Some “Passed Over” Films from 2012


tumblr_inline_mgld8vEXqR1r9al9aWith earlier this week marking the start of Passover for 2013, I wanted to tie in one of my favorite family holidays (I’m not a fan of the religious aspect, but I do love the food assorted shenanigans with people I only see once a year) and one of my favorite things overall…analyzing Oscar races! This time out, I decided to look back and see what 2012 contenders for Academy Awards were “passed over” by voters when all was said and done. I only included movies that were completely snubbed and didn’t receive a single Oscar nomination. I also separated those 20 flicks into two categories…one of which deals with films that were thought to be in the running for at least one nod but wound up being left out in the cold on nomination morning, while the other deals with movies that were never close to being honored in the end but deserved a nom for quality alone. I tried to make this as all-encompassing as possible, but if I left one out, be sure to let me know in the comments. For now though, on with a look back at what voters “passed over” last year.

Close to Recognition

Arbitrage: Up until the very end of the awards season, it was thought that Richard Gere and Nate Parker were at least somewhat in the running for this flick, along with the screenplay itself. Gere definitely came closer than Parker (or the script), though I’m ultimately not sure if he was in the top seven or merely something like the top dozen or so. Still, at one point Arbitrage was a film expected to more heavily contend for Oscar nominations.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel: Literally until nomination morning many of us figured that this Academy friendly film would show up somewhere, though most of us weren’t exactly in favor of that. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel seemed like a safe choice, and I suppose it wound up just being too safe for voters…

Cloud Atlas– On the flip side, here’s a movie that was just too out there for attention. The technical aspects of Cloud Atlas definitely deserved a close look by the Academy, but for one reason or another they roundly ignored it. It was never a surefire nominee, but it looked like a solid tech bet the whole way.

dark_2279216bThe Dark Knight Rises– Perhaps no film was more surprisingly omitted from the nomination list than this finale to the Batman trilogy. The Dark Knight Rises was a contender in multiple categories and I’m sure it came close in a few, but for one reason or another every single slot it could have shown up in went to someone else. Voters almost always honor some part of a Christopher Nolan movie (including the two prior installments of this franchise), but they didn’t take the bait this time around.

Hyde Park on Hudson– I don’t know of anyone who was screaming for Hyde Park on Hudson to get any nominations, but we all remember somewhat confidently predicting Bill Murray and Laura Linney for nods, and even speculating if they could win it all. The final product ultimately did it in, but it still was one of those potential safe picks that the Academy often slips in there…

The Imposter– The Best Documentary category is a tricky one, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that The Imposter didn’t make the cut. That being said, it was at least even money for a citation right up until the big day, so there was some degree of unexpectedness to this snub.

The Intouchables– Similarly, Best Foreign Language Feature is a tough nut to crack. They do usually go with this type of flick though, so The Intouchables missing out took all of us by surprise. It was thought to be the second most likely winner, but when it didn’t even get a nom, that ship certainly sailed.

Looper– Some of us in the prognostication game thought this film was a more likely Screenplay nominee than others, but it was always a contender late in the game. Personally, I was very surprised that it was left out of the loop, no pun intended. Looper was the definition of an original script and something like Flight getting in instead just didn’t seem right. Alas…

magic-mike-matthew-mcconaughey3Magic Mike– One of the more unexpected contenders was Magic Mike, and specifically Matthew McConaughey. His candidacy was a tough one to figure out, and while he didn’t get the precursor love that he needed, he did show up enough to have many of us contemplate a nomination for him. It didn’t happen, but McConaughey will be back trying even harder this year…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower– I may not have gotten the love, but tons of people adore this movie. I didn’t find the film to be Oscar worthy, but the precursor circuit sure did, and it got to the point that when the flick missed in Adapted Screenplay, it was a legitimate snub and surprise.

Personal Ten That Should Have

Bernie– In a more just world Jack Black gets his first Oscar nomination for what I’m fairly confident will go down as a career best performance from him. Bernie was Richard Linklater’s best film in some time (though he just topped himself with Before Midnight), so it deserved some sort of recognition.

