In the wake of this morning’s Academy Awards nomination announcement, the folks here at snaptwig.com wanted to take a few minutes’ break from scrutinizing the nominees in order to call your attention to a few notable pictures and performers who were neglected when the Academy cast its votes.
Here for your reading pleasure is our list of the Oscar’s most egregious snubs.
The full list of nominees can be seen here.
For a list of our predictions, click here.
Best Supporting Actress – Keira Knightley, ‘Seeking a Friend for the End of the World’
Typically, no one is quicker to judge Keira Knightley than this reviewer, however, the actress surprised audiences twice this year with soulful performances that distinguished her (finally) as one of the talents of her generation. In the past, Knightley’s performances have tended towards the stock, and, on paper, her flighty, earthy chick in ‘Seeking a Friend’ would seem to be no different.
In the midst of a crumbling society, Penny’s belief in the importance of vinyl is comforting. Her desire to find her family is understandable. Her slow revelation that family is the people you choose is blindingly obvious. But the subtlety with which Knightley mixes these traits and the journey she leads the audience on is at once hilarious, compelling and life-affirming.
Best Supporting Actor – Samuel L. Jackson, ‘Django Unchained’
It’s a controversial choice in a film blanketed in controversy. Samuel L. Jackson plays one of the most hated archetypes in all of fiction as a house slave who believes wholeheartedly that the Antebellum South is civilization at its height.
Further, Jackson took the brave step of portraying an unlikeable character as simply unlikeable. In a Hollywood where even the bad guys have an air of sympathy surrounding them, Jackson took his character to a place informed by unflinching belief and irrefutable necessity and his portrayal was made all the richer for it.
Best Actress – Kara Hayward, ‘Moonrise Kingdom’
There’s been quite a lot of hubbub over a certain young performer this awards season, and Ms. Hayward isn’t that young performer. While it is noteworthy to see a six-year-old convey all the emotions of an actual person, Hayward’s performance in ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ stands as a soaring accomplishment of the nuance that a really talented performer can bring to an admittedly under-developed role.
Given a part whose emotion relies almost entirely on her facial expressions (Wes Anderson doesn’t do revealing dialogue), Hayward creates a fully fleshed out young woman who stands out even in the midst of no joke, A-list talent.
Best Actor – Jack Black, ‘Bernie’
As a character, Bernie could have been a mess. The script doesn’t have him do much more than hit on a variety of old ladies and whimper in contrition. Even backed by the earnest support of an entire town, the murderous mortician in Richard Linklater’s “inspired by true events” film could very easily have come off as a lecherous, two-faced snake.
Wrapped in a genteel Southern twang, however, Jack Black – the actor most notable for a bevy of less-than-intelligent comedies – infuses Bernie with a loveable sadness that makes the question “Is Bernie a guilty man?” truly difficult to answer.
Best Director – Joss Whedon, ‘Avengers’
Here’s the short list of Joss Whedon’s accomplishments with ‘The Avengers’: He wrangled a posse of gigantic names into a three hour vehicle that featured all but favored none (which is pretty impressive when Robert Downey, Jr. is in your cast). He spun a story that is as thrilling to watch the third time through as it is the first. He shut down a Christopher Nolan ‘Batman’ movie. He made over $600 million in the US alone. He made Mark Ruffalo palatable.
If a director’s real job is to make sure the people working under him are doing fantastic work, then Joss Whedon may just be one of the best directors of all time. Disregarding his past feats (he got Luke Perry to act!), the man responsible for a franchise so big it’s actually built of other franchises) pulled off a magic trick on par with . . . well, with getting Luke Perry to act.
Best Picture – The Master
This is a film that very well might be a victim of it’s own circumstances. Whether it’s because the star, Joaquin Phoenix, tanked the film’s prospects by calling the Oscars “bulls**t” (no comment), or because audiences didn’t know what to make of the dense epic that was wrongly billed as “the Scientology movie”, we may never know.
Oscar nom or no, the film is undeniably impactful. From the meticulously created costumes, to the constrained beauty of the cinematography, to the mind-blowingly awesome performances by the film’s leads (Hoffman and Phoenix get lots of deserving praise, but Amy Adams more than holds her own as Hoffman’s wife), to the expected care that the film’s director, Paul Thomas Anderson, pays to the details and the subtext, ‘The Master’ is a film you may very well hate. But it’s also a film that will challenge you and stay with you for months and years to come.