The nominations for the 87th Academy Awards were announced early Thursday morning, and, merely a year removed from the pleasant surprises that were the nominations last year, I was feeling pretty positive about the Academy’s ability to make smart decisions about who they would nominate.
And then, this clusterfuck of a ballot surfaced. Ho-ly-shit.
I’m sure there must be other colossal mistakes that just aren’t coming to me, but these are the biggest blunders that come to my mind when I think of this year’s ballot. Let’s dive right in.
5. No Recognition for Voice or Motion Capture Performances
Look Academy, I don’t expect too much forward progress from you guys when it comes to movies that aren’t entirely live-action. Hell, it took you guys until 2001 to actually make a Best Animated Film Category, seventy-four years after the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. I’ll get into the animated movies later, but using this logic, we can safely assume that it’ll be sixty-one years (Seventy four years after Gollum’s appearance in The Two Towers) before motion capture gets the respect it so rightfully deserves.
I’m not saying that you give Andy Serkis a nomination for Best Supporting actor, because a) Wasn’t he the lead actor in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes? And b) I have no idea how to compare motion capture performances to live-action performances. That said, shouldn’t voice and motion actos get some kind of recognition? “Best Actor Whose Face doesn’t Appear in the Movie?” Something like that, maybe!?
4. No Best Animated Film Nomination for The Lego Movie!?!?!?!?
Let’s get one thing out of the way: Despite everybody deeming The Lego Movie to be the movie to beat in this category, I did not want The Lego Movie to win this award. I wanted How to Train Your Dragon 2 to win this award. When How to Train Your Dragon 2 upset The Lego Movie at the Golden Globe Awards, I was ecstatic. So, in a sense, I’m happy that How to Train Your Dragon 2 now has less competition for the award.
That said, The Boxtrolls over The Lego Movie? Get a goddamn clue, will you Oscars? The Boxtrolls was fine, but it was no ParaNorman. The Lego Movie was earning consideration for a screenplay nomination.
Eh, at least that annoying song was nominated, so I can’t be too mad.
3. Selma…… Where are you Selmaaa……..
It’s so surprising to me that the power behind Selma (Oprah Winfrey, the American equivalent of Kim Jong-un) was unable to drum up a few more nominations for the movie, especially such an important, controversial one as Selma. I haven’t seen it yet (I plan to this weekend) but I have very high expectations, given everything that I’ve heard about it so far. The Oscars, being forward thinking as always, jumped at the chance to nominate David Oyelowo, who has been described by many to be the living embodiment of Dr. King.
Oh… He wasn’t nominated? Well, surely, the Academy jumped at the chance to nominate Ava DuVernay, the first black woman to be nominated for Best Director?
No? You’re gonna nominate the guy whose movie wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture?
…You people make me sick.
2. Lead Actor Shananigans
This is just ridiculous. Jake Gyllenhaal and David Oyelowo being left off of the ballot is a damn disgrace. While I may end up eating my words when I do end up seeing Selma (I doubt it) I find it hard to believe that Steve Carell in a glorified Supporting Role (Admittedly, a great performance) or Bradley Cooper in his umpteenth consecutive nomination for a movie that is getting by on Clint Eastwood’s reputation, from what I’m hearing (I still need to see American Sniper) is topping somebody who has been called a present-day embodiment of one of the biggest heros this planet has ever seen.
And ditching Jake Gyllenhaal? Ridiculous. Fuck you, Academy. What the hell are you people thinking!?
1. Two “Best Picture” Slots Left Vacant
No, I don’t agree that accepting more movies dilutes the legitimacy of the ceremony. I think that even if a bad movie (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, for example)gets in, it’s not very likely to go anywhere when Judgement Day arrives, and that’s what really matters in the end. So when I booted up my laptop, I was so disappointed when neither Nightcrawler nor Gone Girl nor Dawn of the Planet of the Apes were nominated.
I thought I was gonna end with me guns-a-blazing, spewing vitriol, but I’m just too sad, honestly. The nominations are actually fine, mostly, it’s just that all the nominations, with the exception of Best Actor and Best Animated Film, are the safe choices, and I was also really hoping that maybe they could make some history with Ava DuVernay… I guess I’m just disappointed. Mostly pissed off, though.
Despite my whining, I’m still going to watch the Oscars in February, and I still plan on reviewing all the Best Picture nominees that I haven’t reviewed yet (What else am I going to do? Watch The Wedding Ringer?). I should have my Imitation Game review out within the next couple of days, and if I get through those relatively quick, I may review a few more of the nominated movies. You know, if I feel like it. Also, I have something special coming up that involves Batman, so keep an eye out for that.