Saturday, February 11, 2017

Top 10 Worst Oscar Snubs Of The Past Decade

In the spirit of Oscar season, I figured as we wait to see what names will be read from each envelope on Sunday, February 26th, I'd reflect on what I thought were some of the biggest Oscar snubs over the past decade.

10. Amy Adams for Best Actress (2016): Now I know that Best Actress was super competitive this year. But even though Arrival has 8 Oscar nominations, it feels wrong to nominate it across the board while ignoring the main actress who is the heart of the film. The film injects a lot of deep feeling and all the emotion comes from Amy Adams' earnest performance. But I'm guessing they wanted to save her the agony of losing a 6th time.

9. Let The Right One In for Best Foreign Language Film (2008): Vampires have become a thing in pop culture thanks to Twilight. While Twilight has made vampires into a parody, the Swedish language film Let The Right One In, about a bond between a 12-year old boy and a centuries old vampire trapped in a girl's body, showed that vampires can still be complex. The fact that it's horror and that it eschews very young might've worked against it. But they did give Pan's Labyrinth 3 Oscars. I'm sure they could've made some room for Let The Right One In.

8. Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Actor (2014): Here are a few things Academy voters like: A physical transformation, an actor-driven picture, and performances with juicy Oscar clip after Oscar clip. So, if I may ask, why the heck did Jake Gyllenhaal get ignored? He undergoes a physical transformation, his performance IS the movie, and it consists of Oscar clip after Oscar clip. Granted, Best Actor was competitive that year and they have a history of ignoring Jake Gyllenhaal (See his Prisoners and Nocturnal Animals snub). But still. His performances towers over the actual competition.

7. Gugu Mbatha-Raw for Best Actress (2014): Nowadays, each year, there's an actress that comes out of nowhere and catches everyone's eye. In 2009, it was Carey Mulligan. In 2011, it was Jessica Chastain. In 2014, it was Gugu Mbatha-Raw who broke through with two magnetic, and completely opposite, lead performances. One is Belle where she plays a mixed race Victorian aristocrat and another is Beyond The Lights where she plays a modern tormented pop star who struggles to please both those around her and herself. Granted, Gugu Mbatha-Raw was a longshot to be nominated for Best Actress. But judging by Beyond The Lights getting nominated for Best Original Song, it's evident that voters were familiar with it and I think room could've been made for her in what was a very barron Best Actress field.

6. Tom Hanks for Best Actor (2013): After a slight career slump from the early 2000's to 2012, Tom Hanks managed to rebound by delivering his best work in years in Captain Phillips. His emotional final scene alone should've at least guaranteed him a nomination. All that panic and fear he experiences throughout the picture culminated into that one cathartic scene.

5. Carol for Best Picture (2015): My biggest issue with Carol getting ommitted for Best Picture is that it prevented signs of progression. When films about LGBTQ+ people get nominated for or win Oscars, they are often issue movies. But rather refreshingly, Carol doesn't have a political agenda and a Best Picture nomination for it would've meant so much. Also, it was much better than at least half the competition. So there's that.

4. Michael Fassbender for Best Actor (2011): Back in 2011, who's star shined brighter than Michael Fassbender's? He was Rochester in Jane Eyre, Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method, Magneto in the first entry in the X-Men prequel trilogy, and was a subtle tour-de-force as a struggling sex addict in Shame which won him the Best Actor Award at the Venice Film Festival. But on Oscar Nomination Day, what does he get? Nada. As sex addict Brandon Sullivan, Fassbender gives a flawless performance that deserves to be ranked among the likes of Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver. He was just THAT good. Thankfully, Fassbender would go on to be a 2-time nominee. But his snubbed work in Shame is what helped launch his prolific career.

3. Gone Girl for Best Adapted Screenplay (2014): I've already talked about a few snubs from 2014. But Gone Girl missing out for Best Adapted Screenplay REALLY takes the cake and was without a doubt the biggest miss of the year. Gone Girl not only should've been nominated. It should've easily won. It was the best screenplay of the year, original or adapted, and easily towers over the mechanical writings of Oscar bait like The Imitation Game and even the rather chaotic Inherent Vice. This snub will continue to sting.

2. "The Wrestler" For Best Original Song (2008): As devastating as The Wrestler is, the song by Bruce Stringsteen named after the title always nearly reduces me to a puddle. Even if you took the song out of the film, it never loses its emotional gut punch. I don't know what it is about it. Maybe it's the power in Springsteen's voice. Something about the melody. Whatever it is, something about this song never fails to break me.

1. Christopher Nolan For Best Picture/Director (2008) & Director (2010): Christopher Nolan has become a new face for genre fare, reinvigorating the superhero genre with the now iconic The Dark Knight and proving how potent original science fiction can still be with Inception. What has the Academy done to honor what he, as a director, contributed to that area of cinema? Practically nothing. Yes, he did get nominated for his screenwriting on Inception and for producing it. But he is the directing maestro who made everything in the film happen. Nolan proved how sophisticated superhero movies can be with The Dark Knight but he ended up with literally nothing. No Picture nomination. No Directing. No. Nothing. Turns out he may have the Spielberg effect: Do something more traditional and AMPAS friendly and they'll just give him the trophy. Until then, we have to live in a world where Three 6 Mafia and Eddie Redmayne are Oscar winners while a game-changing and filmmaking master like Christopher Nolan has NIL.

What do you guys think? What do you think are some of the biggest Oscar snubs this past decade? Please be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section down below and thanks for reading!

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