When Hindsight Doesn’t Apply: 10 Big Oscar Snubs Since 2000

Oscar's big omissions...

It’s often said that hindsight is 20/20, and that by looking to the past we’re able to see things with perfect clarity. When it comes to the Oscars, hindsight is often used to criticize choices that were made by Academy members in a given moment. By looking over the entire history of the Academy Awards, one can nitpick their selections for days: How Green Was My Valley over Orson Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane for Best Picture (1941)? A crime! Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking 2001: A Space Odyssey not even nominated for Best Picture (1968)? A travesty! Jimmy Stewart left off the ballot for his career-best performance in Vertigo (1958)? An abomination! Hoop Dreams – arguably the greatest documentary film ever made – not nominated for Best Doc (1994)? Wha? What!? WHAT?!?! …Well, you get my point with this. Thanks to hindsight, we can go on and on looking back at past mistakes.

Read more after the jump.

However, there are times when hindsight isn’t necessary to recognize a tremendous omission made by the voters. These are the moments when the nominees are announced and an astonished gasp emits from the gathered press – an instantaneous mistake that takes no time to be known as one. When the favorite to win the Oscar in any given category ends up losing to a less-deserving nominee, the impact the voters’ decision has can resonate for decades. But the bigger infraction is when the presumed favorite (or even just your personal pick) to win the Oscar doesn’t get nominated at all.

Unfortunately, this happens quite often. As I compiled my list of the 10 biggest Oscar omissions, I realized I better shorten the field down a bit. So what you are about to see is my personal selection of the 10 biggest Oscar exclusions in the major categories (Picture, Director, Acting, and Screenplay) since the year 2000. As mentioned, there are plenty to choose from, so I’d love to see your list as well. However, I encourage you to look back at what was nominated in that field before calling out Oscar. Sometimes a category is just loaded with great choices, and therefore someone or something great misses out. There are only so many slots to fill, after all. For example, I wanted to include the absence of Tilda Swinton’s career-best performance in 2010’s I Am Love, but when seeing the field she lost out to (Annette Bening – The Kids Are All Right; Natalie Portman – Black Swan; Nicole Kidman – Rabbit Hole; Jennifer Lawrence – Winter’s Bone; and Michelle Williams – Blue Valentine) it’s hard to say who she should’ve replaced. So I’ll give her my Honorable Mention, in what was an absolute power-house year for the Lead Actress race.

You can never be sure with Oscar...

10. Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) for Lead Actor (2011).

Nominees: Demián Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Brad Pitt (Moneyball), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), and Jean Dujardin (The Artist).

I love Gary Oldman as much as the next guy, and had this list been for the 1980s you could’ve expected to see his snub for Sid and Nancy (1986) among my 10, but I have a hard time seeing Fassbender and Shannon replaced by any of the other five nominated performances. This race should’ve been between the two Michaels, and yet neither found their way on the ballot. I would’ve swapped out Oldman and Bichir to have included them. And then I would’ve given the Oscar to Fassbender.

9. Adaptation for Best Picture (2002).

Nominees: Chicago, Gangs of New York, The Pianist, The Hours, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers.

Selecting Chicago, The Pianist, and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers continues to sit well with me here. However, leaving off Charlie Kaufman’s hilarious, wild, and inventive Adaptation in favor of The Hours and Gangs of New York still sticks in my craw.

8. The Passion of the Christ for Best Picture (2004).

Nominees: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, and Sideways.

I know I just lost half my audience, but as Ezra Pound once said, “If a man isn’t willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he’s no good.” And so I’m not afraid to admit that I feel Mel Gibson’s film was the best of 2004 (*ducks out of the way of flying eggs and tomatoes). I certainly wouldn’t argue against Sideways, or even Million Dollar Baby, but The Aviator, Finding Neverland, and Ray are films that are destined to be forgotten. The Passion of the Christ feels like a film that will be watched for generations. If only Mel weren’t Mel…

7. (500) Days of Summer for Original Screenplay (Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber, 2009).

Nominees: The Hurt Locker, Inglourious Basterds, The Messenger, A Serious Man, and Up.

