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How the Oscars Screwed Up: PART ONE - The Films that Got Snubbed at the 2010 Academy Awards!

  • Mar 2, 2010
Any true film fan will tell you that awards don't mean much, regardless of who gives them out. Now, I'm sure most people have seen a film that was advertised as an ward winner and wondered, "What idiot thought that film deserved an award?" Well, here's my and your opportunity to take it out on those mainly responsible: The Academy Awards (a.k.a. the Oscars). 2009 proved to be a pretty dismal year for cineastes, yet there were some great films that were released. However, many of these great films were overlooked or dismissed by critics and awards shows. Here's my list of those films that didn't get credit where credit was due.
Note: Rather than use a separate topic for each nomination, I've simply selected the film that was in some way snubbed. It goes without saying that I didn't necessarily like the film over all, but rather some individual component of it. However, some of these films were extremely good.
Should have been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay:

Although the film received mixed reviews, no one familiar with the graphic novel could deny that Alex Tse and David Hayter did an amazing job in translating a thematically complex story with a non-linear narrative and a plethora of characters into a faithful and comprehensive screenplay. The story, although altered numerous times throughout production, manages to convey most of the ideas that were there in the book. And what is most remarkable is that Tse and Hayter were able to do such a great job despite the pressure of adapting one of the graphic medium's most beloved stories and adding to the stress level is the fact that the story's creator Alan Moore disapproved of a film adaptation from the start.

Should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actor:

While much of the acting in Watchmen could be easily criticized as shallow or over-the-top, there were a trio of very strong performances given by actors Billy Crudup, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and especially by Jackie Earle Haley who played the psychotic vigilante Rorschach. Out of all the performances, Haley's was the most remarkable in that he made a downright unpleasant character a likeable anti-hero. With his gruff voice, Haley breathed fresh life into the film and gave a career defining performance.

Should have been nominated for Best Visual Effects:

Well, this one doesn't need a whole lot of explanation. First of all, you have a naked blue man who glows and can change size at will. Secondly, you have numerous scenes that take place on Mars. Thirdly, there was quite a bit of green screen and compositing done during the action scenes. Of all the films that I've seen this year, Watchmen had the best special effects by far. It's a no-brainer!
See the full review, ""Who Watches the Watchmen?"".
movie poster
Should have been nominated for Best Direction:

Although Where the Wild Things Are may not have been the biggest hit with audiences or critics, it was certainly a great film and one of this year's most underrated family films. A huge part of the film's success comes from its talented and eccentric director, Spike Jonze. Jonze imbued the entire film with the frenetic energy of a hyper-active child who is unaware of the consequences of his actions. The entire story flows so beautifully and in such a surreal manner that one forgets they are watching a children's film.

Should have been nominated for Best Lead Actor:

One of the most extradordinary performances of the year was given by Max Records as the character Max in Where the Wild Things Are. Quite simply, Records had one of the most difficult roles of the entire year from where I stand. First of all, he had to play Max as an overly imaginative and hyper child with no self-discipline and to do so without being obnoxious. Secondly, he's performing actors in huge puppet suits and he has to give a realistic performance. Thirdly, without his performance the whole film would be a disaster. It's his character and his acting that carries the film. Why he wasn't acknowledged shows a serious lack of judgment on the part of AMPAS.
Teaser poster
Should have been nominated for Best Supporting Actress:

Marion Cotillard's portrayal of John Dillinger's girlfriend in Public Enemies is stunning. Not only did she have to hold her own against acting talents like Depp and Bale, but she also had to create a memorable character in a limited amount of screen time and help to make the relationship between herself and Depp believable. Why she wasn't even nominated is a mystery.

Should have been nominated for Best Music (Original Score):

Although the film lacks the spirit and the cohesive vision of Mann's other movies, Public Enemies had one of the most exciting and original scores that I've heard all year. Combining modern film compositions with blue grass and jazz to come up with something new and wholly original, film composer Elliot Goldenthal should have been given the attention that he deserves for an astounding score.
Should have been nominated for Best Animated Feature:

I don't know who thought that films like Up! and The Princess and the Frog deserved the kind of attention they're getting, but the clear best animated film I've seen so far is 9. Not only is the film extremely inventive both visually and in terms of storytelling, but it also had a great voice cast and was the first film of a talented new director. The fact that it wasn't even given a nomination pretty much proves that AMPAS doesn't know jack.
District 9
Should have been nominated for Best Lead Actor:

District 9 was fortunate in that it earned quite a few awards, although in categories that seem rather odd. I think perhaps the biggest surprise is that the film's strongest element was Sharlto Copley's performance as Wikus. The fact that he wasn't even nominated for such an intense, memorable, and unique role is just silly on the part of AMPAS.
See the full review, "When Humanity Is the Real Monstrosity...".
The Lovely Bones (2009)
Should have been nominated for Best Lead Actress:

While I felt the film was a huge disappointment and had very weak direction and a terrible script, I can't help but be surprised that the young actress Saoirse Ronan wasn't even acknowledged for her powerful performance. Not only was her role demanding, but she also had to narrate the film and try to develop her character when the sreenplay all but forgets about character development.

