Thursday, January 16, 2014

2014 Oscar Nominations Breakdown

Here are my brief thoughts on today’s Oscar nominations: what I expected, what I’m surprised to see, and what I’m bummed was left out. All in all, there is a fine crop of films and performances here. I’m satisfied overall, but do make sure to tell me how you feel about them!

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street
Captain Phillips
No real surprises. Seems Philomena bumped out Saving Mr. Banks, which I’m certainly okay with. I am surprised that Inside Llewyn Davis didn’t have a stronger showing. Here and in other major categories.

David O. Russell – American Hustle
Alfonso Cuarón – Gravity
Alexander Payne – Nebraska
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street
Alfonso Cuarón
Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips) appears to be the big omission here. Marty likely took his spot, but you’re certainly not going to hear any argument from me about it. Also, I love that we can now say “Steve McQueen, Oscar nominee.”

Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Chiwetel Ejiofor
The biggest blow of the morning was Tom Hanks being left out for his searing work in Captain Phillips. DiCaprio is likely the reason, which makes it all the more bittersweet. I love every nominee here, but really think Hanks deserved a spot. And, arguably, Robert Redford (All Is Lost) as well.

Amy Adams – American Hustle
Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Cate Blanchett
No surprises. And while I love that Adams finally landed a nom in the lead acting category, this is Blanchett’s award to lose.

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
Jonah Hill – The Wolf of Wall Street
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
Jonah Hill
Jonah Hill was a huge and worthy shock, likely edging out James Gandolfini (Enough Said) for a posthumous nomination. But my God, I cannot explain the immense satisfaction I feel from Michael Fassbender’s nomination. It’s my favorite male performance of the year, and I love that it has been recognized. Now… can he win?

Sally Hawkins – Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
June Squibb
I LOVE that Hawkins made the cut. She’ll never win, but it’s nice that she wasn’t overlooked. I’m hoping Nyong’o can push through for a win here. That’d be remarkable.

Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack – Dallas Buyers Club
Spike Jonze – Her
Bob Nelson – Nebraska
Spike Jonze
Again, I really thought the Coen brothers would, at the very least, rack up a screenplay nom for Inside Llewyn Davis. I guess I wasn’t the only person who didn’t fully get that film.

Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street
Delpy, Linklater & Hawke
Seriously, how damn cool is it to see the Before Midnight crew here? I’m so pleased by that. But who will win this? Ridley is my hope. Tough to call.

The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture
The Hunt
I’m still bummed Blue Is the Warmest Color wasn’t eligible. But The Hunt is masterful all the same.

The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom
20 Feet From Stardom
The Stories We Tell snub is a particularly crushing blow. It’s such a personal and unique film… I’m stunned that it didn’t make the cut.

Final Thoughts
The inclusion of Dallas Buyers Club in the Best Editing category is baffling. Over Her? The Wolf of Wall Street? Very bizarre.

I love love love that Her landed a nom for its production design. That movie really made L.A. look so charming, which is certainly no easy feat.

Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Oscar nominee (for Makeup and Hairstyling). Let that sink in for a while.

No Sean Bobbitt for his flawless 12 Years a Slave cinematography? A huge bummer.

Well, at least All is Lost netted one nomination, for its remarkable sound editing.

Arcade Fire, Oscar nominee (for Her’s musical score). I dig.

And finally, American Hustle and Gravity are tied with the most nominations this year (10 each). Does that mean American Hustle has the best shot of winning Best Picture? I’m hoping no.


  1. I am so happy for Leo and Fassy that I don't care about American Hustle.

    1. Yeah, me either. I'd be okay with it not winning anything. You bummed about the Stories We Tell snub?

    2. Yes, very. What the hell, man! Bummed about Hanks too. I thought he was definitely getting nominated.

    3. Same, for both. I'm stunned but their omissions.

  2. Coen Br usually receive bucket loads of oscar noms, so I agree surprising they missed out on best pic (and best actor).
    Do you think DiCaprio has a shot at winning? I thought his performance was one of the best of his career.
    Would have like Sam Rockwell to have been recognized for supporting in Way Way Back, but fat chance of that happening, he didn't even get an indie sprit nom ):

    1. I'm really surprised the Coens didn't get more love too. But I can't say I don't disagree with the Academy on this one.

      I think actor, as of now, is an even split between McConaughey and Ejiofor, but we have a long way to go to March. The tide could easily turn in favor of Wolf or 12 Years.

  3. Well, I saw American Hustle but I didn't really think it was that good.. like, okay but not that good. Especially considering I love The Wolf of Wall Street and I haven't even seen it!

    1. Yep, I completely agree. I enjoyed my time with it, but will likely never see it again. Its critical praise really surprises me. I certainly hope it doesn't sweep up.

  4. Dude, is Hanks so good that Captain Phillips isn't worthy of a nomination? Apparently, that's just another run of the mill performance. Seems kind of ridiculous to me. But, I've only seen Wolf so what do I know.

