Features

The Oscar Snubs of 2017

Writer: Casey Lee


Deadpool still wants his Oscar.

Even in a year that has a clear favourite, the Academy is still able to show that not everything is a given on who deserves to be put on the ballot to stand a chance to win their little golden man.

While the nominations for this year's Oscar race has more pleasant surprises than groaning shocks, there are still some questionable gaps that could have been fielded by a lesser known but equally deserving movies, even if there are not thoroughbred for the Oscar racetrack.

There may be little excitement to see how this year's Oscars would turn out to be with this batch of nominees, but we could also use a reminder that there were some movies that were forgotten.

Best Song

The Snubbed: "Go Now" from "Sing Street"

With all the love being thrown at "La La Land", it's easy to forget that there was another lyrical movie that had made us sway to its nostalgic tracks and swooning tunes. "Sing Street" was a little coming-of-age Sundance darling that played some of the sweetest music from the 1980s, and we can easily see Adam Levine's "Go Now" taking a spot from one of the two songs that is occupied by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul for "La La Land".

Best Documentary

The Snubbed: "Cameraperson"

While there seems to be a prevalent focus on Black-related issues and subjects for this year's nominees, it is a small pity that not one spot could be reserved for Kirsten Johnson's self-directed autobiographical collage "Cameraperson". While the other documentary nominees handled timely and serious subjects, it is not every year that there is an honest documentary that deals with the dedicated craft of filmmaking itself.

Best Animated Feature

The Snubbed: "Your Name" / "Finding Dory"

Although 2016 had a turnout of outstanding animated features enough to lock out even the likes of Pixar's still lovingly made "Finding Dory", but the only Asian representative that we have this year is a stretch through Ghibli Studio's involvement with Michael Dudok's "The Red Turtle". It was probably because of its minimal release window and the lack of any real campaign support that Makoto Shinkai's "Your Name" was not remembered by the Academy yet.

Best Foreign Film

The Snubbed: "Elle" / "I, Daniel Blake"

With the hyper buzz given to Isabelle Huppert for her charging performance for "Elle" in and around the European circles, it was half expected that she was going to tag along when "Elle" secures a spot for the foreign competition. However, we think she deserved the sole praise and recognition that she got in the competition for Best Actress. Meanwhile, after coming out on top at Cannes, we would have thought that Ken Loach's "I, Daniel Blake" would have an easier time to make it in this category, being more accessible to the English speaking audience than we expect that Australia's "Tanna" was.

Best Supporting Actress

The Snubbed: Elle Fanning or Greta Gerwig from "20th Century Women"

Since its premiere at the New York Film Festival in 2016, "20th Century Women" has been on the radar if there was going to be a stage set for the actress competition. For it to not be able to score a single acting nomination for any of its womanly cast, and having to cede that spot to Nicole Kidman as a filler spot for "Lion" is just flabbergasting.

Best Actress

The Snubbed: Amy Adams / Annette Bening

Despite scoring 8 nominations including the major technical categories and 3 of the major indication categories, it is devastating to foresee the future now that "Arrival" could be winning the Best Picture without Amy Adams being awarded Best Actress on the same night. Also as baffling is that the Academy had decided to let Meryl Streep's jarring crescendo that she could have done in her sleep for "Florence Foster Jenkins" (that's not even a serious Oscar-bait) swoop in effortlessly for her 20th Oscar nomination, and deny Annette Bening her 5th Oscar nomination that could have been the (only) high point for "20th Century Women".

Best Actor

The Snubbed: Tom Hanks from "Sully"

Clint Eastwood's "Sully" has taken a significant beating at this year's Oscar race, failing to garner any meaningful nomination except for a minor technical category in Best Sound Editing. After a year of being overly praised for "American Sniper" (with 6 nominations), Eastwood's recreation of the Miracle on the Hudson yields little love, including for its lead actor Tom Hanks, who misses another shot for Oscar gold. That's alright though, as long as that nomination went to the under-seen and under-appreciated Viggo Mortensen for "Captain Fantastic".

Best Director

The Snubbed: Martin Scorsese

A category that is slowly seeing younger and younger faces mean that this category is not letting the old hats dominate. With four first time director nominees out of the five, the Academy is once again ready to prove that seniority has little to do with your standing to get a directing nomination. Or perhaps Scorsese's "Silence" made everyone too weary to even bother for it to race.

Best Picture

The Snubbed: "The Birth of a Nation"

Since early 2016 at Sundance, one name that has exploded with unprecedented attention was Nate Parker's "The Birth of a Nation". Coming shortly after another year of #OscarSoWhite, it arguably set the ball rolling for change towards diversity in the ranks of the Academy and its almost certain entry into the Oscar race was to be a test for the newly diversified Academy.

Unfortunately, "The Birth of a Nation" became a testament of an artist's past miring the artistic value and reception of his work. When Nate Parker's charges of rape were brought up to the light, it steered unhelpful attention away from the work itself to the unabashed response towards the allegations by its creator. Even though this Oscar has some of the most colourful list of nominations the Academy has seen in decades, the events leading to the absence of "The Birth of a Nation" in this category leaves a black mark on the Academy's story to diversity.

Cinema Online, 26 January 2017


Related Movies:
Arrival (12 Jan 2017)
Sully (08 Sep 2016)
Finding Dory (16 Jun 2016)
Your Name (Japanese) (03 Nov 2016)
La La Land (08 Dec 2016)

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