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The 10 Biggest Surprises of the 2014 Oscar Nominations

The 10 Biggest Surprises of the 2014 Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations — for better or worse — are out! While the full list of nominations is here, we’ve already scrolled through them and picked out 10 things that people may not have seen coming. For what it’s worth:

1. “American Hustle” and “Gravity” lead the way. Not terribly surprising in itself, as both films were clearly poised to do well. But many — including myself — expected “12 Years a Slave” to get the most nominations this morning. Instead it got nine to the 10 that “Hustle” and “Gravity” managed. The Academy took every chance they could to nominate those two, even giving David O. Russell his second film in a row to get acting nominations in every single category (though oddly, “Hustle” was snubbed for makeup and hairstyling, which seemed like one of its surest nominations). “12 Years,” on the other hand, missed out on very expected nominations for original score and cinematography, suggesting some hesitation towards the film overall.

2. Tom Hanks isn’t even a one-time nominee. For a while there, it seemed like two-time Academy Award winner Tom Hanks would be a two-time nominee this year for his work in “Saving Mr. Banks” and “Captain Phillips.” And while the hopes for the former faded considerably, he seemed like a near lock for his impressive work in “Phillips.” But in the end, he didn’t even manage that. Not that we can feel particularly sorry for someone who already has two Oscars, but still…

3. Neither is Emma Thompson! Probably the biggest shocker of the acting nominations was the lack of one for Hanks’ “Banks” co-star Emma Thompson. We knew the best actress race was going to be tight, but it seemed like Meryl Streep or Amy Adams would be the ones that were going to miss out. But nope, it was Thompson who was excluded — and we’ll miss out on her presence come March 2nd. Once again, the Golden Globes take this one…

4. “Stories We Tell,” “Blackfish” and “Tim’s Vermeer” miss out on best doc nods. The best documentary category is essentially expected to be one big surprise, but for three films that were largely predicted to make the cut to miss out still surely had a few folks doing a double take at the list. “Blackfish,” “Stories We Tell” and “Tim’s Vermeer” were all left hanging in favor of surprise nods for “Cutie and the Boxer” and “Dirty Wars.” And while the “Stories” snub does hurt pretty hard for me personally, it’s still a strong lineup overall in a year that was clearly overflowing with great options.

5. “Dallas Buyers Club” dominates. While it was crystal clear “Dallas Buyers Club” was heading for acting nods for Jared Leto and Matthew McConaughey, and that the chances were good it would have a best picture nomination to go along with it, the fact that it added best original screenplay, best film editing and best makeup and hairstyling to that trio goes to show there’s serious love for “Dallas” in the Academy.

6. Noprah! Another big acting snub came by way of none other than Ms. Oprah Winfrey, who lost out on a best supporting actress nomination for “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.” She missed out at the Globes too, but it seemed like a strong bet the Academy would make up for that. Instead they nominated Sally Hawkins for “Blue Jasmine,” in doing so making up for the tragic snub of her work in “Happy-Go-Lucky” a few years back.

7. The sole representative of The Weinstein Company’s trio of films about various moments in black history is… U2? Oprah’s “The Butler” was one of three films The Weinstein Company was campaigning for that dealt with black history in various ways, the others being “Fruitvale Station” and “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom.” Somehow in the end the three films wound up with a singular representative at the Oscars: Bono and company for their song “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela.” Take what you want from that.

8. Very little love for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” We knew the latest from the Coens was in trouble when it got snubbed by most of the guilds, but few saw a nomination count of just two (cinematography and sound mixing). It missed out on original screenplay, editing, production design and costume design, not to mention best picture. Which was definitely a bit more epic of an overall omission that most saw coming.

