I dread Oscar nomination morning—not because it isn’t
exciting and fun—but because everyone who interviews me after the announcements
wants to talk about who was “snubbed,” in particular high-profile people like
Jennifer Aniston and Selma director
Does anyone seriously believe that the 6,000 Academy members
gather in a big room and conspire to embarrass or exclude any possible
contender for these awards? If so, they not only targeted Aniston but Amy
Adams, not just DuVernay but Clint Eastwood. Let’s get real.
There are only five slots to be filled in most categories.
With eight nominees for Best Picture, that guarantees
that three directors will be left out. In many other areas, it would be
easy to justify six, seven or eight worthy candidates. I was hoping to see
David Oyelowo up for Best Actor, but on the other hand I’m delighted that
Marion Cotillard has been recognized in the Best Actress race.
If we’re discussing justice, Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner should be in the running for
Best Picture, he should be one of the Best Directors, and Timothy Spall should
indisputably be cited as one of the year’s Best Actors. His performance as the
gruff, grunting, misanthropic painter J.M.W. Turner is little short of
miraculous. But smaller, uncommercial films from England are a tough sell and
Spall is not a movie star. I’m happy that Mr.
Turner was nominated for its exquisite cinematography by Dick Pope, production
design by Suzie Davies, and evocative costumes by Jacqueline Durran. I’m also realistic
enough to understand that a lengthy film about an elusive, even unlikable
artist is not everyone’s cup of chamomile.
What’s more, it’s all a matter of opinion. Opinion and
chance and circumstance. The Academy never reveals its voting numbers, so we
don’t know who might have come in sixth
in any category.
All told, I’m pleased with this morning’s tally: the
nominations spread the wealth among a number of excellent films, and with luck,
the attention they bring will motivate people to go out and see Two Days, One Night, or Leviathan, or Whiplash, not to mention Boyhood.
And when you strip away the often-unwanted hype, promoting good movies are
what the Oscars are all about.