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Spotlight: The Oscar Snubs of 2016

Writer: Casey Lee


We can only dream that these movies and talents were nominated for an Oscar.


2015 was not an easy year to pick out winners from the movies. With no clear indication at any point until the Academy made its decision on who would be up for the races, there was too wide a selection of films that could find a category for its excellence to be acknowledged. That being said, now that the Oscar has named their nominations, as controversial (which we would get into later) as they were, there would undoubtedly be many that were left in the dust.

While some of these snubs are understandable, but there were few that left us scratching our heads as to how they could be left out (sometimes entirely), which goes to show how much do we really understand how the Academy works.

Best Visual Effects


The Snubbed: "Jurassic World"

2015 was another year of showcases for how far the technology of digital effects have come, as well as a return to more practical effects that has always yielded more fascination and fear to the risk that filmmakers put up with to get the perfect shot.

While we are glad that that technical dedication is being acknowledged with "Mad Max: Fury Road" going against "The Revenant" in the practical area, but we were curious to see how "Jurassic World"; the biggest CG fest for the summer of 2015 was not up against "Star Wars: The Force Awakens".

Then again, this category is where "Ex Machina" earned one out of its two precious nominations, so we won't be batting an eyelid for the absence of "Jurassic World".

Best Production Design


The Snubbed: "Crimson Peak"

While Production Design isn't one of the major indicators of who will win the Best Picture, we wouldn't have noticed anything was missing in the category, until we were reminded by Guillermo del Toro's presence during the announcement. Giving a chance for "Bridge of Spies" to win the prize over the realised vision of del Toro's "Crimson Peak", just goes to show that the Academy is not ready to embrace its grandeur.

Best Song


The Snubbed: "When I See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa featuring Charlie Puth from "Fast and Furious 7"

The winners of the past Best Original Songs in recent years has been one of the most populist that the Academy has allowed themselves to be, but this snub for "When I See You Again" from "Fast and Furious 7" is here to send a clear message that the decision of the Academy is anything but. But really for a song with such sentimental value that it moves men to tears, the nominations of this year are worse off without it. No one is going to be listening to Sam Smith's "Writings on the Wall" (if they haven't already) down the road than seeing the face of Paul Walker every time "When I See You Again" comes up.

Best Animated Feature


The Snubbed: "Charlie Brown and the Peanuts: The Movie"

It would have been easy to say that it was "The Good Dinosaur" that got snubbed, but one more Pixar title in the nominations list is one too many. While some may argue the eligibility of Ghibli's "When Marnie Was There" to be nominated (does that mean we will see "Only Yesterday" nominated 15 years too late?), we would have been alright to trade it for Steve Martino's "Charlie Brown and the Peanut Movie".

Either way, it goes to show that the animation feature is growing strongly into its own force of reckoning, and the Academy needs to consider expanding this category to allow for more nominees as it does for the Best Picture.

Best Adapted Screenplay


The Snubbed: "Steve Jobs"

One of the biggest shocks of this year's nomination announcement is that Aaron Sorkin's name was not mentioned; one of the biggest losses suffered by "Steve Jobs" and practically destroyed all hope that it had any chance for any Oscar glory.

Admittedly, Sorkin's adapted screenplay came riddled with problems from disapproving portrayal of the late technopreneur to the liberty it takes in the sequence of events, but this final nail to the coffin has shown that the Academy has no tolerance for its definition of an adapted screenplay to be meddled with. Maybe Sorkin can come back and win the Best Director with his directorial debut to avenge this slight.

Best Director


The Snubbed: Ridley Scott for "The Martian" (top), Steven Spielberg for "Bridge of Spies" (bottom left), Todd Haynes for "Carol" (bottom right).

When the Best Director is not allowed to have as many nominees as the Best Picture, it truly shows which of the Best Picture nominees are really in the race. While the Academy may see that it's alright to deny the old hats their shot for the Best Director (even though they may deserve them more than the younger ones), some may find that not even acknowledging Ridley Scott's redeeming work for "The Martian" atrocious.

The difficult choice though was would we have given up Lenny Abrahamson's nomination for Todd Haynes's work in "Carol", because that would have soothe the sting of "Carol" not being in the Best Picture.

Best Supporting Actor


The Snubbed: Idris Elba for "Beasts of No Nation"

We don't know if it was because the Academy's confusion towards a streaming platform (despite giving two nominations that came from there), but "Beasts of No Nation" is sadly one of the more important films that represented a paradigm shift to the landscape of film; high art and high production value can be found on a platform that entertains an audience at home, instead of a theater.

In a world where the distribution network was not a factor in naming a Oscar nominee, we could easily see Idris Elba replacing any of the nominees, if not being an assured win, and it would have been the deserved payoff for the British actor who has gathered strong momentum from his past recent performances.

Best Actress


The Snubbed: Emily Blunt in "Sicario"

We are sure that Charlotte Rampling deserved to be on this list, just as much as her fellow nominees. But if the Academy had shown more love to "Sicario", we believe that Emily Blunt would be on that list instead.

Best Actor


The Snubbed: Johnny Depp for "Black Mass" / Will Smith for "Concussion" / Michael Caine for "Youth"

Among the major indicators of the Best Picture, this year's nominations in this category looked strange as only two of its nominees are also up for the Best Picture. That leaves quite a number of space to acknowledge solely on the performance of the actor, and we think the Academy couldn't do wrong to give it to Michael Fassbender, Eddie Redmayne (again), or Bryan Cranston, as the sole representative of "Trumbo".

If there were other films that deserved to have a sole representative purely on the strength of the performance, we would also have worked with Johnny Depp, Will Smith or Michael Caine.

Best Picture


The Snubbed: "Carol", "Straight Outta Compton", "Ex Machina" & "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"

Even with the allowance to list up to 10 names in the Best Picture, the Academy has decided to only fill up to 8 of that quota. Understandably to avoid a crowded competition, which probably explains why the rights of the biggest blockbuster of the year to a customary had to be waived, but that is why 2015 was such an interesting year to watch.

Aside from the shocking absence of "Carol" in favour of "Brooklyn" (why can't they both be in?), the absence of "Straight Outta Compton" (if not "Creed") is another case to be added in the Academy's demographic entitlement, despite being presided by a woman of colour.

Cinema Online, 21 January 2016


Related Movies:
The Revenant (04 Feb 2016)
Mad Max: Fury Road (14 May 2015)
The Martian (01 Oct 2015)
Bridge Of Spies (15 Oct 2015)
The Big Short (21 Jan 2016)
Sicario (17 Sep 2015)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (17 Dec 2015)
Steve Jobs (Not Showing)
Snoopy And Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie (10 Dec 2015)
Fast And Furious 7 (02 Apr 2015)
Crimson Peak (15 Oct 2015)
Jurassic World (11 Jun 2015)

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