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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.