Oscar Nominations 2014 – Hits & Misses

The 85th Academy Awards® will air live on Oscar® Sunday, February 24, 2013.

Oh it’s that time of the year again. It’s Oscar season. A time where movie fans get to celebrate the past year in film by watching the Academy give awards to movies that will forever be connected to film history. Movies are a subjective form of entertainment so it’s rare for the Academy to get everything right in our own eyes. But sometimes they should be applauded for recognizing quality films and they should be chided when they completely blow it. This year the Academy again deserves to be applauded but they most certainly deserve to be chided as well. Here are my thoughts on the Oscars hits and misses:

  • Let me get this out of the way first, WHERE ON EARTH IS “INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS“? I look at the nine Best Picture nominees and several are what I would call lesser films. Even more, several of the films chosen, while good films, aren’t the kind of movies that will be talked about in ten years. “Inside Llewyn Davis” will be and it deserves to be. For me this will go down as one of Oscar’s worst snubs.
  • While I’m voicing frustration, where on earth is Oscar Isaac? Talk about an incredible multi-layered performance. Excuse me while I make an unpopular statement – I would much rather see Isaac nominated for “Inside Llewyn Davis” than Leo DiCaprio for “The Wolf of Wall Street”. Isaac was brilliant and not only acted but performed his own music. Maybe he doesn’t have the star power the Academy is looking for. What a shame.
  • Sticking to the Best Actor category, I’m happy for Christian Bale and his nomination for “American Hustle“. The Golden Globes snubbed him and put their attention on Lawrence, Adams, and Cooper. For me Bale was the lifeblood of that film. Loved his work there.
  • And lets not leave the Best Actor category just yet. How is Mads Mikkelsen not on this list for his near perfect performance in “The Hunt“. Look, I was never expecting him to make it, but he is another name that I would have loved to have seen instead of Leo.
  • Does Meryl Streep just automatically get a nomination regardless of the film? To be fair I haven’t seen “August: Osage County”. But many critics (who usually adore her) were calling her performance too loud and overdone. Yet here we are, another Oscars and another nomination for Streep.
  • No real surprises in the Best Supporting Actress category other than Julia Roberts (slightly). But this is Jennifer Lawrence’s statue to win. Is she deserving? Personally I don’t think so. She isn’t bad in “American Hustle” but the material doesn’t offer her a lot of range until a little later in the film. Still the Academy loves her and the much more deserving Lupita Nyong’o will go home empty-handed.
  • Big fan of Michael Fassbender’s work in “12 Years a Slave” and I would love to see him win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. I’m also happy for Bradley Cooper, an actor who is getting better and better. And hats off to Barkhad Abdi. I loved seeing him at the Globes and he deserves a trip to the Oscars.
  • Surprised that “Blue is the Warmest Color” didn’t at least get an Oscar nomination in the Foreign Language Film category. I’m also surprised to see Asghar Farhadi’s “The Past” get snubbed. Personally “The Hunt” is the movie I’ll be rooting for but “The Great Beauty” may pull off yet another upset.
  • Gravity” had a really nice morning. It’s my favorite film of the year but for some reason I don’t see it taking home the big prize. I would love to see Cuaron get Best Director and the film win Best Picture. But for some reason this doesn’t feel like the Academy’s cup of tea.
  • I still think that Oscar night will be a good one for “12 Years a Slave“. Not my favorite film of the year and certainly not perfect. But it is powerful stuff featuring some standout performances. It’s also one of the few nominated movies that has staying power. So call that my early prediction: “12 Years a Slave” will win Best Picture.

So there are a few random thoughts on this morning’s Oscar nominations. What say you? What did the Academy get right and what did it get wrong? Agree or disagree with my takes? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below. Now on to March 2nd!

Here are the list of Oscar Nominees:

Best 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 – Dallas Buyers Club

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

Original Song
Alone Yet Not Alone – Alone Yet Not Alone
Happy – Despicable Me 2
Let It Go – Frozen
The Moon Song – Her
Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Adapted Screenplay
Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
Philomena
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Original Screenplay
American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club
Her
Nebraska

Best Animated Feature Film
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
Frozen
The Wind Rises

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

Best Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture
Omar

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

Best Actress
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County

Best Actor
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

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

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34 thoughts on “Oscar Nominations 2014 – Hits & Misses

  1. Even though I haven’t seen Llewyn Davis, I still expected it to feature.
    Great to see Bale get a nod here but u reckon it’s the year of McConaughey. Again, I haven’t seen the film but the academy do like transformative performances and MMc looks the part as well as deliver consistently outstanding work over the last couple of years.

    I’m really rooting for Fassbender too. Outstanding work from that man!

    • That’s a great point. The Academy does love transformative performances and MM certainly gives one of those. Personally, I would still rather see him get nominated for Mud. Love that movie and his performance.

  2. I agree with much of your commentary. Llewyn Davis surprised me too. I liked Philomena and Dallas Buyer’s Club a lot, but Llewyn Davis is better.

    I would not have nominated Streep, personally.

    Anyway, great work!

  3. It’s an interesting omission (ILD) given what I’ve read about it (I haven’t seen it yet as it isn’t out in the UK…at least as far as I’m aware!). I am hoping to catch a couple of the nominations this week. Shame the fuss about Gravity has died down to an extent due to some excellent films that have appeared in the months since.
    p.s. I am a tad surprised that Tom Hanks has not been nominated for Captain Phillips, but it’s a strongly contested category I guess.

    • I really liked Hanks as well. He was excellent in Captain Phillips. You right though, that is an incredibly dense category.

