The 85th Annual Academy Awards is on tonight, and instead of just giving you my perspective, I reached out to several of my favorite movie reviewers with a few questions. Here’s how they responded.
Biggest Snub from the Best Picture Category?
Dan The Man: I wasn’t that upset with the Best Picture nominees this year, although I felt like they could have at least shown a bit more love to the Master. This category, as well as some others, but I still think that it is one of the best movies from last year because of it’s story, and what P.T. Anderson was able to do with it. Maybe not perfect like There Will Be Blood, but still compelling and invigorating nonetheless. Also, you’d think that with the 50 year celebration and anniversary of the James Bond franchise, that they would at least throw it some Best Picture (for Skyfall), but surprisingly: no.
Dan Fogarty: “Skyfall” without a doubt. It’s that rare action movie that also has enough dramatic heft that it could have been considered. Given that it was the 50th anniversary of Bond, plus the fact they only nominated 9 movies as it was… “Skyfall” definitely should have been in the mix. If for no other reason than to bump the Ratings!
Sean Kelly: The general consensus, which I agree with, is that The Master should have received a Best Picture nomination.
Chris Turner: I don’t really think there is one. This wasn’t a particularly strong year for movies.
Erik Sebok: For me it is The Impossible. It is a deeply moving drama with top notch performances and it is not there.
Steve Habrat: I think the biggest snub was The Dark Knight Rises. I feel like the Academy really owed it to Christopher Nolan after they snubbed The Dark Knight back in 2009, but once again, they brushed him off. It’s a shame because that trilogy really demanded that the superhero genre be taken seriously and it showed the world that superhero movies can have some pretty profound things to say. I know that some people weren’t as smitten with the movie as I was, but I found it to be one of the strongest films of 2012. I also think The Avengers was severely overlooked, but that film definitely didn’t have the depth that Nolan’s film did.
Ryan Fernand: The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey is probably the first film I would choose to replace one of the current Best Picture nominees. It did a great job of recapturing the spirit of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (all 3 of those films were nominated for Best Picture). Even though the film has been accused of playing it safe I think Peter Jackson took a huge risk with the use of 48 frames per second, and Academy Award voters liked the 48 FPS enough to nominate the film for Best Visual Effects (where the producers displayed a visual effects reel in 48 FPS to Academy voters in order to make the cut).
James Diamond of Failed Critic: Although I’m surprised The Master didn’t make the cut, personally I wasn’t a huge fan. The one film that has been unfairly snubbed (and not just in the big categories) is Cloud Atlas. What the Wachowskis and Tom Twyker have achieved in adapting David Mitchell’s ‘unfilmable’ novel is remarkable. I know it has its faults, but it’s brave, breathtaking, and unique. It is also a great lesson in editing , with it’s sense of momentum matched only by Argo from the nominees.
Bryan Lienesch: The Dark Knight Rises. EASILY. You’re telling me a film with subtitles (Amour) and a movie NO ONE understands (Beasts of the Southern Wild) was better than Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece? Come on, now. I also thought End of Watch should’ve been included, but that one, at least, I can understand. Finally, I was dismayed to see that neither Impostor nor Head Games were nominated for documentary feature. I thought they were the two best documentaries of the year and neither got the nod here.
Biggest Snub(s) from any of the other categories?
Chris Turner: Ben Affleck for Directing ARGO.
Dan Fogarty: Well, Ben Affleck certainly. Especially seeing as it seems that Argo is on its way towards a best picture win now.
Sean Kelly: In terms of acting, Ann Dowd should have received recognition for her role as a gullible fast food manager in Compliance. Also, after it debuted at Sundance last year, the film Smashed seemed poised to be the break-through role for Mary Elizabeth Winstead, however it was all but forgotten when the awards season came along. Both those films received very limited releases, which could help explain the snubs. In the Best Documentary category, the most notable snub is The Impostor. In my opinion, that film would’ve been the clear favourite to win if it was nominated. Finally, it confounds me that Cloud Atlas wasn’t even considered for the Best Make-Up category.
Erik Sebok: Not nominating Tarantino in best director category was a shock for me. I would happily exchange Ang Lee for him. Also, I have just seen The Paperboy and I have to say Nicole Kidman would have deserved a nomination in best actress in supporting role. She gave one of the best performances of her career and it was overlooked. Not having The Imposter in best documentary category is another shocker. Easily one of the best films of 2012 and again overlooked.
Steve Habrat: As far as Best Director goes, I was definitely shocked that Ben Affleck didn’t get a Best Director nomination for Argo. I really think he deserved one. I also think Quentin Tarantino should have been in there for Django Unchained and Kathryn Bigelow should have grabbed a spot for Zero Dark Thirty. Both of those movies were so well done and it’s just hard to believe that they didn’t make the cut. I also think that Leonardo DiCaprio should have gotten a Best Supporting Actor nomination. He was just incredible and he showed a side that we have never seen from him.
Ryan Fernand: I think the director’s branch not voting in Kathryn Bigelow’s work on Zero Dark Thirty is downright criminal. She was getting attacked from all corners (unfairly I might add) and Hollywood had a golden opportunity to stand by her. They sadly did not step up. Bigelow’s work was incredible as she deftly mixed a lot of personal touches into an intense epic. I also don’t think there was a better-directed scene this year than the compound raid.
James Diamond of Failed Critic: I think that two actors in particular are unlucky to have missed out on nominations this year. In the Best Actor category, John Hawkes’ incredible performance in The Sessions was easily as deserving as his co-star Helen Hunt’s nod for Best Supporting Actress. I would also love to have seen Marion Cotillard rewarded for her stunning turn in Rust & Bone, which was probably my favourite performance and film of 2012.
Dan The Man: The biggest snub of all for me was Leo DiCaprio in Django Unchained. His ass deserved the nomination no matter what anybody, from any place says. The guy was great and if it was up to me: I would have given it to him. There were a bunch of snubs in the Best Director category including Affleck, Bigelow, and even Tarantino. I get that the Academy doesn’t want to seem like they are supporting some of the things that these directors do, but you cannot tell me that David. O. Russell did anything flashier than Tarantino did the whole, freakin’ time in Django. This year, I think is the year where the Academy got old and felt old for all of us.
Bryan Lienesch: Again, Christopher Nolan for directing The Dark Knight Rises. His re-imagining of such an overused comic book character was otherworldly. A lot of people are crying foul about Ben Affleck being snubbed, but Nolan was even better. For Actor in a Supporting Role, I would’ve liked to see Bryan Cranston for Argo. He was SENSATIONAL, delivering quite possibly the best performance in the movie.
Next, a discussion of undeserving nominees, our 2012 favorites, the odds-on favorite to win Best Picture and a shout-out to the reviewers involved. Check out Page 2.