OSCARS: Who Got Snubbed By Academy?

Deadline’s Awards Columnist Pete Hammond contributed commentary for this article.

Best Picture
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part II
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
The Ides Of March

Despite Warner Bros’ pricey campaign to put the final Harry Potter in the mix for Best Picture, its efforts only resulted in the same old technical noms the series usually gets (Visual Effects, Art Direction, Makeup). Universal also did a sizeable campaign to get its raunchy summer comedy Bridesmaids into the Best Picture conversation, but conventional wisdom that the Academy frowns on broad comedies in the category proved true again, relegating the hit movie to screenplay and Supporting Actress Melissa McCarthy — exactly the two categories the film was always thought to have its best chance.

David Fincher, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Steven Spielberg, War Horse
Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Tate Taylor, The Help
Bennett Miller, Moneyball
George Clooney, The Ides Of March

DGA nominee Fincher was the one anomaly between the usually reliable DGA list and the Oscar nominees in this category. Terrence Malick grabbed that spot, while Spielberg not only was snubbed here but in animated feature too for The Adventures Of Tintin. At least he has a Best Picture nom for War Horse to comfort him. Daldry, Taylor and Miller join him in the Snubbed Club even though their films were deemed Best Picture-worthy.

Actor In A Leading Role
Leonardo DiCaprio, J Edgar
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Ryan Gosling, The Ides Of March or Drive
Perhaps it was a sign when the Makeup branch failed to list DiCaprio’s Hoover makeup in their original seven finalists. The Academy thoroughly rejected Clint Eastwood’s movie, and DiCaprio went down with the ship too.

Actor In A Supporting Role
Albert Brooks, Drive
Armie Hammer, J. Edgar
Andy Serkis, Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes

Motion Capture just isn’t a favorite with actors so that doomed Serkis from the start.  Brooks missed SAG too, so that should have been a sign. Perhaps the film was just too violent for some? (Brooks had the best anti-reaction quotes of the day on his Twitter feed, posting “And to the Academy: You don’t like me. You really don’t like me” and “Looking forward to the State of the Union tonight. Hope the new Axis of Evil includes Hollywood.”)

Actress In A Leading Role
Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin
Charlize Theron, Young Adult

Both of the above were more talked-about for noms than Rooney Mara, but in the end the newcomer triumphed over some Oscar-winning vets.

Actress In A Supporting Role
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

Youth was not served in a tough category.

Animated Film
Cars 2
The Adventures Of Tintin

Big studio fare was eclipsed by little-seen foreign toons this year, meaning Pixar was left out in the cold with Cars 2 and Spielberg’s motion-capture Tintin — further proof Mo Cap has a long way to go to be embraced in all areas of the Academy.

Foreign Film
Superclásico, Ole Christian Madsen, director (Denmark)
Warriors Of The Rainbow: Seediq Bale, Wei Te-sheng, director (Taiwan)
Omar Killed Me, Roschdy Zem, director (Morocco)
Pina, Wim Wenders, director (Germany)

Pina did receive a Documentary Feature nomination, but it is basically a dance-performance film and seemed more likely to score here. Odd.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)
Steve Zaillian, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Tate Taylor, The Help

Writing (Original Screenplay)
Will Reiser, 50/50
Tom McCarthy, Win Win
Diablo Cody, Young Adult

Art Direction
Mark Ricker, The Help
Donald Graham Burt, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Hoyte van Hoytema, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

Documentary (Feature)
Battle for Brooklyn
Bill Cunningham New York
Jane’s Journey
The Loving Story
Project Nim
Semper Fi: Always Faithful
Sing Your Song
Under Fire: Journalists in Combat
We Were Here

WIth new rules kicking in this year, this may be the last time we see heavy favorites bypassed in the doc category for many of  the more obscure contenders. Buck, Bill Cunningham and Project Nim wuz robbed.

Documentary (Short Subject)
In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution
Pipe Dreams

Michael Kahn, War Horse

The editors guild nominated Kahn but his Oscar branch breathren did not follow suit. Oddly, the Art Directors Guild and Cinematographers society both rejected War Horse in their noms but their respective Oscar branches didn’t. Go figure.

