10 snubs that sting

Posted by · 5:40 pm · February 2nd, 2010

A scene from Inglourious BasterdsI’ve already highlighted my favorite aspects of this morning’s Oscar nominations. Still, before we move into Phase Two, I’d like to give one final respectful nod to the could-have-beens — the names that we sadly won’t be talking about anymore in the next five weeks of speculation.

I listed my true favorites in my dream ballot over the last few days, though many of those were never in the realm of possibility. What follows are 10 contenders who were very much in the mix, and had every reason to be disappointed this morning.

From my perspective, the race is poorer without the following:

Marvin Hamlisch (Best Original Score), “The Informant!”: As a previously honored veteran of the branch, I thought his foot was comfortably in the door. Was his playful score too tongue-in-cheek for the voters? I’d say the movie wasn’t well-liked enough, but these are the guys who nominated “The Village.” (Less surprising but still disappointing: the omission of “A Single Man” composer Abel Korzeniowski.)

Samantha Morton (Best Supporting Actress), “The Messenger”: That surprise screenplay nod indicates there was keen support for the film in the Academy, so it’s a shame that didn’t extend to its most resonant performance — in a category, moreover, that was obviously in considerable flux.

Anthony Mackie (Best Supporting Actor), “The Hurt Locker”: Best Supporting Actor, on the other hand, remained rigidly unchanged from Globes to SAG to BAFTA, despite seeming softer than any other race. A showing for the frontrunner’s secret weapon would’ve been a nice shake-up.

Stanley Tucci (Best Supporting Actor), “Julie & Julia”: They fluffed this category so badly I feel obliged to give it two mentions. Sure, Tucci himself wasn’t snubbed, but I have yet to speak to anyone who prefers his mannered psycho in “The Lovely Bones” to his wry rock of support in Nora Ephron’s comedy.

“Mary and Max” (Best Animated Feature): Okay, so this never seemed that likely to begin with. But after the Academy stunned pretty much everyone with a nod for little-known Irish pic “The Secret of Kells,” can the year’s best animated film have been far behind?

Greig Fraser (Best Cinematography), “Bright Star”: Okay, so this is stretching my “realm of possibility” definition a little. But there was a fifth slot on that ballot that could have gone anywhere, and did: to the good-looking sixth installment of a fantasy franchise. Fraser would’ve been a more daring surprise.

David Wasco (Best Art Direction), “Inglourious Basterds”: It’s unfair but unsurprising that Wasco’s contemporary designs for “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Kill Bill” went unnominated. But this was lavish period work on a rock-solid Best Picture nominee — what does he have to do to catch a break?

“District 9” (Best Makeup): I thought the sci-fi actioner had the showiest and most story-serving makeup effects of the year, but BAFTA didn’t see what I saw, and neither did the Academy. What am I — or they — missing? (Semi-related side note: where did it go in the sound categories?)

“The Beaches of Agnes” and “Mugabe and the White African” (Best Documentary): I admit I haven’t seen all the competition. But these shortlisted titles were also the two docs that stuck with me most all year — and it would have been sweet to see 81 year-old master Agnes Varda finally go to the ball.

Amazingly enough, there are no near-misses for Best Picture that I’m really crushed about. (Plenty of long shots, but that’s another story.) Maybe, within its extreme limitations, The Ten did its job after all. Who are you missing in this year’s nominee list?

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82 responses so far

  • 1 2-02-2010 at 11:17 pm

    David said...

    (500) Days of Summer for Original Screenplay.

  • 2 2-02-2010 at 11:18 pm

    Andrew2 said...

    Luke and other bright star lovers, according to an insider on the Envelope forum, Apparition simply did not campaign for the film, because of the feedback they got from their research that it wasnt a goer. I dont believe it. They managed to get Young Victoria three nods, and I cant imagine this had any better buzz than Bright Star

  • 3 2-03-2010 at 12:29 am

    Henry said...

    Just saw The Lovely Bones. Everything else aside, I thought the cinematography was pretty special. Andrew Lesnie’s work isn’t subtle, but there are so many images that stand out in my mind. You can’t help but stare at that movie. Am I in the minority in feeling that Lesnie got thoroughly snubbed for being associated with an unpopular film?

  • 4 2-03-2010 at 12:48 am

    timr said...

    I thought Hamlisch’s Informant! score was a film-wrecking tonal disaster area, so I’m personally at peace with its omission.

    More to the point, though, what’s up with that editing nod for Precious?! I mean, skilful editing? Precious?? These are virtually alien concepts.

  • 5 2-03-2010 at 1:31 am

    Jeff said...