I wouldn’t think of removing Locker, Basterds, or Up, but there’s no way I would’ve left off one of the most heartbreakingly true screenplays about love that was ever written.

6. Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds) for Lead Actress (2009).

Nominees: Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side), Helen Mirren (The Last Station), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), and Meryl Streep (Julie and Julia).

I think this one is easy. Apparently, the Academy felt otherwise. Sub Laurent for the Oscar-winning Bullock and you have an outstanding slate of nominees. And then maybe you can give the Oscar to Streep here instead of last year over Viola Davis (The Help). See how it all trickles down?

Was it more than a Foreign Language contender?

5. The Lives of Others, Pan’s Labyrinth, Little Children, and United 93 for Best Picture (2006).

Nominees: Babel, The Departed, Letters from Iwo Jima, Little Miss Sunshine, and The Queen.

Only once before in my life-long love affair with Oscar have we drifted so far apart as we did with the announcement of the Best Picture nominees in 2006 (see #8, #4, and #2 to see the other time). The Departed was the sole nomination I would’ve kept in place that year. The big surprise here though was omitting Paul Greengrass’ 9/11 drama, United 93. Released only 5 years after the tragic event, perhaps it was too soon for most voters to sit through the film. Greengrass still managed a Best Director nomination for his magnificent achievement.

4. Animated features unable to break into the Best Picture field – Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), and Wall-E (2008).

Nominees: I won’t list all 20 Best Picture nominees covering these four years; instead I’ll just mention which I would’ve subbed out in order to include each of these soon-to-be-if-not-already legendary Disney/Pixar films.

Before the Best Picture field expanded to 10 movies in 2009, only one animated feature film had been able to call itself a Best Picture nominee (Beauty and the Beast, 1991). Even a cutting-edge film like Toy Story (1995) was left in the dust. It simply was a genre the Academy refused to embrace. Then, in 2001, the genre received an Oscar category all its own. But this worked like a double-edged sword. Finally, an animated film had a spot to receive Oscar recognition, but with its own grouping, voters felt less inclined to include these films among the best of the year. That doesn’t mean they weren’t deserving of such honor. For example, in 2003 Finding Nemo should have found Oscar over Seabiscuit. In 2004, The Incredibles should have joined The Passion of the Christ (*ducks again) over The Aviator, Finding Neverland, and/or Ray. In 2007, Ratatouille should’ve cooked up the perfect recipe for a nomination over Atonement and/or Juno. In 2008, Wall-E should’ve rolled over Milk, The Reader, and/or Frost/Nixon. If the expansion to 10 Best Picture nominees in 2009 did anything at all, it at least gave Up – my personal favorite – the chance to join Beauty and the Beast as a Best Picture nominee.

3. The Dark Knight for Best Picture (2008).

Nominees: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Slumdog Millionaire, Milk, The Reader, and Frost/Nixon.

Speaking of expanding to 10 films in 2009, many people still credit the exclusion of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight as the source for such a change. Oscar never felt as out of touch as it did in 2008, and you can easily replace The Reader and Frost/Nixon to include Wall-E and The Dark Knight.

2. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind for Best Picture (2004).

Nominees: The Aviator, Finding Neverland, Million Dollar Baby, Ray, and Sideways.

Yeah, we’re back here again. Good old 2004… I think I’ve spoken enough on including Wall-E and The Passion of the Christ (*enters bomb shelter) over the likes of The Aviator, Finding Neverland, and Ray, but the dismissal of Michel Gondry’s exceptionally thought-provoking sci-fi/drama was absolutely preposterous. Throw in the snubbing of Jim Carrey for the performance of his life and you almost get my #1 spot on this list. Almost.

Paul Giamatti snubbed for Lead Actor in Alexander Payne's "Sideways" in 2004

1. Paul Giamatti for Lead Actor (American Splendor, 2003, and Sideways, 2004).

Nominees: In 2003 – Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl), Ben Kingsley (House of Sand and Fog), Jude Law (Cold Mountain), Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), and Sean Penn (Mystic River). In 2004 – Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda), Johnny Depp (Finding Neverland), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Aviator), Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby), and Jamie Foxx (Ray).

