Oscar Watching: All About That Snub
As you surely know by now, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Birdman and Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards with nine bids each.
But right now, we’re all about that snub, and of course, there wasn’t just one “snub.” This column could dedicate itself to the (ab)use of the four-letter word, but I’m more comfortable discussing the awards themselves right now.
First, regardless of your personal thoughts, the biggest omission of the morning was the animation branch’s snuffing The LEGO Movie. The film made a killing at the box office and emerged as the early yet constant critical darling among animated films; as they did with the Jump Street films, directors and writers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller master subversion with this film that’s blocky in literal, physical structure and smooth literally everywhere else.
However, a decent chunk of LEGO involves a live-action frame story, which may have given animation branch members some concern despite the film’s eligibility. Additionally, the voting system for the category is based on a points system, which means that members can technically vote against certain nominees.
But the omission that made for the biggest headlines came with Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Despite being recognized in an eight-nominee best picture lineup, the film only scored recognition in one other category: original song for “Glory” by Common and John Legend. The historical drama landed bigger attention at the Golden Globes earlier this season but failed to connect with other awards groups. Naturally,
Saying that Selma didn’t connect with other groups, though, might not be fair, as the awards campaign behind the film was severely lacking. The cut that played at AFI Fest was an unfinished edit of the film; screeners for Selma in its finished form were not ready in time for most awards groups to see the film before their voting deadlines. More specifically, Anne Thompson reports that the Directors Guild of America (DGA), Producers Guild of America (PGA), and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) were affected; only members of the motion-picture academy and Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) received screeners. The BFCA nominated the film for five awards, including picture, director, and actor for David Oyelowo
Granted, this isn’t to say that racism and sexism didn’t play a part in Selma’s coming up short on Oscar-nominations morning. But the screener dilemma hurt the film’s chances in obvious ways, too.
As for other perceived slights on Oscar morning, many expected Jennifer Aniston to make the actress lineup for indie dramedy Cake; Jessica Chastain was a precursor favorite in supporting actress for A Most Violent Year; Nightcrawler only made the original screenplay cut, despite Jake Gyllenhaal’s impressive showing with precursor groups.
Next, we’ll take a look at the major eight categories now that we actually know the nominees.