What did you think of this list?

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March 06, 2010
Every year I am dumbfounded by some of the Oscar winners. (Titanic over Good Will Hunting, Forrest Gump over Pulp Fiction?!) Great picks ... except for The Watchman. I'd have to agree with Sean_Rhodes on that one. Love the topic!
March 06, 2010
"Watchmen" was controversial because it was a dark, nihilistic comic book film and a lot of people didn't really understand the function of the story. Both the book and the film have been unfairly criticized for this, however, as I have pointed out I'm not saying that it was worthy of the top awards. I just feel that it had some great technical aspect to it, such as the three cast members I mentioned in terms of their acting, the screenplay, and the special effects.

As for your mention of "Forrest Gump" winning Best Picture for 1994, I never understood that. There were so many great films that year and while I liked the film, I though both "Pulp Fiction" and "The Shawshank Redemption" would have been much more logical choices.

I'm glad that you're interested in the subject and I hope you'll enjoy make next list, which is along the same lines, but with a different slant.
March 03, 2010
I agree with you first and third. I didn't see four and six. Didn't like five. On the fence for number two. Great idea.
March 03, 2010
"District 9" had issues as far as the screenplay and the direction from where I stand, but the lead actor was quite good even if the film wasn't.
March 03, 2010
In all honesty, I didn't think any of the acting in Watchmen was any good at all.  The only one who I actually felt did a good job was Rorshach (and possibly Dr. Manhatten)... aside from that I found much of the cast to be quite... well... forgettable.  They LOOKED really good in their roles, I just didn't feel that any of them really came alive or took on a personality.  Where as everyone else who read the graphic novel thought it was great, I simply just thought it was "okay."  It's not a movie I'd drop everything for or even one I'd watch regularly.  Didn't hate it, I just think it gets far more credit from the fanboys than it deserved mostly because it wasn't terrible.  Seemed like like all it had to do to impress those who loved the graphic novel was just avoid sucking... and Watchmen certainly didn't suck.  It follows the graphic novel really well and has those cool costumes and whatnot, but I've never grown to jump on the Watchmen bandwagon like so many other people have.  I LIKED it and all and I respect the fans, but it seems like many of the fanboys were just happy it wasn't a disaster (except for those who keep bitching about the squid).  If anything, however, I would've given it credit for it's Art Direction and set designs, but aside from looking really awesome I can't see much else I'd really want to award Watchmen for.  It's a good adaptation but I was annoyed by much of its techniques as a film in and of itself... and pretty annoyed at much of the cast.  The movie was easy on the eyes, but not much else from my point of view.  And this is coming from someone who actually read and enjoyed the graphic novel a great deal.  Even some of the dialog just didn't translate well to screen.  Zack Snyder is a technical wizard for sure, but aside from that... I came out of the theater just thinking it was an alright film, not exactly this "King of Comic Book Movies," that everyone else who read it seemed to think.  And the more I see people celebrating about it I can only think, "They're just glad it didn't suck."  I'm probably the only one who actually floats inbetween when it comes to Watchmen.  Everyone else seems to really love it or hate it.  In particular, those who read it seemed to really love it.

I was also not impressed with 9 much either.  I was actually let down by that one.  Seemed like the director wanted more from it than what he actually put in there. I hope there's a director's cut of that sometime.

There's not much I can say for snubs and whatnot.  I always enjoy watching the Academy Awards.  Although it really doesn't have anything to do with the films that are nominated.  I just get a kick out of it.

They're a very different breed of film goers is my guess (although The Hurt Locker really is a good one, I think).  Everything can't be nominated for something, unfortunately.  That's why you have things like The People's Choice Awards and whatnot (as well a gaggle of other award shows that, for some reason, people don't ever pay attention to). 

But I don't actually think neglecting any one film is any sign of what the Academy knows or any sign of intelligence.  One person's love is another's detestable trash (for example, you have "9" on here as a snub and that didn't impress me in the slightest).  Not defending the Academy, only suggesting that for them it's about as much about personal taste for them as it is for you.

I guess you could say that in my mind the Academy didn't screw up with anything seeing as how it's something that's clearly their own wide spread opinion among them.  I don't know why I'm going on like this.  I had tiny bit to drink, but I'm also fascinated by the Academy Awards as a whole.  Plus at the moment I'm sitting in a hotel room and bored out of my mind until we get on that ship, so I'm in a different state of mind.