The fact that it happened once – strike one. The fact that it happened twice – strike two. The fact that it happened in back-to-back years – strike three, you end up #1 on a list of the worst Oscar snubs. Giamatti would’ve faced tough competition in 2003 for his intense performance as Harvey Pekar in American Splendor. So I’m not going to tell you he should’ve won over Penn, or even Murray for that matter. And to tell you he should’ve been nominated over Kingsley or Depp is to compare apples to apples. But I sure as hell would have picked him over Law.

The following year is a different matter altogether. I not only think he should’ve been nominated over the actors in his place, I think he should’ve won for his penetrating performance as Miles, a lonely, middle-aged, wine lover who suffers from a heavy mix of depression and anxiety. If ever an actor nailed a role, certainly it was Giamatti in Sideways. The fact that he didn’t even get nominated for an award he also deserved to win is a scar on the Academy’s history.

And it doesn’t require hindsight to see that.

What omissions would make your list?

  • John Rivera

    Joseph and I discussed this on a live blog a few months back The main reason this happened is that if the Academy wants someone to win they knock out their biggest competition. The main two we talk about were #3 and Albert Brooks this past year not getting a best supporting actor nod. If they did not expand it to 10 and kept it at 5 nominations would movies such as The Social Network and Avatar not get best picture nominees?

    • Mark Johnson

      That is an interesting point you make about knocking out their competition. I can’t imagine them not nominating The Social Network, but maybe Avatar if not 10 noms? Though I think the fact that both films in question found their directors nominated bodes well for their chances even if there were only 5 Best Pic nominees in ’09 and ’10. Avatar made too much money to be ignored, and, well, The Social Network was just too perfect.

  • UBourgeois

    10 – I agree, and I also don’t. The slate was very good that year, and while I’d say Fassy was minimally #3 that year, probably #2 or 1, I hardly see it as an unforgivable strike, though I suppose that’s why it’s low on the list (haven’t seen Take Shelter yet, so can’t comment)

    9 – Absolutely agree. I go back and forth between The Pianist and Adaptation for best of that year constantly.

    8 – Ennnh, not seeing it. Maybe kick off Ray or Neverland, but keep The Aviator on there, I’ve always liked that one.

    7 – Yeah, kick off The Messenger. Love (500).

    6 – I suppose. I don’t see her as obvious a choice as you do, but I would hardly be against it.

    5 – I adore Little Miss Sunshine and also rather like The Queen, so I have to differ with you there. I’d be most sympathetic to Pan’s Labyrinth and United 93 over the unexciting Babel and Iwo Jima, but I wasn’t much a fan of Little Children (haven’t seen The Lives of Others yet, though).

    4 – Nemo and Incredibles I agree with (best things Pixar’s ever done, in my opinion) and WALL-E I partially agree with (would kick off Reader or Ben Button, but not Milk or Frost/Nixon), but I wouldn’t touch the 2007 lineup. Maybe, MAYBE sub in Ratatouille for Atonement, but none of the rest. Also, since you’re on the subject, why no rallying cry for Spirited Away?

    3 – I think most would be with you on that.

    2 – Agree with this far more than the addition of Passion. Real shameful snub.

    1 – God yes. Giamatti just can’t catch a break.

    • Mark Johnson

      Hurry up and see Take Shelter and The Lives of Others! Both great films. I remember being upset when Pan lost Foreign to Lives, having not seen the latter at the time. But after seeing it a few months later, I was blown away. My #2 film for that year.

  • koook160

    My top ten snubs in the major 5 categories.

