In light of the recently released 88th Academy Awards nominations, we look back at the biggest snubs and awards surprises of the past 10 years; from the films that everyone thought would be sure-fire winners to the deserving films and performance that didn’t even get nominated.
2006: The 78th Academy Awards
In the year where the nominations were fair and reflected a strong cinematic year, a massive award giving faux pas was committed which will go down as one of the most controversial in Oscar history. Everyone thought that Brokeback Mountain, the tale of a homosexual relationship between two sheep herders, was going to be a shoe in for the Best Picture award and when Ang Lee won the director prize for the film, it surely only cemented it.
But then the academy shocked us all and chose to award Crash the prestigious accolade, a ensemble film and about racial and social tension in Los Angeles. Now this is a regular case of the academy playing safe; two films both making political statements, it could of gone either way, but they chose the less explicit and more vanilla of the two. Thanks to a recent study by the Hollywood Reporter, re-surveying the Academy members on previous controversial decisions, Brokeback Mountain finally came up trumps as the best picture of that year. Shame it’s 10 years too late.
2007: The 79th Academy Awards
Dreamgirls is proof that no matter how many millions you poor into your marketing campaign it doesn’t necessarily means it’s going to pay off. Don’t get me wrong, the Supreme’s biopic didn’t do badly when it can to nominations that year, they managed to rack up the most noms of the year at an impressive 8.
That 8 didn’t include the big wig though, the Best Picture nod. An early favourite of the awards season, some predicted a win for Dreamgirls so the fact it didn’t even get a nomination was shocking. Nevertheless, the film was still the big talking point at the 79th Awards due to Jennifer Hudson’s well deserved win for her supporting film of the year.
2008: The 80th Academy Awards
The films in competition at 80th Academy Awards were strong. With 8 nomination each, No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood were the front runners, and the awards they clocked up between them were all well-deserved. The most notable snub surprises of this year came in the Best Foreign Language Film category.
Historically, films that had performed well on the festival circuit, particularly at Cannes, are normally seen in the Foreign Language film nominations, however not this year. Popular in art-house circles, Palme d’Or winner 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days and Jury Prize winner Persepolis both failed to make the cut, which is a terrible shame as nominations for them may have brought more exposure to two brilliant but underrated films.
2009: The 81st Academy Awards
The controversy and reactions caused by Best Picture nomination snubs ended up being so strong that the Academy made changes to the category the following year. Pixar film WALL-E and second in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy The Dark Night were two of the most popular films of the year; not only with audiences and ratings but also amongst critics too.
Both nominated in other categories, the Academy shocked cinephiles when failing to recognise either of the films is the top accolade despite both have the credentials. The next year the Oscar’s Best Picture category changed from 5 nominations to allowing up to 10, allowing more popular/mainstream films to be included amongst your typical, prestigious award-show fare. This benefited Pixar and Nolan with Up and Inception being nominated in the following years.
2010: The 82nd Academy Awards
The 82nd Academy Awards was the most watched of the decade, most probably down to featuring one the biggest films ever and also featuring the showdown to end all show downs. 2010 was the battle of the ex-spouses, Avatar vs. The Hurt Locker, Cameron vs. Bigelow, ex-husband vs. ex-wife.
With a record breaking cinema run, and ground-breaking techniques, everyone thought that the arrogant and insufferable Cameron had it in the bag (including himself), but then Katherine Bigelow’s war film The Hurt Locker, the dark-horse of the award season, triumphed and won Best Picture and Best Director, leaving Avatar without one of the major awards. The win was made only sweeter with Bigelow becoming the first (and still, the only) female winner of the Best Director award. 2011:
The 83rd Academy Awards
With the most notable snubs this year being Christopher Nolan (yet again!) not recognised for his directing in Inception and Mila Kunis failing to be noticed for her electric turn in Black Swan, the 83rd Academy Awards were known for the race to the top 2 awards (Picture and Director) between two biopics; The Kings Speech and The Social Network.
Once it came the the awards night, the two were still neck and neck with the general consensus agreeing that while The Kings Speech may run away with the Best Picture awards, Fincher should and would be awarded the Directing accolade. Yet again the Academy surprised us again; siding with the Brits and going two for two (plus many more) for The Kings Speech, leaving Fincher still (and undeservedly) without an Oscar.
