Most of the 2011 Oscar nominations that were announced last Tuesday were fairly predictable, but as always, there were several notable names missing from the list.
Here are my picks to this year’s top five Oscar snubs:
5. Barbara Hershey for Best Supporting Actress — Mila Kunis has been the supporting player from “Black Swan” getting all of the awards attention (though she was snubbed for an Oscar nomination too), but I’m surprised Hershey hasn’t received more recognition for her chilling portrayal of ballet dancer Nina Sayers’ (Natalie Portman) overbearing and infantilizing mother. That nail clipping scene alone was enough to give me the creeps. A girl’s mother is supposed to be someone she can trust, so for her to embody such a villainous persona is completely frightening, and Hershey deserves some major kudos.
4. “Tron: Legacy” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” for Best Visual Effects — Seriously, how did movies as effects-driven as “TRON: Legacy” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” get overlooked here? Out of all the movies on the visual effects shortlist, I thought at least “TRON” would be a lock. Sure, the plot was just so-so, but the stunning visual effects make the audience feel like they are actually in the grid with Sam and Kevin Flynn. And the eye-popping visuals in “Scott Pilgrim” capture the feel of the graphic novel and the video games that shape the film.
3. “The Town” for Best Picture — Other than a supporting actor nod for Jeremy Renner, the Oscars completely ignored “The Town.” Maybe it came out too early in the fall and could have benefited from a release date in the heart of Oscar-bait season. But Ben Affleck’s Boston-set thriller was gripping from beginning to end, with a stellar cast to boot.
2. Andrew Garfield for Best Supporting Actor — Out of all the snubs this year, I was most surprised that my pick for the top actor of 2010 didn’t make the cut for his performance in “The Social Network.” Not only did he give a powerhouse performance individually as Facebook’s ousted co-founder, but to me, the heart of the movie was the relationship between Jesse Eisenberg’s Mark Zuckerberg and Garfield’s Eduardo Saverin. Eisenberg 100 percent deserved his nomination, but for one to be nominated without the other just feels wrong.
1. Christopher Nolan for Best Director — What does this man have to do to get an Oscar nomination? First he was criminally overlooked for directing “The Dark Knight,” and now the Academy failed to nominate him for “Inception” too. At least the five directors who did land nominations are worthy contenders, and it’s hard to figure out which one I would bump off the list to make room for Nolan.
As much as I loved “The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech,” I would say Nolan should have filled either David O. Russell’s or Tom Hooper’s slots. The direction in “The Fighter” and “The King’s Speech” was excellent, but those movies stood out primarily because of the acting. I think another director could have made those films and they would have been just as good as long as they still had the same cast. But only Nolan could make a movie like “Inception,” something so refreshingly original and complex that the man behind it deserves a little more credit.
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