Thinking Out Loud: Oscar Nominations Edition

They’re here. The 2015 Academy Awards nominations. The full list can be found here.

Remember how I said in the last couple of posts that award shows like the Oscars (perhaps especially the Oscars) are oddly political, potentially meaningless, outdated, and woefully undiverse? Well, that certainly seems to be as true as ever. Especially the last point. Now, I have to admit that I haven’t seen many of the films in the major categories (Best Picture, Directing, Acting) but something is still painfully obvious: the Oscars are SUPER white.

Of course this fact should shock nobody but that doesn’t mean we can’t be disappointed by it. There’s more I can and should say on this topic but any commentary on the nominations should probably happen after I’ve seen a few more of the films. So for now, here’s me thinking out loud on the nominations.

  • Selma is nominated for Best Picture but nothing else (except for Best Song). Doesn’t that seem weird? Serious question: how often has it happened that a film is nominated for Best Picture but none of the other major categories? Because right now, I’m thinking what Patton Oswalt is thinking:

  • Update:  I found an answer to my question! A quick Google search led me to The Official Academy Awards Database. Wow, this is truly a film and data lover’s dream come true. Please excuse me while I descend down the rabbit hole. My search also yielded a list of films nominated for Best Picture but not nominated for Best Director. What’s useful about this list is that it also provides the number of total categories in which the film earned a nomination. It doesn’t say what those categories are (and I have neither the time nor patience to go check each of them) but there’s enough information there to conclude that what happened to Selma is pretty rare at least in recent history. Since 1951, only 5 films have received a Best Picture nomination while receiving only one other nomination (including failing to win a Directing nomination). These were Decisions Before Dawn (1951), Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), The Blind Side (2009), A Serious Man (2009), and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011). So it’s certainly not unprecedented but it doesn’t strike me as common either.
  • There is not a single person of colour nominated in an acting category this year. Sure, it could be that there wasn’t a single non-white actor who gave a worthy performance this year. Or it could be related to this:

  • Should I go see American Sniper? Just the trailer makes me uncomfortable and I’ve read some interesting articles recently that criticize its factual inaccuracy (apparently the film depicts him as a stand-up guy when he is actually a huge jerk). But I can’t be critical of it if I don’t actually see it. Plus, I’m open to having my mind changed. Then again I probably won’t be able to see all the nominated films before February 22nd so do I want to spend my time and money going to see American Sniper over some of the other films I have been wanting to see regardless of their recent Oscar nomination? Ugh, I still can’t decide.
  • I loved Birdman so I’m excited to see it have so many nominations. And Emma Stone, my spirit animal, has been nominated which I think is really cool! (See? I’m not a complete grouch.)
  • Birdman is also nominated for Cinematography which is a bit funny to me because I actually didn’t like the cinematography in the film at all. I felt very reminiscent of the cinematography in The Wrestler which I also hated. Just one of those things that I can appreciate but just isn’t my thing. (Aw man, I’m back to being a grouch.)
  • This made me giggle:

  • Everyone is really upset about The Lego Movie not being nominated. I want to share their outrage out of loyalty to Chris Pratt but I have to admit I still haven’t seen the movie. (I know, I know. I watch a lot of Netflix instead.)
  • I feel like Michael Keaton or Eddie Redmayne will probably win Best Actor (and deservedly so) but is it wrong to root for Steve Carell? The thought of the former Michael Scott winning an Oscar just fills me with such inexplicable joy.
  • Gone Girl was also shafted in my humble opinion. No director nomination for David Fincher (the Twitterverse was chatting that Fincher doesn’t play ball with the Academy and so he is routinely snubbed) and no adapted screenplay either. Bums me out because I really enjoyed Gone Girl. I think it’s one of the most successful adaptations of a popular novel that I’ve ever seen.
  • I’m definitely going to see Selma this weekend.
  • TL;DR:

[Updated: January 15, 2015. Added some thoughts.]

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