance than it initially had because it is basically a 2 hour commercial was nevertheless a surprise omission. I hope this doesn't discourage future filmmakers from going above and beyond because, YES, it was a commercial for toy product but it was like the best long-form commercial ever. So much funnier and more stylish and surprising than it had any right to be really. So next time someone overachieves Oscar, toss them a bone okay?

DEPRESSION All year long we (correctly) heard that it was a super strong year for Best Actor and it was. So why is the actual shortlist so disatisfying? Two answers: you could call Carell (against type / prosthetic nose) without even seeing the picture (and if you see the picture it's a heavily stilted performance and you can label Bradley Cooper a "default" nominee now with three consecutive nominations and though he's definitely under this guy's skin, it's a very unchallenging star turn compared to the snubbed competition.

This year of all years isn't time to lean on gimmicks or default status. Not when you had Ralph Fiennes's gloriously civilized sly performance keeping Grand Budapest Hotel grounded in gravitas and culture and wit when it could theoretically have defaulted to diorama kitsch. Not when Jake Gyllenhaal is doing the best work of his career in Nightcrawler. Not when David Oyelowo is becoming a great Southern orator. Not when... etcetera...

This was very disrespectfulACCEPTANCE Jessica Chastain missed out on a nod for what may well be her best screen performance yet in A Most Violent Year. But the film arrived very late and just didn't catch on quickly enough. And people got hung up on the Pfeiffer/Scarface look and missed the fact that the ubiquitous actress was doing interesting things with a more complicated character than her entrepeneur's wife first appeared to be in clip form.  (For what it's worth Pfeiffer also missed a nomination for Scarface, one of her many awful snubbings.) But we know that Chastain, who makes three movies a year and most of them high profile, will be back so we'll let this one slide. 

Who and what would represent your five stages this morning?

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Friday
Dec202013

Foreign Film Frenzy... The Finalist List 

Though I love the constant excitement of December as much as anyone if there is one single element of awards season I could seize control of, it would be the annual Best Foreign Language Film race. Every year at about this time I've managed to procure 15 or so screeners from the 60+ entries and they're neatly stacked near my TV waiting for a marathon holiday watch & write session. And then most of them get the axe and they're never seen. I'm not proud of this -- you shouldn't skip a movie simply because Oscar isn't interested -- but I am also a human being who lives on planet earth and writes about the Oscars so my time is naturally extremely limited and compartmentalized and stretched thin every November through February. Would that the studios and AMPAS could spread out the timing a little. So my apologies to films from Latvia, Turkey, Croatia, India and the rest that I really had every intention of investigating. 

The other thing I would instantly change is Oscar's obsession with the number nine - ten is so much more symmetrical! Ten is a better number because it would also soften the blow to the eventual snubbees who wouldn't feel (correctly) like the majority of their peers got the part when they didn't. 

THE FINALISTS

 

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
    currently in release in the States
  • An Episode in the Life of an Iron Picker (Bosnia & Herzegovina)
    from the director of the Oscar winner in this category for 2001, No Man's Land
  • The Missing Picture (Cambodia)
    unceremoniously dumped from the documentary finals, it now has a second shot at Oscar
  • The Hunt (Denmark)
    from the director of The Celebration which was one of Oscar's most infamous snubs in this always crowded category
  • Two Lives (Germany)
    Liv Ullman appears!
  • The Grandmaster (Hong Kong)
    Wong Kar Wai and his Asian superstar actors. 
  • The Notebook (Hungary)
    Hungary's best shot in ages to return to Oscar after a very long drought 
  • The Great Beauty (Italy)
    which just cleaned up at the European Film Awards 
  • Omar (Palestine)
    from the director of Paradise Now, nominated in this category in 2005

 

NOTICEABLY ABSENT
Saudia Arabia's Wadjda, which was a hit in arthouse theaters, widely tipped to be a frontrunner for the Oscar won't even be nominated now. That's got to hurt. It wasn't a good year for childhood narratives, actually, despite Oscar's tendency to reward that in foreign language films. They also passed on moving forward with Australia's The Rocket and Singapore's awards magnet Ilo Ilo. With all the other leading kids dropping out of contention this year, Hungary's tale of two boys will look singular. I'm also bummed that they skipped Nepal's entry here if only because I fear I'll never have the opportunity to see it now (no screener).

PERSONAL PET 
But the one I'm gutted bout is Chile's Gloria which is top ten list worthy in any language. I fully expected it to be nominated because it's just so delightful but with depth. Now it will be deprived of a much wider audience which is terribly sad. I don't know how committed the distributor is as it's due in January but I've seen it happen all too often that when a film fails to be nominated it suddenly disappears from future release scheds. IF you get a chance to see it, do!  (If Annette Bening or [insert name of any charming 50something movie star] isn't snapping up the remake rights, she's insane.)

