2013 was a phenomenal year in movies and so it was an extremely crowded year for Academy Award nominations. While there were some definite shoo-ins in the major categories, there were definitely some snubs and a handful of nominees whose names shouldn’t have been called.
Joel and Ethan Coen are glaringly absent from every major category for the great “Inside LLewyn Davis,” including best director. All of the nominees (Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”), David O. Russell (“American Hustle”), Alfonso Cuarón (“Gravity”), Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”) and Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) all deserve to be nominated in this category. There just wasn’t enough room for the Coen brothers this time.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
It really is extraordinary that “Captain Phillips” was Barkhad Abdi’s first ever movie role, which he auditioned for while he was a driving limos in Minnesota. This wasn’t exactly a shock, but many wondered if the Academy would acknowledge an unknown, so kudos to them. But besides best director, this is perhaps the most crowded Oscars category this year. Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyer’s Club”), Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave”) and Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”) were all shoo-ins, but Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) was kind of a dark horse this year for his outrageous, buck-toothed, cousin-marrying, despicable character. This is Hill’s second unexpected nomination in this category; the first was for his role in “Moneyball.” I can’t really complain about any of these nominees. (Fun fact: This is the second year in a row that a David O. Russell film has received nominations in all four acting categories.)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
I really don’t want this to come out the wrong way. I LOVE Jennifer Lawrence to death. LOVE HER. However, I am a bit concerned that she is peaking too early. She just won a best actress nomination for a David O. Russell flick last year, and now — at 23 — she is on track to win her second Oscar in a row. Is this just because she is so great, or because people like the narrative? I really hope it is the former. She was fantastic in “American Hustle,” but I could also root for June Squibb to pull an upset for her hilarious turn in “Nebraska.” As much as I love Lawrence, I love an underdog and this could temper my fear that Lawrence mania is too much too soon. (Another reason not to give Lawrence the best supporting actress Oscar is because it could kill her career. What ever happened to Renée Zellweger, Jennifer Connelly, Melissa Leo or Mo’Nique, you ask? They all won best supporting actress and all of their careers went downhill from there.) Julia Roberts was good in “August: Osage County,” but the movie is too polarizing for her to win. Lupita Nyong’o is heartbreaking in “12 Years a Slave,” but her role may be too small. And Sally Hawkins was a little too grating for my taste in “Blue Jasmine.” This was the least crowded major category this year.