2013 in Review: Breaking Down the 2013 Oscar Nominations
Yes, we’re more than halfway through January already. Yes, I have pretty well covered 2013 movies already. No, I’m not done. Since the Academy Awards (informally known as the Oscars) don’t air until Sunday, March 2nd, we’re not really completely summed up at this point.
However, the initial ballots have been cast, and the official nominations for the 86th Academy Awards came down last week (check out the full list of nominations here). I decided to do a quick breakdown of the nominations which will include my reactions, whether it be the unfairly snubbed or pleasantly surprised.
[For predictions, check back in late February.]
Here we go:
Unlike last year, there aren’t a whole lot of snubs to be seen. The biggest problem with last year’s nominations was the exclusion of both Ben Affleck (Argo) and Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty) in the Best Direction category. This year the biggest disappointment (personally) is Spike Jonze’s (Her) absence on the list. However, when looking at the nominees, it’s tough to argue against the five choices made. If I had to leave one off, it’d have been Alexander Payne (Nebraska).
Tom Hanks was once a frontrunner for not one, but two Best Actor nominations. Obviously, this was a pipe dream because the Academy always has lots of contenders for Best Actor. However, it was somewhat surprising that Hanks didn’t get a nomination in neither Captain Phillips nor Saving Mr. Banks. I personally think the final scene in Captain Phillips is enough to win him the award.
Speaking of Saving Mr. Banks, the movie ended up being underwhelming when all was said and done. Even Emma Thompson was left off the nomination list. They didn’t go home empty-handed, though, because it received a nomination for Best Score.
Getting back to Best Actor, since only five are able to garner nominations, Robert Redford (All is Lost) was on the outside looking in. It’s hard to deny the quality of his performance given the lack of dialogue. That apparently wasn’t enough for voters, though.
Inside Llewyn Davis, which I can’t attest to because I haven’t seen it yet, was left out of all the major awards. This was somewhat surprising given the critical reception of Oscar Isaac’s performance and the film as a whole. With an awkward nine Best Picture nominees, I’d venture to guess Inside Llewyn Davis would’ve been a good one to add to round the field out to ten. If I got to choose a tenth movie to join the list, I’d have gone with Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine.
Lee Daniels’ The Butler joined Saving Mr. Banks and Inside Llewlyn Davis as a “loser” in the nomination department. Both Oprah Winfrey (Best Supporting Actress) and Forest Whitaker (Best Actor) couldn’t pull in enough votes.
In the indie department, movies like Fruitvale Station, The Spectacular Now, Frances Ha, and Enough Said all were shut-out. This disappointed me quite a bit because they were all great, in my opinion.
Although I can only vouch for Stories We Tell, both that and the much-talked-about Blackfish were snubbed out of the Best Documentary department. However, the other much-talked-about doc The Act of Killing did make it and currently sits as the frontrunner.
Quickly, the rest of snubs included Lana Del Rey’s magnificent song “Young and Beautiful,” (in The Great Gatsby) Joaquin Phoenix (Her), Idris Elba (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), Will Forte (Nebraska), and Daniel Bruhl (Rush).
The Lone Ranger, widely considered one of the biggest disappointments of the year, officially received more nominations than the aforementioned Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Fruitvale Station, The Spectacular Now, Frances Ha, and Enough Said. Yes, it was for technical awards (Best Visual Effects and Best Makeup), but still. Then again, The Dark Knight Rises was out-nominated by Snow White and The Huntsman and Mirror Mirror.
It seems weird that if I got to choose just one winner, I’d go with a cinematographer, but that’d be the case in this year’s race. Roger Deakins (Prisoners) was nominated for his 11th time, but he somehow doesn’t have a win (last year’s loss in Skyfall was a colossal mistake). At this point, it’s almost like the Academy is taunting him.
The Wolf of Wall Street was controversial, thus divisive, therefore making it a bit of a surprise it did as well as it did. Leonardo DiCaprio wasn’t a huge shock, but seeing Jonah Hill’s name was a bit more surprising. In all, there were five nominations for the black comedy.
I’m really happy Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) made the cut, even if she has virtually no chance of winning the thing.
Quickly, the rest of the somewhat surprising nominations include Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa (Best Makeup), The Wind Rises (Best Animated Film), “The Moon Song” (Her), and American Hustle’s acting domination (four of the five main characters were nominated).
If I were a betting man (and if you could bet on the Academy Awards), the biggest locks to win appear to be Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club), and Frozen (Best Animated Feature).
When all was said and done, both Gravity and American Hustle led with ten nominations each (Hustle did garner more of the “major” awards). 12 Years a Slave was right behind it with nine nominations (including three acting nominations). Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Her, and The Wolf of Wall Street all added five or six each. Again, for a full list of the nominees, click here.
Overall, the Academy did a great job narrowing down the selections. While I would’ve changed a couple if I cast a ballot, I can live with what we got. Is there anything you think they overlooked? Or are there any pleasant surprises? Sound off below in the comments.
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