2015 Oscar Snubs

Nominations for the 87th Annual Academy Awards are out and—as is usually the case this time of the year—everybody is rife with frustration and confusion over many well-deserving talents and films being snubbed for contention of the prestigious award. Here are my top Oscar snubs this year.


The Lego Movie
Snubbed of: Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Perhaps the biggest upset going by social media. The Lego Movie was one of the front-runners for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year and so widespread among speculation; to see it omitted is an utter travesty. Variety have compiled a list of why they believe it was snubbed, but at least it was recognised by the Golden Globes and at the BAFTAs.


Lana Del Rey
Snubbed of: Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures, Original Song

There are numerous options for what is a fairly open race for Best Original Song this year, but Lana Del Rey’s ‘Big Eyes’ was—what I and apparently many others believed to be—one of the safer bets. But at least Lana—who has wanted to break into the movie industry for some time—garnered her first Golden Globe nomination. It’s a shame to see her snubbed, but with Young and Beautiful, Once Upon a Dream and now both Big Eyes and Come Fly With Me already under her belt, I’m sure Lana’s time will come.


Jake Gyllenhaal
Snubbed of: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Personally, my most shocking snub. Jake Gyllenhaal was a sure bet for Best Actor in a Leading Role, at least until now. Bradley Cooper has arguably taken his place in quite an upset, considering—unlike Gyllenhaal—Cooper wasn’t nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA or Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance. Perhaps Gyllenhaal will acquire his second nomination for Southpaw next year; the man is a powerhouse of an actor who completely commits himself to his work. A complete farce he wasn’t recognised by the Academy this year.


Gone Girl
Snubbed of: Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published

Many speculators considered Gone Girl as one of the front-runners for Best Adapted Screenplay; this snub comes as a huge surprise, especially considering Whiplash is up for the award when it isn’t even an adapted screenplay (it was conceived as an original screenplay and was then made as a short film before the director got funding for the feature-length version — the BAFTAs got it right; they nominated it for Best Original Screenplay). It doesn’t end there, however. Gone Girl has received only a single nomination (Best Actress in a Leading Role — much deserved for Rosamund Pike), but is such a superb piece of film-making that it’s shocking to see it absent from other categories, such as Best Achievement in Directing and Best Original Score. The cinematography was stunning, too. It wouldn’t even be out of place in the Best Picture category.


Snubbed of: Best Motion Picture of the Year

If Jake Gyllenhaal’s snub wasn’t enough, Nightcrawler is another film with just a single nomination (Best Original Screenplay). Many considered Nightcrawler a fairly certain contender for Best Picture, but it’s sadly absent. At least the film garnered four BAFTA nominations, but to my surprise, the starkly beautiful, dead of the night cinematography has gone by unnoticed on the awards circuit. Was there anyone else who adored the aesthetics of Nightcrawler?

Those are my shocking absentees for this year, but it isn’t all bad. I’m glad to see Eddie Redmayne up for Best Actor in a Leading Role and Rosamund Pike up for Best Actress. It’s also nice to see Whiplash nominated for Best Picture and fantastic that Jóhann Jóhannsson looks set to dominate the Best Original Score category. The Academy Awards will take place on February 22nd — I wonder if there will be any more shockers then. Do you have any snubs you’re particularly miffed about? Let me know!

Best Movies of 2014

Another year gone by. Has it been a good year for film? I’d say so. We said farewell to Middle Earth; The Hunger Games reached its penultimate feature; Tom Cruise and Michael Keaton are back on form and audiences exploded from anticipation waiting for Interstellar. Here are my top five from the year gone by.


#5. Edge of Tomorrow (Dir. Doug Liman)

I like Tom Cruise. At times, I feel audiences go too far with their criticisms. He hasn’t had the most illustrious career ever, but he is an outstanding actor who brings huge amounts of dedication, enthusiasm and charisma to his roles. Edge of Tomorrow—which is based on a Japanese sci-fi novel by Hiroki Sakurazaka—is a film I expected to enjoy, but not one I thought I would love. A military officer named Cage gets caught in a time-loop during an invasion from near unstoppable alien creatures dubbed ‘Mimics’ and may be Earth’s only hope in ending the threat. Read like that, it comes across as rather bland—perhaps even cliche—but Edge of Tomorrow is engrossing from the get-go and both Cruise and Blunt excel. The designs of the Mimic creatures were impressive (in the manga adaptation, they’re rather hilarious) and considering the amount of repetition, the action sequences never dulled. It’s a well directed, intelligent, captivating and at times very original sci-fi feature; far more absorbing than Interstellar.


