Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Oscar 2014: The Mistakes

In late December, the Academy of Motion Arts and Science mail its ballots to all its 6,000 members. They then watch a hell of a lot of films and vote for the best in each branch; actors for actors, screenwriters for screenwriters, they are all eligible to select Best Picture. You would think that with nearly 6,000 members voting in their field of expertise, they wouldn't make mistakes right? Well, you're wrong, wrong! Every year, no matter what, the Academy always makes mistakes. Some are quite big, like leaving Ben Affleck out of the Best Director category last year, and some are smaller, like WALL.E not getting a Best Picture nod a few years back. This year is no exception.

Let's get the ball rolling with the fact that this year, The Coens clearly pissed the Academy off somehow. That's the only way to explain the fact that after nearly twenty years of love for the brothers, their latest film only picked up two nominations. Inside Llewyn Davis has received critical acclaim, a Golden Globe nomination and was on many peoples list to pick up at least a Best Picture this year. Maybe there was just too much strong competition this year or maybe the voters felt they've already received enough praise for their previous work. I think it's the latter.

The Best Actor category was an interesting race this year. There were so many deserving performances and some not so deserving. That's not to say they weren't great, just not worthy of an Oscar nomination. Tom Hanks anyone? Robert Redford? No? Oh, ok. I'll let those two slide but if  Mathew McConnaughey wins come Oscar night, I won't be happy. If after a decade of making crap films he can win the Academy members over with two years worth of better roles, then it's a joke, especially if Leonardo DiCaprio leaves empty handed again after producing excellent work for nearly two decades. Personally, I think Chiwetel Ejiofor should win, but he's not a big enough name for the members to recognise, let alone spell on the ballot.

I'm slightly less passionate about the other acting categories this year, particularly as I was disappointed to see Emma Thompson's name missing from the Best Actress nominations. In fact, Saving Mr Banks was almost overlooked completely except for it's Best Original Score nod, but it was the omission of Oprah Winfrey from the Best Supporting Actress list for Lee Daniel's The Butler that most surprised me and was possibly the Oscars biggest mistake this year. The TV mogul made her triumphant return to the big screen with a performance that was honest, heartfelt and graceful. Was it better then Sally Hawkins performance in Blue Jasmine? In my opinion, yes, yes it was and I'm not alone in my thinking.

There are many, many other mistakes I could comment on, like American Hustle's Bradley Copper sneaking past Daniel Bruhl for Best Supporting Actor in Rush, but I have dinner plans. Is there any more you can think of?  Then tell me! Let me know if you agree or not.

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