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Snub This!

nullI 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
Ava DuVernay.

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.

Mr. Turner-Timothy Spall-680

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.

7 comments

  1. Jeffrey says:

    I am troubled by Selma’s Best Picture nomination. I believe it’s an early sign that politics are now playing too big of a role in selecting which films get nominated. A weak nominee is still an undeserving nominee if it has no business being placed in the same category as other films that are markedly superior.

  2. Borla says:

    The most outrageously moronic aspect is the conceit that the black female director of SELMA deserves a nomination on her first time out, simply because, well…she is black and a woman. Have we really come to this? Howsabout Angelina Jolie getting snubbed because she’s white, and a woman, and gorgeous? The all-pervasive bully pulpit of playing the race card is getting VERY, VERY old to much of mainstream America. I really hope SELMA does not win ANYTHING, just because of these racist catcalls. Enough is enough! If black America wants Oscars, they should EARN them!

  3. Kit van Cleave says:

    AMPAS would have embarrassed itself unless it nominated Cotillard for Best Actress after the critics raved about her work. Never under-estimate Cotillard.

  4. Susan says:

    That Tim Spall did not get nominated and Bradley Cooper did, not to mention no Ralph Fiennes for Grand Budapest hotel shows you that this is nothing other than a popularity contest and cannot be taken seriously. Absurd, absolutely absurd.

  5. Kathy says:

    I too was expecting a shoe in nomination for David Oyelowo. As Iconic as MLK is and to play you’d think it was a given. The only other one is for best animation film The Lego Movie, to which Leonard, you are undoubtedly qualified to opine on!

  6. Robert Hunt says:

    Anyone who writes that a certain film or person was "snubbed" by an awards committee simply doesn’t understand how voting (or math) works. If I ask you to name your favorite Marx Brother and you say "Groucho", somebody will complain that you "snubbed" Harpo…

  7. D.J. Fone says:

    Before the AMPAS ever again announces nominations, they need to be sure the presenters can pronounce the nominees’ names. What Cheryl Boone-Isaacs did today, stumbling over so many names, was a disgrace.

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