The Cabin in the Woods– I know that the only reason that this flick was even discussed for Best Original Screenplay was due to the perceived weakness of the category, but man oh man would I have loved to have seen The Cabin in the Woods score a nod…

end_of_watch_two_a_lEnd of Watch– Here’s a truly unjustly snubbed film. Be it for the Original Screenplay or Michael Pena’s heartbreaking supporting turn, End of Watch really deserved Academy attention, but it never did materialize for the movie. I’m still a little bummed that this one never caught on with voters.

Holy Motors– I never kidded myself about Denis Lavant’s chances at a Best Actor nom, but his snub is sad all the same. Holy Motors was far too weird for Oscar voters, but Lavant gave the best performance by anyone last year, regardless of category, and he deserved a little recognition.

Killing Them Softly– I’ve gone on and on (and some would add on and on and on) about this work, but it did appear to have been designed with some plans to get Brad Pitt a Best Actor citation. He’s arguably a better fit for Supporting Actor, but the Academy decided his best fit was as an Oscar snub for Killing Them Softly.

Lawless– I don’t necessarily think that this flick deserved any nominations, but it was clearly set up to compete for many of them. Lawless is solid but unspectacular, and that’s what wound up shooting the film in the foot…

Ruby Sparks 3Ruby Sparks– It broke my heart that neither Zoe Kazan’s script nor her lead performance came anywhere close to Oscar recognition, but this was a case of the voters missing out on a more than worthy choice. They simply missed the boat with Ruby Sparks.

Safety Not Guaranteed– If Looper was too much of a sci-fi flick for voters, perhaps then Safety Not Guaranteed wasn’t enough of one to capture any real Original Screenplay attention? We also now know what kind of a speech its writer gives, and you all know you would have loved to have seen him ramble on live television. Admit it!

Smashed– Simply put, Mary Elizabeth Winstead got robbed here by not even really being considered. She would have been a welcome addition to the Best Actress race. Smashed is a very good flick, but it lives and dies with her performance. If only the Academy would have noticed.

This is 40– At this point, I’m now convinced that Judd Apatow will likely never be nominated for writing or directing a work of his own. Perhaps at some point he’ll get in as a producer or for co-writing something, but if This is 40 didn’t work for the Academy, I’m not sure anything of his will. The same goes for Leslie Mann and her work in his films…

Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!

  • I’m still saddened by the Looper snub. Esp – like you mentioned – in favor of Flight.

    • Joey Magidson

      Indeed sir, indeed…

  • JamDenTel

    Since we’re talking about Passover and overlooked films, I might as well mention 1970’s THE ANGEL LEVINE (with Zero Mostel and Harry Belafonte), a great little film that almost no one has seen–and one of the few films to showcase the delights of matzo brei.

    As for this year:
    – SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS tops this list for me. That this script went un-nominated is a crime. I would have wanted to see it in some of the other major categories, but realistically, I was banking on it getting in here.
    – THE DEEP BLUE SEA: Rachel Weisz’s performance deserved to be here. She got a Globe nod, which gave me some hope, but in vain. The cinematography was also nomination-worthy.
    – HEADHUNTERS: The top-notch Norwegian thriller that got completely overlooked.
    – CLOUD ATLAS: I think this might have stood a better chance of Oscar success had it been released a month or so later. I don’t know if it would’ve flopped any less, but it might have made more of an awards impact.
    – HOLY MOTORS: Agree with you completely here. I think in the 60s or 70s, the Academy might have been more willing to expand their horizons and give some love to a film like this, but that side of them hasn’t been seen much lately…

    • Joey Magidson

      Anytime someone can bring up Zero Mostel, I’m happy.