MY PREDICTIONS

Saturday
Sep212013

Three Reasons Why People Ought to Stop Bitching About the Foreign Film Race and Just Appreciate The Movies

There are now 38 Official Submissions for Oscar's Foreign Language Film race, one of The Film Experience's favorite categories. Which means there are now undoubtedly about 38,000 bitchy articles lodged around the web and print... many of them undoubtedly focused on Blue is the Warmest Color, due to its high profile both from content (lesbian sex!) and prestige (Cannes winner).

the new US poster. It's a beauty

I am exhausted by the griping each year about this category. I really am. And often from people who should know better. The grumbling over this oft divisive category reminds me of how Oscar fans like to say...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Sep032013

Team Top Ten: Biggest Awards Season Flops

Amir here, to bring you our newest edition of Team Top Ten. Festival season is in full force. Telluride just wrapped. Venice is going strong. And in just two days, Toronto will set the awards season ablaze (Nathaniel and I will be there covering the flames). So we thought we’d vote on something that captures the spirit of the season.

Sort of.

Looking ahead at this point, there are a lot of films that look like surefire Oscar contenders. Inevitably, some of them will miss out on nomination morning, but at this very moment, everyone’s got their hopes high. Even in a year where unfortunate circumstances led to widespread discussion of racism in America, one can’t expect Mandela, 12 Years a Slave, Lee Daniels' The Butler AND Fruitvale Station to be nominated, but all four films are certainly gunning for it. So has been the story with many films in the past couple of decades, since the Oscars became the most glamorous political race on the planet and the Weinstein’s at Miramax supercharged awards campaigning.  

We’re looking back today at the films of the past 25 years – let’s call it the Campaigning Era – that looked like major Oscar players this far out in the year, or hell, even five minutes before nominations were announced in some cases, but failed to make a dent of any size. This is Team Experience’s Top Ten Awards Season Flops. Note that this is not a qualitative judgment - some stank, some were superb. But, for one reason or another, they fell short of what The Golden Man deems "Best". In simple terms – borrowed from Team Experience member, Nick Davis – these are the ten films that have the largest gap between their Oscar hopes and their Oscar outcomes. Without further ado… 

Bobby and 9 more dashed-hopefuls after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug122013

Meryl Goes "Supporting" - The Scare Quotes Are Mandatory

Ever since I first fell in love with the Oscars as a young boy, I declared the Oscars my Christmas. Of course as my Oscar obsession grew I had to adjust. Nomination Morning became Christmas (full of sleepless night, early morning thrills, and a few dud gifts) and the Ceremony itself became New Year's Eve (rambunctious, noisy, equal parts exhilarating and disappointing, and usually causing a hangover). 

Santa (aka The Academy) thinks I've been naughty every year.

I must've been because they always throw a giant lump of Category Fraud coal in my stocking. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added the supporting categories in 1936 when they realized that they hadn't accounted for honoring character actors who bring so much to the industry and to each movie and their current awards only honored movie stars. 77 years later they no longer care about their intentions and now all the acting categories are designed to honor movie stars. Which leaves character actors to just do their work (its own reward, sure) in their former thankless way. They are, after all, very low on Hollywood's totem pole and Hollywood is a place where power matters. 

I wasn't at all surprised to hear that August: Osage County, which has in every incarnation had two leads (Barbara & Violet), suddenly only had one for its future Oscar campaigns according to Gold Derby.

I am, however, a bit surprised that that it's Violet/Streep who all the action centers on who has mysteriously becoming a "supporting" character. [more]

Click to read more ...

Monday
Aug122013

Saving Mr Link

Towleroad the new men of Dowton Abbey. So excited to see Weekend's Tom Cullen in the mix!
The Kind of Face You Hate on David Cronenberg's The Fly (1986) and John Frankenheimer's Seconds (1966, newly released from the Criterion Collection)
Guardian Xan Brooks loves non-professional film actors. Someone has to.
Variety says Snowpiercer is doing great business in its home of Korea, though it can't be their Oscar submission given that it's in English. Unfortunately the Weinstein Co still plans to cut 20 minutes before the US release
Amiresque looks back at the filmmaking of 12 Angry Men

Dial P For Popcorn (in Portuguese) riffs on an old article I wrote in 2008 about actors who were overdue for Oscar wins and at the time everyone (not just me) thought Johnny Depp was next. My how time/choices change everything.
TV Blend Juliette Lewis, Matt Dillon and The LEOgend will all be appearing in M Night Shyamalan's TV series Wayward Pines based on the book series "Pines" by Blake Crouch. 
MNPP Which is hotter Mark Strong or...? 

D23 Buzz
Awards Daily
Saving Mr Banks is still fanning Oscar flames with clip debuts at D23, will the current buzz heat turn into a bonfire?
FanVoice Angelina Jolie also promotes Maleficent at the same expo, and the clip shown was the scene where she curses baby Aurora to the horror of the fairies 
Hero Complex Awesome director Brad Bird (the filmography! The Iron Giant, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol) is still playing coy with what Tomorrowland is actually about. But this is a good thing. More mystery in film promotion, please! 

Box Office
Elysium, which we've just reviewed, topped the box office. Meanwhile World War Z (Reviewed) is just inches away from $200 million domestic despite all the negative buzz before its opening - the film aged well for me (its best passages really stick) and now my review is looking too harsh. Blue Jasmine (Reviewed and Podcasted) is still going strong nearly cracking the top ten box office without the aid of thousands of theaters. Fruitvale Station (reviewed and podcasted) didn't turn into the crossover talking-point hit that The Weinstein Co but it's at a respectable $13 million plus and will undoubtedly use its DVD release to recharge its Oscar buzz later on this calendar year. 

WHAT DID YOU SEE THIS WEEKEND?