Thursday, January 14, 2016

Explaining today's Oscar snubs

The Academy Award nominations are out. Lots of expected nods, but also a few snubs. Here is my uneducated, based-on-nothing guess as to why certain films and artists were not invited to the big dance.

Steven Spielberg -- directing – BRIDGE OF SPIES was not that great. Yes, it was gorgeously shot, but when you could lift the entire first hour of a movie, that's not great storytelling. It did get a Best Picture nomination but that’s not good enough for Steven.

Quentin Tarantino – Two reasons: Disappointing film. And two, they’re tired of the act. Quentin has been sent to Oscar ghetto.

David O. Russell – See “Quentin Tarantino.”

STAR WARS – Honestly? No screeners. And not prestigious enough for voters, although the whole idea of expanding the number of Best Picture nominees was to include films people actually went to see. STAR WARS is a mega hit and its inclusion would boost TV ratings way up, but there’s only room for one space movie so it’s a no-go.

Ridley Scott – NO explanation for that snub. I suppose the Academy figured, “Aw he’s young. He’ll be making lots more pictures.”

Will Smith – What was with that accent? 

Steve Carell – Not a serious enough actor yet for the Academy. He needs to get mauled by a bear.

Aaron Sorkin – I think he should not only be nominated but win. Yet, there was not a lot of love for this film. Perhaps the Academy felt he’s been doing too much self-promotion, I dunno. He made a good film, he busted his ass to sell it, but voters just weren’t feeling it. Instead, CAROL – a moody snoozefest where nothing happens – gets in. Dare I say the Golden Globes got it right?

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON – Uh... diversity is not the Academy’s strong suit.

JANE FONDA – Voters were worried she’d use her acceptance speech to tell us why we need to get out of Viet Nam.

More snubs but I have to be somewhere.

In any event, congratulations to the nominees. Most of you are more than deserving. I will be reviewing the Oscars again this year. And now back to today’s original post.


Unknown said...

as for diversity, Straight out of compton did get a nomination. For screen play. But the writers were white. So Ice-cube practices diversity. Academy, not so much. Straight out of NorthBrook....

blinky said...

Haven't seen the list yet. Did The Martian get in for best Musical?

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Blinky, that's funny.

The only vote i'm rooting for is George Miller. He made a balls to the wall action film, kept it to 2 hours (shorter than most comedies), and actually had real stunts (innovative in today's industry).

I also feel the Peanuts movie was snubbed. It was both contemporary and a tribute at the same time.

William said...

I am quite happy that Mad Max got an Oscar-nomination. It seems that the academy wants to acknowledge that some movies only aspire to be great spectacles, and if you are good enough at spectacle, if you are absolutely excellent at it, then the academy will tip their hats to you. And tiny little Denmark got two nominations. Best Foreign Language AND Best Documentary.

canda said...

Thought Bridge of Spies was one of Spielberg's best efforts in recent years. The acting was good, the cinematography real, and not the usual unreal glossy look Steven has given us lately.

Michael said...

I have seen complaints about certain directors (ie, Spielberg) not being nominated even though their movie was nominated for Best Picture. This overlooks the fact that there are 8 Best Picture nominees and only 5 Director slots (all of whose movies were nominated), so the argument makes no sense.

Question Mark said...

Bridge Of Spies shouldn't have been nominated for anything, save possibly Mark Rylance. If anything, the fact that so many big names (Spielberg, Hanks, the Coens) were attached saved it, since the film has no business in a Best Picture race on its own merits. A very disappointing effort from Spielberg on this one.

Carell actually got nominated last year (for Foxcatcher) so the Academy is onto him. For Big Short, it could be that he appeared on a lot of ballots but in both the lead and supporting categories...hard to really call him a 'lead' in such an ensemble film, though.

Jane Fonda's role was maybe five minutes long! All I kept hearing was that this was a big comeback part for her, but then I saw Youth, I was disappointed by what was a glorified cameo.

I couldn't disagree more on Carol...thought it was one of the best two or three of the year and deserved a Best Picture spot.

GS in SF said...

For Tarantino, I think you left out one more reason: I do not think the Academy voters wanted to take the chance that the nomination would lead to another platform for him to cop-bash. Whether you agree with his statements or not, I think the Academy could do without the issue and controversy.

