It’s no secret that the Academy Awards are imperfect. This year the criticism has been focused on the racism of the Academy, but people often forget its ageism and sexism as well. While there are 10 nominated movies worth watching this year, there are also some duds that somehow grabbed nomination spots over better films. Here are four movies that didn’t deserve an Oscar nomination this year.
1. Bridge of Spies
The Cold War story shows an American lawyer trying to defend a Soviet spy in court so he can be used to trade for a captured American pilot. It’s nominated for six Oscars including Best Picture, Original Screenplay, and Sound Mixing. So what exactly doesn’t make it true Oscar material?
Since the Academy is such a close club, it’s understandable that it’s up because of the people attached to it. Steven Spielberg directed it, and it stars Tom Hanks. But this film was not nearly as notable or widely discussed as ones that were shut out like Straight Outta Compton and Creed. They both also had great screenplays and sound mixing that made you feel as though you were right there in the movie. There was also Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation, which had great cinematography and plenty of amazing child actors who could match Idris Elba’s talents but sadly was shut out due the Academy’s push back against new media.
This pick was safe and easy for the Academy — and incredibly disappointing.
The film adaptation of the book tells the story of Eilis, an Irish immigrant going to America to find work and start a new life. Under new circumstances she has to make a decision between two countries and two men. The movie is beautiful and the love stories are tightly related to an immigrant’s struggle between her home country and her new one. It’s up for three Oscars including Best Picture, Best Actress, and Adapted Screenplay.
Comparing it to the snubbed movies of this year, though, it doesn’t really measure up. The story is quite straight forward and even predictable given the title. Again the Academy finds another opportunity to nominate a young actress rather than give the nod to older women who give amazing performances. This year, it could have nominated Lily Tomlin for her work in Grandma, but the Academy once again proves that it is ageist toward older women. (Meryl Streep is the exception, not the rule.)
Also the nomination for adapted screenplay shockingly snubbed Creed and Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Both movies were surprisingly able to refresh franchises that has lost their luster. These two movies captured the spirit of the original movies in their series, but with new characters that better represent our heroes today, which include people of color and women.
3. Steve Jobs
The movie shows the icon in the moments before his biggest projects in his career. It also gives us a small glimpse into his personal and family life. But overall it is about how his work was pretty much everything to him. The movie is up for two Oscars including Best Leading Actor for Michael Fassbender and Best Supporting Actress for Kate Winslet. The two are favorites of the Academy, with Fassbender being nominated once previously and Winslet having already won.
The movie had Aaron Sorkin written all over with its quick pace and dialogue. As it was not nominated in other categories, the movie wasn’t Oscar-caliber all around. The actors’ performances were good, but the nominations are most likely based on these two being Academy favorites.
Again the nomination could have been giving to Michael B. Jordan, who seriously matched Sylvester Stallone (who had years to perfect his character as Rocky), or Jason Mitchell, who made audiences cry with his take on Easy-E’s downfall. The supporting nomination could have gone to Helen Mirren who gave great performances in Trumbo and Woman in Gold this year but was completely forgotten.
The movie tells the true story of a mother who grows a powerful business. Once again Jennifer Lawrence and David O. Russell pair up for the project which has led to the actress’s fourth Oscar nomination. The movie itself was not well-received by critics, which is why it’s not up for more awards, so why does the Academy feel it needs to throw Lawrence another nomination? If there are actresses who did an amazing job with better material, shouldn’t they be deserving?
Again this nomination could have gone to Lily Tomlin for Grandma or Helen Mirren for Woman in Gold. But the Academy just doesn’t like older actresses who aren’t Meryl Streep.
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