Oscars 2014: The films that the Academy snubbed

Deepanjana Pal

March 03, 2014 08:33:16 IST

Every year, the Oscars nominates a set of films, from America and the rest of the world, and every year, film buffs tear their hair out and despair at the films that Oscars ignored. It's a bit like the monsoons coming to Mumbai — everyone knows it's scheduled to arrive in the first half of June, but when it actually begins to pour, people react like they're seeing rain for the first time ever. So here's this year's list of the films and people that the Oscars snubbed. If we've missed something, let us know in the comments.

Best Picture candidates

Richard Linklater's Before Midnight is the final part of the trilogy that began with Before Sunrise (1995). Starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, it's a sensitive study of marriage that's both amusing and heartbreaking.

More than a story, what Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha shows you is an elegant collection of set pieces that are held together by actress and co-writer Greta Gerwig's luminous performance. Gerwig plays Frances Handley, a 27-year-old dancer.

Adele Exarchopoulos at the Cannes Film Festival. Getty Images

Adele Exarchopoulos at the Cannes Film Festival. Getty Images

Inside Llewyn Davis, directed by the Coen brothers, is a gem of a film about the obsessive love affair between an artist and his art. Llewyn Davis is talented but neglected, and ironically, the film about him seems to have suffered the same fate, as far as the Oscars are concerned. To only nominate this film for its cinematography — beautiful as it may be — is to suggest nothing else was worth praise, and that's just offensive.

Best Director candidates

How is Spike Jonze not in that list of nominated directors? There's a conceptual similarity between Her and one episode from the British TV series Black Mirror, but what distinguishes Her is Jonze's direction. His storytelling and his aesthetic are what make this film as haunting and unforgettable as it is. And then there's Paul Greengrass who calibrated the tension and adrenalin rush so expertly in Captain Phillips. Arguably, Captain Phillips showed far greater directorial skill and storytelling expertise than American Hustle.

Best Actor candidates

There was a glut of stellar performances by actors last year, but even so, Tom Hanks' portrayal of the lead character in Captain Phillips deserved a hat tip. He was extraordinary as was Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Both men held our attention in films that relied almost entirely upon them to hold our attention and move the plot forward.

Best Actress candidates

It's difficult to understand how anyone could miss both Emma Thompson in Saving Mr Banks and Adele Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Colour while picking the best performances by actresses in leading roles. Exarchopoulos, now 20, is the youngest actor to win the Palme d'Or for her beautiful portrayal of a young woman who falls in love and has her heart broken in Blue is the Warmest Colour. The bubbling warmth of Thompson's real life persona disappeared when she played the curmudgeonly PL Travers to perfection in Saving Mr Banks. Another shocking miss is Gerwig in Frances Ha, who was brilliant in the film.

Best Cinematography candidate

Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave has got a lot of love from the Oscars (for good reason) and is one of this year's favourites, but it doesn't make sense that the Academy didn't notice the film's fantastic cinematography. Cinematographer Sean Bobbitt's shots of the countryside of the American south — the trees that have been witness to such a painful history, in particular — are unforgettable.

Best Documentary candidates

Two of the finest documentaries of last year were Blackfish by Gabriela Cowperthwaite and Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell. Blackish earned the ire of SeaWorld because Cowperthwaite's documentary shows how it mistreats the orcas it owns and endangers the trainers. That might explain why this documentary didn't make it into the Oscar list. Stories We Tell, however, has no agenda. It's about Polley delving deep into her family history to find her father and understand her parents' marriage. It's a clever, genre-twisting blend of history and fiction, narrated intelligently and sensitively. This one definitely deserved the Oscar nod.

Updated Date: Mar 03, 2014 08:33 AM