In the last few years has there been a film that just put it all together and was no doubt the best? I am not sure - My quick thoughts: Argo? forgotten already. The Artist? one-hit wonder feel. The King's Speech -- a glossy, British film about overcoming a stutter (see Robert Downey's statement in Tropic Thunder). Hurt Locker? Strong film but who wants to go through 2.5 hours of war-hell and re-watch it. Slumdog Millionaire? Fun at first but now seems so contrived. Crash? Never fun and always contrived. No Country for Old Men was great, but can the Coen Bros ever craft an ending (I had a dream of a twister bearing down on me a la A Serious Man and then I woke up - great endings both).

Jon B. said...

As pointed out above, there are more Best Picture slots (up to 10, I believe) than all other award categories, which are limited to five. This has been the case for a few years now, but the outrages over best directing snubs have not abated. It's just math.

scottmc said...

I can't recall when the Academy Awards 'jumped the shark' for me. Maybe the proliferation of award shows had an effect. There are now very few surprises on Oscar Night. Is the award based on performance or is it a life achievement award? Leonardo Dicaprio is considered a lock because he is 0-4 as a nominee. Peter O'Toole was nominated seven or eight times and Richard Burton was nominated six or seven times without winning. Does Dustin Hoffman win for The Graduate, Lenny or Tootsie? No. He wins for Kramer vs Kramer. Wish there was something about the movies or the award that I could get excited about. Plus, Stallone is nominated for a role he has done in half a dozen movies over forty years.

The Bumble Bee Pendant said...

Friday (or any day) Question: NBC, as you know, is doing a tribute to James Burrows. Have they asked you to contribute anything?

flurb said...

Pleased to know that someone else shares my view of CAROL. Beautifully shot, but boringly scored; and far too much of the movie's considerable length consisted of alternating shots of two women looking either at or away from each other, with occasional dwelling on period details that said more about the period than the supposedly developing relationship. Did two people who fell in love - and who spoke the same language - ever say less to each other? The movie only came alive when there with the conflict, late in the film, in the lawyer's office. A huge disappointment that is getting patted because it's a mainstream movie about an underserved minority - which, alas, remains underserved by the film.

Anonymous said...

@flurb: Thank you! You've effectively expressed my sentiments about CAROL. Irritated best describes my feelings as I watched it.


Prairie Perspective said...

Showing your age by referring to Vietnam as two words. That is how it was taught 50 years ago but it is in fact one. Just a note on words, history and accuracy; feel free to sigh and roll your eyes.

Barry Traylor said...

Here is a question for you Ken. How can a film be nominated for best picture, but not the person who directed it? I am not involved in show business in any way so I just do not understand that.

Johnny Walker said...

It's true. So many weird Oscar snubs. I guess I need to see Mad Max if it's nominated and Star Wars isn't.

Also, the documentary category is nearly always a very bad joke. Lord knows why the best documentary of the year is rarely nominated (see also SENNA).

Pat Reeder said...

My wife loves all things Midcentury Modern, so I was dragged to see "Carol" for the costumes and art direction. I didn't realize that would be the most interesting thing about it. It wasn't just a case of a male viewer longing for a movie where things blow up real good; at the end, my wife turned to me and asked, "Was it just me, or was that movie not all that good?" I assured her it wasn't just her, and I'm glad to see that validated here. Except for a little drama toward the end, it was mostly uninteresting characters doing uninteresting things very slowly. At least there was some excitement halfway through when we were briefly evacuated from the theater due to a tornado warning. Aside from their good looks, I couldn't figure out what the attraction was between the chilly Carol and the blank Terese. Loved the 1950s cars, clothes and department store set, though.

Rock Golf said...

@Barry: Math.
+ Nine Best Picture nominees this year.
- Five Best Director nominees.
= Four upset people.

Steve Mc said...

Re Ridley Scott... I've always felt that he's a great journeyman director. Give him a great script, he won't blow it, he'll get the most out of it and give you a very good film. But he can't transcend the flaws of a script. For me, The Martian a well staged film of a flawed script, I didn't feel I really got inside any of the characters, not even Matt Damon's. There wasn't very much tension or actual drama, everything played out as expected. A great director would have dealt with that.

Mark Rylance. Good performance, but I was curious as to why he played the character with a Scottish accent.