    This’ll sound silly, but the most disappointing omission to me was “You’ve Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger” not making it into the Best Song category. Sure, there were things I would’ve liked to have seen that were never going to happen (Michael Stuhlbarg, Tilda Swinton, to name a few), but I honestly thought this song from An Education was going to make the cut.

    When you read about the music branch watching the song in the context of the film, I feel like it’s a product of the 60s, not an original piece. While I do enjoy both “Almost There” from Princess and the Frog and “The Weary Kind” (which seemed to be a given in this category), I thought for sure “YGMWAYLF” was gonna make the grade.

    I also wholeheartedly agree with The Informant score being snubbed. I didn’t care for the film much at all, but I left the theater and immediately bought the score from iTunes…something I don’t do often.

  • 6 2-03-2010 at 1:56 am

    Theoriginal.andrew said...

    I think the hype surrounding Mackie was more because he’s a nice guy and not because of his performance. Most interviewers I know kept saying that he was fantastic and very down-to-earth, but… that wasn’t enough, obviously.

    I think 500 Days of Summer should have been nominated for Original Screenplay. I guess the rom-com genre is not a priority for the Academy. And I also think Star Trek should have been nominated instead of The Bland Side. UGH!

  • 7 2-03-2010 at 2:01 am

    ferdi said...

    You didn’t mention Julianne Moore for A Single Man! The movie is amazing and got only one nod… And also the score is wonderful. No words.

  • 8 2-03-2010 at 3:18 am

    Jonathan Spuij said...

    I just figured they probably had issues with the score being co-written by Umebayashi. Which was trange because at the Globes they just nominated Korzeniowski.

  • 9 2-03-2010 at 3:42 am

    Theoriginal.andrew said...

    I thought An Education was going to get more noms but it didn’t. Not that I liked the film, but most people were expecting at least 6 noms.

  • 10 2-03-2010 at 4:29 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    I’ve been saying the same thing about Julianne Moore since September: she’s fine in “A Single Man,” but well below her best. Frankly, I think she did well to get the Globe nod.

  • 11 2-03-2010 at 4:58 am

    Joe said...

    For the record: seeing “The Hurt Locker” the second time, I did notice the score. And I wasn’t impressed. But I hardly remember any scores after watching a movie anyway, so I won’t complain.
    The biggest snub to me was Michael Stuhlbarg. He gave the performance of the year (I do believe that, and I did see “Crazy Heart”). And I think he qualifies as a snub because that darn Golden Globe nod got my hopes up! But, oh well, it’s a pretty good Best Actor lineup anyway.

  • 12 2-03-2010 at 5:45 am

    Mike M. said...

    No Julianne Moore for A Single Man! I thought the performance was haunting, beautiful, and complex. I hope she gets her long deserved Oscar one day.

    I echo the sentiment that A Single Man was horribly snubbed for its score…I have it on my Ipod and listen to it regularly. (Yeah, I really enjoyed it).

  • 13 2-03-2010 at 6:30 am

    h.h. said...

    Where’s “Where the wild things are”?? Ok, maybe not room for the “last spots” in BP, but not a single nomination?!? C’mon! cinematography and art direction should have been in!! Even more: adapted screenplay!

    I’m also sad because they passed Melanie Laurent over Cruz or Gyllenhall (I like them both, but these perfomances were just O.K. in O.K. movies)

  • 14 2-03-2010 at 6:39 am

    Morgan said...

    I like the idea of holding an annual “Forgotscars” consolation award… here are the nominees…


  • 15 2-03-2010 at 6:58 am

    stylewriter said...

    I’m most disappointed about Star Trek missing BP and Christian McKay not being noticed for Supporting Actor. I’d heard there was a backlash blasting his performance as a “party trick” and him being a one-trick pony. Kind of like that one guy who can do one impression brilliantly but can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. That’s a shame because performance wise it was certainly right up there with Christoph Waltz.

  • 16 2-03-2010 at 7:23 am

    Yogsam said...

    Yeah, i think Beltrami already made his best contribution to cinema with “3:10 to Yuma”, i mean, i have no problem with him being nominated, but if he wins the award,well, that will be dissapointing (for me, at least) i hope “Fantastic Mr. Fox” gets the award for Score, but UP is a beast in that category

  • 17 2-03-2010 at 7:56 am

    Will said...

    i was sad to see no Star Trek in for best picture or director

  • 18 2-03-2010 at 8:30 am

    Pete said...

    The omission of Alfred Molina, An Education, took me by surprise. I would have thought that the UK voters would have put him across the line. He certainly outshone the rather grotesque, cliched performance of Tucci in the horrid The Lovely Bones.

