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Every year, the final list of nominees for one of the most important awards in Hollywood, the Oscar, is a subject of contention and furious debate. It seems inevitable that once the list is out, fans and critics start asking the golden question, “But what about [insert name or movie]?” since a year’s worth of cinematic delights is unlikely to be covered satisfactory during three hours on a Sunday night.
Toonari Post has compiled a list of the most conspicuous snubs for the 2012 Academy Awards.
More than one critic has noted that The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo’s Rooney Mara was handed the wildcard nod over Swinton, who gave a haunting performance in the adaptation of We Need to Talk About Kevin. It is difficult to make sense of the exclusion, and not to take anything away from Mara’s well-done performance, but the absence of Swinton after a performance like this is a terrible shame.
Speaking of shame, Michael Fassbender, not to mention the rest of the production that lay behind one of 2011’s most memorable movies, is mentioned everywhere as one of the greatest snubs this year. His turn as the successful New Yorker who roams the streets in a constant search for satisfaction because of his sex addiction delivers the intensity and ‘teeth’ that the Academy usually raves about.
Not this time, however; Hollywoodreporter.com muses that the NC-17 rating may have stifled the Academy’s willingness to lavish their praise – no performance in an NC-17 film has ever made the bar. Others wonder if it is his age (a mature 34) that stands in the way as the Academy is notoriously reluctant to give the nod to lead actors under 40. Whatever it is, the omission of his performance and the film Shame overall, is indeed a shame.
Grossly overlooked despite its potential, Pariah is a shot for the stars on behalf of director Dee Rees and newcomer Adepero Oduye who plays a 17-year-old Brooklyn high schooler who deals with some of the tough realities of youth, sexuality, and race.
Joining a list of other peculiar snubs, many followers of Pariah have noted that while The Help went away with four major nominations, the more realistic cinematic depiction of African American culture was passed over. Whether this is an unsavory trend or just mere coincidence is up to the individual, but many were sad to see this drama turned away.
Not only because of Ryan Gosling, who basically owned 2011, but also Albert Brooks who was heavily praised for his ‘gangland figure’ in one of the best rated movies of last year, according to Rottentomatoes.com; way ahead of Best Film nominee Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, for example, with 93 percent ‘fresh’ against a mere 45 percent.
The Danish director Nicolas Winding Refn managed to superimpose the qualities of the genre and the production into an ultra-chic movie that evidently matched the competition. Gosling had more than one fair shot at the statue this year, and Brooks, despite a nomination at the Golden Globes, was equally passed over (for Jonah Hill, who would have thought?). This is not to mention Carey Mulligan got a double negative as well with Shame. The obscure sound editing nod is nothing in comparison to the movie’s potential.
Some think that Steven Spielberg is the bigger directional snub, but here is the case for Fincher; his last two films earned him a solid place in the Academy sphere, and his adaptation of one of the most hyped books in recent years was sublimely in tune with his earlier work. What is more amazing is that he was nominated by the Directors Guild of America, one of the tone-setters in the rush to the Academy, but failed to make the cut. Most likely, he was passed over for The Tree of Life’s Terrence Malick.
Another case for The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is the snubbed Best Original Score, but at least Fincher can revel in the support for his leading lady, Rooney Mara.
Lars von Trier may not be the most socially apt person in the industry, but the filmmaker knows his craft, and it seems awkward that this movie, so rich in artistic expression, was undervalued at this year’s Oscars. If not for Best Cinematography, then certainly for Best Leading Actress.
There was a period last year when you could not open up a film magazine without the word Senna being mentioned somewhere. The gripping story about the life and death of Brazilian racing champion Ayrton Senna was compelling enough to speak to even the laypersons of Formula 1, but Empireonline.com has suggested that the snub is down to timing.
The documentary was already shown in some places in 2010, so the question of whether it qualified may have contributed. Nonetheless, the dissatisfaction is noticeable; there is even a Facebook group in protest.
The indie genre has before wooed the Academy, if not sometimes surprisingly, it has usually been a delight. This year, the American drama Take Shelter should have been that one delight; yet the Academy either overlooked it for something else or frankly, did not bother to see it (like many moviegoers, sadly). If they had, this list could have been a whole other story.
Called a ‘powerhouse performance’ by a number of media, Michael Shannon is the bulk of the reason why the movie could have been a sure hit at the Oscars; his character has left many fans hypnotized by the magnitude of his character and subtle, but terrorizing depiction of a man at the brink of insanity. Unlike last year’s Winter’s Bone though, the film was doomed to a place in near-obscurity.
The quirky cancer ‘dramedy’ 50/50 makes it into the list of conspicuous snubs on two accounts. First of all, indie sensation Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays the cancer-strciken Adam, does an incredible job of making cancer funny. In an interview with the British paper, The Telegraph, he explains, “It’s a different kind of comedy.
It’s not like the Marx Brothers: it’s a comedy that comes from a genuine human story,” and he pulls a performance which reflects both compassion and realism. He was good enough for a Golden Globe nomination, but evidently evaded the Academy’s woes.
The second snub was the otherwise expected nod for Best Original Screenplay for writer Will Reiser who loosely based the story on his own experience. In the company of his real-life friend, Seth Rogen, Reiser overcame a cancer diagnosis after a six-hour operation. Though they both admit that the film is far from an empirical version of Reiser’s illness, the story is meant to reflect the way he felt about the experience. That is probably why the movie is so good.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
A final name is added to the list, not for a lack of nomination, but because its exclusion reflects another of the Academy’s peculiar tendencies. According to Popwatch.ew.com, the final chapter in one of the most profitable franchises ever is the latest example of a selection trend that slowly, but surely, came about after the victory of The Godfather; the Academy is less and less interested in the ‘people’s vote’, choosing to honor low-grossing films over box office hits.
James Cameron’s Avatar was a notable exception in our time, but surprisingly wound up losing the award for Best Picture to The Hurt Locker, a solid, but average performing film.
It begs the question what decides what a Best Picture is. Fans of Harry Potter’s last chapter were disappointed that Alan Rickman, in the memorable role of Snape, failed to garner the support for a nomination in the Supporting Actor category. The Potter, himself, Daniel Radcliffe noted to The Guardian:
“I don’t think the Oscars like commercial films, or kids’ films, unless they’re directed by Martin Scorsese. I was watching Hugo the other day and going, ‘Why is this nominated, and we’re not?’ I was slightly miffed [...] There’s a certain amount of snobbery. It’s kind of disheartening. I never thought I’d care. But it would’ve been nice to have some recognition, just for the hours put in.”
Of course, nominations are not given out for effort, but was the final part of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows really worse than Best Picture nominee Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?