This year’s Oscar nominations, buoyed by a ten film Best Picture race, are hard to complain about. But I’ll manage somehow! Seriously, even with a fairly strong set of nominees, there are some movies that got shafted in some categories. On the flip side, there are some films that got rightfully shafted. Check out the entire list of nominees, as brought to you by Mr. Nick Nunziata while I was still asleep, and then come back here to see the five biggest snubs and the five best snubs at this year’s Oscars.
Five Snubs that Hurt
Melanie Laurent, Inglorious Basterds – The fact that Penelope Cruz got in ahead of Laurent makes my blood boil. Laurent had it all, from knee-liquefying beauty to gut-steeling toughness. Her Shoshanna is the real hero of Inglorious Basterds, and to deny a nomination to the woman whose features, in the Revenge of the Giant Face segment of the film, will be used in Oscar montages for decades to come is silly. In the end Laurent gave a classic, iconic performance that will impact women and culture for years to come.
Sam Rockwell, Moon – A truly tour de force performance, but Moon was shut out the entire way. To tell you why Sam Rockwell deserves this nom is to spoil the movie for you, and I suspect a couple of you goons out there haven’t hopped on the Moon bandwagon quite yet. Rectify that ASAP and you’ll see some incredible work from Rockwell. The bright side: this is a performance so good that Rockwell will probably win for it next year. You know how the Oscars like rewarding people they missed.
Michael Giacchino, Star Trek – I think Star Trek hit almost the exact right number of noms, except for score. How James Horner got in for his terrible Avatar score but not Giacchino for his newly iconic Trek score baffles me. Trek‘s a movie with a lot of problems and a few things that work so well you forget all those problems; one of those things that works so well is Giacchino’s amazing, soaring score.
Alex McDowell, Watchmen – The production design of Watchmen is simply fantastic. McDowell worked with Zack Snyder to create a completely realistic, believable and true alternate 1980s, yet his name is nowhere to be found. You can argue back and forth about the quality of Watchmen - I still love it – but the reality is that on a technical level this movie hit a couple of home runs, and one of those was the production design grand slam.
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - I don’t think Sony ever gave this movie the chance that it deserved. It’s a film that’s been getting discovered by a lot of people on home video… but none of those people seemed to be Academy members. The out of left field Secret of the Kells got the fifth slot that probably should have gone to this adaptation of the beloved childrens book starring Bill Hader.
Five Snubs that Delight
Scott Neustadter & Michael H Weber, (500) Days of Summer - At best a shameless rip off of Annie Hall, (500) Days of Summer is a movie whose popularity vexed me all year long. What really bugs me about this film’s script, besides its pointlessly cutesy structure, is that it’s a misogynistic piece of shit at the end of the day. The film is the howl of a dweeb (or two dweebs, as per the writing credit) who don’t understand women and fear and hate them. Horrible.
James Cameron, Avatar - That the WGA gave Avatar a Best Screenplay nod frightened; thankfully the Academy righted that wrong. Even the most die-hard Avatard must admit that every element of Avatar‘s screenplay was hackneyed, obvious and simply bad. Dialogue, characters and even plot beats rang hollow and false. Here’s your special award for visual awesomeness, Cameron, just fuck off with the idea that this is a real movie.
Zoe Saldana, Avatar - There was a lot of talk that Saldana was going to do what Andy Serkis couldn’t and get the first acting nom for a mocap performance. Thank the lords of Kobol that she didn’t. Here’s the test for deciding if a mocap performance is good: would you still be talking Oscar if the person was wearing prosthetics? Simply put Zoe Saldana wearing a latex facial appliance would never have been in the running for a performance that’s wonky, broad and silly.
I See You, Avatar – One of the best snubs of the year, the absence of I See You, the shitty, schmaltzy end credits song from Avatar, means that my eventual live blogging of the night will not end with me poking holes in my own ear drums. Truly one of the worst songs of its type, I See You proves that while James Cameron could oversimplify and calculate his way to a record breaking box office his cohorts couldn’t do the same with a theme song.
Invictus – Has the Academy finally realized that just throwing Oscar noms at Clint Eastwood is not their primary function? And might the fact that Clint got left out of the Best Picture and Best Director races mean that he’ll realize he should spend his final years on Earth making movies that are good, not that are calculated to get him invites to the Kodak Theater? There was some residual Clint-loving with the weird nomination of Matt Damon for Invictus despite the fact that nobody even cared about him in that role, and Morgan Freeman clogged up an otherwise good spot from the same film, but this snub feels like AMPAS putting away their Eastwood altar and looking at the old feller with clear eyes.