2012: The 84th Academy Awards
The 84th Academy awards was the year where little known, French silent movie, backed by the Weinstein brothers, The Artist, snuck up on the award season and stormed it, winning Oscars in most of the major categories. For me however, the most notable surprise of the 2012 awards was the omission of Steve McQueen’s Shame. Shame, a film about one man’s battle with sex addiction, was the film that made the film world sit up and recognise the magic of Michael Fassbender (in my opinion, the finest actor of our generation) and his authentic, emotional and powerful turn in the film was more than deserving of an nomination (some may even say a win).
The problem with Shame, however with the full-frontal male nudity and explicit sex scenes was too much for the prudish Academy and the film went ignored. Fortunately, McQueen and Fassbender were recognised at the 2014 awards for their next film 12 Years A Slave.
2013: The 85th Academy Awards
Historically, if a film is recognised in the Best Picture category, then it’s highly likely that the film’s director will be recognised in the Best Director one, this wasn’t the case for Argo and poor Ben Affleck though. The film that brought Affleck back from the shame of very poor acting choices, audiences and critics alike believed that his Directing turn for Argo was worth nominating, the Academy however, did not agree.
Only the add insult to injury, Argo won Best Picture at the 85th awards, which poses the question; how can a film be so capable of winning Best Picture but the directing not even be worth a nom? This was the year that also foreshadowed 2015 and the Academy’s seemingly disdain for Paul Thomas Anderson, rightly nominating The Master for many awards but wrongly ignoring PTA when it came to the Directing awards, with no nomination in sight.
2014: The 86th Academy Awards
2014 was the year that the Academy decided to almost completely ignore the best film of the year (in my opinion, and I’m sure many others will agree) Inside Llewyn Davies. The Coen brothers have a good relationship where the Oscars are concerned, with films like No Country For Old Men coming up trumps and True Grit receiving many nominations, so the Academy’s ignorance of their folk odyssey was shocking, especially when considering the films’s 94% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
The snubbing of Inside Llewyn Davies only becomes even more scandalous in the context of this was the same year that the Academy some how awarded teacher’s pet David O. Russell’s 70’s farce American Hustle with the most nominations.
2015: the 87th Academy Awards
Much like the previous year the Academy, yet again, ignored one of the best films of the year, which again happened to the very popular amongst the critics circle, stoner-noir Inherent Vice. Featuring a strong cast, with a good Oscar pedigree, with gorgeous cinematography and directed by the great Paul Thomas Anderson, everyone thought that Inherent Vice would be one of he main contenders at the 87th Academy Awards, along with Boyhood and Birdman.
Yet again the Academy seemingly didn’t get what cinephiles and critics got and completely snubbed the picture. One of the interesting points about the Best Picture category this year is the Academy chose to only nominate 8 films out of the possible 10, which seems odd when there was many deserving (albeit quirkier) films that could of filled those two spare slots; Inherent Vice (of course), Gone Girl, Interstellar or Nightcrawler.
And so to the 87th Oscars 2016
The snub that sent a collective gasp across social media this year was the lack of recognition for Todd Haynes and his sumptuous adaption, Carol. If it were to compare with previous winners, Carol ticks every box for Oscar bait so it seemed a bizarre twist of fate that neither Best Picture, nor Director nomination mentioned her name. Period piece? Check.Previous award winning lead? Check. A literary adaptation? Check. Emotional performances? Check. Maybe if it portrayed a heterosexual relationship it would have done better, but who’s to say.
One serious talking point this year has been the controversey sparked by the lack of diversity in the Oscar nomination. For the third year running, the acting nominations have been white washed, with not a single actor of colour nominated. Despite there being many possible and deserving nominees such as Idris Elba for Beasts Of No Nation or Michael B. Jordan for Creed it seems the Academy has taken three steps back in recognising talent equally. With actors like Jada Pinkett Smith and George Clooney calling for a boycott of the awards ceremony, questions need to be raised as to why the industry’s wealthiest representative for the recognition of talent, can’t see past the end of it’s nose.
The 88th Academy Awards – 28th February 2016.