#4. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (Dir. Peter Jackson)

As a fan of the work of Tolkien and someone who holds director Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings adaptations in very high regard, to say I was looking forward to The Hobbit would be an understatement. Having recaptured Erebor, the Dwarven company vie to retain their stronghold and homeland from enemies on many planes. Probably my most anticipated film of the year, The Battle of the Five Armies didn’t disappoint, though there were a couple of aspects I wasn’t too keen on. Nevertheless, it remained an engaging, enjoyable watch; a fine farewell to Middle Earth — or is it? We may be revisiting it in thirty years; copyright for The Silmarillion expires in 2044 where—from then on—it will pass into the public domain. Maybe by then remakes of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit will also be in the pipeline.


#3. Gone Girl (Dir. David Fincher)

Gone Girl was one of those rare movie experiences for me; I hadn’t watched any of the trailers; I hadn’t done any prior research; I didn’t even know what the film was about. The only thing I knew was that it was helmed by David Fincher. I went to see it on the off-chance one night and was completely blown away. Tired husband Nick Dunne see’s the media spotlight turned on him following his wife’s disappearance, when people begin to suspect he may not be so innocent. It’s a plot that could fall flat given the wrong performances, but the characters were completely enthralling. I have always liked Ben Affleck, but his acting calibre expanded tenfold here. Despite that, though, Rosamund Pike stole the show. A riveting film — wonderfully shot, fluently directed, with stimulating performances and a story so spellbinding I’m glad I had the pleasure of seeing it with no prior knowledge.


#2. Nightcrawler (Dir. Dan Gilroy)

The trailer was my first exposure to Nightcrawler, but Jake Gyllenhaal was the main selling point. He delivers an outstanding, entrancing performance as Lou Bloom; a fledgling journalist who blurs the line between observer and participant. I’ve seen people speak of his career peaking years ago, but I believe he’s on the top of his game right now. Nightcrawler was mesmerizing from the opening sequence all the way through to the stunning climax; a remarkable film with a hugely satisfying pay-off. A debut feature from Dan Gilroy — I hope to see much more from him in the future.


#1. The Theory of Everything (Dir. James Marsh)

I thought Nightcrawler would be my favourite of 2014, until I saw The Theory of Everything. Chronicling the relationship between master physicist Prof. Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde, both Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne have—thus far—delivered career defining performances. Redmayne is masterful — he completely absorbs himself in to the role. I was moved to tears a number of times by the emotion and powerful subtleties of his performance. Not only is the film superbly acted, but the score by Jóhann Jóhannsson is near flawless. Certainly my favourite of the year and likely one of my tops of the decade so far.

So, there are my five stand-out features from the year gone by. In terms of performances, I believe Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl) have delivered the best this year. Jóhann Jóhannsson (The Theory of Everything) has without a doubt produced the best original score and, though its namesake hasn’t been released yet, Lana Del Rey’s Big Eyes is my favourite original song. Another film released in the United Kingdom this year that almost made the list was The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman. A debut feature from Fredrik Bond, it had a phenomenal soundtrack and an outstanding performance from Shia LaBeouf, who attracts many disgruntled internet warriors, but is actually a very capable actor. However, technically it is a 2013 film, so I excluded it.

In terms of the most memorable excerpts and sequences, above all else I adored Nightcrawler‘s climax along with a number of scenes from The Theory of Everything; most notably the ‘Forces of Attraction’ sequence, along with the croquet scene and Hawking observing everybody eat at the dinner table. The latter was such a powerful, striking sequence. Definitely something I’ll remember for a very long time.

What were your favourites of 2014? Do you think it has been a good year for film, or are you much rather looking forward to next year? Thank you for reading!