the 2014 Academy Award Nominations were announced. In one of the strongest years for movies in a long time, there were no surprises about who got the nod for an Oscar. There were some surprises on who got left out.
- American Hustle – Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon
- Captain Phillips – Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca
- Dallas Buyers Club – Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter
- Gravity – Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman
- Her – Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay
- Nebraska – Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa
- Philomena – Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward
- 12 Years a Slave – Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas
- The Wolf of Wall Street – Martin Scorsese
Most Noticeably missing: Inside Llewyn Davis.
Despite being one of the most acclaimed movies of the year, Inside Llewyn Davis was almost completely shut out of the Oscars. The Best Picture category now allows for up to 10 movies to be nominated. With nine films in the category, there was room for Llewyn Davis, not to mention room for All is Lost, Fruitvale Station, or The Butler. In a category so loaded it makes sense that some options are just going to cancel each other out. In any other year, Llewyn Davis would have been a shoe-in for a nomination… but this isn’t any other year. This was 2013, baby; the year movies struck back.
- Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
- Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
- Alexander Payne – Nebraska
- David O. Russell – American Hustle
- Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Most Noticeably missing: The Coen Brothers
The Coen Brothers, who seemingly get nominated for something just by turning on a camera, were left off the nominee list for Best Director. After an incredible run dating back to the mid-90s with Fargo, I was shocked to not see the auteur brothers included. That speaks to the level of talent included in this year’s nominees. No Bob Dylan fans in the Academy I guess. It would appear that times, indeed, are a-changin’. Ugh. I’m sorry for that pun.
- Christian Bale – American Hustle as Irving Rosenfeld
- Bruce Dern – Nebraska as Woody Grant
- Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street as Jordan Belfort
- Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave as Solomon Northup
- Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club as Ron Woodroof
Most Noticeably missing: Michael B. Jordan
In possibly the most competitive race this year, several names were left on the cutting room floor. Robert Redford, Forrest Whitaker, Oscar Isaacs, and my pick, Michael B. Jordan. Fruitvale Station was the darling of the film festival circuit. Normally that is enough to get the star a nod during award show season. Michael B. Jordan (of the Wire, Friday Night Lights, and Parenthood fame) garnered a ton of buzz after his portrayal of Oscar Grant- a young man who was tragically killed on New Year’s Day 2009. Jordan carried this film expertly. I have to think that because Fruitvale Station hit theaters this past July, too much time has passed for it to be remembered. If this movie came out in December, it’d be a different story.
- Amy Adams – American Hustle as Sydney Prosser
- Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine as Jeanette “Jasmine” Francis
- Sandra Bullock – Gravity as Dr. Ryan Stone
- Judi Dench – Philomena as Philomena Lee
- Meryl Streep – August: Osage County as Violet Weston
Most Noticeably Missing: Julia Roberts
It was probably a toss up between Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts on who was getting nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. It could be that Streep just acted circles around her, or the fact that Meryl Streep is a force of nature that even the likes of American Sweetheart Julia Roberts must bow down to. Regardless,August: Osage County is packed from top to bottom with actors at the top of their game. The fact that Streep and Roberts both got nominated ups the ante for each category respectively.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
- Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips as Abduwali Muse
- Bradley Cooper – American Hustle as Richie DiMaso
- Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave as Edwin Epps
- Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street as Donnie Azoff
- Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club as Rayon
Most Noticeably Missing- Will Forte
This is more of a passion pick because, what can I say? I’m an SNL guy. As it currently stands, In Living Colorhas more Oscars than SNL and that is something that needs to be rectified ASAP. Bill Murray still hasn’t won, which is an article deserving it’s own word count.
Will Forte’s portrayal of a son trying to reconnect with his father as he slips further into dementia has been compared to Tom Cruise’s role in Rain Man- another robbery in Oscar history. Similar to our other categories, this looks to be a case of just too many good performances this year.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
- Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine as Ginger
- Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle as Rosalyn Rosenfeld
- Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave as Patsey
- Julia Roberts – August: Osage County as Barbara Weston-Fordham
- June Squibb – Nebraska as Kate Grant
Most Noticeably Missing – Scarlett Johansson
There was no way that Scarlett was going to get nominated; she doesn’t appear on screen in Her at all. Her contributions to the movie are 100% audible, and she is the most compelling thing in every single scene. She’s a disembodied voice and it is completely believable that Joaquin Phoenix fell in love with it. In my opinion, she has reestablished herself as an actress just scratching the surface of her prime. It is easy to forget how good she is given the last few entries on her IMDB page, but ooooh man was she perfect in Her. In a completely visual medium, the most beautiful person in the room was Scar-Jo’s voice. Physical beauty is taken out of the equation here, and for once, what the person looks like plays no part in what drives their performance. The vulnerability and desire to be perfect for one person is what makes Johansson’s “Samantha” undeniably deserving of a nomination. She nailed it.