  • 19 2-03-2010 at 8:37 am

    movieguy1 said...

    The notion that “(500) Days of Summer” was snubbed for Best Original Screenplay rests on questionable definitions of “best”, “original”, and “snub”. Original? Really? The two best friends who have nothing to do in their lives but ask the protagonist about the status of his relationship, thus yielding valuable exposition? The grab bag confection of film school thesis cliches (the morning-after dance number, the occasional black and white envisioning of a life as a lovelorn art house fixture)? The hodgepodge fractured chronology in shameless mimicry of “Annie Hall”? The “can’t-take-it-anymore” scene we’ve now witnessed countless times where the main character eviscerates his co-workers and stomps out of a big meeting? The omniscent narrator intoning lines beginning with “This is a story of…” Really? This qualifies as one of the year’s “best” “original” screenplays, and thus was unduly “snubbed”?

  • 20 2-03-2010 at 8:46 am

    Meli said...

    Hell yeah, Paul Outlaw. Viggo was heartbreaking and awesome, as always. Also, Abbie Cornish.

  • 21 2-03-2010 at 9:25 am

    Dave said...

    I think it a joke that they put a bunch of popcorn movies for best picture but do not put even one foreign language film for best picture. The White Ribbon was the best movie of 2009 and probably the best of the whole decade but instead the best picture category is full of fluff like Avatar, Up, Distric 9 etc.. What a joke.

  • 22 2-03-2010 at 10:00 am

    Megan said...


    I totally get what you’re saying.

    However, I’m guessing one big reason they did this 10-slot thing is so popcorn films WOULD get nominations. When movie folks pull themselves out of their esoteric world, they realize most people don’t take movies as seriously as they do. Therefore, they don’t take film awards as seriously.

    It all comes down to ratings-casual movie-goers will be more likely to watch if some of the popcorn-flicks they saw are getting some recognition along with the stuffy business that no one else saw.

    Because let’s face it: hard as they try, film award shows are fucking BORING. I barely made it throught he Globes without swallowing my own tongue.

    As for my most agonizing snub, I wish the category discrepancies with Melanie Laurent got resolved. She gave such a nuanced and fantastic performance (far better than Kruger’s), and I wish some recognition would’ve come her way.

  • 23 2-03-2010 at 10:07 am

    joel said...

    My three biggest snubs:

    1) Marvin Hamlisch’s BRILLIANT scoring for “The Informant!,” which really captured the mood and feel of the film.

    2) Morgan Freeman’s nomination over Matt Damon for “The Informant!,” Sharlto Copley for “District 9,” and Robert Downey Jr. for “Sherlock Holmes.”

    3) The screenplay misses for “(500) Days of Summer” and “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” two of the finest-written films of the year.

  • 24 2-03-2010 at 10:19 am

    movieman said...

    I’m in agreement with Megan and Dave here. I think it’s a shame that overrated, audience-favorite tripe like “Avatar” and “The Blind Side” got nominated here, while effective family dramas like “Lifelines” get sidelined.

  • 25 2-03-2010 at 11:04 am

    tony rock said...

    @movieguy1…screenplay nominations are usually related to how good the dialogue is. Yes, 500 Days doesn’t have the most original story, but the dialogue is absolutely top notch. And being a twenty-somethin like its two main characters, the film displayed some very revealing truths about modern-day young romance. It was surreal how accurate it was. Besides, Annie Hall doesn’t own fractured chronology. The upcoming Blue Valentine is using it as well.

  • 26 2-03-2010 at 11:16 am

    M.Harris said...

    Viggo! For his a powerful and nuanced performance. In “The Road.”

  • 27 2-03-2010 at 11:23 am

    Sean Stangland said...

    I was under the impression that the overwhelming bulk of the alien effects in “District 9” were completely computer-generated characters. Aside from Copley’s alien prosthetics, the makeup effects in the film are minimal, are they not?

  • 28 2-03-2010 at 11:54 am

    Morgan said...

    Sean: Well, by that narrow standard, the makeup effects in “The Fly” (with Goldblum) were “minimal” too…

  • 29 2-03-2010 at 11:54 am

    Mao said...

    I couldn’t agree with you more about “Mary And Max.”

  • 30 2-03-2010 at 11:55 am

    Mao said...

    And no love for “The Road”? What’s up with that?

  • 31 2-03-2010 at 12:38 pm

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    The score of THE VILLAGE was beautiful. That nod was surprising and, above all, well deserved. Maybe you were just sayin’ that it was a disliked film and even so it got a nod…