Oscar 2014: Snubs in Acting and Directing Categories

“The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “Birdman” led with nine Oscar nominations each, followed by eight for “The Imitation Game,” while “American Sniper” came on strong with six, just like “Boyhood.”

Here are the biggest snubs and surprises.

SNUB: Jennifer Aniston, “Cake.”

Jennifer Aniston campaigned  hard this awards season on both coasts in support of her drama about a woman living with chronic pain.

“Cake” received mixed to negative reviews at the Toronto Film Fest and had to be self-distributed by Cinelou Films.  SAG has always been friendlier to TV actors who transition into film.  Some Academy weren’t impressed by the script, and they felt that Aniston was much better in “The Good Girl.”

SNUB: Ava DuVernay, “Selma.”

The Academy had a chance to make history by nominating DuVernay as the first African American female director for making “Selma,” the powerful drama about the 1965 civil rights marches. But instead, they once again recognized five men, which prompted immediate outrage on Twitter.

SNUB: Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”

Gyllenhaal, who lost 30 pounds to play LA crime paparazzo Lou Bloom in Dan Gilroy’s directorial debut, deserved an Oscar nomination for best actor, and his omission in the category is a shame. The performance has its diehard fans. But this year, the best race was more crowded than ever, and my guess is that Gyllenhaal—who picked up all the pre-cursor nominations—narrowly missed out.

SNUB: “The Lego Movie”

The fourth most successful animated movie of 2014—with a domestic box office gross of $258 million—was thought to be a strong contender to win best-animated film. But somehow Oscar voters managed to snub the comedy directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, instead nominating lesser-known titles “Song of the Sea” and “The Tale of Princess Kaguya.”

SNUB: “Unbroken”

Two months ago, Angelina Jolie’s drama about World War II hero Louis Zamperini was thought to be an Oscars frontrunner. But after it was snubbed by both the Golden Globes and SAGs, it lost most of its momentum, despite an impressive box office gross that’s already crossed $100 million domestically.

Of the eight movies nominated for best picture, six of them are indies, and the two studio releases–“Selma and American Sniper”–are only now expanding wider into theaters.

SNUB: David Oyelowo, “Selma”

His role as Martin Luther King, Jr., also didn’t make the cut in the best actor race, despite glowing reviews. After receiving a Golden Globe nomination, many thought that Oyelowo had a strong shot at an Oscars run, but there were seven actors (along with Gyllenhaal) competing for the five slots.

SNUB: “Interstellar”

The reason that the Academy now nominates up to 10 movies for best picture is so that Oscar voters can find room for blockbusters like this space epic directed by Christopher Nolan. But they still managed to snub Nolan even with the extra slots, which begs the question: Why is there even an expanded best picture race? Nolan also missed out in the best director category, where he’s never been nominated.

SNUB: “Gone Girl”

Another high-profile hit, Fincher’s “Gone Girl” wasn’t able to earn nominations in best picture or best director. At least breakout star Rosamund Pike landed her first best actress nomination for playing Amazing Amy.

SNUB: “Foxcatcher”

Its director Bennett Miller managed to eke out a nomination, but the film—about real-life Olympic wrestler Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) who befriends a disturbed millionaire (Steve Carell)—didn’t appear in the best picture category.

SNUB: Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”

Chastain had a strong year with “Interstellar,” “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby” and “A Most Violent Year,” and she was expected to receive her third Oscar nomination for the latter drama, directed by J.C. Chandor, about a 1980s oil merchant’s wife. But the film may have not been seen by enough Academy voters.

SNUB: “Life Itself”

After snubbing 1994’s “Hoop Dreams” for best documentary, the Oscars short-listed Steve James’ documentary about film critic Roger Ebert’s final days.  The Sundance docu, which recently aired on CNN, was thought to be a lock in the category, and given the love of Ebert within the Academy, it could have won if it had made the cut.

SNUB: Amy Adams, “Big Eyes”

Adams was supposed to be the actress to take home the Oscar this year, until viewers say the Tim Burton biopic about painter Margaret Keane. But even with the mixed reviews, this year’s weak actress category meant she had a shot at her sixth nomination. Perhaps many felt that it wouldn’t be worth nominating her again if she wasn’t going to take the prize.

SNUB: Clint Eastwood, “American Sniper”

Despite a best picture nomination for his drama about Navy Seal Chris Kyle—and a nod this week from the Director’s Guild of America—Eastwood wasn’t able to lock up a best director nomination for his best film in years.