      I’m certainly with you on Holy Motors, and the same goes for Seven Psychopaths to a lesser degree…

  • George

    The Impostor! Such an awesome doc with crazy twists and turns during the whole movie. I guess it wasn’t important, depressing, or big-budgeted enough to warrant a nod, but it’s my favorite doc since Exit Through the Gift Shop. And I completely agree with the unjust snubs of End of Watch and Bernie. Both excellent films in my opinion (especially End of Watch) that were robbed of acting nods. Black’s genius performance as Bernie will go down as his best, no question and Pena’s subtle, intense turn as Gylenhaal’s partner was great too. Also, Gere definitely deserved an nod for Arbitrage, excellent work there.

    Glad to see fanboy favorites like Looper, Perks, and Cabin (which I did enjoy) or the immature Seven Psychopaths left out of the big boy awards though…

    • Joey Magidson

      I wouldn’t count out things just for being fanboy type works, but as someone who didn’t love Perks, I didn’t lose sleep over that one’s omission…

  • Steve Glansberg

    For me, the most frustrating aspect of Oscar nominations concerns the tech awards: If a movie is not an “Awards Contender” (for editing and cinematography) or an oversized technical showcase (period piece for costumes and makeup, blockbuster for visual effects) it won’t make the cut, regardless of actual achievement.

    This year, I’d say that the films passed over on the tech side of things include End of Watch for editing, The Master and The Dark Knight Rises for cinematography, and the The Impossible, The Grey, Looper, and Killing Them Softly for several categories. I especially enjoyed the creative sound design in Killing Them Softly, and would have picked it for a a sound mixing nom for sure.

    • Joey Magidson

      Very true, and I’m 100% with you on nearly all of your mentioned snubs…

  • John Rivera

    Glad you mentioned The Intouchables and The Cabin In The Woods, Should of also mentioned Ted, Wreck It Ralph and Take This Waltz.

    • Joey Magidson

      Take This Waltz was there until the final cut down, but I didn’t include Ted or Wreck-It-Ralph since they got nominations, which is more than these other ones can say…

  • Henry Zambrano

    Nope, sorry – I believe Cabin in the Woods was among one of the worst for 2012.

    • Joey Magidson

      Well, that’s certainly your prerogative. I still believe it to be one of the best…

  • Paul Sorrells

    I think the Grey deserved some kind of Oscar nomination although i’m not sure what it had a chance in.

    • Joey Magidson

      Another one I just missed citing. I suppose Liam Neeson was its best hope, but the category turned out to be way too competitive…

  • Steve

    Here are some I think should have had nominations:

    Savages: Oliver Stone finally makes a new great film that is worth seeing. Benicio Del Toro and Salma Hayek both should have received supporting nominations, and Stone shows that he still can make great movies.

    Rise of the Guardians: An excellent animated film from a first time director that should have been nominated for animated feature.

    The Five Year Engagement: A hilarious comedy produced by Apatow. I think Chris Pratt and Alison Brie were the best and I would give them supporting nominations.

    Promised Land: Not a classic like Good Will Hunting, but I would give Matt Damon another original screenplay nomination.

    Safety Not Guaranteed: This was a nice indie comedy from the summer, and I would give Aubrey Plaza a lead actress nomination.

    • Joey Magidson

      We obviously agree about Safety, and Promised Land came down to the wire as an inclusion for me. The others I’m iffier about, but they certainly could have been in play…

  • paula gajardo

    In my list was:
    Ruby Sparks (i love this movie!, script and performance by Zeo Kazan)
    Looper (amazing screenplay)
    The Perks of Being a Wallflower (ooh Logar Lerman amazing)
    The Dark Knight Rises (i watched it two times at theathers)
    The Hunger Games (I thinks that was pretty good)
    Smashed (I see this movie and i adore Mary Elizabeth Winstead)

    • Joey Magidson

      Appreciate you sharing your list…

  • Kim

    How realistic were nominations for the movies you mentioned? Some of them had to have had no shot

    • Joey Magidson

      I’d say about half had real shots as the precursor season developed…

  • You guys’ve seriously got to check out Pieta.

    • Joey Magidson

      Duly noted…