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?

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3 thoughts on “Oscars’ Biggest Snubs — 2014 Edition

    • 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.

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