2013 Academy Awards nominations: 6 surprising Oscar snubs
At 5:30 this morning in Hollywood, Seth MacFarlane and Emma Stone announced the nominees for the 85th annual Academy Awards — and as always, the list has been greeted with considerable controversy, as critics and movie fans bemoan the exclusion of their favorite films and actors for the list. (Watch a video summary of the Best Picture nominations below, and read a list of all the nominees here.) We still have a month and a half before the winners are announced, on Feb. 24. So in the meantime, check out six of the most surprising snubs from this year's list of nominees:
1. The Master and Moonrise Kingdom passed over for Best Picture
The Academy can nominate as few as five or as many as 10 films for Best Picture. This year, the Academy nominated nine, leaving a hole that many had predicted would be filled by Paul Thomas Anderson's critical favorite The Master or Wes Anderson's whimsical Moonrise Kingdom. (The nine films that were nominated: Amour, Argo, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Misérables, Life of Pi, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty.)
2. Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, and Tom Hooper overlooked for Best Director
The Best Director category was packed with surprises this year: Kathryn Bigelow wasn't nominated for Zero Dark Thirty, Ben Affleck was passed over for Argo, and Tom Hooper wasn't recognized for his polarizing adaptation of Les Miserables. Their omissions led to surprise nominations for directors Ben Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Michael Haneke (Amour) — and also cast doubt on the Best Picture chances of Zero Dark Thirty, Argo, and Les Misérables, since the film that wins Best Director often wins Best Picture. (Besides Haneke and Zeitlin, the other three nominees are Ang Lee for Life of Pi, David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, and Steven Spielberg for Lincoln.)
3. Joaquin Phoenix nominated for Best Actor over John Hawkes
Joaquin Phoenix's performance in The Master has been highly acclaimed, but many thought he had torpedoed his chances at the Oscars when he called the awards show "bullshit." But in the end, the actor scored a nomination over critical favorite John Hawkes, who played a man paralyzed from the neck down in The Sessions. (The other nominees: Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook, Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, Hugh Jackman in Les Misérables, and Denzel Washington in Flight.)
4. Leonard DiCaprio passed over for Best Supporting Actor
Leonardo DiCaprio's terrific, against-type performance as the villainous slave owner Calvin J. Candie in Django Unchained had many analysts pegging him as an early Best Supporting Actor favorite. But his performance might have been too effectively alienating; the slot that many predicted belonged to DiCaprio went instead to co-star Christoph Waltz, who plays a far more heroic character in the film. (The other nominees: Alan Arkin in Argo, Robert DeNiro in Silver Linings Playbook, Tommy Lee Jones in Lincoln, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in The Master.)
5. The Intouchables snubbed for Best Foreign Film
France took a risk when it submitted The Intouchables, the country's second biggest cinematic hit of all time, over critical darlings Rust & Bone and Holy Motors. (Each foreign country can submit only one film for consideration.) But in this Best Foreign Film race, the Academy opted for more serious films than the popular dramedy, leaving France out of the running entirely.
6. The Dark Knight Rises isn't nominated for anything
Heath Ledger won a posthumous Oscar in 2009 for The Dark Knight. And many have speculated that the decision to expand the Best Picture category a few years ago was a direct response to the anger over the critically acclaimed blockbuster's failure to earn a Best Picture nomination. But its sequel, The Dark Knight Rises, failed to earn a single nomination in any category — including seemingly safe bets like Visual Effects, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing, which generally go to blockbuster action films.