Oscars’ Biggest Snubs — 2014 Edition

snubs1Sometimes, it’s an honor just to be nominated for an Academy Award — and sometimes being passed over is a snub!

These are the most egregious errors on the part of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, in order of outrageousness and indefensibility, from brain-meltingly inexplicable to bemusedly obtuse — according to me, at least.

Best Picture:
  American Hustle
 • Captain Phillips
 • Dallas Buyers Club
 • Gravity
 • Her
 • Nebraska
 • Philomena
 • 12 Years a Slave
 • The Wolf of Wall Street

Snubbed: Inside Llewyn Davis. On the surface, this story of a struggling folk musician in 1961 New York is just a small and quirky film, but the Oscar-winning Coen Brothers (Fargo, No Country for Old Men) have crafted yet another idiosyncratic movie about a particularly peculiar fellow moving through a world he barely comprehends — Llewyn Davis is a purist who refuses to compromise even one iota to claim the fame he desperately desires but which dangles just beyond his reach.

Best Director:
 David O. Russell, American Hustle
 • Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
 • Alexander Payne, Nebraska
 • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
 • Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street

Snubbed: Inside Llewyn Davis was screwed again. Joel and Ethan Coen write, produce and direct their features as a binary unit, with a kind of hive mind  operating in perfect sync. Together they put out movies that no one person could possibly manage.

snubs2Best Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, Captain Phillips
 • Bradley Cooper, American Hustle
 • Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
 • Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street
 • Jared Leto, The Dallas Buyers Club

Snubbed: James Franco, Spring Breakers. I am far from the world’s biggest Franco fan, but even I had to admit that his work as blinged-out drug dealer Alien in the deceptively clear-eyed and thoughtful social critique was completely astonishing. He was barely recognizable as human. Franco’s delivery of Alien’s “Look at all my shit” speech while on a bed covered with guns, drugs and half-naked coeds was the most devastating takedown of out-of-control consumerism of the year. (Take that, The Wolf of Wall Street!)

Best Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine
 • Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
 • Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
 • Julia Roberts, August: Osage County
 • June Squibb, Nebraska

Snubbed: Jena Malone. She more than held her own against America’s Sweetheart, Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire  as pitiless formervictor Johanna Mason, creating a character Katniss was afraid of. But no love from Oscar. As Johanna screamed: “F*ck that! And f*ckc everyone that had anything to do with it!” Johanna may have been talking about the Capitol, but it could apply to the academy, as well.

Best Documentary Feature: The Act of Killing
 • Cutie and the Boxer
 • Dirty Wars
 • The Square
 • 20 Feet From Stardom

snubs3Snubbed: Blackfish. The only documentary that  99 percent of America has actually even heard of was mysteriously denied a nomination — sending a lot of suspicious glares at $eaWorld SeaWorld, which claimed the movie didn’t hurt it while simultaneously screaming about a hatchet job. Hmmm. I look at it this way: The documentary category has its own individual, ridiculously arcane nominating process and its incestuous nature long ago robbed it of even a modicum of credibility.

Best Visual Effects: Gravity • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
• Iron Man 3
• The Lone Ranger
• Star Trek Into Darkness

Snubbed: Pacific Rim. How could a movie that shows us realistic giant robots fighting believable kaiju (giant monsters) not even get nominated? Giving the cringe-inducing The Lone Ranger the prestige of a VFX nomination (for what, exactly?) is crazy, but snubbing Gipsy Danger and the rest is apocalyptic!

Best Actor in a Leading Role: Christian Bale, American Hustle
 • Bruce Dern, Nebraska
 • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
 • Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
 • Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Snubbed: No Tom Hanks? I thought the academy loved him unconditionally.

Best Actress in a Leading Role: Amy Adams, American Hustle
 • Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
 • Sandra Bullock, Gravity
• Judi Dench, Philomena
 • Meryl Streep, August: Osage County

Snubbed: Anyone who isn’t Meryl Streep. I think Oscar ballots come preprinted with her name already filled in.

So that’s my list of the worst of the worst. What about you — which snubs did you think were the most egregious? Any pleasant surprises?

3 thoughts on “Oscars’ Biggest Snubs — 2014 Edition

  1. Funny, I’m a Coen Brothers fan but I thought Inside Llewyn Davis was a very weak film, and ultimately disappointing: http://alastairsavage.wordpress.com/2014/01/08/inside-llewyn-davis-spoiler-free-review/
    Meryle Streep has entered Jack Nicholson territory in that she seems to get nominated whatever she does.
    Personally, I thought Ashton Kutcher was great in Jobs, but he only got nominated for a Razzie. Poor return on great work.


    • After reading your review I can understand your point, but I have to disagree. I think ILD is simply smaller in scale and ambition than “No Country for Old Men” or even “O Brother, Where Art Thou” (two classics), and tells a very quiet story about a small person who missed the boat — but only because he believed that he was sticking to his principles by refusing to get onboard. Llewyn had the courage of his convictions, and those convictions cost him a lot.

      I did not see “Jobs,” but I am not a Kutcher fan, and so have no interest in seeing it.


  2. Thank you for mentioning Blackfish. There have been whispers back to the cast that some serious hard ball was going on behind the scenes.


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