    Best Picture

    1. 2007 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
    2. 2008 The Dark Knight
    3. 2006 The Proposition
    4. 2001 Memento
    5. 2002 Catch Me if You Can
    6. 2011 Drive
    7. 2010 Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
    8. 2001 Shrek
    9. 2009 (500) Days of Summer
    10. 2004 Kill Bill Vol. 2

    Best Actor

    1. 2001 Guy Pearce in Memento
    2. 2006 Leonardo DiCaprio in The Departed
    3. 2011 Michael Fassbender in Shame
    4. 2011 Ryan Gosling in Drive
    5. 2004 Jim Carrey in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    6. 2009 Joseph Gordon-Levitt in (500) Days of Summer
    7. 2009 Sam Rockwell in Moon
    8. 2005 Jeff Daniels in The Squid and the Whale
    9. 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can
    10. 2006 Sacha Baron Cohen in Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glourious Nation of Kazakhstan

    Best Actress

    1. 2002 Jennifer Aniston in The Good Girl
    2. 2004 Uma Thurman in Kill Bill Vol. 2
    3. 2006 Maggie Gyllenhaal in Sherrybaby
    4. 2003 Evan Rachel Wood in thirteen
    5. 2001 Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive
    6. 2005 Michelle Monaghan in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
    7. 2005 Joan Allen in The Upside of Anger
    8. 2007 Amy Adams in Enchanted
    9. 2010 Julianne Moore in The Kids are All Right
    10. 2009 Melanie Laurent in Inglourious Basterds

    Best Supporting Actor

    1. 2004 David Carradine in Kill Bill Vol. 2
    2. 2006 Ray Winstone in The Proposition
    3. 2002 Andy Serkis in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
    4. 2011 Brad Pitt in The Tree of Life
    5. 2011 Albert Brooks in Drive
    6. 2002 Robin Williams in Insomnia
    7. 2007 Sam Rockwell in The Assassination of JesseJames by the Coward Robert Ford
    8. 2005 Mickey Rourke in Sin City
    9. 2009 Paeter Capaldi in In the Loop
    10. 2003 Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass

    Best Supporting Actress

    1. 2010 Marion Cotillard in Inception
    2. 2001 Carrie Anne Moss in Memento
    3. 2006 Emilie de Ravin in Brick
    4. 2002 Toni Collette in About a Boy
    5. 2010 Chloe Grace Moretz in Kick-Ass
    6. 2011 Sandra Bullock in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    7. 2000 Erika Christensen in Traffic
    8. 2004 Darryl Hannah in Kill Bill Vol. 2
    9. 2009 Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds
    10. 2007 Imelda Stauton in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

    Feel free to debate any of these.

    • Mark Johnson

      Great lists! I love the passion for Memento. One of my favorites for that decade. Almost included that as one of my 10.
      I also appreciate seeing Pitt on your list for The Tree of Life. I believe it was his finest hour.

      • koook160

        I can’t decide if I liked Pitt more in Figt Club or The Tree of Life. There’s a few I listed that I just realized might raise a few eyebrows. Any ones I listed make you say “WTF”?

        • To each their own, but I think The Proposition and Scott Pilgrim listed as BP snubs is a bit of a stretch. Other than that, there is nothing that I would strongly disagree about. I love Rockwell in Moon, btw. Another fine choice.

          • koook160

            I consider The Proposition one of the greatest films I’ve ever seen, so yeah.

    • J. Schmidt

      I totally agree that The Assassination of Jesse James was terribly snubbed in two categories. One is it should have at least been a nominee for Best Picture and Best Soundtrack. It should have been a lock for costume and cinematography. Having read the book that the movie was based on it should have won best screen adaptation as well. It was that good of a movie.

      I don’t agree with DiCrappio being considered for Catch Me if You Can. He was terribly miscast as a teenager who supposedly looked mature enough to pass himself off as a near 30 year old. The movie was an abomination of the book. To those that read the book CMIYC was a huge disappointment.

      I don’t agree with the idea that Kill Bill 2 deserved any Oscar recognition. Kill Bill 1 yes, Kill Bill 2 no. Just my humble opinion.

  • Josh P.

    Of the Best Actor nominees of 2011, I actually would have picked Oldman as my personal winner. However, the omission of Fassbender was inexcusable, along with Tilda Swinton in the Best Actress category for “We Need to Talk About Kevin.” I also find it funny that you wouldn’t trade “The Hurt Locker”, “Up” or “Inglourious Basterds” for a screenplay nomination for “(500) Days of Summer”, but I definitely would. Especially “The Hurt Locker” which I thought was incredibly weak in the story department. And as far as Melanie Laurent goes, I think had she been campaigned as a Supporting Actress (as I think she should have) instead of Kruger for that film, she might have been nominated.