9. A movie called “Alone Yet Not Alone” got a nomination for best song? Ever heard of a movie called “Alone Yet Not Alone”? Me neither. But it ended up with more nominations than “Rush,” “Short Term 12,” “Blue is the Warmest Color,” “The Past,” “Enough Said,” “Labor Day,” “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Fruitvale Station” combined. The film — directed by Ray Bengston and George D. Escobar — is described by IMDb as this: “The year is 1755, and the English colonies are being ravaged by the atrocities of war. Opposing European powers have clashed over the fertile Ohio valley, and entire families are devastated by the ensuing violence.” And in by far the weirdest nomination of the morning, its theme song got an Oscar nomination (over Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful” no less). Hear its glory for yourself:

10. Jonah Hill! Lastly, a nomination that a lot of people saw coming is still worth noting as a surprise because it came with virtually no precursors. This year’s Jacki Weaver, Jonah Hill pulled of a nomination for “The Wolf of Wall Street” without any love from BAFTA, SAG, the Globes or the Critics Choice to come before it.

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Mads Mikkelsen won the best actor award for The Hunt. The Robert award. In Denmark its the Danish version of the Oscars. Mads Mikkelsen is the actor who plays Dr. Hannibal Lecter in the NBC Hannibal series. Snub?!?
Nowhere I have read or heard Mads Mikkelsen thanking anyone about this award he was given. No acknowledgement at all from him about it.
I guess after you win a Cannes Best Actor award other honors pale in comparison.

Barry Moss

Meryl Streep has given the best performance of her film career in AUGUST… This is the Oscar she really deserves (not that she didn't deserve the others). The way to look at it is she could have been brilliant in any of the other nominated roles (even though she's too 0ld for American Hustler and too young for Philomina) but none of the other actresses even the great Cate Blanchett would have come near her as that pill-addicted miserable mother.

Barry Moss

Meryl Streep has given the best performance of her film career in AUGUST… This is the Oscar she really deserves (not that she didn't deserve the others). The way to look at it is she could have been brilliant in any of the other nominated roles (even though she's too 0ld for American Hustler and too young for Philomina) but none of the other actresses even the great Cate Blanchett would have come near her as that pill-addicted miserable mother.


I think the outcome is largely clear, 12 Years will win Best Picture at the end of night to offset the Academy's snub of it and the other "black movies" that night and with the nominations.

Besides America doesn't need movies about race, we need to tell more nuanced stories that humanize white people who happen to fall in love with their OS, are decadent Wall Street rogues, and homophobic cowboys. Why would the Academy honor deserving up-and-comers or veterans when they can jump start Matthew McConaughey's career and add gasoline to the bonfire that is Jennifer Lawrence's career.


TWC betting on three films about the black experience was never going to work for more than one of them. The Academy can only handle 1 film per issue. That's why when 12 YEARS A SLAVE turned out to be the better of THE BUTLER, it became dead in the water. FRUITVALE was never going to translate to these people, and MANDELA was not uplifting enough because the Mandelas divorced. Look at what they did with DALLAS BUYERS CLUB. That's the 'gay' film this year. 12 is the black people / 'social issue' film. PHILOMENA the 'British Masterpiece Theatre' film,' etc. They don't have it in them to regard many films outside of the straight white and American film experience, beyond whichever is the best version. It confuses them.


Look I know the Bulter had flaws but why not 1 nomination? Atleast Oprah and last for Best Picture, Friutvale Station could have gotten 1 as well. I guess the Oscars didn't want it to be too black judging by the 2 omition. And what's with the author of this article calling Weinstein campaigning for moment in black history? How the hell is Fruitvale black history? That's happening right now.

gerardd kennellyy

best actress ?
Brie Larson SHORT TERM 12

best actor ?
Dennis Quaid AT ANY PRICE

Jim M.

Hey Mark Walker. I'll tell you what a snub is. A quote from Thomas Vinterberg director of The Hunt.

"Mads Mikkelsen is the film and the film is Mads Mikkelsen." What a denigrating and arrogant remark to make about your film. Nobody else matters except Mads Mikkelsen. To HELL with Thomas bo Larsen, Alexandra Rappaport, the little girl Annika Wedderkop, Susse Wold & all other actors in the film. I think Thomas Vinterberg is only thinking of that golden statuette.

