So with a worthy entry here overshadowed by her co-star, I remember 2012 the year of Oscar contender movies like Hyde Park on Hudson, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Magic Mike. You can see where I am going already with this. Yes, none of them managed a single nomination between them. Ben Affleck was victorious – wait. Not nominated for directing, paving the way for a popular, previous Best Director winner to receive gold again, while still winning Best Picture somehow. Yuk, remember the last time that happened? The eventual winner of Best Supporting Actor came from Django Unchained, Christoph Waltz likely benefiting from Leonardo DiCaprio’s snub. There was justifiable rage over Best Actress, as a certain Frenchwoman went home empty-handed – and Marion Cotillard didn’t even make the final five. Anyway, at least Kathryn Bigelow deservedly got to compete for a potential second Best Director Oscar for Zero Dark Thirty – oh for fucks’ sake.
Original Score — Alexandre Desplat (Birth) 2004 — Robin Write
One particular category that stood out for me in 2004 was Original Score, which made for a more diverse list, including The Village (James Newton Howard), The Passion of the Christ (John Debney), and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (Thomas Newman). This was partly due to several movies being apparently ineligible / disqualified for short-listing for various (ludicrous) reason – including Howard Shore’s The Aviator (pre-existing music) and Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (paperwork trouble). Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind (Jon Brion) and Sideways (Rolfe Kent) also were not nominated (Academy’s poor taste in music). All four scores would have made deserving nominees. And they were not alone. This was before the years where Alexandre Desplait became a semi-regular at the Oscars. The Frenchman’s score for Birth, a film which received mixed reactions, is one of his best in fact. It has range and depth, and really contributes to the movie’s rather mysterious, but sober, story-line.
Director — Ridley Scott (The Martian) 2015 — Matt Fischer
Ridley Scott started out 2015 as a strong front-runner to win the Oscar for Best Director for The Martian. He was able to depict the character’s complete isolation on a vast, dusty, windy planet with complete believability. Only the directors branch votes in the directing category and they are famous for their snubs. Remember Ben Affleck and Argo? They are basically voting for their peers so it helps to be well liked and respected in the directing community. Some say that the directors branch likes directors that create their own material rather than being a “director for hire”. It shouldn’t matter what kind of director they are. The work should speak for itself. The Martian was nominated for 7 Academy Awards, but Ridley Scott was not one of them.
Documentary Feature — Hoop Dreams 1994 — Steve Schweighofer
One of the biggest thorns in Oscar’s posterior that threatened the perception of their own validity was the selection process of the top documentary feature films, and the omission of this film was the straw that broke the camel’s back, leading to a series procedural changes that continues to evolve. The film begins as the story of two African-American teens and their struggle to become basketball players. By the time the film is over, we have been presented with a treatise on American values, race and class structure more effective than any fictional drama, rich in factual presentation that is neither preachy nor partisan, but simply a slice of reality unfolding naturally before our eyes. This is every documentarian’s dream, and when the voting manipulation was exposed, the shit hit the fan. And they are still trying to clean it up almost 25 years later.
Costume Design — Kill Bill Vol. I 2003 — Al Robinson
It’s crazy to think that when in back to back years, the Oscar nominees were read out that Kill Bill, Volume 1 and then Volume 2 were not nominated for the award of Best Costume Design. One of the best things about the film is the clothes they wear. The clothes lend the 2 films to becoming as realistic and at the same time as fantastical as possible. Gotta start with The Brides now iconic yellow track suit which is such an interesting choice because yellow is not the most popular of colors, but in this case it works because it’s such a wonderful contrast to the black suits that the Crazy 88s and Kill Bill’s squad wears. Also, when all the blood is shown, it 1, looks really cool against the yellow, and 2, it’s a complementary color to the yellow and is visually appealing. Other costumes that are great are of course the black suits that the villains wear because it makes them look badass, and 2, you can’t see the blood when it’s smeared all over them. Add the masks, and you’ve got the makings of a costume design that was grossly overlooked by the Academy voters. If the films had been nominated, I still don’t think though that they would have been able to beat The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King and The Aviator, but they would have been rightly nominated against lesser deserving films that were.
Supporting Actress — Samantha Barks (Les Miserables) 2012 — Robin Write
Through the crowd of household names like Hugh Jackman, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Russell Crowe, and Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway, stood the awe-inspiring Samantha Barks. True, she has played the role on stage, but the big screen is a different arena for Barks, who was chosen quickly ahead of many big name actresses banging on the door. Her Éponine is inch perfect, filling each and every frame with emotive power, performing the music and the acting with heart-breaking momentum.
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