On Thursday, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominations for the 85th Academy Awards. In an amusing ceremony, the duo revealed who would be in the running for the 2013 Oscars and there were a few surprises in store.
But far more interesting than who was nominated is who wasn’t nominated. Here are my top ten Oscar snubs of 2013.
10. Javier Bardem – Best Supporting Actor (Skyfall)
Javier Bardem’s performance as the villainous Silva in Skyfall was one of the highlights of the year. He brought a remarkable flamboyance to the role, whilst keeping the pendulum swinging firmly towards menacing rather than camp. His first scene, in which he delivers a monologue whilst walking slowly towards Bond, is deliciously intense and one of the best cinematic moments of 2012.
The Bond franchise has been chucking a selection of unmemorable, bland villains at audiences for the last decade or two and so it is refreshing to see a villain that will certainly go down as one of the greatest ever.
The Baftas chose to honour Bardem but the Academy, despite throwing noms at decent but unremarkable performances like Robert De Niro’s in Silver Linings Playbook, snubbed Bardem unforgivably.
9. Mihai Malăimare Jr – Best Cinematography (The Master)
Whilst I didn’t much enjoy The Master, thinking it well-acted but ultimately snoozeworthy, one element did stand out as remarkable. Every shot of the film is a beautifully constructed work of art due to Malăimare’s cinematography. Whether it’s the bleak, sex-obsessed, beach opening or the motorcycle riding sequence, everything that happens is shot beautifully.
I’m almost glad that the Academy decided not to make the 2013 Oscars a Paul Thomas Anderson worshipping exercise, but I’m stunned that Malăimare was not nominated for what was one of the prettiest films of the year.
8. Skyfall – Best Picture
That’s right. Skyfall again. If ever a Bond film was awards-friendly, it was Skyfall. Sam Mendes, using his Academy Award winning pedigree, managed to take the thrills of the James Bond franchise and construct something that isn’t just a great Bond film; it’s a great film, full stop.
It balances heart-stopping action sequences with tender emotional moments and finally gives Judi Dench’s M a worthwhile plot arc. Everything in the film is well-handled and driven by Mendes’ unique directorial vision, so it’s a shock that the 2013 Oscars didn’t decide to take the opportunity to honour the franchise as a whole for its 50th anniversary year.
7. Stephen Chbosky – Best Adapted Screenplay (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
One of the surprises of 2012 for me was Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation of his own coming of age novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Aided by some strong performances, it managed to transcend the genre of kooky teen movies and become one of the best films of the year. A large part of this was Chbosky’s witty, perceptive screenplay, adapted from his own novel.
The characters are drawn in wonderful detail with each being pushed free of the constraints of caricature and all getting their chance to shine in the spotlight. Whilst it may have been wishful thinking for the 2013 Oscars to nominate a teen film, this was a screenplay that fully deserved it.
6. Quentin Tarantino – Best Director (Django Unchained)
Tarantino has been nominated twice for Best Director and is yet to walk home with a statuette. With Django Unchained popping up in a number of the main categories at the 2013 Oscars, it seems strange that Tarantino has not been honoured with a nomination.
Whilst I’m yet to see Django Unchained, it looks like classic Tarantino. His footprints seem to be all over the film, showcasing his unique style to the absolute maximum and that’s why it is weird that the Academy chose to ignore him this year.
5. Matthew McConaughey – Best Supporting Actor (Magic Mike)
McConaughey came back in 2012. After years of languishing in the hell of sub-par romcoms, the double bill of Killer Joe and Magic Mike brought McConaughey back into the pantheon of good actors, with his supporting turn in the latter being an awards-worthy slice of genius.
His stunning performance as the sleazy owner of a male strip club shows all of the charisma that made McConaughey popular and ensures that he stands out from the ensemble of other characters in the film. It’s Channing Tatum that does all the twisting and gyrating, but McConaughey deserves the awards.
In a frustratingly safe supporting actor category, someone like McConaughey was needed to make the 2013 Oscars a little more interesting.
4. Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon – Best Original Screenplay (The Cabin in the Woods)
The Cabin in the Woods was the most innovative movie of last year and possibly even of the new millennium. Much like Scream before it, it took an aspect of horror cinema and completely turned it on its head, producing something that is entirely unique. It’s one of those rare films that cannot be spoken about without spoiling its genius and so… I won’t.
What I will say is that the film is full to the brim with quotable dialogue, jokes and horror references that don’t just appeal to fans of the genre, but make the film enjoyable for a mass audience. It might be wishful thinking to suggest that a horror film with a heavy dose of comedy could be nominated at the 2013 Oscars, or indeed any awards ceremony, but The Cabin in the Woods definitely should’ve been.
Its biggest asset is its script and, let’s face it, it would be wonderful for Joss Whedon to win something.
3. Judi Dench – Best Supporting Actress (Skyfall)
Of all the acting performances in Skyfall, the one that shone the most was Judi Dench as M. Her role in previous films has been minimal, but Sam Mendes beefed her screentime up for Skyfall, finally giving Judi Dench the chance to spread her wings. Dench is the beating heart at the centre of the film and it’s refreshing to see M treated as an actual character rather than simply the person who sends Bond out on missions.
But once again, Dench suffers from the Academy’s dislike of blockbusters and so she will be left without the award that she so richly deserves at the 2013 Oscars.
2. The Imposter – Best Documentary
The documentary category has been very strong for the past few years and I thought, at the 2013 Oscars, that there was one film that would definitely appear. Then, it didn’t. Bart Layton’s The Imposter was one of the most interesting documentaries I have ever seen, blurring the lines between fact and fiction to great effect.
It isn’t just the people covered in the documentary that are duped by lies; it’s the audience as well. It’s established early on that Frederic Bourdin is a liar, but it’s only later that we realise Bart Layton is just as much of a manipulator.
Layton realises that documentary filmmaking can be as creative as fiction and so it’s remarkable that its absent from the Academy’s shortlist.
1. Ben Affleck – Best Director (Argo)
This is probably the most shocking omission from the 2013 Oscars. Darling of the Academy Kathryn Bigelow is missing for Zero Dark Thirty and Tom Hooper is absent despite his ambitious attempt at Les Miserables. Both of those films have been nominated for Best Picture, despite the lack of directorial recognition, and so has Ben Affleck’s Argo.
Argo was one of the best films of 2012 and Affleck’s direction creates a tense thriller that manages to turn a group of people shuffling around an airport into one of the most suspenseful sequences of the year. Yet, the Academy has decided not to nominate Affleck at the 2013 Oscars, which for me is a major injustice.
Do you agree with my list of snubs? Let me know in the comments section.