EVANS: 2014 Oscar Snubs

It’s been a few weeks since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released its list of Oscar nominations. We’ve had some time to ponder who’s missing from these categories, both the glaring omissions and the subtle slights, and with the awards ceremony less than a week away, it’s the perfect time to go over what the Academy missed. Keep an eye out for our Oscar picks and predictions, which will come out later this week.

Best Picture
Nominees: American Hustle; Captain Phillips; Dallas Buyers Club; Gravity; Her; Nebraska; Philomena; 12 Years a Slave; The Wolf of Wall Street
Who Got Snubbed: Many of my personal favorite films from 2013 – Upstream Color, Frances Ha, Before Midnight – didn’t get nominated for Best Picture, but they’re also smaller films that, while critically successful, didn’t have the box office draw or big names that win nominations. What’s completely unforgivable is the Academy’s ignorance of Inside Llewyn Davis, Joel and Ethan Coen’s hilarious, sad, sonically glorious depiction of one folk singer’s really bad week set against the backdrop of 1960s Greenwich Village.

Nominees: Christian Bale (American Hustle); Bruce Dern (Nebraska); Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street); Chiwitel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave); Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)
Who Got Snubbed: Again, the Oscars have no respect for Inside Llewyn Davis. Oscar Isaac’s breakout role as the titular folk singer might be the strongest of the year in any film. Meanwhile, Joaquin Phoenix is endearing and on-point in Her but remains unrecognized, and further proving the Oscars’ ironic aversion to all other things named Oscar, Michael B. Jordan’s heartbreaking take on real-life police brutality victim Oscar Grant also stands out as a snub.

Amy Adams (American Hustle); Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine); Sandra Bullock (Gravity); Judi Dench (Philomena); Meryl Streep (August: Osage County)
Who Got Snubbed: It’s not surprising that the Academy is staying away from indies this year, what with so many viable prestige picture candidates, but Greta Gerwig (who is hilarious and relatable as the titular character in Noah Baumbach’s excellent Frances Ha) and Julie Delpy (whose emotionally riveting performance in Before Midnight might top any in the preceding Before Sunrise and Before Sunset) both received Golden Globes nominations, and some recognition at the Oscars would have been nice.

Supporting Actor
Nominees: Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips); Bradley Cooper (American Hustle); Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave); Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street); Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)
Who Got Snubbed: Is James Franco our generation’s Nicolas Cage? He’s eccentric, diverse, and much maligned, but he commits to every one of his bizarre roles and he’s probably underrated when it comes to his overall body of work. He might be his best yet as trashy rapper-gangster Alien in Harmony Korine’s divisive, neon-colored, ultimately brilliant take on the American Dream, Spring Breakers.

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)
Who Got Snubbed: Her is chock full of strong female performances (including Amy Adams topping her American Hustle role), but the strongest of them all is Scarlett Johansson, who gives the best supporting actress performance of the year with nothing but her voice. She’s heartbreaking, funny, and incredibly human as operating system Samantha.

The Grandmaster; Gravity; Inside Llewyn Davis; Nebraska; Prisoners
Who Got Snubbed: One of the best parts of Frances Ha is its Manhattan-referencing black and white aesthetic; Upstream Color and Prince Avalanche magnify nature’s beauty to full effect; Her shines in a way that’s futuristic but not sterile; and Nicolas Winding-Refn’s films are always gorgeous, and though its overall quality doesn’t live up to that of Drive, Only God Forgives continues the director’s affinity for deep reds, rich blacks, and glowing neon.

Costume Design
Nominees: American Hustle; The Grandmaster; The Great Gatsby; The Invisible Woman; 12 Years a Slave
Who Got Snubbed: Her makes high-waisted pants look fashionable. That’s worth a statue, right?

David O. Russell (American Hustle); Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity); Alexander Payne (Nebraska); Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave); Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Who Got Snubbed: Spike Jonze and the Coen brothers crafted the two best mainstream films of 2013 in Her and Inside Llewyn Davis, respectively, and while the category is already packed, I’m sure the Academy could have made some room for those two.

Documentary Feature
Nominees: The Act of Killing; Cutie and the Boxer; Dirty Wars; The Square; 20 Feet from Stardom
Who Got Snubbed: It’s not a perfect documentary, but A Band Called Death, Mark Covino and Jeff Howlett’s debut feature is a fascinating and musically excellent look at a Detroit proto-punk band that never gained traction.

Foreign Language Film
Nominees: The Broken Circle Breakdown; The Great Beauty; The Hunt; The Missing Picture; Omar
Who Got Snubbed: This isn’t so much a snub as it is a flaw in the Academy’s process, but because of odd premier deadlines for foreign submissions, there are glaring omissions of the year’s two most talked about foreign films: the Palme d’Or-winning coming-of-age drama Blue is the Warmest Color and The Past, Asghar Farhadi’s follow-up to the Oscar-winning A Separation.

Music – Original Score
Nominees: John Williams, The Book Thief; Steve Price, Gravity; William Butler & Owen Pallett, Her; Alexandre Desplat, Philomena; Thomas Newman, Saving Mr. Banks
Who Got Snubbed: Cliff Martinez is the best composer working in film, and he had two releases in 2013 with scores for Only God Forgives and Spring Breakers (the latter with Skrillex). In a great year for music in film, Mike Patton (The Place Beyond the Pines), Explosions in the Sky (Prince Avalanche), and Shane Carruth (Upstream Color) also crafted gems.

Nominees (Adapted Screenplay):
Before Midnight by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke; Captain Phillips by Billy Ray; Philomena by Steve Coogan & Jeff Pope; 12 Years a Slave by John Ridley; The Wolf of Wall Street by Terence Winter
Nominees (Original Screenplay): American Hustle by Eric Warren Singer & David O. Russell; Blue Jasmine by Woody Allen; Dallas Buyers Club by Craig Borten & Melissa Wallack; Her by Spike Jonze; Nebraska by Bob Nelson
Who Got Snubbed (Adapted or Original): There are few people who know their way around a screenplay better than the Coen brothers, and Inside Llewyn Davis is no exception: it’s funny, clever, poignant, and distinctive to a pair of the greatest filmmakers of the last 20 years.