Original Score
Michael Giacchino, Super 8
Alexandre Desplat, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Thomas Newman, The Help  

Desplat did eight scores last year and got zero Oscar love. John Williams does two and gets both in. He’s a god and the gods rule in this category.

Original Song
“The Living Proof” from The Help (Mary J. Blidge, Thomas Newman, Damon Thomas, Harvey Mason Jr.)
“Life’s A Happy Song” from The Muppets (Bret McKenzie)
“Love Builds A Garden” and “Hello Hello” from Gnomeo And Juliet (Elton John, Bernie Taupin)
“Pictures In My Head” from The Muppets (Jeannie Lurie, Aris Archontis, Chen Neeman)
“Lay You Head Down”  from Albert Nobbs (Glenn Close, Brian Byrne  sung by Sinead O’Connor)
(Madonna’s song from W.E. wasn’t eligible…)

The Academy Music Branch’s weird voting system, where an 8.5 is required for at least one song to be nominated and anywhere from 2 to 5 can make the cut, showed just how endangered this category is with a record low of only two nominations in what was a pretty good year for movie songs. Another head-scratcher.

Visual Effects
Captain America: The First Avenger
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
The Tree Of Life
X-Men: First Class

      1. Sorry bud, another AGREE. Cody is completely numb and cut off from real human feelings and thought processes in everything she writes. The cast got that film any praise it managed to get. Not the script.

    1. Young Adult was one of the best films of the year and Diablo Cody wrote one of the best scripts of the year. All these “overrated” comments are nonsense. Thank god someone is willing to write ballsy and challenging material.

    2. Young Adult was my favorite film of the year. Diablo should have been rewarded for creating one of the most memorable characters in recent history. And Charlize was snubbed!

  1. Melancholia. In many categories. Is this Van Trier fallout from Cannes? The film should stand on it’s own, and Kirsten Dunst was phenomenal. As was Charlotte Gainsbourg. Snub.

    1. Thank you Stanlight, for pointing out the atrocity of Melancholia being completely overlooked by pretty much everyone.

      It’s sad when the one true masterpiece of the year is ignored.

      Also, Pina was breathtaking

      I’d take either of those over the whole of the oscar nom’d films combined.

    2. Re Fallout, see also:

      Mel Gibson’s Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto

      It’s not the first time bias overlooked great work. Won’t be the last. Awards are a fool’s game and rarely are the “winners” transcendent of their art forms. Why didn’t either one of Werner Herzog’s documentaries get nominated, especially Into The Abyss which is every bit as relevant and essential as Paradise Lost 3 (not that I disagree with Paradise’s nom but was it even theatrically exhibited outside of festivals?) Just more miss than hit as usual.

    3. I thought Meloncholia was a snoozefest but I thought it *didn’t* get noms because it premiered on VOD. Isn’t a theatrical premiere required for the Oscars?

  2. “Drive” is without question the most over-hyped and underwhelming movies of the year, and it’s good to see the Academy recognize this. On the other hand, the fact that “Young Adult” received nothing – especially for Charlize, who was utterly fearless and brilliant – basically sucks.

    1. Drive was far and away the Best Picture of the Year. And Albert Brooks was completely robbed of a nomination. Every year the Academy continues to get less and less relevant with pandering nominations.

  3. You forgot We Need To Talk About Kevin and Lynne Ramsay and Ezra Miller. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo didn’t deserve it and neither did the Ides of March.

  4. “Cars 2” becomes Pixar’s first film not to be nominated in the animated category since its creation.

  5. Thought “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” deserved a screenwriting nom. Writing compelling science fiction for a mass audience is tough work and the two credited writers did a standout job from Fade In to Fade Out. A missed opportunity there, along with the chance to nominate Serkis for his terrific thespian, if computer enhanced, play as Ceaser in the film. Cest la vie.

