November 22, 2017
Friday, January 17, 2014

Outrageous snubs: Inside Llewyn Davis, Redford and Winfrey deserved better

By Ann Hornaday
The Washington Post
First, you rejoice. When the 2014 Academy Awards nominees were announced early yesterday, all ears were attuned to the expected names. Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern given nods in their respective categories? Check.

Gravity, American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave dominating nominations for acting, writing, directing and best picture? No big surprises there, and all as it should be.

Then, you cry. No nomination for Robert Redford for his astonishing one-man show in the gripping seafaring thriller All Is Lost? Outrage! No Tom Hanks, who delivered such a subtle tour de force in Captain Phillips? The nerve! No Oprah Winfrey or Forest Whitaker for their superb performances in Lee Daniels’ The Butler? Robbed, I tell you, robbed!

No love for Inside Llewyn Davis, other than deserved nods for sound mixing and cinematography? (The film's brilliantly satiric ditty “Please Mr. Kennedy” should have been a shoo-in for best original song but was deemed not original enough due to its sly nods to previous '60s folk songs.)

Oh, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You exist to make us crazy.

Granted, in a year as strong as 2013, there are bound to be heartbreaks once the winnowing process begins. But yesterday’s shutouts were notable, especially the near-complete zotzing of Saving Mr. Banks, a paean to Hollywood studio big-footing (er, collaboration) that only earned one nomination, for original score. Emma Thompson, who many predicted would be recognized for her tart portrayal of Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers, went un-lauded, her spot presumably on permanent hold for Meryl Streep.

Still, having nominated nine films for best picture, surely the Academy could have come up with a 10th in such a strong year. What a perfect way to honour Fruitvale Station, Ryan Coogler’s stunning debut featuring a quietly electrifying lead performance by Michael B. Jordan — or at least Saving Mr. Banks, Blue Jasmine or Inside Llewyn Davis.

The day’s biggest “Huh?” came when the nominees for best original song were announced. Exactly which left field did Alone Yet Not Alone come from, and how did it snag a coveted Oscar nomination?

After the rejoicing and the crying, the questioning begins.

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