Most Best Actor Oscar nominees are not from foreign films. Just as most best actor nominees for the Cannes Palme d' Or are not from the U.S. Mads Mikkelsen won the Palme in May of 2013. I don't recall reading/hearing about any American actors whining they weren't nominated in Cannes last year for best actor.

Joe H.

The snubs for Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks are plainly dismal. Christian Bale is one of my favorite actors, but Hanks' performance in Captain Phillips is far more compelling than Bale's in American Hustle. The Original Song nominees were also pretty sad, except The Moon Song. Noticeable exclusions include Young and Beautiful (from Great Gatsby), Atlas (from Hunger Games), Amen (from All is Lost) and I See Fire (from the Hobbit).

Cinematography nods were nice though.

Mark Walker

Mads Mikkelsen for best actor was a big snub for me. Not surprising, I suppose but a snub nonetheless.


Inside Llewyn Davis, Blackfish, The Place Beyond the Pines… ):


Is it that Blue Is The Warmest Colour was not nominated in any category because it was not eligible to compete this year or was it just a royal snub? The film needs to be appreciated at the Oscars.

Jill C Brooke

"Alone But Not Alone" looks and sounds like a mad-for-tv Christian film….oh my.


Robert Redford not being nominated for Best Actor isn't a surprise?

I was surprised.


The Academy Awards are not about which actor or what film is best anymore, it's about who and what is popular. Once in a while they get it right and give it to someone who is truly deserving but more often it's about the usual inner circle of Hollywood bigwigs patting themselves and their buddies on the back.


That song highlighted, belonging to the film no-one has heard of, to put it bluntly, is awful.


Adèle Exarchopolous deserves the best actress award more than any of the actresses nominated.

Des Brown

Gravity won't win Best Film. Here's why – it has no nomination in the screenplay category. No film since Cavalcade in 1934 has won Best Film without a screenplay nomination.

Steve Coogan is an Academy Award nominee – meaning all 3 writers of I’m Alan Partridge went on to be Oscar nominated (the others being Peter Brayham for Borat and Armando Innaucci for In the Loop).

With American Hustle being the big winner at the Golden Globes, does this mean at the Oscars could it beat 12 Years A Slave to Best Film in the way The Sting beat The Exorcist to the Best Film prize exactly 40 years ago?

Expect Chiwetel Ejifor to win the BAFTA for Best Actor, but Matthew McConaughey to win the Oscar. Alfonso Cuaron won the Golden Globe Best Director award at the weekend, though don't take that as an indication that he'll win the Best Director Oscar. The last 4 winners of the Golden Globe for Best Director were: Ben Affleck (Argo), Martin Scorcese (Hugo), David Fincher (The Social Network) and James Cameron (Avatar). None went on to win the Best Director Oscar


In my humble opinion, Adèle Exarchopoulous was a major snub at this year's Oscars. Her performance in "La vie d'Adèle/Blue is the Warmest Color" is truly remarkable. It will be remembered for ages.


Poor Lana Del Rey! She has penchant for being snubbed by major awards. Last year, it was at the Grammy Awards; this year she was ended being excluded from the Oscars after that horrible campaign about the supposedly ineligibility of "Young and Beautiful" to be considered for Best Original Song. I can't believe the Academy has nominated a song from an unknown conservative movie over her. Shocking!


Suuuuuuper glad to see Sally Hawkins! I don't know if it quite makes up for her Happy Go Lucky snub (seriously – one of the worst misses in that decade of Oscars). But it's still pretty awesome! Glad to see Her in a few good categories, including Karen O's lovely song. Jonah Hill is the best part of Wolf of Wall Street.


It bugs me a little that Adams got a nomination this year. I like her a lot but c'mon people, NO! Thompson should've gotten that spot and Adams should've won a longgg time ago for Junebug. Also, JLaw… seriously??? HELL NO. WTF!?!? WHY? I DO NOT- WHAT WERE YOU PEOPLE THINKING??? UGH. She basically plays the exact same character as in Silver Linings (that one was awful too because I didn't buy her performance for one damn second!). Lupita Nyong'o or Sally Hawkins seriously better win because they actually deserve to WIN >:( /rant over

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