For those who don’t follow or don’t remember, in Best Picture I’ll be looking at essentially what the next 10 films could have been for the Academy. It’s partially just for fun (and keep in mind…this isn’t how I would have preferred things to have gone, or else the lists below would be quite different), but I’ve always felt that it also shines an interesting light on what the Oscar nominations could have looked like…for better or worse. Some of these choices are rather obvious, while others are just guesses. Either way, this is nothing if not a good conversation starter, so be sure to let me know what you think the Alternate nominations would have been like. For now though, let’s get started and see what the next level down of Oscar nominees would look like!
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
-While I have a feeling that not a lot of flicks got anywhere close to that #10 spot, I think ‘Flight’, ‘The Master’, and ‘Skyfall’ came the closest. ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ and ‘Hitchcock’ probably got more votes than they potentially deserved, but the limb I’m out on here is that ‘Ted’ had more fans than we ever realized.
Ben Affleck- Argo
Kathryn Bigelow- Zero Dark Thirty
Tom Hooper- Les Miserables
Quentin Tarantino- Django Unchained
Robert Zemeckis- Flight
-Four of these snubs are rather obvious (regardless of my feelings on Hooper’s direction), but something tells me that Zemeckis got closer to sneaking in here than we’d expect, and would have been in if ‘Flight’ had scored a Best Picture nod. Still, I don’t want to focus too much on this category, since Affleck and Bigelow’s omissions are still rather bothersome. This grouping would have been a superior one to what we got (not that they were bad, just those two main snubs are so egregious), even with Hooper stinking things up for me.
Jack Black- Bernie
Richard Gere- Arbitrage
John Hawkes- The Sessions
Anthony Hopkins- Hitchcock
Jean-Louis Tringnant- Amour
-We knew that someone had to go from Best Actor, and Hawkes wound up being the odd man out, so he’s the obvious number six. With all the ‘Amour’ love, Tringnant probably was next in line, with Gere and Hopkins further down. This was a very strong category, so I’d hardly complain about the original lineup.
Marion Cotillard- Rust and Bone
Keira Knightley- Anna Karenina
Helen Mirren- Hitchock
Rachel Weisz- The Deep Blue Sea
Mary Elizabeth Winstead- Smashed
-Cotillard and Mirren were almost undoubtedly next in line for nominations, with Weisz not too far behind. Assuming that ‘Anna Karenina’ was more than just a hit with the tech voters, Knightley probably was high up in the conversation too. As for Winstead, well…one can dream, right?
Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem- Skyfall
Leonardo DiCaprio- Django Unchained
John Goodman- Argo
Dwight Henry- Beasts of the Southern Wild
Matthew McConaughey- Magic Mike
-This easily could have wound up as the nominated five in a slightly alternate universe (something I could have said about Best Director too). DiCaprio and possibly Henry were next in line, though Bardem was probably pretty close as well. I’m not at all confident in how lose McCounaughey got to a nomination, but I think we was likely in the top eight or nine, so he makes sense here.
Best Supporting Actress
Ann Dowd- Compliance
Nicole Kidman- The Paperboy
Kelly Reilly- Flight
Maggie Smith- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Kerry Washington- Django Unchained
-This was always a category without too much room for additional contenders, so Dowd missing was probably more expected than I initially admitted. I think she was the sixth seed though. Without any real love for ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, it’s likely that Smith wasn’t as close to a nom as we thought, though Kidman might have been even closer…
Best Adapted Screenplay
Anna Karenina (Tom Stoppard)
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (Ol Parker)
Les Miserables (William Nicholson)
The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Stephen Chbosky)
The Sessions (Ben Lewin)
-Voters weren’t as in love with ‘Les Miserables’ as some expected them to be, but even so it likely came close to a nomination. The same can be said for ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’, which sadly wound up getting completely shut out. This was a top heavy category, perhaps even more so than many of the others.
Best Original Screenplay
Looper (Rian Johnson)
The Master (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Promised Land (Matt Damon, Dave Eggers, and John Krasinski)
Seven Psychopaths (Martin McDonagh)
Ted (Seth MacFarlane, Alec Sulkin, and Wellesley Wild)
-I was very surprised to see ‘The Master’ left out in the cold, and to a smaller extent ‘Looper’ as well. In regards to ‘Promised Land’, it’s just unusual to see the Academy not reward favorite son Damon for attempting to pen another screenplay. As for ‘Ted’, well…if I thought it was in play for Best Picture somewhat more than most give it credit for, doesn’t Original Screenplay make even more sense?
Overall, I think I might actually prefer the original nominees, though there are some snubs here that absolutely break my heart. I suppose the ideal lineup is somewhere in between, with some personal choices thrown in there for good measure. The dream lineup is nice to think about, but reality is reality and we’ll just make due with what we have. I turn things over to you now, ladies and gentlemen…which films and performances do you feel just missed the cut for Oscar nominations? How close do you think I got to the Academy’s near miss choices? Am I completely off of the mark? I’m very curious to get your take on this, so have at it!
-Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!