    1. I'll try to word his kindly and succinctly. I'm not the type of guy to make brash generalizations about the opinions of others, but the person(s) who told you Hanks' performance in Captain Phillips is "run of the mill" simply doesn't know film acting. That's the best way I can put it. His work in that film is a revelation. A flawless performance.

    2. No one actually said that, but if the Academy didn't recognize it, seems like the subtext to me.

      This might not make sense, but maybe Hanks has set the bar too high for himself. It's the only way this makes sense.

      Again, his is all I saw.

    3. Ohh I gotcha. You know, I'll agree that Hanks may have set the bar too high for himself. Additionally, the Oscars are so damn political, I honestly don't think they wanted to give another actor a chance to match Daniel Day-Lewis' recent record of 3 Best Actor trophies. Sounds stupid, but you know... it's the Oscars.

  5. I agree with you on most of these, I would've loved to have seen Inside Llewyn Davis up for more awards.
    I'm quite proud of myself for predicting a Jonah Hill nomination haha but I can't see him winning it - still think that award is Jared Leto's to lose, even though I love Michael Fassbender!

    The praise for American Hustle is really aggravating me but oh well, hopefully it will lose out to more deserving contenders :)

    1. Same here! I mean, American Hustle was an okay flick, but it doesn't deserve to clean up, you know? I really hope the tide shifts to Fassbender's favor. Ah, I would just love that.

  6. I'm deliriously happy for Hill but Hanks travesty is killing my joy. Good Lord, the last 10 minutes of CP alone is better than everyone in this category.

    1. I'm stunned that he didn't land a nomination too, especially considering Abdi did. It really is a small travesty.

  7. "That movie really made L.A. look so charming, which is certainly no easy feat."
    Looking forward to seeing it. The DiCaprio nomination seems the weak link to me, Hanks was great.

    1. Ha, well, downtown L.A. is a shithole to end all shitholes, and Her made it look like a clean and pleasant Mecca. Everywhere else in L.A. is more or less okay, but downtown is a lost cause.

      So bummed Hanks didn't land a nomination.

  8. Good to see Captain Phillips get the Support Actor nomination but nothing for Tom Hanks in the lead role? That said, it is 12 Years A Slave and Scorsese's Wolf going head to head for the top honor!

    1. Really a shame about Hanks, isn't it? I hope it's a Wolf/12 Years race. I'd be all for that.

  9. I'm honestly shocked about the omission of Hanks. Frankly I'd have him over Bale or DiCaprio but that's just me. I think it's really going to be a race between Chiwetel and McConaughey (like I mentioned to you before, I was totally surprised he won the Globe) and I really hope the Academy goes for the former. McConaughey's performance is certainly more awards courting than Chiwetel's is which probably makes him more of a draw. I'd actually be more willing to go with him had he been nominated for Mud instead of DBC but whatever. Good performance, but not as good as Chiwetel.
    I totally agree with you on Actress though. I love Adams (literally and figuratively) and I wish she had a better chance of winning but like you said, it's really Blanchett's to lose. It's the supporting roles that I think it's more neck and neck. I think for S.Actress it'd have to be between Lawrence and Nyong'o while S.Actor would be between Leto and Fassbender. I'd love it if the 12 years camp won but I think I'd actually have to side with Leto in his category but I could honestly go either way for the Actress one.
    I though BItWC might get nominated simply based on the fact that it won at Cannes, but honestly it was probably too "racy" for the Academy. As much as I respect The Great Beauty, and figure it'll be the one that wins, all prayers and hopes go to The Hunt. The best film of 2012 for me (if I saw in 2013 it'd be right up there as well). I really wish Vinterberg wins it and seriously, where's Mads' nomination for best actor! Dude kills it and is among the best performances of the year without a doubt (one of my favorite performances of all time!).

    1. You and I are right in line on Actor. I completely agree with everything you said. I really hope Chiwetel pulls out a win there as well. The race will certainly become more interesting after the SAGs on Sunday.

      I'd love for a 12 Years acting sweep, but I dunno... too tough to call. Give it to Fassbender and the whole show would be a win to me.

      BItWC actually wasn't eligible because it didn't screen in France in time. If it had, I wonder if you'd be right. It may indeed be too racy for most Oscar voters. A win for The Hunt would be incredible.

    2. Ah I see, I did not know that about BItWC, but that makes more sense. Also, if Fassy pulled a win out of the bag I certainly wouldn't have any gripes about that. Even though I doubt it'd happen, I would certainly love a 12 Years sweep as well.

    3. I doubt it'll happen too. But who knows. Long way to March!

  10. "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa, Oscar nominee (for Makeup and Hairstyling). Let that sink in for a while." Hey, Norbit is also an Oscar nominee (same category, a few years back). Once that happened, all bets were off.

    1. Haha, you said it! A lot of those tech categories are kind of a joke. Those awful films never really win, but the Academy has to flesh out the category all the same. It's always felt foolish to me.

  11. Looks like a pretty good year of picks overall....more surprised by a few that weren't included more than any that were. McQueen and awesome and both more than deserving. Can't wait to see how it all pans out!

