As with every year, the Oscars 2015 nominations left us with some wonderful surprises and a few snubs that have us scratching our heads.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Birdman
Richard Linklater, Boyhood
Wes Anderson, The Grand Budapest Hotel
Morten Tyldum, The Imitation Game
Bennett Miller, Foxcatcher
Despite early predictions that said otherwise, the Academy was not in love with Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken or Ava DuVernay’s Selma. Even though Jolie was snubbed by the Golden Globes, she still had a chance to get in there for Best Director come Oscar time. DuVernay’s snub is simply mind boggling, seeing as she’s had an enormous amount of success with the film in most of the pre-qualifiers.
Despite snubs in the Best Director category, both Jolie and Duvernay’s films made it into the bloated Best Picture list. Our only guess is that when it came to buying into the American hero story, voters went for Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper over Louis Zamperini. As far as Selma, the only thing we can come up with is the late controversy surrounding President LBJ’s depiction, or perhaps older voters of the Academy saw the nominations for Selma too risky, and didn’t want to add to the political and cultural conversation that’s surrounding the film.
ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Michael Keaton, Birdman
Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Imitation Game
Steve Carell, Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper, American Sniper
There’s two ways to go with this. There’s the snub we all knew was going to happen, and the snub that we can’t believe the Academy let happen. Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler always stayed a little under the radar as far as this awards season goes, even though he was incredibly worthy of stealing the whole thing. His nomination at the Golden Globes was promising, and it’s disappointing to see that he wasn’t nominated. David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, is head and shoulders above most performances in this category, and deserved a spot, even though Eddie Redmayne or Michael Keaton will most likely take this one.
ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything
Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon, Wild
Marion Cotillard, Two Days One Night
Best Actress this year was incredibly bloated. Either way you slice it, someone was going to be disappointed and not get a deserving spot. We saw an already crowded category, and then Jennifer Aniston made her way in there with Cake for the Golden Globes. Unfortunately, the Academy wasn’t going to let her in. Aside from Aniston being snubbed, Amy Adams, who was a strong contender all season with Big Eyes, got left out of the shuffle. Either way, at this point no one really has a chance next to Juliane Moore for Still Alice, as her Oscar campaign has peaked at just the right moment.
ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Patricia Arquette, Boyhood
Emma Stone, Birdman
Keira Knightley, The Imitation Game
Meryl Streep, Into the Woods
Laura Dern, Wild
This is one of the first years that Jessica Chastain is missing out on an Oscar nomination since her first nomination with The Help. Her nomination for A Most Violent Year would have been her third nomination. Not only does leaving her name off of this list feel odd, but given her extraordinary performance in the film, it feels criminal. The only thing we can come up with is that the Academy couldn’t resist having Meryl Streep at the awards for her performance in Into the Woods.
ANIMATED FEATURE FILM
Big Hero 6
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
Song of the Sea
We don’t exactly know how the Academy left off one of the most critically and commercially successful films from this list, but somehow The Lego Movie didn’t make it on their list for Animated Feature Film. That said, it was still nominated for Original Song for “Everything Is Awesome.” At this point, there’s too much irony for that title.
Snub and surprises go hand in and hand, and there was plenty of surprises to go around. Laura Dern whose performance in Wild is one of her best, made it into the Actress In A Supporting Role category. Another delightful surprise was seeing Marion Cotillard make her way into Actress In A Leading Role for her performance in Two Days One Night. The film as well as her performance has been virtually ignored, so it’s nice to see the Academy gave her recognition.
The odds that Steve Carell was going to make it into the Actor in a Leading Role category with his performance in Foxcatcher was slim to none, so it was nice to see that after a season of being in the conversation, he didn’t have to suffer yet another snub.
Bradley Cooper for American Sniper wasn’t a surprise within the telecast, but was a surprise for the category. By the time his category for Actor in a Leading Role was announced, the Academy already made it clear that they loved American Sniper. Still, when you isolate Cooper’s category it’s still a bit of a surprise over the likes of David Oyelowo.
The 87th Academy Awards is set to air February 22, 2015.