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The Top Five Oscar Snubs

Jeremy Fuster |
January 26, 2012 | 6:21 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

(Creative Commons)
(Creative Commons)

Every year, when the list of Oscar nominations is set out, there is always at least one person or movie that didn't get the recognition that it was due. With the number of good movies that come out every year, this is inevitable.

But this year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are going on a snub binge.

Not since "The Dark Knight" got left off the Best Picture list has the complaining been so loud, and quite frankly, it's justified.  While there are many deserving nominees, there were so many bad omissions made on this year's nominations list that creating a list of the top five most egregious snubs was quite a task.  But after much deliberation and many near fistfights with the film school students, here it is.

A quick note: Michael Fassbender isn't on this list because I haven't seen "Shame," but he does get an honorable mention. Judging by the praise he has received and the outcry from many critics, the Best Actor category is much weaker without him, and he's not the only one who shouldn't have been ignored in that category. Other honorable mentions go to Steven Spielberg for Best Director for "War Horse" and Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor for "J.Edgar."  Now let's get started.

 Columbia Pictures)
Columbia Pictures)

5.) "The Adventures of Tintin" for Best Animated Feature: Earlier in 2011, Disney shut down its motion-capture animation unit after "Mars Needs Moms" bombed in the box office.  The film was such a failure that some believed that Mo-Cap had effectively been killed in the process.  Then the super team of Peter Jackson, Steven Moffat, and Steven Spielberg came together to create this thrilling adaptation of the famous European comic series.  The animation style is used to create riveting action scenes that flow in one continuous take, and the film is an exciting ride that never lets up for a second.  The film received high praise from American and European critics, and it seemed to be a clear contender for the Best Animated category…

…only to be rejected.  How did this film not get a nod?  It single-handedly breathed new life into an animation style that seemed to be on the verge of collapse, but the Academy seems to have some sort of problem with Mo-Cap.  It dwells in the realm between visual effects and pure animation, so it gets no recognition from either category.  'Avatar' managed to avoid this quagmire by having human actors, but 'Tintin' doesn't have this so it only gets one nomination for John Williams' musical score.  Instead, we get two European films: 'A Cat In Paris' and 'Chico y Rita.'  Both of these films could very well be deserving of their nominations, but only one foreign flick has ever won in this category ('Spirited Away' in 2002), so it's very likely that 'Rango' will run away with this award.



4.) Andy Serkis for "Adventures of Tintin" or "Rise of the Planet of the Apes": Of course, the Academy's inability to understand Mo-Cap doesn't just snub films.  It also snubs the man that has ruled it for a decade.  Serkis has played Gollum and King Kong through the Mo-Cap suit, and this year he played the hilarious Captain Haddock in "Tintin" and the mute but emotionally moving ape Caesar in "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."  The latter received a nomination for Best Visual Effects, but why can't they recognize the man upon whom the effects are built?  If you watch the behind-the-scenes clips on the making of Caesar, you can see Serkis working with the rest of the cast in the Mo-Cap suit.  Without his presence, Caesar would never have been as poignant as he was in the final cut, and the entire film would have collapsed.  Computer technology has redefined the boundaries of acting, and the Academy needs to recognize this.  Serkis will play Gollum once again later this year in "The Hobbit," and though it will be a much smaller role than the one in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, it is a role that needs to be recognized.

 Universal Pictures
Universal Pictures

3.) "Bridesmaids" for Best Picture: Oh, yeah, sure.  This film got nods for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay, but it didn't get a nod for the top Oscar and is going up against actresses and writers from films that did, so it won't stand a chance.

Really, this is why the Academy expanded the Best Picture list in the first place!  "Bridesmaids" is a film that manages to mix the chick flick and raunch comedy genres together, and it works incredibly well. It's fun, wacky slapstick, but the characters never become so ridiculous to the point that it becomes impossible to relate to them.  It's the funniest film of 2011, and the Oscars said no, despite the fact that they could have given out a tenth Best Picture nomination that ended up going unused.

Speaking of critically-acclaimed, box-office dominating films that got the shaft this week...

 Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.


2.) "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2": For ten years, the "Harry Potter" films have become a mainstay on the film release calendar and kept Pottermania alive and well long after the final book was published.  Now the adventure has come to an end, and despite an ambitious campaign to get the final film installment some recognition, "Potter" found itself off the major award list.  It received some nominations for best makeup, art direction, and visual effects, but there were no nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and, maybe worst of all for the Hogwarts faithful, no Best Supporting Actor nod for Alan Rickman for his portrayal of Severus Snape. Despite capturing the imaginations and disposable income of millions around the world, not to mention having films like 'Avatar' and 'Lord of the Rings' as a precedent, the hopes of Potter fans around the world got Avada Kedavra'd into oblivion.

Both the "Potter" and "Bridesmaids" snubs would have been easier to bear if it had not been for that one film that did get nominated.  You know what I'm talking about: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close." This is a film that was the epitome of Oscar Bait.  It received mixed reception from both critics and audiences and has been described as "manipulative," "bland," "artificial," and, in the words of Tom Long from The Detroit News, "The kind of film you want to punch in the nose."  

But hey, it's a film about 9/11 with Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, and it's written by the guy who did "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," so Best Picture nom for YOU!

But that's far from the biggest mistake the Oscars made this year.

 Getty Images
Getty Images

1.) Ryan Gosling:  Was there an actor that had a year as incredible as the one that Gosling had?  Let me answer that for you: NO.  Gosling turned in three brilliant performances in "Crazy Stupid Love," "Ides of March," and "Drive," and didn't get nominated for any of them.  Of these three, Gosling's acting in "Drive" as a mysterious, unnamed stunt/getaway driver should have landed him a Best Actor nomination.  He uses a very minimalist style in every scene, using the slightest and most subtle movements to bring up the tension.  Everything he does is deliberate and brings attention and intrigue to his character.  The Driver is a character built around body language more than delivery of dialogue, and the Academy should have recognized Gosling's work. Gosling's snub was alongside Michael Fassbender's snub for the biggest shocker this year, with the reaction best summed up by a tweet from Russell Crowe: "There's some bulls--t right there."

When the Oscars air on February 26, the majority of awards will most likely be split by "Hugo" and "The Artist," two excellent films that will deserve all the gold statuettes they get, but when the nominees are read out for each award, I know I will be thinking about the ones that missed out more than ever before. Crazy, stupid Academy.

Reach staff reporter Jeremy here.

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