Sometimes, members of The Academy do the right thing and nominate great movies and performances that have been considered the best of their respective years. Though they always get things wrong. This is one of those times where I bag on them as I count down the top 15 biggest Oscar snubs from the past ten years. From performances to the films themselves, these are the ones that film fans everywhere will agree that they should’ve gotten an Oscar nomination for their work.
This happens every single year when our favorites didn’t make it in, making us frustrated and wonder who votes for movies and performances that were undeserving. Trust me when I say this wasn’t an easy list to put together, as there were a ton that I could have thrown in here, but these were the 15 that pop in my head.
15) Daft Punk for Best Original Score for Tron: Legacy
Tron: Legacy wasn’t one of the best sequels to come out from Disney since it got mixed reviews from critics for its lackluster story and not being able to bring this franchise to a new generation. Visual effects-wise, it was unbelievable except for Jeff Bridges’ Clu, which doesn’t hold up. However, one of the best aspects that everybody can agree upon that was fantastic was the film’s score provided by Daft Punk. Its booming musical score from the French electronic duo blew my mind when I first heard it, and it definitely fits into the world of the Grid and the film’s visual imagery. Not the greatest score ever composed, but still amazing. It was sad news that The Academy didn’t recognize it. By looking who was nominated, the one score that didn’t stand out was The King’s Speech, in my opinion. The film only earned one nomination for Sound Editing, but this score was the best thing about it.
14) Greta Gerwig for Best Director for Little Women
The Best Director category is usually male-dominated, which isn’t always a good thing. One of the most recent snubs here was the disheartening news that Greta Gerwig got shut out for her adaptation of Little Women. Previously getting in for her directorial debut with Lady Bird, she should’ve been the first female to get nominated twice. An achievement that hasn’t been done yet with Kathryn Bigelow or Sofia Coppola. In all fairness, it was that fifth spot that would be challenging to predict. Nothing against Todd Phillips’s direction of Joker, but Gerwig beautifully made a story that’s been told times before, but made it better with its exceptional ensemble and script. Big mistake.
13) Drive for Almost Anything
Drive was one of the most popular movies to come out in 2011. I don’t love Nicolas Winding Refn’s drama, but it has started to grow on me. Those who are massive fans thought it was gonna be huge at the Oscars, yet it only earned one misly nominated: Best Sound Editing. Even though I just liked it, it’s totally strange that a movie with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes and got tons of praise from critics failed to get attention. Drive should’ve gotten nominated for Best Picture, Ryan Gosling for Best Actor, Albert Brooks for Best Supporting Actor, and Cliff Martinez’s score. This was the same year pretentious films like Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and The Tree of Life made it in Best Picture when there were much better movies that could’ve taken their places.
12) Selma for Best Actor and Director
Remember when Selma only got two nominations? True, it only earned Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory,” the latter of which won. The film about Martin Luther King Jr.’s march from Selma to Montogermy, Alabama was one of the best-reviewed films of 2014. One of the most important films to come out. For some reason, Ava DuVernay was left out of the Best Director category, and star David Oyelowo didn’t get nominated for his portrayal of one of the greatest heroes ever and became MLK. It was the year where the nominations weren’t well handled as many snubs were involved. They had no diversity in its acting categories, and it had a missed opportunity in not nominating the first female African-American for Best Director.
11) Jennifer Lopez for Best Supporting Actress in Hustlers
One of the most recent Oscar snubs from this current awards season, Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers gave the best performance of her career and made everyone believe that she can really act. I was very surprised not only by the film, but her role as Ramona Vega, and believe she earned a place in the Best Supporting Actress race. Everybody pretty much expected her to get in there. When they presented the nominations, this category was first, and her name was not listed. What? Was her entrance from the film enough to already be invested? This was a baffling decision made on them when critics raved about her since Hustlers‘ release, and it helped her earn a Golden Globe and SAG nomination.
10) Jacob Tremblay for Best Supporting Actor in Room
Jacob Tremblay became a household name when he broke out as Jack Newsome in Lenny Abrahamson’s critically acclaimed drama Room. The scenes he shared with his co-star Brie Larson, especially when it’s just them in the room in the first act didn’t feel forced. But in a year that was a stacked year full of supporting performances from Jason Mitchell from Straight Outta Compton or Benicio del Toro in Sicario, the young Canadian star was by far the most talented out of everybody, and he was only nine when it came out. So, it was crazy that the Academy didn’t recognize this amazing role that has been cited as one of the best performances from a child actor.
9) Gone Girl for Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay
When David Fincher’s Gone Girl was released in October 2014, it was such a phenomenal thriller based on Gillian Flynn’s novel that was not only a box office success, but it also got great reviews from critics. I thought it was one of the best movies of the year. The nominations that came out of the 87th Academy Awards were full of snubs, but no movie that ignored more than Gone Girl. Though Rosamund Pike rightfully earned a Best Actress nomination for her performance as Amy Elliott-Dunne, it somehow failed to get nominations for Best Picture, David Fincher for Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay, for which Flynn penned herself. That was one of the best scripts of the year, and yet they went with American Sniper and Inherent Vice? Shame.
8) Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor in The Social Network
Being that The Social Network was one of the best movies to come out of 2010, one of the most surprising elements in David Fincher’s biopic of the creation of Facebook was the acting. Jesse Eisenberg crushed it as Mark Zuckerberg and Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker made us believe that he can be a good actor when a good script comes his way. But the one that should’ve been nominated for Best Supporting Actor that year was the magnificent Andrew Garfield for his complex performance as Eduardo Saverin. I even thought he stole a lot of scenes from Eisenberg because he was working with a much-layered script. Perhaps the best scene in the entire film was when Eduardo rages at Mark and ends with him saying that he’s not coming back for 30%, but for everything. Them chills. Garfield finally got nominated six years later for Hacksaw Ridge, but it was his performance in this masterpiece that was robbed.
7) Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Supporting Actor in Django Unchained
Who doesn’t love Leonardo DiCaprio? He’s honestly one of the greatest actors of all-time with his wide range of memorable performances throughout every genre. It was rare to see him portray a villain, but we were all curious to see how he will do in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. As southern slave owner Calvin Candie, not only did DiCaprio make for one vicious antagonist that we love to hate, but this was a role that fans haven’t seen before. This was another case that the Academy kept snubbing him for his performances. Did they not notice the scene when he smashed his hand on a glass and wiped his bloody hand on Kerry Washington’s face was improvised? Even my sister was shocked when I told her this. That year’s category had five great performances, but left him out because he didn’t win an Oscar yet (all five nominees won in the past). Such a pity.
6) Andy Serkis for Best Supporting Actor in Rise or Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Without the talents of Andy Serkis, we wouldn’t have great motion-capture performances of Gollum in Lord of the Rings or as King Kong in Peter Jackson’s 2005 remake. Many of us didn’t know what to expect from Fox’s reboot of Planet of the Apes, but Serkis’ role as Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes provided that performance capture acting is something that should be more recognized. This was a believable character that felt real, even though it’s just a CGI ape. That same statement can also be said when its sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, came out three years later. They left him out for both movies, and I don’t understand why motion capture performances like this get left out in the Oscar conversation. Each movie in the trilogy, including War for the Planet of the Apes, improves gracefully with its VFX each time. If you look back at who was nominated both years that were supposedly “Oscar-worthy,” get Max von Sydow and Robert Duvall out and replace them with Serkis. One day, he will win that Oscar.
5) Jake Gyllenhaal for Best Actor in Nightcrawler
Nightcrawler has been on nearly everybody’s best list of 2014, including my own. The one common thing that everybody can agree upon is Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as Louis Bloom was unbelievable. He completely disappeared in making us believe he’s this weird person holding a camera doing unethical things to make it big in the news world. Noted as one of the best performances of the year, him being snubbed was insulting to fans everywhere. In what world was Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) or Steve Carell (Foxcatcher)’s more deserving than him? Not that he would win, but a nomination is at least a great thing to be remembered by. Do you know how many times they have nominated him for an Oscar? Once. His only nomination so far has been for Best Supporting Actor for Brokeback Mountain.
4) Amy Adams for Best Actress in Arrival
Anytime Amy Adams is in a film, there’s always a chance for her to get an Oscar nomination. She’s always talented, and though she has yet to win, they have nominated her six times in the past. Many will agree that one of her greatest performances of her career came from Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi Arrival. Her role as linguist Louise Banks made for an emotional performance for a character using her skills to understand this alien language in an already thought-provoking film. Not nominated. What?! She carried the entire film that received eight nominations and one win. Was she good enough to beat out Emma Stone? No, but in a year full of great acting, she was among one of them. Somehow, they gave the nomination to Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins, a movie nobody saw when it came out during the summer. Streep is a terrific actress, but can we please stop nominating her every freakin’ time?
3) The Lego Movie for Best Animated Feature
The Lego Movie has been cited as THE best-animated movie of 2014 with a family film that came as a surprise with its creative story, humor that stuck the landing, and didn’t make it into a cash-grab like most expected it to be. You have to be a cynical person to not enjoy this. Everybody thought this would easily be the frontrunner to win Best Animated Feature. But everything was NOT awesome as they read the nominations, it was missing. Unbelievable. They threw in Song of the Sea, which I’m pretty sure nobody else besides the Academy members knew what it was. The Lego Movie not getting in there is probably the biggest shocker in a long time. If this was their way of throwing a curveball, they failed. The same thing would happen to The Lego Batman Movie three years later. The Boss Baby, are you kidding me?
2) Ben Affleck for Best Director for Argo
2012 was the year that made us believe Ben Affleck is truly a talented director; that fact was given rightfully so when he made Argo. His third feature film earned seven nominations, including Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay. But something was missing? Oh, yeah, Affleck himself. He, alongside Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty, did not land a Best Director nod for the 85th Academy Awards. Maybe they’re still giving him guff for his acting career, even though he already won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay when he wrote Good Will Hunting with his pal Matt Damon. Remember? They must’ve felt stupid when he won the Critics’ Choice the day of the nominations, the Director’s Guild of America, and the Golden Globe a few days later. This was one of those rare occasions where the Best Picture winner didn’t have a Best Director nomination. Did the Academy really think directors like Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild) or Michael Haneke (Amour) deserved it more? Straight-up ridiculous, I say.
1) Christopher Nolan for Best Director for Inception
In what I have described as the biggest Oscar snub of all Oscar snubs, the legend known as Christopher Nolan was nowhere to be seen in the Best Director category for Inception. The film itself earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, which Nolan wrote, and a bunch of technical awards. So, we’re all to believe that a masterpiece like this was directed by itself? Absolutely not, he gave us one of the most talked-about movies to come out all year that did great at the box office and got great reviews from critics. They did to him before with The Dark Knight two years prior and did it once again for Inception. Nolan already got nominations for the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice, and BAFTA, but they couldn’t throw him a bone? How pathetic. Thank God, they’ve finally nominated him in the category for Dunkirk seven years later.
- Bradley Cooper for Best Director for A Star is Born
- Adam Sandler for Best Actor in Uncut Gems
- Claire Foy for Best Supporting Actress in First Man
- Michael B. Jordan for Best Actor in Fruitvale Station
- “See You Again” from Furious 7 for Best Original Song
- Ridley Scott for Best Director for The Martian
- Steve Jobs for Best Adapted Screenplay