    Seriously, though, looking at the noms, it sure seems as if the Academy is a buncha old folks in a nursing home. I think if you polled discerning people/movie fans under 40, or under 35 even, their nomination lists would be radically different than what the austere Academy, in all its gravitas and stuffiness, came up with. This is not to say that younger people lack taste or seriousness. It is a commentary, however, on how pedestrian and boring and conservative older Academy members have become. I mean “The Artist” made the cut but “Drive” did not? Something seems off there.

    Just my two Abe Lincolns.

    1. The script for writing RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES was fantastic. So was Andy’s performance. Sad the Academy didn’t recognize it. This is a truly underwhelming list of nominees – even with NINE best pictures. I predict lowest ratings ever.

    2. Totally agree! Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver really wrote an amazing screenplay and they should have been recognized.

    3. a nom for the “Rise” script?! – utterly ridiculous. one of the worst films of 2012. about as deserving as Orci and Kurtzman’s “Star Trek.”

      1. “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was a 2011 film. Get your facts straight before mindlessly thundering away at your keyboard.

  6. I detest the placement of the actress from The Artist in the supporting category. She was clearly the lead actress in the film.

    1. I agree, but she probably would not have gotten a nomination at all if they had submitting her under the Lead Actress category…

  7. I think you can throw in Elizabeth Olson in there for Martha Marcy May Marlene… Since Jennifer Lawrence received that nom last year for Winter’s Bone I thought Elizabeth Olson might have a good shot at it….

  8. The point of having up to 10 BP noms is to increase viewership. It’s not going to work unless you put in some films that the masses care about. Perhaps the network airing the cermony should get an at-large pick to help drum up viewers? It doesn’t have to win.

    1. Or create quality movies that have mass appeal. Just because everyone had a big Mac last July doesn’t mean they are going to say it was the best meal they had all year. By and large, Hollywood executives and filmmakers are operating at an all time low.

  9. An astute list for the most part. BUT:

    Cars 2 is considered a snubbed? IIRC it was universally derided. Why is it a snub now?

    Trench Reznor & Atticus Ross? Was GWTDT an effective score? Definitely. Was it perfect for the movie? Yes. Was it a well composed score? No.

  10. As a post script, I was happy to see that the Academy, unlike my beloved Writers Guild, had the good sense not to fall for Diablo Cody’s “Young Adult” script. I think what Diablo, who oozes talent, had there was a fine first or second draft of a semi-solid idea. Yet the final script seems unpolished and rushed and likely would not have seen the light of day had Diablo not been the writing star she is. If she were just “Jane writer” in Duluth that script would be gathering dust in some basement at CAA or some other agency in town. I feel bad for Diablo because she is so damn talented but her talent is not fully formed. Dare I say it is embryonic? As a result of prior success, however, the Industry will keep producing her clever words and verbal zingers because in the parlance of the industry, she has “heat” — or at least she did. And she’s got an Oscar to go along with that. No small thing.

    1. She “oozes talent”? Are you kidding me? Her writing is so self-conscious it’s painful. Her characters are caricatures. Who the hell talks like that? There’s not a shred of humanity or real, honest emotion in anything she writes. And had she not changed her name, slid down a pole, and been discovered by some horny manager reading her sex blog, she’d still be in the Mid-West stripping for dollar bills. Out of all the truly talented female writers in this town, it’s pathetic Hollywood chose to celebrate the truly un-talented female writer because, I don’t know, they think she’s cool or edgy or hip or whatever. Thank God this year Annie Mumolo and Kristen Wiig are being rewarded on talent alone. And not for shaking their asses. Maybe progress after all? Let’s hope…

      1. I love you. Well said. Can we please stop pretending her writing is not awful? And the media needs to stop mentioning her cool edgy life story. We know. We got it. And most of us weren’t ever as impressed by it as Hollywood was.

    2. Someone is jealous. Diablo Cody writes unconventional material for WOMEN and she should be rightfully rewarded. WGA did the right thing by nominating her.

