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Justice For ‘The Lego Movie,’ And Other Snubs Of The 2015 Academy Awards

Amanda Doughty ‘16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Award seasons are not like pee-wee soccer: not everyone can get a trophy and say that they won. Therefore, every year there are invariable snubs, people and features that should have been nominated but noticeably were not. Maybe it’s because this race was so tight (particularly in the Best Actor category), but there seems to be a pretty significant amount of snubs this year. Here are some that seem to be the most controversial.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Into the Woods

Anna Kendrick in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Peter Mountain/Disney.
Anna Kendrick in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Peter Mountain/Disney.

In this film, they not only make the stunning Meryl Streep look absolutely hideous, but also appropriately capture her transformation and make her look completely different for the second half of the film. Not to mention how unrecognizable and creepy Johnny Depp looks in his brief cameo as the Big, Bad Wolf. Yes, it did get recognized for its beautiful costume design, but makeup was just as important for pulling off the fantastical elements of this film, and it was unjustly ignored.

Best Supporting Actor: Chris Pine for Into the Woods

Chris Pine and Anna Kendrick in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Disney.
Chris Pine and Anna Kendrick in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Disney.

The Academy hates comedies and comedic performances. That’s a given, and many followers of film award seasons know this. But Chris Pine’s performance in Into the Woods is outstanding, far surpassing fellow nominee Meryl Streep. He steals every scene he is in, and shows us how ridiculous the Prince Charming figure really is. He earned recognition for his performance, and it should have been given to him.

Best Actress: Amy Adams for Big Eyes

Amy Adams in Big Eyes. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.
Amy Adams in Big Eyes. Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.

This poor girl just can’t win. She lost last year for American Hustle, and has been nominated for Best Supporting Actress four times and lost every single time. Early reviews of Big Eyes said this was her big chance, her opportunity to finally win. This was only further proved when she won the Golden Globe on Sunday. And she didn’t even get nominated. She lost out to Marion Cotillard, an Oscar favorite, for a movie no one has even heard of. Though Cotillard is very talented, this is highly unfair and Adams deserves better.

Best Director: Ava DuVernay for Selma

Ava DuVernay directing Selma. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
Ava DuVernay directing Selma. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Yes, every director nominated this year is a white man. All those who strive for equality are aware of this struggle, this unfortunate pattern, and are up in arms about it. But Ava DuVernay’s snub goes beyond her being a woman and a woman of color. It undermines her incredible talent. She took a very difficult story and seamlessly brought it to the screen. Selma is a beautiful portrayal not only of Martin Luther King Jr., but of the Civil Rights Movement itself. It shows audiences new sides to this historic time. It is impossible to look away while watching this film, and a lot of that is due to DuVernay’s incredible direction. To not nominate her is a travesty.

Best Actor: Channing Tatum for Foxcatcher

Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher. Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Classics.
Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo in Foxcatcher. Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Classics.

The Best Actor race has easily been the tightest this year. There were many phenomenal performances that would warrant wins, let alone nominations. Because of this, Tatum has fallen under the radar and has never really been in the running. But his performance as the famous wrestler Mark Schultz is utterly fantastic, and Tatum manages to highlight both the determination and the insecurities of this character beautifully. He is also always on screen, unlike the nominated Steve Carrell, who should really be in the Supporting Actor category as opposed to Lead Actor. He also outshines the nominated Mark Ruffalo in this movie. He gives a performance highly different from what audiences are used to from him, where as Mark Ruffalo essentially plays Mark Ruffalo. At the end of the day, this is Channing Tatum’s movie, and to see him not get recognition for it is upsetting.

Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films.
Jake Gyllenhaal in Nightcrawler. Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films.

Jake Gyllenhaal gives the performance of his career in this film. He’s unsettling in the best ways, and at points he’s downright terrifying. He also develops this character amazingly throughout this film, making him well-rounded and absolutely captivating. He was nominated for the Golden Globe for this performance, and many believed that would carry over to the Oscars. Unfortunately, though, that was not the case, and this incredible performance will not get the recognition it so deserves.

Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes for The Grand Budapest Hotel

Tony Revolori  and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.
Tony Revolori and Ralph Fiennes in The Grand Budapest Hotel. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Again, the Academy is not a fan of comedic performances, and this is probably where Fiennes got the boot. But Fiennes gives a captivating and hilarious performance in this movie, officially severing himself from Lord Voldemort. He carries this movie on his back. It wouldn’t be nominated for Best Picture if he weren’t a part of it, and that’s why he should have been nominated.

Best Actor: David Oyelowo for Selma

David Oyelowo in Selma. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.
David Oyelowo in Selma. Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Portraying a major historical figure is no easy feat. When that figure is as important as Martin Luther King Jr. its only that much harder. David Oyelowo not only pulls this off, but shows audiences a new side of this revolutionary man. He not only shows us Martin Luther King the activist, and Martin Luther King the revolutionary, but the Martin Luther King the man. He humanizes an icon, and does so beautifully, showing not only his strongest traits but his greatest flaws. This is more than just an issue of race. This is an issue of not recognizing a truly magnificent performance. This may have been the tightest race of the year, but Oyelowo’s performance was genuinely better than a majority of the people actually nominated.

Best Original Song: “The Hanging Tree” from Mockingjay

This is another one that hasn’t really been considered, but should have. It’s such a pivotal moment in the film, and becomes a staple song for the franchise. When the soundtrack was released, this song flew to the top of the charts on iTunes. And frankly, it’s a beautiful song. It’s eerie, it’s haunting, and it appropriately foreshadows what’s to come for this series. It deserves more recognition than it’s getting.

Best Picture: Nightcrawler

Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Nightcrawler. Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films.
Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo in Nightcrawler. Photo Credit: Chuck Zlotnick/Open Road Films.

This film was more than Jake Gyllenhaal’s incredible performance. Through the development of his character, audiences get a glimpse into the struggles of the world of journalism. This film poses the ethical question of legality versus success for journalists, as well as highlights the lines they have to across in the attempts to achieve both. In many ways, it’s a modern Good Night, and Good Luck. It’s beautifully shot, and absolutely captivating. The film, and its main actor, deserved to be nominated.

Best Picture: Gone Girl

Ben Affleck in Gone Girl. Photo Credit: Merrick Morton/Twentieth Century Fox.
Ben Affleck in Gone Girl. Photo Credit: Merrick Morton/Twentieth Century Fox.

Much like the way the Academy tends to not favor comedies, they also tend to not favor blockbuster hits and box office smashes. And Gone Girl was the surprise hit of the year, making almost $30 million in its first weekend alone. But this film left audiences on the edge of their seat with its constant twists and turns, leaving them guessing right up until the very end. Rosamund Pike was nominated for her performance, and that is well deserved (and frankly, she should win), but this film is more than her incredible performance. It’s a fantastic film, and a very respectful adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel. It should have had its chance to go for the main title.

Best Picture: Wild

Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight.
Reese Witherspoon in Wild. Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight.

Like a majority of the films out this year, Wild is based on a true story. It is a story of endurance, self-discovery, healing, and survival. It’s a story many people can relate to, even if they haven’t embarked on the major hike Reese Witherspoon does in this movie. Witherspoon was nominated for her performance, and that is most certainly deserved. She is captivating, and the film would be nothing without her. But this is too great of a story to be swept under the radar. It needs its chance to stand in the light so others can hear it and be inspired by it.

Best Picture: Into the Woods

Meryl Streep in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Peter Mountain/Disney.
Meryl Streep in Into the Woods. Photo Credit: Peter Mountain/Disney.

