The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 86th annual Academy Awards on January 16th.
In recent years, the Oscars have fruitlessly tried to balance luring younger viewers, reflecting cultural attitudes, promoting critical opinion over popularity and justifying film as art all while trying to stay immune to the insane amount of campaigning that goes on during awards season.
This year, it looks like they just gave up.
The Academy doled out nominations to predictable contenders and snubbed edgy newcomers.
Martin Scorcese’s Wolf of Wall Street snagged seven nominations despite being a rated R version of the Great Gatsby.
David O. Russell rode the coattails of last year’s Silver Linings Playbook to 11 nominations, including one for all four of his lead actors. Russell’s films showcase actor- friendly roles but lack direction.
Fan favorites Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts both got nominations for their performances in August: Osage County, which received no other nominations. Not even for Adapted Screenplay, in which it was considered a contender. The film is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Tracy Letts.
The Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis received only two nominations, despite the Coen Brothers’ popularity among academy voters. Two of their films have won Best Picture and most of their films since No Country For Old Men have landed them in the Director and Picture categories. Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Jury Prize at Cannes, but most audiences just didn’t “get it”.
The Butler, Lee Daniel’s summer film about blacks in the White House, garnered no nominations. Not even for Oprah Winfrey, who critics thought was a shoo- in six months ago.
Also snubbed: the French- language coming- of- age drama Blue Is The Warmest Color (La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2), which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, and won Best Film at France’s Lumiere Awards.
Here are a few other nominations that would make the race more exciting.
Scarlett Johansson, Her
Debate swirled over whether or not a disembodied voice could snag Best Actress. I guess not.
Joaquin Phoenix, Her
The Academy couldn’t find room for the enigmatic Phoenix between Christian Bale and Leonado DiCaprio? Joaquin should have won for Walk The Line in 2005, but I guess the Academy feels no debt.
“Young and Beautiful”, Lana Del Rey, Rick Nowles, and Dan Heath
The love theme from “The Great Gatsby” not only became a Billboard hit, it scored most of the movie. Plus, who didn’t want to see Lana Del Rey at the Oscars?
“I See Fire”, Ed Sheeran, Pete Cobbin, Kirsty Whalley
Ed Sheeran promised to dress like a hobbit if nominated. Not that he doesn’t already, but it would have made the Red Carpet extra amusing. Who else takes advantage of walking on a carpet outdoors?
Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips
Hanks’ co-star, Barkhad Abdi, got an Oscar nomination, and he had three other people playing practically the same role. Tom Hanks got tortured and cried on- camera. Where is the love?
Okay, the CNN documentary came nowhere near the masterpiece of Animal Planet’s Megalodon. But its nomination would have sparked controversy, and given new hope to for TV- produced documentaries.
Also worth mentioning: If 12 Years A Slave wins Best Picture… Brad Pitt will have an Oscar.