    My own personal mentions would be James Franco for Milk, Rosemarie DeWitt for Rachel Getting Married, Sam Rockwell for The Assassination of Jesse James…, Leonardo DiCaprio for The Departed, Sean Astin for Return of the King, Jamie Bell for Billy Elliot, and Best Picture and Director mentions for Drive, Where the Wild Things Are, The Assassination of Jesse James…, The Incredibles and You Can Count on Me.

    • Mark Johnson

      The Laurent push for Supporting might have gotten her in, I’m guessing this is where hindsight might have helped The Weinsteins for once…

      Love the DeWitt pick!

  • Jaguar Joe

    Why is it that when we talk about the snubs that piss us off so greatly, we feel like throwing a tv across the room? Or is that just me? Anyway, here I go:

    **I agree fully with the above mentioning of The Dark Knight, Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, United 93, Little Children for Best Picture, as well as Laurent for Best Actress

    2009: Supporting Actress: Marion Cotillard for ‘Public Enemies’ and Diane Kruger for ‘Inglorious Basterds’

    Cotillard was hands-down the best part of that movie and Kruger was fun to watch in all that mayhem. I loathed Farmiga ‘Up in the Air’ and Cruz in ‘Nine’, so those would have been my switches.

    2007: Best Picture: The Diving Bell and Butterfly

    Clearly ‘Atonement’ wasn’t good enough to get a director nod but Schnabel was for his brilliant French film, so why not give the film a shot at the big prize too?

    2009: Best Actor: Joseph-Gordon Levitt for ‘(500) Days of Summer’

    Ok, so he probably wouldn’t have won, but c’mon, he owned that film as the ‘everyman’ we see in us all. Morgan Freeman didn’t need that nomination for ‘Invictus’ (another example of Eastwood really going down as of late)

    2010: Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams for ‘Shutter Island’ and Marion Cotillard for ‘Inception’

    It’s a shame that Shutter Island got completely snubbed (should have been in the picture race too instead of True Grit) but Williams was the perfect example of a supporting performance: not in for very long but adds depth and reason to the plot. Inception was an ensemble piece, but Cotillard shone as the suoer hot but suoer crazy dead wife. In a perfect world, these ladies would have bumped out Jacki Weaver and Hallie Steinfeld.

    2010: Best Actor: Leonardo Dicaprio for ‘Shutter Island’

    Leo + Scorsese equals pure magic. Did Bridges really need another nom after winning the year before for a re-hash of 60’s film?

    Others that come to mind:

    2003 Suporting Actor: Sean Astin for ‘Return of the King’ instead of Del Toro
    2004 Supporting Actor: David Carridine for ‘Kill Bill Vol 2’ instead of Owen
    2003 Actress: Uma Thurman for ‘Kill Bill Vol 1’ instead of Keaton
    2001 Supporting Actor: Jim Broadbent for ‘Moulin Rouge!’ instead of himself for iris
    2001 Actor: Ewan McGregor for ‘Moulin Rouge!’ instead of Penn
    2002: Actor: Leonardo Dicaprio for ‘Catch Me If You Can’ instead of Nicholson
    2002 Supporting Actor: Tom Hanks in ‘Catch Me If You Can’ instead of Reilly

    • Mark Johnson

      Love the swap out for Supporting Actress of 2009. Totally agree with you there. And apparently you love Cotillard as much as I do.
      The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was a brilliant film, but I am content with the nomination for Schnabel, since it was his vision that made that film so inventive.
      Uma Thurman’s performance for Kill Bill was one of the last two I cut from the list. Good choices!

  • Eric McCainley

    I do agree that Melanie Laurent was a total miss in the acting categories – either lead or supporting. She was great, just as Waltz was, but the Academy clearly said “Au revoir, Shoshana!” (Couldn’t resist!).

