Oh how I would like to start our Oscar-less series by writing resentfully about how Forrest Gump won over more voters in AMPAS than Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption. That alone is worthy of an article, an essay, Hell, a book. Forrest Gump is not awful by any stretch of the imagination, but Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption are movies that have grown like wine, and become classics very fast. With a couple more missing nods from 1994, here are the first 5 of 100 Not Nominated For Oscars.
Foreign Language Film — Three Colors: Red (1994) — Robin Write
As you likely already know this is a personal favorite of mine, so I will try not to get too sentimental or twisted about this one. I won’t go giving too much credit either to the Academy, that they managed to sort-list this, the final color of the trilogy by Krzysztof Kieślowski, in Directing, Cinematography, and Original Screenplay – not many non-English movies achieve this kind of feat, even now, twenty years plus on. But Red did not make the Foreign Language Film nominations either. Like the first installment, Blue, which became ineligible as a Polish entry because of the French characters, Red was deemed not Swiss enough on this occasion. On a personal note I would have liked to have seen a Best Picture nod too, with Irene Jacob nominated for Best Actress (in what appeared to be a rather weak category that year), and the music by Zbigniew Preisner.
Leading Actor — Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) 2013 — Al Robinson
Tom Hanks has been so good for so long that he’s now become underrated when it comes to the Oscars. He’s twice won and since then hasn’t seen quite the same amount of respect that he’s earned and deserved. In 2013 he starred in Captain Phillips as the titular captain whose ship is taken captive by pirates in the open seas off the coast of Somalia, Africa. His role is to keep everyone calm and safe. But what happens is he’s taken hostage and held captive for several days. Hanks brings such realism and humanity to this character, and makes you believe 100% that this is really happening to him. When he breaks down in the end, you feel nothing but sympathy for this guy who’s been through a harrowing experience. The fact that Tom Hanks was passed over is ridiculous, especially since he’s better than both nominee Christian Bale (American Hustle) and winner Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).
Film Editing — The Graduate 1967 — Steve Schweighofer
Its amazing that the film editor of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Rosemary’s Baby, and Chinatown has never won an Oscar. Even more incredulous is that Sam O’Steen wasn’t even nominated or his benchmark work on The Graduate in the 1967 race – the year that changed Hollywood. O’Steen had two films that year – Cool Hand Luke was the second one. Perhaps his imaginative cutting wasn’t noticed, but some of his splices are iconic. One particular scene, where swimming pool Benjamin hikes himself up on his air mattress and lands on top of Mrs. Robinson in bed is a classic and perhaps one of a half dozen “WOW” edits that continue to dazzle at every viewing. BAFTA recognized this, awarding him their prize for Film Editing. But Oscar…”Sam Who”?
Supporting Actress — Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) 2013 — Matt St. Clair
In her big breakthrough role in The Wolf of Wall Street, Margot Robbie was given the task of going toe-to-toe with the biggest movie star on the planet and boy, does she knock it out of the park. As Naomi Lapaglia, the bombshell wife of sleazy Wall Street stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio), Robbie is a commanding presence whether she gives a piercing, sensual gaze or engages in a shouting match with DiCaprio. Her star may be rising thanks to her involvement in the DC Cinematic Universe as Harley Quinn and I,Tonya for which she is expected to land a Best Actress nomination. But The Wolf of Wall Street managed to serve as a beacon that would signal her arrival.
Director — Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption) 1994 — Robin Write
Seven nominations for The Shawshank Redemption, and Frank Darabont was one of two directors with Best Picture nominations to be left out (Mike Newell also left out for Four Weddings and a Funeral – not nearly as big a surprise). Darabont would suffer the same omission again when The Green Mile was nominated for Best Picture a few years later. And they really didn’t like Tim Robbins back then did they. Forget how the movie is now in top ten lists everywhere, at that time this was still deserving of having it’s director nominated. They nominated Woody Allen for Bullets Over Broadway without a Best Picture nod, so they had some gusto. For me, not even Robert Zmeckis would have made my list, Darabont most certainly would have.