      Hope you get to check out ILD soon. It’s definitely worth it. I’m still rooting for Gravity though!

  4. While I still need to see it, I do feel bad for All Is Lost. Everyone has said how good the film is and how good Redford is, and yet it is very underrepresented at the Oscars. I chalk it up to the film not being well known enough among the masses.

    I haven’t seen 12 Years a Slave either, but I’d be very surprised if it didn’t win BP. I would love Chewey to win. He’s a great actor and deserves more recognition.

    Finally, while I would love The Hobbit to win special effects (or any award really), Gravity is a sure fire winner. Gravity is the Avatar of special effects this year (of course, I actually wasn’t that impressed with Avatars effects, but that’s beside the point).

    • Glad you mentioned “All is Lost”. It’s an excellent movie and I was surprised to see Redford not get a nod. That said, Best Actor is probably the strongest category.

      The special effects category does have a couple of glaring omissions. But as you said, Gravity has that one in the bag.

  5. I don’t believe that Blue is the Warmest Color was eligible, so that may have kept it out of the foreign film category. I also haven’t seen August: Osage County, so that one surprised me and had an impact on who else made the cut.

    Overall, I do think that saying anyone was “snubbed” doesn’t really work since it comes from such a large voting pool. I’m guessing it was a close vote, and the Academy tends to stick with what they know. The Coens have had success, but something like Philomena with Judi Dench seems like a type of movie that would get nominated. Of course, I could say the same thing about Saving Mr. Banks, so it’s never so easy I guess.

    • I don’t know. “Snub” may fit here. It’s really odd to me that “Llewyn Davis” didn’t get a mention. Especially with their weird 9 Best Picture spots.

      Philomena is one I do need to see.

    • And I would think “Blue is the Warmest Color” would be eligible. Wasn’t it a 2013 film. It did receive a GG nomination but they may have two completely different sets of criteria.

      • I just checked on this issue, and it wasn’t released in its home country in time (before October) to be submitted for consideration. France couldn’t submit it and decided not to adjust the schedules to give it a chance to be their choice. Weird.

  6. Completely agree with you about Inside Llewyn Davis, even though I am happy to see Leo nominated. A nomination for Meryl Streep is just typical of the Academy to be honest but I doubt she’ll win.
    Really not a fan of American Hustle so it’s bothering me that it’s getting so much praise – hopefully 12 Years A Slave will beat it in most categories.

    • I think you’re exactly right about Streep. I don’t think she has a chance at winning. But she must have some ‘Honor Life Nomination’ thing going.

      I really do think that “12 Years” will beat out “Hustle” for the big prize. Kinda partial to “Gravity” myself.

      Thanks for the comments!

      • Haha definitely!
        I am a big Gravity fan too, I’d love to see it gain the recognition it deserves.

        No problem!

  7. “Still the Academy loves her and the much more deserving Lupita Nyong’o will go home empty-handed.” – oh don’t be so sure. There are still SAG awards. And if Lawrence is 2 times Academy Award winning actress for me the awards will lose even more of their credibility.

    I love that Hill was nominated . Hanks snub for Captain Phillips is the worst snub since Fassbender in shame.

  8. Emma Thompson is missing. I wonder if the unpleasant first hour of the performance undermined her chances, or if the Meryl Streep comments about Disney turned some voters. I would have thought she was a lock. Hanks was solid but the last ten minutes were his moments. They may have been too obviously great in comparison. I’d have Hanks in over Leo and Thompson in over Streep.

  9. For me, Tom Hanks deserved a nomination as Best Actor so it is a shame he missed out. I hope Captain Phillips picks up a few awards though – it was a surprise for me just how good that film was.

  10. We’re in agreement with lots of these Keith. I too have gripes regarding “INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS“ but for acting and music, which I thought was stellar. Thrilled for Barkhad Abdi and I LOVE that he’s nominated because he deserved it. Bummed not seeing Daniel Bruhl and Mads Mikkelsen’s names… also Joaquin Phoenix whom I’ve been championing ever since I saw Her. Btw, you haven’t seen the film yet but I think you’d be as mad seeing Jonah Hill’s name on there.

    • Oh I tried watching it and left. I just couldn’t do it. I guess I am a little closed-minded but what I saw of “Wolf” didn’t work for me at all. As for Jonah Hill, I’ll always found him to be overrated. What I saw in “Wolf” reenforced that.

      Hanks, Mikkelsen, Isaac, and Phoenix. Four excellent lead performances that I would rather see nominated ahead of Leo! Just sayin’. 😉

      • “Hanks, Mikkelsen, Isaac, and Phoenix. Four excellent lead performances that I would rather see nominated ahead of Leo!” Hear, hear!! I like Leo, I just don’t think he should’ve won this year, esp. ahead of so many other great performers that got overlooked.

      • I like a comment you made about Leo. He’s had so many other better performances that deserved nominations. The one that immediately comes to mind for me is “Shutter Island”. It didn’t work for some but I thought he was absolutely brilliant. Of course it got no attention from the Academy.

  11. The snub for Inside Llewyn Davis is bewildering for me. Even American Hustle, a movie I really like, isn’t in the same league. I was happy to see nominations for her, 12 Years A Slave, and The Wolf of Wall Street as well as some love for Matthew McConaughey (though I haven’t seen Dallas Buyers Club yet), but it’s truly disappointing Davis got almost nothing.

    • THANK YOU! I’m with you 100%. It hard not to view the “Llewyn Davis” omission as a snub! I mean there was even an empty Best Picture slot that they chose to leave empty! And they even snubbed it in the music categories. Just terrible.

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