    1. It is a pretty solid year, for sure. I do wish the Best Picture race would go back to five noms though. It seem so superfluous to me right now.

      McQueen and Fass all the way!

  12. I'm sure Harvey Weinstein and Lee Daniels are bitching over the fact that The Butler (which I have no interesting in seeing) got 0 nods yet Bad Grandpa got one. What the fuck?

    I'm surprised that all of the nominees for Best Picture are all really good films as I've managed to have seen all of them.

    I'm disappointed that Joaquin Phoenix, Scar-Jo, James Gandolfini, and Tom Hanks didn't get nominated though the competition is tough. I'm happy that Sally Hawkins got a nod which is way deserving. And Chivo better fucking win the Best Cinematography or I'm going Iron Sheik on this motherfucker. FACK!!!!

    1. Dude, if Chivo doesn't win then there is literally nothing the man can do to nab an Oscar. Gravity is such a technical achievement... he just HAS to win.

      I'm bummed about Phoenix and Hanks as well, but yeah, damn tough category.

  13. I'm really in agreement with nearly everything you wrote.

    I would have liked to see get nominated Robert Redford.

    You totally know how I feel about American Hustle & the more praise it gets the more grating it gets on my nerves. I haven't seen it, but I can tell by the commercials it is mostly flashy with individual stand out performances but I can't imagine it stands far above so many other movies made in 2013. I have a lot of respect for David O' Russell for his technique/way of doing things but I believe he hasn't fully developed his own style. All I'm seeing is politics & it is really turning me off. Oh well, I should start checking out the Independent Spirit awards like you said on twitter if I want to feel satisfaction.

    Also that was interesting to learn why The Butler was being snubbed. Kind of reminds me of 'A Million Little Pieces' a bit.

    & that is a real shame about Blue is The Warmest Color.

    I wonder if anything will change with movies so obviously being released in the late fall to early November being predominately the ones that are nominated. It seems like most people can't even remember any of the movies before that time.

    Lots of great stuff here, I can't wait to read what you have to say after the Oscars & also to see how the tide has turned by then.

    I signed up for subscriptions to this to my email & for some reason it isn't working! Gotta fix it somehow.

    1. Hey there! Oh, the Indie Spirits are incredible. I much prefer those noms to the Oscars... but still, a fine showing by the Academy this year.

      I'm surprised The Butler didn't get anything, but I can't say I'm upset about it, you know?

      The Oscars are shaped and marketed based on films released in November/December. Very rarely are major films vying for awards attention released before the latter part of the year. It's a damn shame that voters' attention spans only reach that far, but that's the way it goes. If a film IS released early (and somehow gains awards traction), the studio will almost always rerelease it in theaters later in the year. Such a weird industry.

  14. I'm so glad Amy Adams got a nomination. She's an excellent actress and deserves recognition. I thought she did a great job in American Hustle, totally outshined Jennifer Lawrence.

    I'm saddened by the lack of nominations of Fruitvale Station and Lone Survivor. I thought both films were fantastic.

    1. Adams was definitely my favorite part about American Hustle. I thought that film was just okay, but she was absolutely sensational.

      Lone Survivor was a worthy effort. It really impressed me. Those fucking cliff jumps... I mean, good God.

  15. Great post! Aside from Gravity and 12 Years, I'm thrilled for the Before Midnight, Wolf, The Hunt and Her love. I do wish Hanks had been nominated over Bale though, and I would've loved for Llewyn to make the Best Picture lineup.

    1. Thanks man! Sorry, I forget, were you an American Hustle fan? The more time that passes on that one, the less it resonates with me. I'm still behind Adams' work in it, but I couldn't agree more with you: Leo over Bale, all the way.

    2. I liked Hustle, didn't love it. It hasn't stuck with me either. Though I'm happy for Bale, I would've rather seen Hanks get that nomination.

  16. Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa wasn't good. The other Jackass films were so good but this one felt just like a bad version of Borat. It had moments but all these moments were in the trailer. D+

    The Stories We Tell snub wasn't so baffling (ultimately because wasn't so good), but the fact that The Act of Killing didn't won shocked me so much, such a great film.

    Have you seen The Great Beauty? I've seen just parts of it and it was enough. Blue Is the Warmest Color, The Hunt, The Past and The Wind Rises were much, much better. (And yes, this were at the Globes 'cause after the Academy snubbed 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days I don't two give a shits about The Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film).

    What about The Lone Ranger Oscar nomination. That. film. was. just. aweful. Or Best Original Song. Happy became such a hit that it shadowed Let it Go (which apparently was the laziest written and most catchy of the Frozen soundtrack). And about Frozen. I hated it so much but now I can give to it a B.

    1. I really thought Stories We Tell deserved at least a nomination. I too was shocked The Act of Killing didn't win.

      I like The Broken Circle Breakdown and The Hunt much better than The Great Beauty.

      The Lone Ranger... well, there's usually one awful movie that gets at least one nomination every year. So strange.