Oscars are coming ever so close but this year it’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons. It’s not the first time that the industry has overlooked some deserving performances for the golden statue but for some reason it’s a bigger deal this year, let’s not go into that detail as this is neither the right time or the right place for that at the moment.
With so many excellent performances, we understand that there is not room for everyone and that the awards are limited but it is hard to understand the process which decides who will be in the front row of the auditorium and who’ll be there just to present the awards, like Jim Carrey has been doing for years now.
So, we take a look at some of the most surprising of the Oscar snubs in recent years.
1. Idris Elba – Beast Of No Nation (2015)
Every few years, an especially graphic and soul-wrenching depiction of real life hits the big screen. In 2015, actor Idris Elba’s turn in “Beasts of No Nation” mandated the proximity of a box of tissues. About the stark reality of child soldiers in the motherland, this Oscar snub surprised more than a few people from both the acting ranks and the general public. In the years to come, a movie like this may be a turning point for a reassessment of the voting process.
2. Leonardo Di Caprio and Kate Winslet – Titanic (1997)
Back in 1997, A-list actor Leonardo DiCaprio and co-star Kate Winslet seized hearts either their titanic onscreen performances in director James Cameron’s epic movie, “Titanic”. Quite shockingly, despite the monumentally level of audience-driven acclaim that the movie received, the Academy neglected to reward any of the actors with an Oscar.
In fact, this has been something of a history with DiCaprio’s lack of Oscar nods — that may change should he be called upon to accept one for his arresting role in 2016’s “The Revenant”.
3. David Oyelowo – Selma (2014)
In yet another surprising omission, the Academy of voters panned one of the year’s most powerful films in Selma, which detailed the almost singularly exceptional life of the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
An outstanding portrayal of the civil rights paragon was played by actor David Oyelowo, who wasn’t even considered for an Oscar. Perhaps even more so, many feel that Ava DuVernay should’ve at least received a nomination for Best Director.
4. Jamie Foxx – Django Unchained (2012)
In 2012, iconoclast director Quentin Tarantino released Django Unchained; a movie about a slave who, with the help of a well-to-do bounty hunter, exacted revenge on slave-owners and saved his wife. It was a characteristically riveting Tarantino movie; but the protagonist failed to get an Oscar nod. Neither did actress Kerry Washington for her role as Django’s wife. Strangely enough, supporting actor Christoph Waltz received a nomination — and won.
It was kind of reminiscent of the acclaim John Travolta received in another Tarantino movie – Pulp Fiction – and the Oscar snub suffered by the arguably more gripping performance by Samuel L. Jackson.
5. Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler (2014)
The following Oscar snub is, by all accounts, almost universal. Actor Jake Gyllenhaal took a breathtaking turn in Nightcrawler, where his gaunt, intense character was masterful in capturing a neurotic newsman. It’s difficult to rationalize this oversight – it was one of the most committed acting performances in recent memory.
6. The Grand Budapest Hotel – (2014)
For some reason, comedies don’t do that well at the Oscars – unless the humor is an incidental part of the movie. 2014’s The Grand Budapest Hotel may very well have suffered from this bias; the comedy in this movie is instrumental to the entire, brilliantly-acted film. Ralph Fiennes shines here as lobby boy Gustave H., where his funny shenanigans at a European ski resort takes a deadly turn as he becomes the primary suspect in a murder.
It is a complex, almost flawless movie that nonetheless suffered an Oscar snub for best actor – which it should have received.
7. Straight Outta Compton – (2015)
Another glaring omission from the 2016 Oscar nominations was director F. Gary Gray’s Straight Outta Compton.
Although there was a single nomination, it came for the screenwriters of the biopic and not for the black actors, nor the director, himself. Even the movie, despite the heaps of critical acclaim, failed to garner a Best Picture nod.
8. Michael B. Jordan – Creed (2015)
Up-and-coming actor Michael B. Jordan is already a young force to be reckoned with – given his performances in Fruitvale Station and Chronicle. In an extension of the old blockbuster Rocky films, he starred in Creed in 2015. It was a fantastic performance that was panned by the Academy – although Sylvester Stallone received a nod.
9. Clint Eastwood – American Sniper (2014)
The name Clint Eastwood is generally regarded as casting a considerable shadow when it comes to directing. Arguably the most tough guy actor has overseen such gems as “Million Dollar Baby” and “Gran Torino”, but his most recent release, “American Sniper”, fizzled when it came to the Oscar ballot of nominees. A great film – but perhaps the controversy it dredged up unfairly hurt his chances at receiving Best Director.
10. Interstellar – (2014)
It seems 2016’s not a good year for outer-space movies. Ridley Scott’s “The Martian” is nominated for Best Picture, but if “Interstellar’s” snub has any effect on the category, it may be unlikely to walk away with the prize. There might not be be a solid reason of why It’ll not win the award but, well, It’ll not. Psst. The Big Short might win it in the end.