indieWIRE lists the decade’s worst Oscar snubs

Posted by · 2:59 pm · November 12th, 2009

Dennis Quaid in Far From HeavenThe end-of-decade reflective mood is obviously catching. In yesterday’s Long Shot column, I looked back on the last ten years of the Academy Awards, singling out some of their most inspired choices and positive developments. You responded in great numbers, rare goodwill towards the Academy dominating the comments thread for a change.

Of course, however, we all know that it’s more fun to bury the Oscars than to praise them. So today, indieWIRE’s Peter Knegt has compiled something of a flipside to my piece, listing the 50 most egregious snubs in the past decade of Oscar nominations.

It’s an eclectic list, Knegt’s only requirement for inclusion being that a nomination for the film or individual in question had to be at least within the realm of possibility.

Obviously, it’s a subjective exercise: most would call the failure of “Dreamgirls” to make the Best Picture cut one of the decade’s most surprising snubs, but Knegt presumably feels justice was done there. (I agree — Salma Hayek’s split-second alphabetical leap from “The Departed” to “Letters from Iwo Jima” when reading the nominees might be one of my happiest Oscar moments of the decade.)

Knegt’s list has me reliving many nomination-morning omissions from the last ten years that had me shaking me head, or simply placing it in my hands, from Dennis Quaid for “Far From Heaven” (not to mention that film’s snub in the design categories) to one he doesn’t list, Baz Luhrmann for “Moulin Rouge!” (Love it or hate it, that film is nothing if not a director’s piece.)

Still, I’m not sure any snub this decade reduced me to childish sulking as much as Sally Hawkins’s Best Actress shut-out for “Happy-Go-Lucky” only last January. I was aware how vulnerable she was, given her failure to impress SAG or even BAFTA, but something in me couldn’t believe that such joyful, inspired work, with such a prestigious trail of precursor awards, could lose out to such partially soggy competition. Alas, it could — and my TV still bears the scar from the remote control I hurled at it in my outrage.

Ah, good times. Check out Knegt’s full list here; his Top 10 is below.

1. “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille” and “WALL-E” (Best Picture)
2. Todd Haynes, “Far From Heaven” and “I’m Not There” (Best Director)
3. Uma Thurman, “Kill Bill, Vols. 1 & 2” (Best Actress)
4. “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” (Best Picture)
5. “In the Mood for Love” (Best Foreign Language Film)
6. Paul Giamatti, “American Splendor” and “Sideways” (Best Actor)
7. Bj√∂rk, “Dancer in the Dark” (Best Actress)
8. Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan, “Happy-Go-Lucky” (Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor)
9. “4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days” (Best Foreign Language Film)
10. David Cronenberg, Viggo Mortensen and Maria Bello, “A History of Violence” (Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress)

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62 responses so far

  • 1 11-13-2009 at 2:09 am

    Milan said...

    @Me. (Belleville comment) AMEN.

  • 2 11-13-2009 at 5:55 am

    Pat said...

    I’m still mad about about the Joan Allen snub for the Upside of Anger.

  • 3 11-13-2009 at 6:21 am

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    Cronenberg for AHOV;

    Spielberg for either film in 2003 – what an amazing years 2002 for him;

    If more snubs come to my mind I’ll post ’em.

  • 4 11-13-2009 at 6:36 am

    mike said...

    its just movies people, not brain surgery, i wouldnt feel 2 bad for these rich people.

  • 5 11-13-2009 at 7:22 am

    Michael C. said...

    How about Jon Brion’s unforgettable score for Eternal Sunshine? It certainly ranks among the many snubs for that film.

    I also am stung to this day by the omission of Paul Bettany for Master and Commander. It’s a performance that has really stayed with me.

  • 6 11-13-2009 at 9:41 am

    Michael said...

    This is an incredible list and it only makes me even sadder about all of the people that were not rightfully recognized by the academy over the past decade alone. I agree with pretty much everything on the whole list, especially in the top 10 alone the snubs of Bjork, Uma Thurman, and Sally Hawkins were particulary painful.

  • 7 11-13-2009 at 11:20 am

    Ivan said...

    BILLY ELLIOT for best picture
    MARK RUFFALO for best supporting actor (You Can Count on Me)
    CHRISTOPHER NOLAN for best director (Memento)
    MERYL STREEP for best actress (The Hours)
    25TH HOUR for best adapted screenplay
    KILL BILL VOL. 1 for best cinematography
    GWYNETH PALTROW for best actress (Sylvia)
    JEFF BRIDGES for best actor (The Door in the Floor)
    DARYL HANNAH for best supporting actress (Kill Bill vol. 2)
    THE CONSTANT GARDENER for best cinematography
    LAURA LINNEY for best supporting actress (The Squid and the Whale)
    ALFONSO CUARON for best director (Children of Men)
    LEONARDO DICAPRIO for best actor (The Departed)
    EMILE HIRSCH for best actor (Into the Wild)
    PAUL DANO for best supporting actor (There Will Be Blood)
    REVOLUTIONARY ROAD for best picture
    RACHEL GETTING MARRIED for best screenplay

  • 8 11-13-2009 at 11:29 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Some nice calls there, Ivan. But Mark Ruffalo was in no way a supporting actor in “You Can Count On Me.”

  • 9 11-13-2009 at 11:50 am

    David said...

    So happy to see Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan up there. Eddie Marsan was especially astonishing in Happy-Go-Lucky.

