This Year’s Oscar Snubs And Surprises And 5 Reasons Why The Academy Awards Piss Me Off
Well it’s that time of year again for the movie industry: awards season. BAFTA, the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards, and even The People’s Choice Awards. And of course the most prominent one: The Academy Awards. And like every year the word “snub” gets thrown around like Christian Bale profanities on a stage set. I of course have my opinions as to who got a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the nuts. Here are my snubs and surprises for this year’s Oscars:
Amy Adams snubbed in the Best Actress category
This one surprised and irritated me the most. Arrival for me was my favorite movie last year and a big reason for that was Adams performance. It was nuanced, intriguing, heartfelt, and definitely worthy of an Oscar nomination. I question the legitimacy of yet ANOTHER Meryl Streep nomination for Florence Foster Jenkins. This is the 20th nomination for Miss Streep and I feel it was based more on reputation than performance. Amy Adams. Always the bridesmaid never the bride. She’ll get hers someday though.
Mel Gibson scoring a Best Director nomination for Hacksaw Ridge
This one honestly shocked me because I was positive Denzel Washington would be nominated in the Best Director category. Hacksaw Ridge was one of my favorite films of 2016 and the direction was impeccable, even Oscar worthy. However, after a decade in Hollywood limbo I was not expecting the redemption for the much maligned actor/director to come this quickly. The Mel Gibson redemption tour is now complete.
Michael Shannon nominated for Nocturnal Animals
Another surprise, I thought if anyone would be nominated from this film it would be Aaron Taylor-Johnson who crushed it as psychopathic rapist and murderer Ray Marcus. However, Michael Shannon chewed plenty of scenery in Tom Ford’s thriller as a police detective dying from lung cancer. Shannon is one of the best actors working in Hollywood and moreover, he’s a the opposite of a Hollywood ass-kisser. So for him to get a nomination shows how much talent he possesses.
Suicide Squad gets an Oscar nomination?????
While a box office success, critics lambasted 2016’s Suicide Squad. Now granted it was nominated in the Best Hair and Makeup category, however the fact that the film received ANY nominations is surprising in itself. Rest assured Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel will exploit this fact for several jokes.
Sing Street shut out of the Best Original Song category
Seriously what the Hell? One of the most underrated and well-regarded films of 2016, a film that boasted a killer soundtrack with seven original songs, somehow gets shutout in this category. “Drive It Like You Stole It” is a song I’ve been hearing about since last year. But sure let’s give a nomination to Sting’s “The Empty Chair” for Jim: The James Foley Story. WTF???
Finding Dory snubbed for Best Animated Picture
While this is probably Zootopia‘s year, I’m dumbfounded as to why Finding Dory didn’t get chosen for this category. It was well received by critics and is the #2 highest grossing domestic film of 2016. Yet the followup to 2003’s Finding Dory escaped the snare of awards season.
On the whole however, I’d say the Academy got it mostly right this year, which rarely happens. Four of the nine Best Picture nominees were minority-centric stories and seven minorities were nominated in the acting categories. Hopefully the “Oscars So White” controversy is now behind us. Yet as my friend Mike is fond of saying, past results do not guarantee future performance.
Which brings me to the second half of this article. I have a love/hate relationship with the Oscars. On the one hand it’s an amazing spectacle. It’s the ultimate celebration of one of the true passions in my life: movies. There’s often some truly hilarious moments, inspirational speeches, and occasionally a great host. Although I’ve mostly vanished off of social media, I do enjoy live tweeting the event every year. However it’s also a narcissistic love fest where the fat cats of the industry can pat themselves on the back and act like what they do is equivalent to brain surgery. (Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely believe in the transformative and inspirational power of film. But let’s not kid ourselves. Snoop Dogg’s work in Soul Plane isn’t exactly on par with a doctor administering to sick children in a third world country.) Here’s five reasons why the Oscars really grind my gears:
For every Billy Crystal or Bob Hope there’s a Whoopi Goldberg or James Franco/Anne Hathaway situation when it comes to the Oscars. They can be bland and boring such as the aforementioned Franco/Hathaway combo. They can be overly shticky like Ellen DeGeneres. Or they can be downright awful like Chevy Chase in 1988 whose opening dud of a joke “Good evening Hollywood phonies!” set the standard for the night as he clearly phoned it in. It didn’t help that that year’s Oscars was during the writer’s strike and the award show material was poor. Guess it just proves Deadpool was right and the writers are “the real heroes.” Regardless, unless you’ve got Billy Crystal or Hugh Jackman at the helm, you run the risk of a host that turns a four-hour award show into a two-week torture fest.
