8 Oscar Snubs That Totally Deserved It

The Academy Award nominations for the 2015 Oscars have been announced… which means a week of people bitching about snubs, praising pleasant surprises and otherwise arguing about the selections.

In other words, it’s one of the few weeks movie critics like myself love best, because it pushes all of our self indulgent bickering into the mainstream where average moviegoers may actually notice, if only for a fleeting second and with an indifferent shrug. After all, the Academy Awards, whether critics want to admit it or not, are the only movie awards that matter, because they are the only awards show average moviegoers actually pay attention to.

While there was plenty to complain about with this year’s nominations–the glaring lack of minorities among the top categories, the absence of Gone Girl from the Best Adapted Screenplay category, the overlooking of Jake Gyllenhaal, who gave the best performance of 2014 in the best movie of 2014, in favor of a big-nosed Steve Carell, and most notably no inclusion of The LEGO Movie for Best Animated Film, a category it was widely expected to win–here are eight snubs that deserved exactly what they got (derived from common themes I’ve seen through “the biggest Oscar snubs of 2015” articles that have been infecting the Internet):

8. Gone Girl, Best Picture/Best Director

While the box office hit is certainly deserving of the Best Adapted Screenplay nomination it didn’t get, it’s hard to get too worked up over the movie’s lack of recognition in two of the biggest categories. The movie is, at its heart, a darkly comedic thriller–not exactly the kind of movie that often gets a lot of Oscar love–and doesn’t even qualify among director David Fincher’s top five films. Gone Girl is good… but not that good. Then again, both the movie and Fincher are better than The Imitation Game and its director Morten Tyldum–but that’s not saying much.

7. Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year

I love Jessica Chastain. She’s beautiful and extremely talented. And while she’s good in the almost-great-but-ultimately-monotone A Most Violent Year, I can’t help but feel that people were calling for a nomination simply because she is Jessica Chastain. Her character is woefully underdeveloped in the movie, leaving her with not a lot to work with. On the flip side, Laura Dern was nominated for being in a few unemotional flashback sequences and Meryl Streep was nominated simply for being Meryl Streep among an extremely weak pool of best supporting actresses (even frontrunner Patricia Arquette didn’t excite me much)… so why the hell wasn’t Jessica Chastain nominated???

6. Jennifer Aniston, Cake

I hate to put Aniston on this list because I haven’t seen Cake, but from what it sounds like, while her performance is pretty good (I have yet to hear anyone praise it as “great”), the movie itself is pretty dreadful. Performances have to be through the roof to survive a bad movie, unfortunately. Also, had Cake been released a little earlier, more voters may have seen it.

5. Selma, Most Awards

The Martin Luther King, Jr. drama is really good, and it was honored with a Best Picture nod. It’s hard for me to feel too bad for the movie as a result. But while director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo were totally worthy of nominations, both their categories were extremely competitive. But that’s not why Selma made this list. Apparently, Paramount Pictures completely botched their awards campaign for this movie; the film wasn’t even screened in Seattle until 2015, for example, and screeners were sent to voters very late in the game. For a lack of effort on the part of the studio, Selma deserves its snubbing.

4. Clint Eastwood, American Sniper

Clint Eastwood has won two Oscars sitting in the director’s chair. While American Sniper is surprisingly good, thanks in part to Bradley Cooper’s great performance, it’s more entertaining than it is powerful. Besides, there were much better directorial efforts in 2014 anyway (though not by Bennett Miller and Morten Tyldum, who were nominated over the likes of David Fincher, Ava DuVernay and others).

3. Foxcatcher, Best Picture

This drama-thriller had Oscar buzz long before the average moviegoer had even heard about it. Sometimes the buzz translates into awesomeness, and sometimes the buzz amounts to a drab, uninspiring, and surface-level depiction of a weird-ass real-life story. Foxcatcher didn’t deserve a Best Picture nomination, and thankfully voters got this one right.

2. Unbroken, Best Picture

The lack of major Oscar love for Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken isn’t surprising. The movie, a desperate Oscar bait piece of filmmaking if you’ve ever seen one (watch the climax and disagree with me, I dare you!), just isn’t very good, and perhaps even worse it fails to be even half as amazing as the film’s subject’s amazing life. A few articles have called Unbroken‘s lack of nominations a snub, but really, its three nominations in technical categories are more than it deseves.

1. Amy Adams, Big Eyes

Amy Adams just won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Big Eyes, a movie that was neither a musical nor a comedy, and some people have flipped out that she wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar. But you know what? Big Eyes isn’t very good, Adams isn’t very good in it, and even if you disagree with both of those statements, you have to agree that she has been much, much better in the five other movies she has been nominated for. Don’t feel bad for her; she’ll get nominated next year for something.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Awards & Oscars, Featured, Movies, Top 10 Movie Lists
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