With 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.
The 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– 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– 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– 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!