You can’t please everybody come award season. This is true both on the run up to the Oscars, with awards such as the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Golden Globes having become the pre-cursor for who you should place your bets on for Oscar noms, and on the night of the Academy Awards themselves – there can, after all, only be one winner.
That being said, there have been occasions, past and more present in the lifetime of the Academy Awards, that have left the savvy film goer in baffled despair as to the reasoning behind certain snubs.
1. Best Picture: Shame (2011)
No sex please, we’re skittish. Just ask director of Shame, Steve McQueen, who pins his Oscar snub on the Americans being too afraid of sex on the big screen.
A less brazen statement along the same lines also came from Viggo Mortensen the same year regarding the lack of aplomb for David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method, a film that explored the early days of psychoanalysis complete with some scenes of R rated raunch.
Thinking back to the scores of Americans trying to sue for emotional distress caused by the sight of Janet Jackson’s nipple at the 2004 Super Bowl half-time ceremony, Mr. McQueen may just be on to something.
2. Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh
Dolores Claiborne, 1995, The Machinist, 2004
There’s just something about the fragile female falling apart at the seams that makes Oscar voters swerve their nomination quicker than a politician doing a U-turn. Which is a shame – Jason Leigh laps up these kind of roles with ease in what always makes for a worthy watch.
In the end it’s the feisty sistas with a can do, fuck you attitude that bring home the bacon on Oscar night such as Julia Roberts in 2000 for her portrayal of Erin Brockovich or Kathy Bates in 1991 for Misery.
3. Best Achievement in Directing: Joel and Ethan Coen
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
2007 was the year when everyone clicked that directing supremos Joel and Ethan Coen were yet to be bestowed with the Best Directing gong at the Oscars after years of faithful service behind the camera. And with a collective rush to make amends, No Country For Old Men garnered the Coen brothers a total of three Oscars.
Guilt suitably eased, it looks like the duo are in for another dry spell on the nomination front given their most recent collaboration, Inside Llewyn Davis, failed to bring them a Best Directing nomination.
4. Best Supporting Actor: Dennis Hopper
Blue Velvet (1986)
Not many actors would risk their street cred to play a sadomasochistic gangster come pimp with a split personality and love of gulping noxious gas. Never one to shy away from the outlandish, Hopper not only outshines his fellow cast members in Blue Velvet by a long shot, he also made sure the character of Frank Booth became a cult figure in cinema.
Almost as criminally insane was the decision not to credit Hopper with an Oscar nomination.
5. Best Foreign Film: Holy Motors (2012)
Never mind Best Foreign Film at the Oscars, Holy Motors should have been competing with the likes of Argo and Django Unchained for the Best Picture award.
A celebration of the wonderfully perverse and delightfully surreal, Leos Carax’s first feature in thirteen years was undoubtedly one of 2012’s most memorable films. Denis Lavant’s return to the role of Monsieur Merde alone made Holy Motors an Oscar worthy contender.