Sunday 25 February 2018

Let the controversy begin - Oscars nominations: 10 biggest snubs and surprises

Good Will: Willem Defoe is brilliant in The Florida Project
Good Will: Willem Defoe is brilliant in The Florida Project
Gritty drama: The Florida Project

Chris Wasser

Let the controversy begin. Yes, indeed, the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced yesterday morning, and what can we say? It all went according to plan. Or did it?

The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri and Lady Bird all came away with a rake of nominations each. Saoirse Ronan bagged her third Oscar nod (but you already knew that). Meryl Streep picked up her 21st nomination (you knew that, too). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally showed the great Christopher Nolan a little love (it’s about bloody time). But it wasn’t without surprises. Yes, we know, these award ceremonies are absurd enough as it is - they don’t need our help in that department. But hey, it’s all part of the fun. And we’re still struggling to get our heads around this lot…

No love for Jake Gyllenhaal…

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Tragic: Jake Gyllenhaal after the bombing scene in Stronger. Photo: Roadside Attractions Press Site

You can file this one under ‘snub’. Jakey boy played a blinder in Stronger, David Gordon Green’s triumphant, biographical drama, based on the experiences of one Jeff Bauman, who lost both of his legs in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. The reviews were glowing; the box-office figures, not so much. But Gyllenhaal has never been better. A real shame, if you ask us.

 

Jordan Peele’s Best Director nomination…

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Jordan Peele

A welcome surprise, this one. The talented writer/director of Get Out is up against Christopher Nolan (Dunkirk), Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) for best director. He deserves it, too. Get Out, a whip smart social satire, all dressed up as a deeply unsettling horror, was one of the best films of 2017. But when does the Academy ever make room for horror flicks? And since when does the Academy remember to include films that weren’t released in the last three months (Get Out hit screens last February)? Incidentally, Peele is just the fifth African-American film-maker to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar…

 

The Post received just two nominations…

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Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks in The Post

Steven Spielberg’s smartest, most entertaining grown-up drama in at least a decade received just two Oscar nominations (Best Picture and Best Actress for Meryl Streep). If you’d asked us a month ago, we’d have put money on The Post winning everything. But no love for Tom Hanks. No love for Spielberg. No love for composer John Williams. That is astonishing.

 

The Florida Project should be up for Best Picture…

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Good Will: Willem Defoe is brilliant in The Florida Project

That heading pretty much covers it. If there is any justice in this world, Sean Baker’s mesmerising, sun-drenched drama would be up for Best Picture. At least the folks at the Academy had the good sense to award a Best Supporting Actor nomination to the great Willem Dafoe, whose gorgeous, understated turn as a kind-hearted motel manager named Bobby is the beating heart of Baker’s delightful film.

 

James Franco wasn’t nominated for Best Actor…

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Tommy Wiseau on stage with James and Dave Franco at the Golden Globes

Is this a snub or a surprise? We’re not sure. The Disaster Artist, Franco’s smashing, real-life dramedy about the worst film ever made, was one of the comedy highlights of 2017. Franco was terrific. He won a Golden Globe for his bizarre yet beguiling turn as Tommy Wiseau. Could it be that recentallegations of sexual misconduct against Franco, scuppered his chances of an Oscar nomination? It’s hard to tell. It’s a competitive year. We’ll probably never know.

 

Armie Hammer deserves an Oscar…

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Great shakes: Timothee Chamalet and Armie Hammer in Call Me By Your Name

We’d presumed young Armie was a shoo-in for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, for his beautifully spirited turn in the sublime Call Me by Your Name. But nope – no nomination. The fools. Don’t they know it’s Hammer Time? Also, see the inimitable Michael Stuhlbarg, another actor without a nomination, who deserves a special achievement award for that scene in Call Me by Your Name. You know the one. What a talent.

 

All the Money in the World deserves more Oscars…

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Christopher Plummer

Or, at least, several more nominations. In the end, it received just one: Christopher Plummer, for Best Supporting Actor (we knew that would happen). What about Ridley Scott for Best Director? What about Michelle Williams for Best Actress? What about Claire Simpson for Best Film Editing? We could go on.

 

The Farthest deserves an Oscar…

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Irish film The Farthest

Emer Reynolds’ inspirational documentary about NASA’s Voyager program was unlike anything else we saw in cinemas last year. It deserves everything good that comes its way. It deserved an Oscar nomination. That’s a fact.

Behind the Scenes with... award-winning Irish cinematographer Kate McCullough

 

Martin McDonagh wasn’t nominated for Best Director…

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The cast and crew of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

But the divisive Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri received seven nominations, including Best Picture. Huh. We didn’t see that one coming.

 

Denis Villeneuve wasn’t nominated for Best Director…

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Ryan Gosling as K and Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard in Blade Runner 2049

The man who gave us the exquisite Blade Runner 2049 should have received a nomination. Looking at the list of film-makers whose work was nominated, we’re not entirely sure who we would exclude, if any. Like we said, it’s a competitive year. We do not envy the voters. But still. Hard luck, Denis. Best of luck to everyone else…

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