  11. I’m not sure why Drive doesn’t make it to any tops for best movie – it has been recognised by many as one of the most impressive movies of the year, and is becoming the cult hit of the year. I don’t see it winning, but it definitely seemed snobbed (especially seeing some of the movies that made it to the noms).

  12. I’m sorry, I adore Kristen Wiig, but Bridesmaids is considered a snub for best picture? I laughed at times, but I don’t think that has any business even being nominated this year. Tinker Tailor on the other hand..

    1. I agree. I saw Bridesmaids last weekend, and it was just a so-so comedy at best. I did laugh in spots, but overall the story has been done MANY times before in different forms. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would consider this worthy of Best Picture. Wedding Crashers, a similar type of movie, was far funnier and raunchier than Bridesmaids, and even that movie should not have been nominated for best picture.

      1. The reason why all the push behind Bridesmaids is that certain quarters are invested in an all-female, R-rated comedy in the vein of Wedding Crashers, The Hangover, etc. going all the way; big box office, Oscar glory. There has also been a coordinated push behind Kristen Wiig ever since Tina Fey left SNL (remember how Michaela Watkins and Casey Wilson got fired off SNL? Couldn’t have them upstage Wiig); an Oscar would be the culmination of that plan. Also the PC-ness of a fat chick being accepted in shallow, image-driven Hollywood.

        1. Wiig has mostly a schtick; she’s not a comedy genius. But you both are crazy; that movie was hilarious. I laughed harder and more at it than any movie in recent memory including all the bromance comedies.

          1. I laughed a lot at the trailer, then watched the movie and realized most of the funniest scenes/jokes were in the trailer.

      2. Co-sign. It was average. Just barely better than Horrible Bosses. The fact that it is nominated for best screenplay is funnier than anything in the movie.

    2. Also – agree. Bridesmaids was very funny and I laughed a lot. But i also thought The Muppets was very very funny!

      I LOVED 50/50 and am bummed that it was completely snubbed. For writing and for best actor for JGL.

      The Academy needs some young blood in it!

  13. so odd that life’s a happy song didn’t get nominated. but the rules are clear. it didn’t get the avg 8.25 rating from the voters… but it is such a catchy fun song… would have been great seeing it performed

    the music voters must have been grumpy this year

    i read somewhere they only view a 2 minute clip of the film with the song in it… but the number goes on for 5 minutes… including a scene with amy adams worrying about her relationship with jason… maybe all by itself for the 2 mins it came across as just a sugary happy song with no point

    and i’m also shocked at no albert brooks… crazy

  14. It drives me crazy when people say “snubbed.” There are only so many people that can be nominated and not everyone can make the cut. If everyone got a nom then there is no point.

  15. A snubbed list isn’t a whine list, it’s just a good source to share other great things that happened last year. I think it’s a good thing.

  16. 50/50 totally overlooked for Best Picture and Joseph Gordon-Levitt performance in both 50/50 AND even better in HESHER. Best Performance of the year!!

  17. The movie was bad, but Patton Oswalt was great in Young Adult.

    Cinematography, art direction,a nd costume design (and picture) for Tinker Tailor.

    Win Win for screenplay, Amy Ryan, and, hell, a great song by the National.

    Buck for documentary and Bill Cunningham, too.

  18. I agree with the commenter that said that Drive is the most over-hyped movie of the year. For a movie about DRIVING, it was incredibly slow. The script was paper-thin and predictable. The music, while good, belonged in a DIFFERENT movie. The shock-effect violence became over-the-top and ridiculous. I didn’t care one iota about Ryan’s character’s relationship with Carey Mulligan’s character. And Albert Brooks’ wasn’t all that impressive (he’s only getting kudos because people are so amazed that a comedian is capable of playing a non-comedic role… if anyone else had done exactly the same with the part, we’d be calling it one-note).

    And as far as Young Adult… Charlize should have been nominated, she was fantastic. Patton Oswalt was pretty great, too. But good god that script got lazy and just fell apart in the third act (and I was LOVING it up until that point).

    1. The third act is the best part. That scene with Charlize and Collete Wolf MAKES the movie. What an anti-ending…

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