Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The SONSOFBITCHES Snubathon: A Decade of Oscar Snubs

Mette of Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions (what a perfect blog name, by the way) is heading up a blogathon in which she’s asked fellow bloggers to discuss their biggest personal movie awards snubs. Seeing as I’m a huge fan of calling The Academy on their faults, I jumped at the opportunity to partake.

Initially, I was tempted to write about one egregious snub in particular, but I’ve leant enough space to that exclusion on this blog already. Instead, motivated by Mette’s instructions to follow “no guidelines or restrictions” for this post, I’ve drafted a list of the 10 biggest Oscar snubs over the past decade. One snub per year, no matter the category.

I hope you enjoy my picks, and props to Mette for starting such a cool blogathon!

2012
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard – Rust and Bone
Most all of the snub attention this year has been given to Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow and even Tom Hooper for missing out on Best Director nods. Those (sort of) surprised me, but nothing broke my heart more than Cotillard’s elimination from the Best Actress race this year. Honestly, given the stiff competition, I’m not sure she would’ve stood a chance anyway, but I had strong delusions of hope that she’d sneak in.

2011
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender – Shame
Fassbender’s game changing performance as sex addict Brandon Sullivan was originally going to occupy the entirety of this post, and that’s for damn good reason. Fassbender’s work in Steve McQueen’s masterpiece is enough to redefine what fearless acting is. I’ll remember his work forever, and although it didn’t secure an Oscar nomination, I think others will remember it too.

2010
Best Director: Christopher Nolan – Inception
Before the 2010 Oscar nominations were announced, I all but assumed Christopher Nolan would be the frontrunner to win Best Director. And when he didn’t even get nominated, I was simply shocked. Inception is a sci-fi film of Kubrickian scope and Welles-like originality. And I remain stunned that Nolan’s efforts didn’t pan out more fully in voters’ eyes.

2009
Best Cinematography: Eduard Grau – A Single Man
I don’t know if subtle palette shifts from muted greys to lush fluorescents was motivated by director Tom Ford, or perpetuated by cinematographer Eduard Grau, but either way, A Single Man looks bloody gorgeous. And recognition should’ve been paid to that.

2008
Best Supp. Actress: Rosemarie DeWitt – Rachel Getting Married
Rosemarie DeWitt’s work in Rachel Getting Married is one of my favorite acting performances. Not of 2008, not of the 2000s, but ever. Really. Truly. She broke my heart, she picked me back up, and she brushed it off by jumping up and tapping the top of a door. It’s the kind of performance that demands you to take notice and never look away, which is exactly what I’ve been doing with DeWitt’s career since.

2007
Best Actor: Christian Bale – Rescue Dawn
Because Werner Herzog couldn’t care less about campaigning for awards, his films (especially his narrative features) are often overlooked by Oscar voters. That’s a shame, because work as strong as Bale’s in Rescue Dawn deserved to be recognized. And believe me, Bale’s performance as real life pilot turned prisoner of war, Dieter Dengler, goes beyond extreme weight loss. There’s power and emotion here that transcends acting. It’s still, by long and far, the finest Bale performance I’ve ever seen.

2006
Best Picture: United 93
With each passing year, I find myself more drawn to United 93. I was moved and equally horrified by it when it was first released, but I honestly think it will be remembered as one of the most frank and daring films of the 21st century. I completely understand why it was overlooked for the top prize (Paul Greengrass’ Best Director nomination was its real reward), but the film remains an unflinching piece of work I’ll never forget.

2005
Best Actress: Maria Bello – A History of Violence
Maria Bello is one of my favorite actresses. I’ve enjoyed every performance of hers I’ve seen, and have never understood why she hasn’t garnered more mainstream attention. Sure, her History of Violence counterpart, Viggo Mortensen, deserves to be listed here as well, but there’s something about Bello’s desperation in this film that I find equally compelling and unnerving. Her final scene alone is reason enough for her would-be Oscar nomination.

2004
Best Adapted Screenplay: Patrick Marber – Closer
Screenwriting as an art form is something I fear is disappearing. That’s not to say it doesn’t exist (because it certainly does), but rather, it’s a notion that many people continually fail to recognize. But man oh man, from where I’m sitting, there’s no denying the verbal lacerations caused by Marber’s pen in Closer. Marber gloriously adapted his own stage play, which Mike Nichols nursed to fruition, and a quartet of actors brought it to life, all in the best possible way.

2003
Best Actress: Evan Rachel Wood – Thirteen
Although she’s relatively choosy with her roles, Evan Rachel Wood has turned into one of the finest actors of her generation, an accolade sprung by her monumental performance in Thirteen. Just 15-years-old when the movie was made, Wood played a teen in collapse as convincingly as I’ve ever seen. She captured the innocence of youth and the subtle transformation of teenage angst to devastating effect. I’ve always been glad director Catherine Hardwicke chose to end this film where she did. I’m not sure I could’ve taken much more. Which I mean as a grand compliment.

26 comments:

  1. What a great list. Fass's snub in Shame will stand as the most shameful ever for me - as I wrote in http://cinematiccorner.blogspot.com/2013/01/5-worst-oscar-nomination-snubs-since.html - but it's great to see Portman here, I thought her and Owen were winning in Closer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I remember that list of yours. Poor Fass. I mean, I understand why (because, as McQueen said, America is filled with a bunch of prudes) but still...

      I just love the script for Closer. Portman and Owen made that shit shine.

