While I was in flight early this morning from Philadelphia on my way to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the ever-so-important Oscar Nominations were officially announced. As is the case every year, it's easy to list who was forgotten and who was surprisingly included. So let's take an in-depth look at all of this year's Oscar snubs and surprises. For a complete list of nominees, click here!
#1. Hungry Like The "Wolf"
One of the biggest unknowns coming into this year's nominations would be how the Academy accepted Martin Scorsese's newly controversial three-hour epic, The Wolf of Wall Street. It turns out the voting members went for it, BIG TIME! Not only did the film end up in the Best Picture race like I predicted, but stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill and director Martin Scorsese himself all landed in the big dance. Not bad for one of the year's most talked-about films.
#2. Whatever Happened to Mr. Banks and Mr. Davis?
Even though I sensed a downward spiral and even mentioned so, I found myself rather surprised at Emma Thompson's omission in the Best Actress category. Not that I was in love with Saving Mr. Banks, but I thought her performance was exceptional, more so than say Sandra Bullock (Gravity). Not only was Disney's movie about movies virtually ignored, Academy Awards regulars Joel and Ethan Coen found their latest picture, Inside Llewyn Davis, shut out of everything except Cinematography ... even the music categories! An absolute stunner.
#3. Tom Hanks who?
2013 was supposed to be a resurgent year for the legendary acting talent, Tom Hanks, and it was. However, the Oscars felt all right passing him by not once, but twice. Hanks had an outside shot in the crowded Supporting Actor category with his turn as Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, but mostly everyone believed he'd be recognized for his work in the crowd-pleasing true thriller, Captain Phillips.
#4. "Hustling" the Competition
It turns out that politicians weren't all they were hustling. Amy Adams and Christian Bale found themselves in the big dance after playing prognosticators all over the country for fools. As they say, "one man's loss is another man's gain". This rang true for the pair of American Hustle stars who found themselves in the Oscar conversation at the expense of two previously mentioned victims, Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. Kudos to American Hustle and it's astounding 10 nominations. Everyone knew Gravity would clean up the technical nominations, but David O. Russell's crime drama did an amazing job keeping pace.
#5. The Forgotten
Like we're all forced to learn in life, not everyone can win. Unfortunately, two of my favorite films this year were completely overlooked and shut out by the Academy. With my personal picks of the year, I gave an outpouring of love for Ron Howard's directing renaissance, Rush, and debut director Destin Cretton's tender drama, Short Term 12. Both films featured exceptional performances, one from Brie Larson and the other from Daniel Bruhl. Neither of which found their way into the final pool. While these films may have been overlooked and forgotten by voting members of the Academy, I'll always cherish them for the strong pieces of work that they are.