Movie-musicals are making a major comeback in the film industry, and this is one of the best ones to date. It’s a much better adaptation than 2012’s Les Miserables, which was nominated for Best Picture. However, Into the Woods has more humor than Les Miserables, so it may be another victim of “the Academy hates comedies” trope. Or it could be a continued denial to take movie-musicals seriously, sweeping them under the rug like YA novels in the literature world. This is a shame, because this is one of the best movie-musicals made in a long time. It did get a fair amount of well-deserved nominations, but it should have been nominated for the grand title as well.

Best Picture: Foxcatcher

Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher. Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Classics.
Steve Carell and Channing Tatum in Foxcatcher. Photo Credit: Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Classics.

This was the early front-runner for Best Picture this year, premiering to astounding reviews and standing ovations at the Cannes Film Festival this summer. Plus it was buzzed about for at least a year before that, and considered the most highly anticipated film of 2014. And it truly lived up to the hype. It’s captivating, and terrifying look into this true story. Granted, there are details that should have been further explored, like John DuPont’s schizophrenia and alcoholism (which Carell managed to hint at but not fully explain, leaving audiences confused at the end). It is highly possible that this lost its chance when the real Mark Schultz publically spoke against it a few weeks ago, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a stellar film and should be recognized as such. It’s understandable that not every great film can be nominated, but there were two Best Picture spots left unfilled, and there were plenty of films that could have taken them.

Best Animated Feature: The Lego Movie

Still from The Lego Movie. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.
Still from The Lego Movie. Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

It was surprising when this didn’t win the Golden Globe, but for this to not even be nominated for an Oscar is a travesty. The animation of this movie alone (done partially in stop motion so it actually looks like Legos) not only warrants a nomination, but a win. And that’s before we even get into the plot. The story of this movie is unbelievable. It comes across as ordinary at first—random guy realizes his destiny is to complete this important mission and save the world—but it ends up being anything but ordinary. It also sends a great message to children, encouraging individuality and creativity. It shows that anyone can be a hero. On top of all of that, it’s absolutely hilarious, and full of fantastic celebrity cameos. Frankly, it was better than most of the Best Picture nominees this year. In a world of constant re-makes and adaptations, this was a genuinely original story that no one has heard before. It’s a rare gem of a film. Almost every major predictor said this movie was going to win, and that the others shouldn’t even try because this movie is better. The only reason imaginable for this not getting nominated is its release date (it came out in January), but that didn’t stop it from getting the Golden Globe nomination, so why wouldn’t that work here? The lack of nomination for this movie is unacceptable. It should not have happened. This is absolutely the biggest snub of the year.

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4 Comments

  1. Sounds like a lot of this boils down to ‘The Academy’s opinion didn’t match my own,’ which is the basis for a lot of these snub posts every year. The surprises for me were not just Tatum not getting nominated, but I thought that Jennifer Anniston would get nominated for “Cake.” Haven’t seen it yet and I’ve heard mixed things about the film itself, but critics looked to be raving Anniston’s performance, at least.

  2. Into the Woods is literally one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Just because it’s chock-full of A-listers and based on a beloved Broadway show doesn’t mean that it’s a good film. Sure, Meryl Streep turns in a solid performance, but the movie is nearly impossible to stomach. The final third of the film was horrendous. We almost, and should have, walked out of the theater. My two pre-teen daughters agree that it was a waste of time.

  3. Tatum does nothing worthy of Oscar in this film. so much that he was “snubbed” by not only Oscar, but for all the awards.
    Wake up. His character is annoying, his scenes are boring and he takes the same facial expression during the whole movie. He is the protagonist of the film, but not by far has the best performance. Carrel and Ruffalo are better actors, have better careers and are working best in the film.

    Chris Pine? For Real?

  4. As a movie theater owner — and the one who selects the films shown at my theater for 36 years — I don’t care about awards. What matters to keeping the doors open is what movies make money and The Lego Movie clearly trounced ALL nominees in that category. Plus, all the other praise heaped on it in this article. Let the Academy natter around about art, I’m grateful for Lego, Mockingjay, Captain America and Guardians of the Galaxy.

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