It’s a Hollywood Circle Jerk
*Note: Apologies to J-Law. She’s actually one of the most down to Earth and non-douchey actresses working today. Someone who is very humble, doesn’t take what she does seriously, and appreciates her circumstances. This was just a picture that helps illustrate my point.
This is maybe the thing I hate the most. The show is so goddamn pretentious and self-serving. Everyone is there to glad-hand and congratulate each other on how they are Masters of the Universe. There’s a shallowness and superficiality that just oozes off of the television screen. It’s palpable and phony and makes me want to throw my shoe through a window. I mean Jesus Christ have you ever seen the gift bags these guys get? Last year’s was worth $200,000! It included items like this:
“…a year of unlimited Audi car rentals from Silvercar, free stays at hotels in Italy and a $900 toilet paper dispenser. Other novelties include personalized M&Ms; a Haze Dual V3 Vaporizer, retailing at $249.99; three private training sessions with “celebrity wellness expert” and star of ABC’s “My Diet Is Better Than Yours” Jay Cardiello, valued at $1,400.” –CNN
What the Hell do these guys need all this shit for? Or a gift bag at all? You might as well fill the bag with liquid vanity. Can’t you see some celebrity douchebag lamenting the fact that they spelled their name wrong on their personalized M & Ms? It’s the essence of First World Problems.
Self indulgent “Cause” speeches
Before everyone starts blasting me in the comments section I want to say that I 100% believe in wage equality. Furthermore, I think it’s not only great to have a cause you believe in passionately, a cause you might even die for, but it’s often a key component to living a fulfilling life. And celebrities who put their money where their mouth is and donate, volunteer, set up charities, et al? I say good on you mate. You’re living your truth. That’s not the point I’m trying to make. What I’m saying is that aside from the people in the audience, 99% of the viewers from home give ZERO FUCKS about your “cause.” I don’t want to hear about it. Just drop a hello to Mom and Dad, thank your wife and kids, and get off the stage. Don’t give me this:
Give me this:
The Voting Process is WAAAAY too confusing
If you have the intestinal fortitude read this and this. For those of you who haven’t gouged your eyes out with a spoon yet, or if you just quit reading altogether, the nominating and voting process can be summed up in two words–overly complicated. I’ve read the process several times and I still don’t get it. It’s an equation I’m not sure Stephen Hawking can fully work out. Maybe if someone explained it to me with He-Man action figures I might get it. But probably not. If the common lay person who lays down their $15 for the ticket, $8 for popcorn, $6.50 for a soda, and $5 for Junior Mints can’t figure this shit out how valid are the nominees or the results? Which leads me to my final point…
The Nominees And Winners Are Rarely The “Best” Films
This problem is two-fold. The first involves the actual winners and losers from the nominees put forth. For brevity’s sake I’ll limit this to Best Picture winners only. If you look back at the history of winners, some are just an absolute farce. Check out some these past winners and who they beat out and if they don’t leave you shaking your head I’ll be surprised:
1980 Ordinary People over Raging Bull
1981 Chariots of Fire over Raiders of the Lost Ark
1985 Out of Africa over The Color Purple
1989 Driving Miss Daisy over Dead Poet’s Society and Field of Dreams
1990 Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas
1994 Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption
1997 Titanic over Good Will Hunting and L.A. Confidential
1998 Shakespeare In Love over Saving Private Ryan
2005 Crash over Brokeback Mountain
2010 The King’s Speech over The Social Network
The second problem I have is that if you asked the majority of moviegoers what their “best” pictures of the year were for any given year, you’d get vastly different answers than the Academy. Flaws and all, The Force Awakens was one of the best films of 2015, as was Deadpool last year. Check out some of these films that were never even nominated for an Academy Award:
The Dark Knight, Children of Men, The Big Lebowski, Blood Simple, Casino Royale, Heat, King Kong, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Long Riders, Metropolis, Kingdom of Heaven, Reservoir Dogs, Rio Bravo, The Empire Strikes Back, and John Carpenter’s The Thing.
There are probably dozens more I could add but the point is obvious. The “best” film doesn’t always win and moreover the “best” films aren’t always even nominated. Despite my grievances, my ambivalence regarding the Oscars isn’t likely to change in the foreseeable future. As Jake Gyllenhaal once said: