Oscar 2013: S&S

Oscar S&S (Snubs and Surprises)

The bad but inevitable news from having such a great year at the movies is the incredible disappointments with the Oscar nominations.

But Thursday morning’s nomination announcement was especially tough on the vet, legendary personas.

The Academy is not sentimental or nostalgic anymore:

No Oprah Winfrey for “The Butler”?

No Emma Thompson for “Saving Mr. Banks”?

No Robert Redford in “All Is Lost”?

No Tom Hanks in “Captain Phillips”?

No posthumous nomination for James Gandolfini in “Enough Said”?

The Academy shows a shifting trend to an organization cultivating the image of a younger, cooler, hipper (au courant) organization.

Remember Titanic, when Leonardo DiCaprio failed to get a nomination.  This year, DiCaprio wasn’t left off the Oscars list for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” And

Harvey Weinstein managed to keep his best picture streak alive–he’s been nominated in the category every year since 2008’s “The Reader”–by effectively campaigning for “Philomena.”

The biggest Oscars snubs and surprises are:


Oprah Winfrey, “Lee Daniels’ “The Butler.” Her best onscreen work since 1985’s “The Color Purple” was at one point seen as a frontrunner in the best supporting actress category. It might just be that the Academy, which has a notoriously short memory, forgot the Lee Daniels drama, which was released in August. The film and its star Forest Whitaker were also left off, despite a strong showing at the Screen Actors Guild nominations.


Emma Thompson, “Saving Mr. Banks.” The universally loved actress is the only person to have ever won Oscars for both writing (1995’s “Sense and Sensibility”) and acting (1992’s “Howards End.”) Academy voters were not fans of Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” in general–the Mary Poppins origin drama only received one Oscar nomination in total (Original Score), a rather embarrassing display, considering “Banks” was a tailor-made awards drama featuring Walt Disney himself.


Robert Redford, “All is Lost.” Back in September, Redford wasn’t just a frontrunner for a nomination–he was predicted to win his first acting Oscar ever for this one-man show.  Redford has only been nominated for an Oscar once for 1973’s “The Sting.”

In the end, he was hurt by Lionsgate’s weak campaign for the film, as well as by the fact that the drama doesn’t play well on a DVD screener.


Tom Hanks, “Captain Phillips.” It wasn’t a good year for men lost at sea. Hanks, who has won two Oscars but hasn’t been nominated in 13 years, was overlooked for both “Captain Phillips” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”


“Inside Llewyn Davis.” Even with nine best picture nominees, the Coen brothers, a perennial Academy favorite, lost out this time in the top category with their musical dramedy.  It’s one of the myseries of the season: The Coens lyrical feature failed to get nominations from any of the guilds.


Joaquin Phoenix, “Her.” He carried the Spike Jonze drama (with the help of Scarlett Johansson’s voice), but the best actor race was too crowded.


This is borderline snub.  Some (nor me) believe that James Gandolfini, “Enough Said.” He deserved a posthumous nomination for best supporting actor for his turn (his last) in the Nicole Holofcener romantic comedy.


Daniel Bruhl, “Rush.” Ron Howard’s race car picture underperformed at the box office, but Bruhl looked like he could have made a comeback after his nominations from both the Golden Globes and the SAGs.

SNUB: “Fruitvale Station.” Despite its status as the breakout indie of the year and backing from the Weinstein company, Ryan Coogler’s emotionally powerful drama didn’t make it into the best picture category. Its summer release date probably hurt its Oscar chances.

SNUB: “Monsters University.” Pixar usually has one film in the best-animated category. Its presequel to “Monster Inc.” has been overlooked for most of awards season.

SURPRISE: Amy Adams, “American Hustle.” After her Golden Globe win on Sunday, Adams has quietly been building momentum as David O. Russell’s comedy continues to perform well at the box office. This is her fifth Oscar nomination. And she’s now is in the curious position of being the only non-winner in the category opposite Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”), Judi Dench (“Philomena”) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”). Blanchett is still the frontrunner, but if there’s an upset in this category, it will be Adams.

SURPRISE. Christian Bale, “American Hustle.” Last year, David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” became the first film in 31 years to land Oscar nominations in all four acting categories. O. Russell pulled off that trick again, making “American Hustle” only the fifteenth movie to do so, with the inclusion of Bale, Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

SURPRISE. Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” DiCaprio had started to look like the Susan Lucci of the Oscars. This is his fourth nomination, but he’d been previously snubbed a lot (see “Titanic,” “Catch Me if You Can,” “The Departed,” “Revolutionary Road,” “Shutter Island,” “Inception,” “J. Edgar” and “Django Unchained.”) What did he do differently this year? He actually campaigned a little.

SURPRISE: Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine.” This was the first role as an American for Hawkins, who was humble and gracious on the Q&A circuit this past year.

SURPRISE: “Philomena.” The small British drama is one of the happy surprises of the year for the Weinstein Co. Many thought that Weinstein, who has been nominated for best picture every year since 2008’s “The Reader,” might be sitting this Academy Awards ceremony out. But they forget the No. 1 rule of the Oscar race: never count out Harvey.