Oscars 2015

Oscar noms 2015: Surprises and snubs

The nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced early this morning and as usual, the Academy generated lots of buzz with its picks. My initial reaction to the nominations was one of disappointment. Not one acting nomination went to a person of color. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised as the only legitimate candidate this year appeared to be David Oyelowo, who starred in “Selma,” but still, this is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner than later in Hollywood. The immediate need isn’t to produce more award recognition for minorities; it’s to produce more opportunities for minorities to gain that recognition by featuring them in more movies. But maybe diversity is still a four-letter word in Hollywood.

Here’s a look at who the Academy invited to the big Oscar party and who will be staying home watching it on TV like the rest of us.

Best Picture
“American Sniper”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”

Surprise: “American Sniper” was snubbed by the Golden Globes, so it didn’t appear that it would make Oscar’s final list, but I guess you can never underestimate the power of a good military flick.

Snub: Although I didn’t care for the film myself, “Foxcatcher” is probably the most glaring omission here, especially considering the film’s director earned a nod for Best Director. “Gone Girl” and “Nightcrawler” should also have made this list.

Best Actor
Steve Carrell – “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper – “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch – “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton – “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne – “The Theory of Everything”

Surprise: Well, hello Bradley Cooper. Not recognized by the Golden Globes or the Screen Actors Guild, Cooper makes a surprise appearance on the Oscar ballot. This is his third nomination in three years.

Snub: The omission of Jake Gyllenhaal for his performance in “Nightcrawler” is criminal and really makes me sick. His was one of my top three performances of 2014 (behind Keaton and J.K. Simmons in “Whiplash”), and it’s disgusting that the Academy got this wrong. David Oyelowo (“Selma”) and Ralph Fiennes (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”) are also probably drowning their sorrows in a drink right about now.

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard – “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones – “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore – “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike – “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon – “Wild”

Surprise: Where did Marion Cotillard come from? The French Actress is no stranger to Oscar, having won the Best Actress award for “La Vie En Rose,” but had virtually no buzz coming in to award season. And no, Reese Witherspoon does not deserve this nomination.

Snub: Amy Adams won a Golden Globe last week for her performance in “Big Eyes” and has been nominated by the Academy five times previously, so it’s a bit of a surprise that she didn’t get her sixth nod this year.

Best Supporting Actor
Robert Duvall – “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke – “Boyhood”
Edward Norton – “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo – “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons – “Whiplash”

No surprises or snubs here. This is one category that the Academy got right.

Best Supporting Actress
Patricia Arquette – “Boyhood”
Laura Dern – “Wild”
Emma Stone – “Birdman”
Keira Knightley – “The Imitation Game”
Meryl Streep – “Into the Woods”

Surprise: Laura Dern’s performance in “Wild” generated some Oscar buzz very early on, but when she didn’t get nominated by the Golden Globes or Screen Actors Guild, her Oscar chances appeared to be shot. And yet another nomination for Meryl Streep? Yawn…

Snub: There aren’t too many supporting actress performances that scream to be recognized this year (it was a pretty weak year for strong female roles), but the first one that comes to mind is Oscar favorite Jessica Chastain for her performance in “A Most Violent Year.”

Best Director
Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu – “Birdman”
Richard Linklater – “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller – “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson – “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum – “The Imitation Game”

Surprise: Your movie “Foxcatcher” wasn’t good enough to earn one of the 10 eligible Best Picture nominations, but you get a nomination? Who’d you pay off Bennett Miller?

Snub: I would have loved to have seen first time director Damien Chazelle earn some recognition for “Whiplash,” my personal favorite film of the year.