    • Mark Johnson

      Ha! Love it. Basterds is still my #1 from ’09. Laurent and Waltz are two huge reasons why. And, of course, Fassy.

  • Steve Glansberg

    Wow, nice thought-provoking article Mark. Welcome to the Award Circuit!

    The snub that always hit me hardest was over Eddie Marsan for best supporting actor in Happy-Go-Lucky (2008). I still would have picked Ledger as the winner, but not even giving Marsen a nomination for such a performance….

    Now that I think about it, 2008 was just an awful year for me all around. I would have had Sally Hawkins in there over Kate Winslet as well. And the exclusion of Che from every category, I’m literally getting a headache thinking about it. Even Sean Penn, winner of best actor that year, agrees that Benicio del Toro should have been cleaning up the awards all season long. Then of course there is that whole Dark Knight thing….

    • Mark Johnson

      Thank you so much. I appreciate the warm welcome!

      I have Happy-Go-Lucky waiting for me in my Netflix queue. Can you believe I missed that one? I’m even more looking forward to seeing it now though. Thanks for sharing!

  • Zooey

    I totally agree on your number 1. Every time I see Sideways, it’s always Paul Giamatti who breaks my heart. It’s a very subtle, nuanced, complex performance by a terrific actor who isn’t afraid to create a character who isn’t just the good guy but somebody real and therefore more and more appealing.

    Anyway, The Lives of Others wasn’t eligible in 2006. It didn’t premiere in the US until 2007, but if I have to state who was the big snub, to me it wasn’t the film but this BRILLIANT performance by Ulrich Muehe in the lead. If I could change one category outcome (from nomination to winner), Muehe would have been eligible and won over Forest Whitaker.

    Other snubs:

    2000: Maybe it’s because I adore Wonder Boys but to me the terrific ensemble of Michael Douglas, Frances McDormand, Tobey Maguire and Robert Downey, Jr. at his sexiest deserved a lot more attention. McDormand was nominated for Almost Famous, but I can’t believe Douglas missed out. I would let Tom Hanks or Russell Crowe off the list to include Douglas and I’m not usually a fan.

    2001: The Royal Tenenbaums in multiple categories. The Royal Tenenbaums is the only performance of Gwyneth Paltrow I actually like. It’s a movie that’s intelligent, funny, inventive, bold and heartbreaking. Of course it wasn’t even close to best picture. But who cares? The best of the Coens (Barton Fink!) wasn’t either. But a nomination for picture, actor (Heckman), directing, original screenplay (which it got, yay!, kudos to writers!) should have been in line for this gem. And of course – why keep the costume design Oscar for queens and courtesans? Just take a look at this film’s great costumes. They are a character in themselves!

    2002: Far From Heaven for best picture, best directing, best supporting actor and best supporting actress. And especially BEST COSTUME DESIGN. Come on, every time I take a look at Cathy and her costumes, I think of what a horrible snub it was.

    2003: Lost In Translation for film editing and cinematography.

    2004: Giamatti!

    2005: The Constant Gardener for cinematography! Brokeback Mountain’s editing! The absurd of “A Love That Will Never Grow Old” being considered ineligible. Joan Allen’s snub and they nominated Judi Dench and Reese Witherspoon for nothing.

    2006: Muehe. Pan’s Labyrinth!! The Departed was actually snubbed in multiple categories. Where was DiCaprio’s nomination for the more interesting of his two performances?

    2007: To this day I can’t understand how Julie Christie won every possible award and Gordon Pinsent didn’t get much?! To me he carried the whole film. And his performance felt far more interesting, detailed and painful. It’s not fair but nobody did care. Then again, Mathieu Amalric deserved more attention as did Frank Langella.

    2008: WALL-E..

    2009: BRIGHT STAR!! (500) Days of Summer – agree on that.

    2010: It was a very strong year and I liked a lot of their choices in terms of nominations, but where was the nod for Lesley Manville? But they finally acknowledged the existence of Mark Ruffalo!!!!

