I know, I know; FilmsFilmsFilms was meant to be on a hiatus. It would take something monumental to stir us back into action. And this week the Academy offered up something truly shocking, even by their standards.
Most years the Oscars give someone or something the sort of cold shoulder treatment that raises a few eyebrows. In exceptional years the Academy really stirs the pot and gives two major snubs. But for the 2015 ceremony the Academy has excelled itself by flat out ignoring three of 2014's biggest and best movie happenings.
We’ve already championed Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar as one of the greatest films of all time(http://filmsfilmsfilms.co.uk/blog/the_greatest_film_of_the_twenty_first_century/2014-12-05-83). Its lack of Oscar nods in all of the major categories this year is baffling, as is the Academies continued shunning of Nolan who is yet to receive a single Best Director Oscar nomination despite several all time great films in his back catalogue.
Another of last 2014’s great movies, and the biggest surprise of the year The Lego Movie, not only missed out on a Best Picture nod but didn’t even get nominated for Best Animated Feature, beaten out amazingly by five other films. How the bland kiddie fare How To Train Your Dragon 2 can be listed above it is anyone’s guess.
But by far the most disappointing rebuke was Jake Gyllenhaal’s stunning performance in Nightcrawler. The film missing out on a Best Picture nomination was harsh enough, but Gyllenhaal’s Lou Bloom was one of the finest acting displays not just of 2014 but of the actor’s career to date. FilmsFilmsFilms fully expected Gyllenhaal to collect his first Statuette this year, so to not even get a nomination is inexplicable.
And we haven’t even mentioned Ralph Fiennes (Grand Budapest Hotel) and Joaquin Phoenix (Her) not getting Best Actor nods. Should we be worried though? After all, the Oscar ceremony is just Hollywood giving itself a self congratulatory pat on the back. Most of us in the industry don’t pay the nominations and results that much attention. But for the actors and filmmakers the Oscars are something else. Despite all their “I’m not too worried” assertions, they undoubtedly would like to be up on the Kodak stage with a little gold man in their hands as recognition for their efforts. And for those film fans not so submerged in the previous years cinematic output the Oscars are a good marker for what films to go and seek out. That the likes of Interstellar and Nightcrawler may get lost below the Oscar hopefuls is just wrong.
Not that we should be surprised. A look back over Oscar history reveals some even more unbelievable rejections, snubs and brush-offs. Here’s a glance at some of the biggest Oscar blunders from Hollywood history:
1. Despite being acknowledged as some of the greatest films of all time the following movies didn’t even get nominated for Best Picture: Heat (1995), The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Alien (1979), Aliens (1986), Fight Club (1999), Full Metal Jacket (1987), Back to the Future (1985), This Is Spinal Tap (1984), The Shining (1980), Scarface (1983), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Psycho (1960), Scream (1996), Brazil (1985), Toy Story (1995), City of God (2002), The Producers (1968), The Dark Knight (2008), North By Northwest (1959), The Usual Suspects (1995), Stand By Me (1986), Dirty Harry (1971), Halloween (1978), Blade Runner (1982), Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), The African Queen (1951), Kill Bill Vol.1 (2003), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), The Big Lebowski (1998), The Matrix (1999), Amelie (2001), Serpico (1973), Some Like It Hot (1959), Boogie Nights (1997), Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Easy Rider (1969), Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), Don’t Look Now (1973), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), King Kong (1933), Seven (1995), Ringu (1998), Mean Streets (1973), The Wrestler (2008), Trainspotting (1996), Into The Wild (2007), Spartacus (1960), Once Upon A Time In America (1984),The Great Escape (1963), Cool Hand Luke (1967), and 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). Oh dear, oh dear…oh dear.
2. 1994 – Forrest Gump beats both Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption to Best Picture. Hmmm...
3. The Best Documentary category is usually full of great movies that most people have never actually heard of. So when a documentary is so good that it actually crosses over to the mainstream, it should be a shoe-in for the Best Doc Oscar; maybe even the first documentary to get a Best Picture nod. So when Asif Kapadia’s Senna didn’t even get nominated in 2011 the world slowly shook its head in utter astonishment.
4. Alfred Hitchcock was never awarded a Best Director Academy Award.
5 Lord of the Rings; Fellowship of the Ring (2001) wasn't even nominated but the weakest part of the trilogy, Return of the King (2003) won Best Picture.
6. 1976; Rocky takes the title, Taxi Driver doesn’t.
7. Al Pacino; never won for a list of great performances as long as the Great Wall of China, but was given a Best Actor Statuette for his most cliché, shouty performance in Scent Of A Woman (1992).
8. Shakespeare In Love (1998) over Saving Private Ryan (1998), really?
9. Likewise An American In Paris (1951) over A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and A Place In The Sun (1951), and Around the World In 80 Days (1956) over The Searchers (1956) which wasn’t even nominated.
10. Jaws (1975); the absolute epitome of top drawer support acting was demonstrated by Richard Dreyfus, Robert Shaw and Lorraine Gary, masterfully stealing every scene they were in but still allowing Roy Scheider to offer a brilliant performance of his own worthy of an Best Actor Oscar nod. All four were left high and dry with not one acting nomination offered to the quartet.
11. Martin Scorsese; had to wait until his Infernal Affairs (2002) remake to pick up a Best Director Oscar.
12. 1989; the Best Picture that year was Driving Miss Daisy. How it ever won out over its four fellow nominees Born On The Fourth Of July, Dead Poets Society, Field Of Dreams, My Left Foot, and Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing which wasn’t even nominated, is as baffling an award decision as you’ll ever find.
13. How Green Was My Valley (1941) over Citizen Kane (1941), and Ordinary People (1981) over Raging Bull (1961). Bizarre in the extreme.
14. Tilda Swinton was widely acknowledged as outstanding in We Need To Talk About Kevin (2013) but no Oscar nomination followed; even more remarkably it would have been her first nomination in the category.
15. Drive (2011); not only was it not nominated for Best Picture, the superb Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan and Albert Brooks were equally snubbed in the acting nomination categories, and Cliff Martinez’s stunning soundtrack was blanked in the music categories.
16. 1998 should have seen the Dude take the prize, but Jeff Bridges wasn’t even nominated for The Big Lebowski (1998).
17. “Blame Canada” from South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999) was about a million times better than Phil Collins saccharine “You’ll Be In My Heart” from Tarzan (1999). The Academy didn’t think so though and gave Collins the Best Original Song Statuette.
18. Mickey Rourke; a shoe-in for The Wrestler (2008) but Uncle Oscar favoured another of their favourite sons, Sean Penn, for Milk.
19. Let alone never having won an Oscar, the following stellar performers haven’t even been nominated for an Academy Award; John Goodman, Ewan Mcgregor, Jeff Daniels, Alan Rickman, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Tom Hardy, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Mia Farrow, Dennis Quaid, Jim Carrey, Donald Sutherland, Steve Martin, Richard Gere, John Cusack, Isabella Rossellini, Edward G Robinson, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Harry Dean Stanton, Bruce Willis.
20. Cher has two nominations and one win to date...