Oscar Nominations: Nothing Like A Good Snub

Harrison Ford and Chewbacca were snubbed by the Academy.

Harrison Ford and Chewbacca were snubbed by the Academy.

The Oscars were announced on Thursday morning and immediately folks began figuring the odds. Who will win? Who won’t? If you’re like many film fans who play the office Oscar pool, don’t fill out your ballot until you check back in with me. I will be giving you tips on how to win. For example, what does Best Editing mean? Surprisingly, Best Editing winners go onto win Best Picture 88 percent of the time. I’ve got tidbits like that’ll help you clean up, But for now, let’s talk about the Hollywood big shots who are nursing some bruised egos this morning. That would be the people who got snubbed by the Academy Awards nomination committees:

The biggest omission is “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” This seems to be a case where Oscar has decided that the biggest film of all time didn’t deserve anything but technical nominations. And let’s remember this film has a 93 percent score on Rotten Tomatoes – so it’s not like it wasn’t well received by the critics. JJ Abrams was snubbed. The film was snubbed for a Best Picture, and IMHO, Harrison Ford was snubbed. He literally holds that film together. He should have gotten a Best Supporting Actor nod.

OK, what do all these folks have in common: Steven Spielberg, Steve Carell, Helen Mirren, Aaron Sorkin, Quentin Tarantino, Will Smith, Michael Keaton and Idris Elba? They were all snubbed. And all of them were in very worthy films. From “Bridge Of Spies” to “Beasts Of No Nation,” Oscar left a lot of folks by the wayside.

Johnny Depp and 'Black Mass' also got no love from the Academy.

Johnny Depp and ‘Black Mass’ also got no love from the Academy.

Someone I didn’t mention is Johnny Depp. His role as Whitey Bulger in “Black Mass” was nuanced and believable. The make-up alone transformed him. Yet it got zilch, nada. It makes me wonder if the studio,Warner Brothers, knows how to mount an effective Oscar campaign. In case you weren’t aware of it, the studios wage multi-million dollar campaigns to secure nominations and then an Oscar. These are sophisticated affairs with Harvey Weinstein usually at the forefront. The fact that Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” did so-so suggests Harvey was distracted. His current financial problems could be that distraction.

A couple other snubs that few are talking about are in the documentary category. Alex Gibney’s controversial “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief” blew the lid off of the cult/religion. In the past Oscar loved this type of film. Does this one hit too close to home? The other documentary left out was “He Named Me Malala,” the story of the Nobel Prize winning teen who stood up to the Taliban. These omissions are baffling.

If you take a step back and look at the Oscar nominations in their entirety, what do you see? It is once again monochromatic, and that single color is white. There are very few people of color nominated. (Idris Elba and Will Smith – who gave Oscar-worthy performances in “Beasts Of No Nation” and “Concussion” were both snubbed.)
The Academy is made up of just south of 6,000 people. These folks are mostly white, firmly entrenched in Hollywood, and the average age hovers near 60. Hence they are conservative and see their world in a less-than-prismatic lens.You can follow the reaction to this on Twitter #OscarsSoWhite
Naturally, these are just a few of the snubs. Can you think of some more? Let me know in the comments section below.

Until the next time, share the popcorn.

– By Garen Daly

Garen Daly, is the director of the up coming 41st Boston Science Fiction Film Festival & Marathon Feb 5-15 at the Somerville Theatre.

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