  • 10 11-13-2009 at 1:29 pm

    Brendan said...

    Jonathan Rhys Meyers for Matchpoint
    and Best Picture

    agree with the PAUL GIAMATTI in SIDEWAYS

  • 11 12-14-2009 at 8:12 pm

    Jay said...

    2000: Almost Famous (Picture, Director: should have won), Sunshine (Picture, Director, Ralph Fiennes Actor), Bjork (Actress for Dancer in the Dark), Yi Yi and Werckmeister Harmonies for Foreign Film (ignoring elibility requirements, the Academy’s are inane (like most of their awards), going by personal bests.

    2001: In the Mood for Love should have won Foreign Film. Picture: Mulholland Drive (and Naomi Watts for Actress), Memento (and Chris Nolan for Director). Billy Bob Thornton Actor for Man Who Wasn’t There. Steve Buscemi Supporting Actor for Ghost World.

    2002: Still can’t get over The Pianist losing Picture to Chicago, especially after deservedly winning Director, Screenplay & Actor. Anyhow, Rabbit-Proof Fence (d. Philip Noyce) and Road to Perdition (d. Sam Mendes) were unfairly ignored. Patricia Clarkson for Supporting Actress for Far From Heaven, Michelle Pfeiffer same category for White Oleander. Foreign Best Talk to Her, Amores Perros, Y Tu Mama Tambien, Russian Ark.

    2003: City of God for Best Foreign Film and Best Picture, one of the top 5 of the decade. Fernando Meirelles for Director. Triplets of Belleville for foreign too. House of Sand & Fog underrated, would have nominated it for Picture over Seabiscuit. Also would have nominated Finding Nemo for Picture over Master & Commander. Evan Rachel Wood Actress for Thirteen. Maria Bello supporting Actress for The Cooler. Also Hero for a foreign film nod.

    2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for Picture and Director. Also Hotel Rwanda and yes, the sappy but effective Notebook for Picture (all over Sideways, Ray and the awful Finding Neverland). Gena Rowlands and James Garner for Supporting Actor & Actress. Gael Garcia Bernal for Actor for Bad Education, which should have been nominated for foreign film with A Very Long Engagement, House of Flying Daggers, The Motorcycle Diaries, Downfall and the amazing Spring Summer Fall Winter…Spring, another top 10 film of the decade. Oh, and Bruno Ganz should have been up for actor for Downfall, maybe he should have won.

    2005: Brokeback Mountain losing Best Picture is the biggest fiasco in Oscar history, not just because it was so much more deserving than anything else (and seems to be the only film making every best-of-the-decade-list, again, deservedly so), but because it is the most honored film to ever lose. Crash’s nomination over History of Violence and Constant Gardner is ridiculous, David Cronenberg & Fernando Meirelles also should have been nominated. Maria Bello for actress or supporting actress for History of Violence (good arguments both ways), Ralph Fiennes for Constant Gardner, Donald Sutherland for his wonderful understated turn in Pride and Prejudice. He’s never been nominated, incredible. Cache, 2046, Head-On and Fateless for foreign film, all better than any of the nominees/winner. Daniel Auetiel and Juliette Binoche both should have been up for Cache. And Heath Ledger really really should have won for Brokeback. As the NY Times said, his performance was as great as anything Brando or Sean Penn ever did, meaning the best of cinema.

    2006: Glad to see people have Water on this list, unbelievably moving, another personal top 10 of decade. Volver should have been nominated too. Children of Men (and Alfonso Cuaron) and United 93 should have been nominated for Best Picture, and V for Vendetta is a guilty pleasure and a personal opinion nominee (wondering if its cult status will increase thru the years). Ulrich Muhe in Lives of Others for Actor, Sasha Cohen Best Actor nod for Borat, Seema Biswas Actress for Water, the old lady and young girl for supporting actress in Water. Would have given Supporting Actor to Tyoshi Ihara (sp?) for Letters from Iwo Jima.

    2007: 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days was eligible and not nominated. Why does anybody watch the Oscars. Eligible Lust, Caution also should have been nominated, same for ineligible Diving Bell & the Butterfly. Would have nominated Zodiac and Assassination of Jesse James for Picture over Juno and Michael Clayton. Feel Kite Runner was unfairly maligned, was it foreign or English-language? Angelina Jolie gave her best performance in A Mighty Heart, and I would have nominated both James McAvoy and Vanessa Redgrave for Atonement. Not doing technicals here, but There Will Be Blood was robbed of a score nomination. Paul Dano for Supporting Actor for Blood too.

    2008: Wall-E was by far the year’s best English-language film and should have won. Dark Knight (and Chris Nolan) also should have been nominated, despite script weaknesses. Edge of Heaven should have been up for foreign film (Let the Right One In elgibile in 2009). Sally Hawkins was robbed of Best Actress for Happy-Go-Lucky, and Kristen Scott Thomas also definitely should have been nominated for I’ve Loved You So Long (who to omit? Angelina for her odd Changeling performance and the great Meryl for her Doubt mis-fire, she was in her own little movie and ruined it; very rare). Eddie Marsan for Supporting Actor for Happy.

    The Oscars suck, I haven’t watched in years.

  • 12 12-14-2009 at 8:55 pm

    Me. said...

    WATER!!! That has to be one of my favorite films ever! Definately deserved a Best Picture nomination at the Oscars with Pan’s Labyrinth and Volver (two other films among my favorites ever).