      Delete
  2. I'm in complete agreement with you on this list. Every time I looked down, I winced in pain. Those snubs hurt. I'm with one Evan Rachel Wood. She was great in Thirteen. Hell, I would've preferred her over Diane Keaton or that girl from Whale Rider. Hell, get rid of both of those ladies and put Evan and Scarlett Johansson (for either Lost in Translation or Girl with a Pearl Earring) and we could've had a far more interesting race for Best Actress.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! Really cool that we agree here. "Winced in pain..." hilarious.

      Wood is so damn perfect in Thirteen, would've been great for her to receive more recognition than she did. Agree hat she and Johansson deserved nominations, for sure.

      Delete
  3. Love your list, as well.

    United 93 was an amazingly grueling achievement in storytelling. I would have wholeheartedly endorsed a BP nom.

    Nolan being snubbed is also ridiculous. I never even know where to begin in explaining that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man! I think United 93 suffered from too much (unwarranted) "too soon" backlash, which is a shame. Definitely deserved a Best Pic nom.

      I'll never be able to explain the Nolan snub either. Ridiculous.

      Delete
  4. Poor Nolan always gets snubbed :(

    I will check some of these films out too, United 93 is creeping towards the top of my to-watch-list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (sigh), he certainly does.

      I HIGHLY recommend United 93. It ain't easy, but it's essential.

      Delete
  5. A Single Man really should've gotten more recognition beyond Best Actor for Colin Firth (whom, by the way, should have won that year). Also, when the hell is Tom Ford going to make another film?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agree on all accounts here: A Single Man deserved more love, Firth should've won (when was the last time anyone talked about Crazy Heart?), and Ford needs to make another movie.

      Delete
  6. I agree with all of these! Especially Cotillard, Fassbender and Wood - all fantastic performances.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hell yeah! Bummer they all got snubbed out.

      Delete
  7. Fantastic list. The one I agree with the most is Fassbender in Shame. The biggest Oscar oversight in recent years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks man! Definitely the biggest Oscar oversight in years. No question.

      Delete
  8. Oh man, I just love everything about this list. Fassbender's snub floored me when I finally saw Shame. I still think the Academy was just intimidated by the size of his penis.

    Nolan not getting Best Directer for Inception was insulting too. Especially
    since the Coen Brothers got it for a remake.

    Evan Rachel Wood is a good choice too! She was perfect in Thirteen, and I think she should've gotten more noms aside from the Golden Globe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, nice! Well, considering a vast majority of the Academy is made up of old white men, you might be onto something with your Fass theory.

      I dug the Coens' True Grit, but it sure as shit was no Inception. No way, no how.

      I had no idea so many people loved Wood's work in Thirteen as much as I do. That's awesome!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for joining, Alex.
    Great to see that you took a very different approach to your post (just finished mine). There are a lot of big snubs here, and as for the ones I've seen, I totally agree.

    The Christopher Nolan snub was in everyone's mouth back in 2010, it was so unfair. As for Shame, I only watched the movie after the awards, so I wasn't that angry. Looking back at it though, I just don't understand how they could ignore him - just like Colin Firth in A Single Man (although I think he was nominated).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank YOU for starting it. Really groovy idea here.

      Nolan and Fassbender are two we just have to live with, I guess. Absurd, but the way it goes, you know?

      Firth was nominated, but lost to Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart. I definitely still think Firth should've won for A Single Man.

      Delete
  10. I've been planning to see Thirteen, mainly to see if Hardwicke can finally impress me.


    And i think this is the first time i've seen someone attach the label of Kubrickian to Inception

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh man, you'll definitely be impressed by Catherine Hardwicke via Thirteen. It's a raw achievement.

      Kubrick/Inception... really? I've heard countless comparisons to Inception and 2001. Not so much for similar themes and/or ideas, but in scope, sure. Either way, Nolan deserved that nom.

      Delete
  11. Your first two picks are no surprise, but no less deserving. ;) Bale! He's my Best Actor runner-up behind Amalric that year. It's staggering work, as is Steve Zahn's. Nolan, A Simple Man, Dewitt, Bello, Closer, Wood… I dig 'em all.

    I haven't watched United 93 since its theatrical release. Really admired it, but I need to revisit it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, no doubt about Fass and my dear Marion.

      Bale and Zahn are both so perfect in that film. I'm still in awe of their work there.

      Glad you dig the picks! (I hope you're partaking in Mette's blogathon...)

      Delete
  12. Nolan FTW !! Even though he never got nominated. It helps it was for Inception and I wanted it to win everything.

    And so is Fassbender. Totally deserving. And as much as I loved Cotillard in Rust and Bone, as you said I really don't know who can she replace? Maybe Watts, but I haven't seen The Impossible yet. So, can't comment.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting thought about Cotillard. Well, because her Rust and Bone performance was my favorite of the year, I suppose I wouldn't mind if she replaced anyone. But, ideally, I guess I would swap her for Quvenzhané Wallis, which is a tough call. Really good year for the ladies.

      Delete
  13. Highly agree with you on Fassbender. Despite not being nominated, he pretty much eclipsed the entire Best Actor category that year. Voters probably snubbed his performance because of his "performance" in other areas, so to speak. But that snub will continue to sting. Regarding Christopher Nolan's shocking snub, I think he suffers from the "Spielberg effect", whereas even though he is known for genre fare, he'll probably get recognized when he makes a period piece or something.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, you're so right on both points, absolutely on point. I'll be interested to see if Nolan ever ventures into "heavy drama" territory.

      Delete