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Inside Llewyn Davis poster Rush poster Prisoners poster


Written by Matthew Pejkovic

The 2014 Academy Awards nominations have just been announced and with a packed field of worthy achievements in 2013 to choose from, it was inevitable that someone was going to be left out in the cold.

However when it comes to Oscar snubs, the treatment given to these 5 more than worthy movies is bordering on criminal…





The Way Way Back image

Released back in July, The Way Way Back didn’t fall in that magical 3 month period (October – December) for Academy members to deem it “Oscar worthy”. Never mind the brilliantly funny and heartfelt screenplay by Oscar winners Nat Faxon & Jim Rash (who also direct).  Nor the excellent performances by a strong ensemble cast led by a career best Sam Rockwell who should have been a frontrunner in the “best supporting actor” category.

No, the Academy just could not see a future American classic in front of them for –dare I say – they probably didn’t watch it in the first place, proving that when the marquee says “honouring the best films of 2013” what they really mean is “honouring the best films released during the last 3 months of 2013”.      





Mud image

What will it take for writer/director Jeff Nicholas to get his due from the Academy? Consistently delivering exceptional movies, 2013 was poised to the be the Arkansas native’s breakthrough with Mud starring a resurgent Matthew McConaughey in one of his best performances and Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon adding star power to this coming of age indie.

Yet despite receiving near universal acclaim (that 98% Rotten Tomatoes rating does not lie) and providing some of the best performances and filmmaking seen this year, Mud was given the shaft by the Academy, such was the trend with a lack of true independent releases amongst this year’s Oscar nominations.





Prisoners image

Prisoners is a film that fits the criteria of an “Oscar worthy” movie:  star studded cast filled with Oscar nominated actors; rich and complex screenplay that was lauded for years in the industry before making it to the screen; and brilliant direction by an up and coming filmmaker whose previous film received an Oscar nomination.

Placing aside the well-deserved nomination given to cinematographer Roger Deakins (who despite being nominated a previous 10 times has yet to win an Oscar), the Academy failed to give Prisoners the well justified kudos it deserved, especially to Jake Gyllenhaal who delivered career best work as a jittery cop trying to solve the abduction to two young girls, and screenwriter Aaron Guzikowski who delivered one of the year’s best original screenplays.   





Rush image

Ever since the awards season began it seemed a lock that Rush would get nominations for actor Daniel Bruhl and its brilliant sound effects team. Instead the makers of one of 2013’s most entertaining and critically acclaimed movies got the shaft, with not one Oscar nomination to its name.

Considering the career defining notices Bruhl received for his turn as Formula 1 legend Niki Lauda, his snub especially stings. Here is a performance that the Academy loves to reward: a portrayal of a complex, driven, real life figure whose temper is as scorching as the fire that nearly claimed his life during a near fatal accident on the race track.

In short Bruhl delivered one of the best performances of 2013 in Rush, which was scripted by Oscar favourite Peter Morgan and directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard, no less. Add that none of the great craft work from the film (especially the stellar sound team) received well deserved nominations, and this is a form of snobbery that is mind boggling.  





Inside Llewyn Davis image

How odd, how depressing, and how just like the Academy that two of the great filmmaking talents of our time could not get any Oscar love for one of their most acclaimed films. Yet such is the dark shadow of shame that has been thrust upon Coen brothers Ethan and Joel, and their Inside Llewyn Davis.  

While the film did pick up two nominations for Cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel, taking the place of Coen’s regular Roger Deakins) and sound mixing, it’s the lack of nominations for original song, original screenplay and best picture that baffles the most. Here we have a film set during the 1960s folk era with the legendary T. Bone Burnett as music producer, scripted by two of the best screenwriters in the business delivering some of their best work, and that was left out of a list of best picture nominees that had 10 spots to fill (yet only filled 9).

The Coen brothers don’t have to be nominated every time they release a movie (no one is crying over the lack of Oscar love for Intolerable Cruelty), yet filmmakers this good should not be disrespected as egregiously as this. After all, if the Oscar’s are a celebration for the best films of the year, shouldn’t those very same films be invited to the party?  




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