2014 Oscar nominations: Snubs and surprises

Taylor Bigler Entertainment Editor
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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.


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.)


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.


Tom Hanks starred in a movie last year and DID NOT receive an Oscar nod. If you look up “snub” in the dictionary, I’m pretty sure this is the definition. Instead, former rom-com king Matthew McConaughey took his place for his amazing performance in “Dallas Buyer’s Club.” Bruce Dern (“Nebraska”), Christian Bale (“American Hustle”), Leonardo DiCaprio “(The Wolf of Wall Street”) and Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave”) round out the nominees for best actor. I’m not mad at any of these guys, although if I were to add someone it would be Joaquin Phoenix for “Her.” But I’m not quite sure who I would replace him with because they all deserve to be here — even if Leo deserves the win the most, and not just because he has never won an Oscar. It’s because out of any of these dudes, he seriously acts his ass off in “Wolf of Wall Street.” He put 1,000 percent into that role and then some. If I were a betting man — and I certainly am — I’d bet that it will come down to Leo and McConaughey.


No disrespect to Dame Judi Dench, but WHY is she on this list? Sure, “Philomena” was a fine — if way too cutesy — movie and, sure, Dench was good in it. But had this movie come out earlier in the year, I’m not sure anyone would be talking about it. The rest of the nominees in this category I can get on board with: Amy Adams (“American Hustle”), Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity”) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County”). Although I realize it was a long shot, I would have LOVED to see Julia Louis-Dreyfus on this list for “Enough Said.” And I think if this movie had come out later on in the year, we would see her name.


And the nine nominees (out of a possible 10) are:

“12 Years a Slave”
“American Hustle”
“Captain Phillips”
“Dallas Buyers Club”
“The Wolf of Wall Street”

What’s wrong with this list? OH, I KNOW! “Inside LLewyn Davis” isn’t on it and “Philomena” is! “Llewyn Davis” was completely robbed and either should take “Philomena’s” place on this list, or been the tenth nominee. Not that it matters, because “12 Years a Slave” will win although “American Hustle,” “Her” or “Wolf of Wall Street” should win.

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