I must be suffering from jet lag.  I just dropped down in Florida after a really long flight.  I've got two days before I hit the seas and then I'll be gone for a while.
March 03, 2010
Hey, Sean, as far as "Watchmen" goes, I think that to really appreciate reading the book first helps. Not so much because of a person being a "fanboy" or not, but because the ideas and the story are so vast that they couldn't fit it all into a single film of reasonable length. Plus, you can place things into context and better appreciate specific references to the source material. That's why I acknowledge an adaptation as being a genre unto itself. Part of what makes the film either a failure or a success is how they handle the thematic content and whether the core ideas and events are translated to the cinematic medium.
Also, I agree that the majority of the cast was either mediocre or not good, however, the three actors I listed were pretty notable exceptions. As for it being the "King of Comic Book Movies", I wouldn't put it in the running for that. Nolan's Batman films would scoop up that title in a heartbeat.
And also agreed, Zack Snyder is good at creating visual effects-drive action and horror films, but he's not a good storyteller. He cuts out too much of the characters in favor for scenes about nothing except action or sex. That's why the director's cut is so much better, because when he has to edit he leaves out the best parts. Luckily, the invention of the home video market allows for films to get a second chance.

And Scottie, the reason that people get annoyed when you talk about is because you make statements which sound like you know more about it than other people and it's clear that you don't. It's fine for you to dislike the film, but it's not necessary to voice your opinions over and over when no one has asked for them, especially in other people's comments. I appreciate that you feel differently about certain topics, but that doesn't mean that you are right and that we are wrong. It's just a matter of perspective. And when it comes to "Watchmen", you just don't seem to understand what the thematic purpose of the material is.
March 04, 2010
Which is why you're the awesomeness, because you get that sort of thing. Most people don't.
March 03, 2010
I've seen all of these except The Lovely Bones and Public Enemies. I agree with your call about Max Records. Any child that young that can believably act alongside huge puppets and hardly any actual humans deserves some recognition. I also agree about Watchmen having great visual effects. I haven't read the graphic novel yet (I really need to), so I can't comment on the screenplay. I thought that 9 was a pretty good film. I was entertained, and thought it was pretty bold in its setting, but I agree with Woopak about the storytelling being a bit rushed. 9 still deserved to be nominated though. I don't know what the nominees are this year for Best Animated Film, but UP will probably win. It seems like most of the time, if a Disney/Pixar film is nominated, it takes the cake. Great list.
March 03, 2010
Thanks. And yes, unfortunately there has been a clear bias at the awards and Pixar films usually win. Sometimes they deserve it and others not. I'd like to see more foreign language animated films get recognized, but that just doesn't happen much.
March 03, 2010
So would I. I know that there is an award for best foreign language film, but I believe those aren't usually, if ever, animated.
March 03, 2010
Nope. Every once in a while a foreign animated film does get nominated, either as Best Animated Short or Best Animated Feature, but it's totally different. American animation is pretty much for kids and foeign animated films target older viewers, so they really can't be compared. Trashcanman and I keep arguing about "Ratatouille" winning for the best animated film of 2007. I keep telling him that as far as animation for kids go, that film was the best. Had there been another category for adult animated films, "Persepolis" would have won because it was a great film too. They just are too different to be compared or placed in the same category. Personally, I've always thought that the Oscars should separate films based on genre, but I doubt that will ever happen.
March 03, 2010
Spirited Away won the Oscar a while back for best animated film, but it may have only been because there were no Pixar films nominated that time around. They really should separate films based on genre, because as it is, a lot of really good films get snubbed.
March 03, 2010
I think that "Monsters, Inc" was also up for it that year. But between a Miyazaki film and any other film, there wasn't much competition.
March 03, 2010
Interesting idea for a list.
March 03, 2010
Thanks. I'll be waiting for your version!
March 04, 2010
I haven't seen enough of this year's films to be able to make such a list.
March 02, 2010
I still need to see # 2 and 6. I am totally with you on # 1 and 5. Have you seen the HURT LOCKER? I hope that movie does win something! However, I am with Trashie, I want an all-time list.
March 03, 2010
I did see "The Hurt Locker" and I liked it, although I'm getting sick of predictable war films set in the Middle East. Great acting though. If they hadn't already been nominated they would have gotten on the list for the acting.
December 23, 2010
so you making a new list for 2011?
December 23, 2010
Unless the Academy is smarter this year... ; )
Lists Inspired by This List
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created a list. March 06, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Since I've already done a list of films that should have been nominated for the Oscar, but weren't, I decided that a follow-up list should include those …
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