    • Mark Johnson

      Man, you made so many outstanding selections, I can’t comment on them all, but I’ll touch on a few…

      You really nailed it about Giamatti in Sideways. It is because he is so real, as you stated, that it is such a moving and powerful performance. Glad you agree.

      I was unaware The Lives of Others was ineligible for the BP nom that year. I assumed since it was up for Foreign it would have been eligible for Picture. Between the rules for Picture, Doc, Song, and Score, it is hard to keep everything straight. But I love that fact that you pointed out Ulrich Muehe’s incredible performance.

      The Royal Tenenbaums!! Yes!! That was the first film I went to when compiling this list. I couldn’t remember if the Screenplay was nominated or not (it was). If it wasn’t, you can bet your ass it would have not only made my 10, but it would have probably found its way into the upper half of the list. I LOVE that film!

      Lesley Manville. Maybe the performance of that year. Heartbreaking.

      • WillQ

        I thought I was the only one who loved Pinsent as much as (if not more than) Christie. He was astonishing in Away from Her, I mean my god he carried the whole movie such quiet dignity and grace (ba-doom chhhh).

        Tenenbaums is one of my favorites of the last decade. Everything about it screams masterpiece. Anderson has an uncanny eye for detail and his characters are never anything less than genuine people. A nod for his directing and the film itself should have happened.

  • Exley

    I agree with a lot of your picks. Here’s mine:

    1. Adaptation for best picture. It’s one of my favorite movies ever.

    2. The Dark Knight for best picture. I wish we didn’t have up tp 10 nominees now.

    3. Paul Giamatti for best actor in Sideways.

    4. Maggie Gyllenhaal for best actress in Secretary.

    5. Memento for best picture

    6. Paul Giamatti for best actor in American Splendor.

    7. Guy Pearce for best actor in The Proposition.

    8. Naomi Watts for best actress in Mulholland Drive

    9. Mulholland Drive for best picture

    10. United 93 for best picture

    Honorable Mentions – Peter Sarsgaard in Shattered Glass, Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Wall-E for best picture

    • Mark Johnson

      Maggie was awesome in Secretary. Great little gem of a film, too.
      Watts’ snub for Mulholland Drive is another great pick.

  • Anupam

    I don’t think that is really true John. At least I cannot see the pattern emerging like that. The Academy can reward the prize to anyone regardless of nomination if they want to. Al Pacino (getting an Oscar for hamming his way through a film) and Sandra Bullock gets the “lifetime” due over much much better and deserving candidates (nominees or otherwise) in their respective years. So for me, I cannot say what you said above.

    Just some of the choices that i personally felt should have been included in the Oscar lineup and that not discussed before are.

    1. Christopher Nolan for Best Director, The Dark Knight (2008) – More than Best Picture, Nolan deserves credit for almost single handedly redefining the superhero genre. Every super hero film now wants to be like TDK and we all know why.

    2. Todd Field for Best Director, In The Bedroom (2001) – I would have chosen his work over that of Ridley Scott any day.

    3. Guillermo Del Torro for Best Director, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – He deserves it over Frears and Innaritú.

    • Mark Johnson

      In the Bedroom was a great film, but the fact that it was up for 5 Oscars and Director wasn’t one of them makes Todd Field’s snub a glaring omission. I agree with all three that you point out.

  • My top 10 since 2000:

    1. Albert Brooks for Drive.
    2. Christopher Nolan for Inception (Best Director)
    3. Neither Kill Bill movies receiving one single nomination.
    4. Dark Knight or Wall E. for Best Picture
    5. Paul Giamatti for Sideways
    6. Almost Famous and Cast Away for Best Picture
    7. Not a single nomination for (500) Days of Summer
    8. Adam Sander for Punch-Drunk Love
    9. Alfonso Cuaron for Children of Men (Best Director)
    10. Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Farris for Little Miss Sunshine

    • Mark Johnson

      Great choices. I think you could just put down Christopher Nolan for anything (and everything) he has done and call it a giant snubbing. Talk about someone that is going to need a “makeup” Oscar one day…

  • JamDenTel

    Very interesting post, in part because I heartily agree with some parts of it, and heartily disagree with others.

