With the Oscar nominations for 2013 having been announced
this past Thursday, there was as much talk about who wasn’t nominated as there was about the actual nominees. Everything from best picture snubs for The Dark Knight Rises
and Moonrise Kingdom,
to directing snubs for Ben Affleck (Argo
) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty
), to acting snubs for John Hawkes (The Sessions
) and Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained
) had people up in arms.
Snubs for outstanding work are nothing new. Here is a look back at what I consider to be the biggest Oscar snubs of the past ten years…
5. WALL-E - 2008 Best Picture
Beauty & the Beast broke the animation curse in 1991 when it scored a Best Picture nomination, and this was back in the days when there were only five nominees in the category. Pixar’s best film in their entire history deserved to be the second film to be honored with a Best Picture nomination, but the Academy opted not to include it in the list of nominees.
Common wisdom holds that leaving both WALL-E and The Dark Knight out of the Best Picture race was the key to them expanding to 10 nominees the very next year, but that’s still no excuse for ignoring them in favor of inferior fare like The Reader and preordained winnerSlumdog Millionaire.
4. United 93 - 2006 Best Picture
Although it did score a nomination for its director Paul Greengrass, the most riveting film of 2006 was United 93. A straightforward, virtually real-time chronology of the events that took place on board the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania on the morning of September 11 was the perfect film for bringing catharsis to the United States.
The film is difficult to watch, but impossible to forget, and the fact that the Academy chose to nominate obvious Oscar grab films like The Queen and Letters From Iwo Jima only served to illustrate how out of touch they were with the times.
3. Jim Carrey - 2004 Best Actor (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind)
It was a foregone conclusion that Jamie Foxx was going to win Best Actor in 2004 for his performance in Ray, but it’s an absolute shame that the Academy refused to throw a bone to Jim Carrey. After ignoring his award-worthy performances in The Truman Show and Man on the Moon, they seemed to have it in for the actor, but not nominating him for his best, most realistically grounded and wonderful performance ever was just pouring salt in a wound.
It doesn’t hurt that it’s my favorite film of all-time, and very deservedly won an Oscar for its screenplay, but a good portion of why the film is as effective and unforgettable as it is is due to Carrey’s amazing performance.
2. Spirited Away - 2002 Best Original Screenplay
Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece was given the second ever Best Animated Feature Oscar, but the film’s screenplay is the absolute gold standard of script writing. The film has an economy of emotion, language and some startling imagery, and it was quite simply the best written film of 2002, animated or not.
Considering that there were two other nominees in the category that were not written in English (Talk to Her and Y Tu Mama Tambien), it’s even more egregious that this beautifully written film was overlooked.
1. Christopher Nolan - 2010 Best Director (Inception)
You could make a case for Christopher Nolan being snubbed in this category for at least three other films (Memento, The Dark Knight, The Prestige), but it was his snub for Inceptionin 2010 that really stood out.
Nolan is arguably the most accomplished and successful filmmaker both critically and commercially since Steven Spielberg, but the fact that the Academy has ignored his work behind the camera is absurd. The way in Inception that he deftly handled multiple storylines and settings, and kept numerous balls in the air, landing them all at the exact right moment is the work of a true master.
He will get his recognition eventually, but I fear that much like Martin Scorsese, it will be far too late.
Just missed the cut:
Best Editing & Makeup 2012: Cloud Atlas
Best Actor 2011: Michael Fassbender (Shame)
Best Supporting Actor 2011: Albert Brooks (Drive)
Best Supporting Actress 2010: Mila Kunis (Black Swan)
Best Picture 2007: The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
Best Supporting Actress 2006: Ivana Baquero (Pan’s Labyrinth)
Best Actor 2005: Ralph Fiennes (The Constant Gardener)
Best Picture 2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Best Actor 2004: Paul Giamatti (Sideways)