It wouldn’t be a year if the Academy Awards didn’t end up getting something wrong in their nomination process. For this year’s though, they screwed the pooch in a pretty profound way, leaving off actors and movies that should have been absolute shoe-ins to win Oscars, much less be nominated. Alas though, all we can do is sit around and speculate as to who really deserved recognition. It’s always a shock when you spend months expecting a movie to sweep its way through awards season only to see it get ignored come nomination day.
The sad truth of it all is that with a limited number of slots, someone is always going to be disappointed. This year more than others though, that seemed to run rampant following the official announcement.
1. Gone Girl
Snubbed For: Best Picture, Directing (David Fincher), Best Adapted Screenplay (Gillian Flynn)
Given its status as a classic David Fincher thriller that was critically acclaimed as one of the best movies of the year, it’s more than a little shocking to see it take home just one nomination for Best Actress, Rosamund Pike. Screenwriter Gillian Flynn’s masterful job trimming down the novel to fit the big screen was incredible, David Fincher did a typically amazing job behind the camera, and overall it almost certainly deserved a Best Picture nod ahead of nominees like Sniper and The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Snubbed For: Best Actor (David Oyolewo), Directing (Ava DuVernay)
Selma is a perfect example of a great movie that was hurt by a release date too close to the end of the year to build hype for Oscar season. Typically, award contenders will set a release date for sometime in October and November, sneaking it in before the year’s end but still with enough time to get the proper buzz needed to get plenty of attention once nominations come in. Selma didn’t quite fit that model, releasing right down to the wire on December 25. In the end, that may have prevented a brilliant performance by David Oyolewo as Martin Luther King Jr. as well as Ava DuVernay’s breakout directing from getting recognized by the Academy for their respective efforts.
3. The Lego Movie
Snubbed For: Best Animated Feature Film
Plain and simple, The Lego Movie was unequivocally the best animated movie of 2014. It being left off the nominations for Best Animated Feature has easily been the most talked-about part of the Oscar noms, leaving many to wonder how it got left off for something like How to Train Your Dragon 2. It’s not like it flew under the radar this last year either, raking in the fourth highest domestic box office of any movie in 2014, while rating out at a whopping 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. Sadly this didn’t seem to resonate with the Academy, with it mysteriously left off a category it should have won handedly.
Snubbed For: Best Picture, Best Actor (Jake Gyllenhaal)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s dark and eerie performance in the thought-provoking Nightcrawler wowed audiences everywhere. The Atlantic even likens the breakthrough role to that of Robert DeNiro’s in Taxi Driver, no small praise for any actor. The stylish movie perfectly fits Gyllenhaal’s huge performance, firmly cementing him into the elite of Hollywood, even without an Oscar to his name. Overall, the movie is a noirish look into the underbelly of modern journalism and its sensationalizing other people’s tragedy.
Snubbed For: Best Picture, Directing (Bong Joon-Ho)
This year we saw eight nominations for Best Picture used out of the possible 10, making it all the more baffling that movies like Snowpiercer weren’t considered. Bong Joon-Ho’s uniquely political yet entertaining directorial style shines bright in this post-apocalytpic thriller, despite it being completely shut out by the Oscars. Even “A+” performances from Hollywood heavyweights John Hurt, Ed Harris, Chris Evans, and Tilda Swinton couldn’t get this one on the radar, leaving its 95% Rotten Tomato rating sitting at home.
6. The Babadook
Snubbed For: Best Actress (Essie Davis)
Nevermind the fact that The Babadook was singularly terrifying as a horror movie and sensationally directed. The real star of this Australian horror masterwork was Essie Davis in the lead role, as the troubled mother of a misbehaving child haunted by the spirit of a horrific monster. As you watch, you can almost feel the strain that motherhood has put on Davis’s character, and her evolution from a frustrated mother to an understanding and protective parent. With a box office haul of just $800,000 as reported by Rotten Tomatoes, this one sadly lacked the international buzz to get Essie Davis’s performance on the radar of the Academy.