    #10: Totally agree that Fassbender should’ve won. But I wouldn’t think of sacrificing Gary Oldman’s great performance in a film I loved.
    #9: I’ll agree in theory here, though I haven’t seen Adaptation.
    #8: I wasn’t too impressed by The Passion, but I personally can’t see The Aviator being forgotten…easily one of the best biopics in the last decade.
    #7: I just don’t get the love for (500) Days of Summer, and I find the script rather thin and precious.
    #6: Strongly agree. Shoshanna was the heart and soul of the film as much as Hans Landa was, and Laurent’s final monologue (“Marcel…burn it DOWN”) is just brilliant.
    #5: Haven’t seen any of these films, but I’ll agree that 2006 was a very weak slate.
    #4: Solidly agree. But at least Up got a nomination, so I’m not complaining too much.
    #3: I agree on this one a thousand times.
    #2: I agree on this one…maybe not a thousand times, but quite a few. At least it got Best Original Screenplay, arguably the last really great script to win in that category (look at what’s won since…oy).
    #1: Definitely agree, especially for Sideways, where Giamatti put across every bit of Miles’ pain and self-loathing (and charm) with complete sincerity. I’m tempted never to drink merlot.

  • Mark Johnson

    I always appreciate hearing when people disagree with me as much as when they agree, so thanks for sharing your points on both sides. And for the record, I haven’t touched Merlot since that film. My inner-Miles screams at me every time I think about going back to it. And I LOVE red wine, so it happens quite often…

  • Massimo

    Had group somethings as to shorten my list.

    Personal choices
    1. Wall-E for picture!!!
    2. Tilda Swinton for best actress in The Deep End and/or We Need to Talk About Kevin
    3. In a perfect world foreign language films for best picture ex. A Separation, Pan’s Labyrinth, Y Tu Mamá También and Bad Education
    4.Todd Field for best director in Little Children
    5. A History of Violence for picture, director and actor and supporting actress
    6. Young actors being ignored ex. Thomas Horn, EL&IC & Freddie Highmore, FN and Jamie Bell, BE
    7. Harry Potter for best picture either The Philosopher’s Stone or Deathly Hallows part II
    8. 2007′ career best performances from Angie & Brad in A Might Heart & The Assassination of Jesse James
    9. Zhang Ziyi & Gong Li, for lead and supporting actress in Memoirs of a Geisha
    10.Requiem of a Dream for picture and supporting actress (J.Connelly)

    Honorable Mention
    Brad & Jessica for supporting actor, actress in The Tree of Life
    Leo & Kate for lead actor and actress in Revolutionary Road
    Chris Nolan for best director (Dark Knight)
    Vanessa Redgrave in Atonement
    Robert DuVall in The Road and/or Get Low

    • Massimo

      Bidn’t list any screenplays because that could take all day.

      • Massimo


    • More good stuff. I personally thought Winslet should have won for Revolutionary Road the year she won for The Reader. Good inclusion as an honorable mention.

  • Edward Norton and Ryan Gosling have been snubbed many times. Cronenberg hasn’t been nominated once, when he should’ve been nominated for all three films- A Dangerous Method, Eastern Promises and A History of Violence.

  • Steve Ayres

    After mentioning Citizen Kane and 2001 as early examples, he comes up with quite a few weak choices. With a couple of exceptions I don’t even begin to agree with him and there doesn’t seem to be much of an attempt to justify the choices either. April 27th 2012 must have been a slow news day.

  • Andrew Warnes

    Wow! I completely agree with these! This was a fantastic list! I was completely impressed with the fact that I had the same mind set when it came to Sandra Bullock’s domino effect. I have said for a while that Streep won for the wrong year, and Davis should have won in 2012! Also would have added Jim Carrey’s snubs to the mix. The Truman Show (maybe a little over 10 years now), and Eternal Sunshine. For me, that is the equivalent to Giamatti’s snubs!

  • callahan09

    I think one of the biggest mistakes ever made by the Academy was not giving the Lead Actor win to Bill Murray for Lost in Translation.