The announcement of this season’s Oscar nominations from on Thursday offered its share of expected honorees (“Boyhood, “Birdman”) and plenty of other unexpected ones. Who was in that observers thought would be out, and vice versa? Here are a half-dozen of the most notable snubs and surprises.
The “Selma” (near) shutout. OK, so it got original song and did squeeze out a best picture nomination. But Ava DuVernay didn’t get nominated for director, and David Oyelowo, regarded by many as giving the best performance of the year for his turn as Martin Luther King Jr., was nowhere to be found amid a strong actor list. Considering the civil rights drama is one of the most well-reviewed films of the year, its absence in many of the major categories easily represents one of the year’s biggest snubs.
Clint Eastwood. Eastwood has been surging for his war drama “American Sniper,” landing a director’s Guild nomination and a National Board of Review win. And Oscar voters liked “American Sniper, “ giving it screenplay, actor and picture nominations. But when it came to director, it held off on Eastwood and instead went with the dark horse Bennett Miller, helmer of “Foxcatcher.” It looked like an Eastwood comeback was afoot, taking him back to the regular Oscar appearances of “Million Dollar Baby” and “Mystic River” from just a decade ago. Oscar voters said no go.
Marion Cotillard. Amy Adams is a perpetual Oscar favorite. Jennifer Aniston is a Hollywood darling. Neither ended up in a thin field for actress. Instead, Marion Cotillard, in the little-seen French-language workplace drama “Two Days, One Night,” from the Dardenne Bros., pulled off the trick. Cotillard is something of an academy darling—she took a best actress statuette away from Julie Christie in 2007 with her turn in “La Vie en Rose.”
Laura Dern. Outside of Reese Witherspoon, there hasn’t been much love for “Wild.” Scratch that after Thursday as Dern scooped up a supporting actress nod for her turn as an ethereal mother in the Cheryl Strayed adaptation. Dern takes slots that at previous ceremonies have gone to the likes of Jessica Chastain and Naomi Watts. It’s Dern first nomination in more than two decades -- “Ramblin’ Rose” was the last, in 1992.
“Life Itself.” Steve James earned one of the most famous Oscar snubs ever when his seminal “Hoop Dreams” didn’t make the short list. He can claim the dubious honor once more after “Life Itself,” his poignant documentary about Roger Ebert, was left off the list despite being tipped by many as a favorite. It was 20 years ago the “Hoop Dreams” snub happened. James will get to celebrate with another acclaimed movie getting nowhere with Oscar voters.
“The Lego Movie.” It was considered one of the best, and most groundbreaking, animated movies in years, and has won a host of critics’ and other groups’ awards. Yet film’s meta, pop-cultural humor didn’t land for Oscar voters, as the movie didn’t end up amid the five slots for animated film. “Congrats to ‘Everything is Awesome,’ though currently the title of the song doesn’t seem especially accurate!” director Chris Miller tweeted of his film’s (far less satisfying) song nomination. Then again, snubs matter, but only so much. “Rear Window,” “Red River” and” The Princess Bride” didn’t win any Oscars either.