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by Peter Knegt and Matthew Hammett Knott
January 16, 2014 11:58 AM
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Oscar Bitchfest: Knegt v. Knott On The 10 Most Annoying Things About The Oscar Nominations

The Oscar nominations are out, and in a new edition of this series, Indiewire senior writer Peter Knegt and regular columnist Matthew Hammett Knott are totally prepared to bitch about them. Here's the 10 things that collectively annoyed them the most about this morning's announcement:

No Oprah
Knott: Yep, I'm completely serious about this. There have only ever been two black actresses over the age of 50 nominated for an Oscar, which is a travesty in itself. A female character of that age who actually expresses her sex drive is a pretty rare occurrence in Hollywood - in an African American context, it's almost unprecedented. And despite its flaws, "The Butler" is a rare populist film that offers a defiantly black political viewpoint. But let's not get too serious. Why am I really disappointed? Because Noprah! Can you imagine her inspirational words of advice to young actresses on the red carpet? Her photo-ops with Lupita? Her face during Lupita's victory speech?! I'm gutted.

No Sarah Polley!
Knegt: Whatever, I find it pretty hard to feel sorry for Oprah even if I clearly agree with you re: this kind of character being pretty unprecedented. And frankly, I'm starting to get frightened Lupita won't even have a victory speech. Which would be disappointing, but not as disappointed as I already am that Sarah Polley won't be up on that stage accepting an Oscar for the truly brilliant "Stories We Tell" because she wasn't even nominated. Call out my desperate Canadian need for international representation that isn't Rob Ford, but she surely would have gone about how great Canada is after offering a remarkably touching ode to her family that she portrayed in "Stories." I was already prepared to excuse myself to sing 'Oh Canada' while sobbing privately in the bathroom afterwards.

No Emma!
Knott: And before we get off the subject of female nominees who've been shut out, let me mention poor Emma Thompson. In a category that ignores Adele Exarchopoulos and Paulina Garcia, it's not about who's "deserving" and who isn't. But no role challenged female stereotypes more than Thompson's as P.L. Travers. As Meryl Streep recently pointed out (at a point when a nomination for Thompson still seemed a safe bet), how often does Hollywood make films about middle-aged women where they aren't defined as wife, mother or even love interest? Almost never. And if that's not a reason to want Thompson at the ceremony, you only have to watch a few YouTube videos to know how much her presence can liven up an awards show.

No Tom!
Knegt: Alright, so Emma trumps him, but do you know who else livens up awards shows? Her "Banks" co-star Tom Hanks. Honestly, they would make a Tina and Amy-level pair of co-hosts if the Oscars ever decided to be creative with who they choose (no, James and Anne don't count). And while I'm fine with his snub for "Banks," he gave his best performance in years (ever?) in "Captain Phillips" but the Academy decided Christian Bale and his comb-over was more worthy. And yeah, I know Hanks already has two Oscars and like Oprah, it's hard to feel sorry for him. But this was the year he reminded us all he still had talent! He needed the Academy's encouragement so he wouldn't go make "Larry Crowne 2."

Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts make the cut
Knott: Now that we've stood up for those poor sods who didn't make it, let me explain why I can't get excited about the Oscar nominations for Jennifer Lawrence and Julia Roberts in Best Supporting Actress. These are two A-list stars playing parts for which I could think of a dozen better-suited actors, getting rewarded for it and solidifying their place in the Hollywood firmament. Julia Roberts fitted in around that Oklahoma dinner table even less than Benedict Cumberbatch did. And I'm not saying Jennifer Lawrence didn't do an excellent job with her role as a jaded, faded, jilted wife in "American Hustle". My problem is more with the continued evidence that a) Hollywood will stretch to allow hot young white actresses to play any role they can possibly squeeze into, while doing the exact opposite for anyone who doesn't fit that model (i.e. black actors, who get nominated for playing slaves and pirates) and b) David O. Russell has little to offer in his cinematic vision of womanhood beyond the depressing trifecta of virgin / mother / whore.


  • Sketchbook | January 19, 2014 6:27 AMReply

    This is mostly a column of pr-planted whines and grumps. Bale was a knockout in "Hustle," and, though the pic has some bumps, it's still damn good -- a screwball comedy about some awful people.

  • David | January 17, 2014 2:19 PMReply

    You had me until you mentioned "Nebraska." In my opinion, it was one of the best films of the year. It was simple, but it is also profound; with some great performances, and yes, cinematography as well. And not just for it being in black and white, but for the way it showcases and displays the American south. Alexander Payne is a master of simple stories, and he tells them better than most directors out there.

    But I definitely agree with your assessment on "American Hustle." While I enjoyed "Silver Linings Playbook," I found this one to be hokey, unbelievable, and not nearly as clever as it tries to be. I really don't understand why people enjoyed it as much as they did.

  • Confused | January 16, 2014 11:45 PMReply

    Couldn't agree more with your points on Hustle. I enjoyed it but, really? O'Russel gets nods in every major category, again? Adams, yes. Picture, yes. That should have been it. Bale over Hanks/Phoenix/Redford is laughable. He was better in Out of the Furnace..

    Wolf was also praised a bit more than I expected. I'm ok with Leo and Jonah Hill's nods..but director? "In this scene, act like a jerkoff and go wayyy overboard with it..Action!"

    I'm getting there with Inside Llewyn Davis..not on board yet but I just watched it and I am still thinking it over..and over..and over..I think it should have been nominated, at least. There was an empty slot, after all..

    Finally...there were so many good movies last year. I'm curious what each of you think would have made the cut if Best Pic was still limited to 5 selections?? For what it's worth, my favorite films of the year, in order:

    1. Her
    2. Captain Phillips
    3. 12 Years A Slave
    4. Gravity
    5. Wolf of Wall St.

  • Joe H. | January 16, 2014 11:28 PMReply

    Jesus, why so much hate for Jennifer Lawrence? She's a brilliant actress and totally deserving of the nomination. She deserves to win too, but that's a different discussion. But you are correct about Dallas Buyers Club. Good film, but not better than the others it knocked out of contention. The only real disappointments were the generally sad Original Song nominations, the lack of Hans Zimmer in Original Score, the two snubs of Tom Hanks, and the snub for Emma Thompson.

    But let's be real, there were some truly wonderful surprises as well. Like Prisoners making the cut in Cinematography, the FIVE NOMS for Wolf of Wall Street, Production Design for Gravity, and Her in the running for Best Picture.

  • Jon | January 16, 2014 10:31 PMReply

    You can't have TWO films about black people with back leads, are you kiddin? This is the Academy. Old white farts who like to watch old white farts.

  • Joe H. | January 16, 2014 11:31 PM

    Good lord, shut the hell up you racist troll. You do realize that these old white farts are going to give Best Picture and possibly Best Actor, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay to 12 Years a Slave, right? So calm down, it was a crowded year with a lot of competition. Stop whining.

  • Alan | January 16, 2014 9:12 PMReply

    Whether I agree with your points or not, I love this bitchfest. David O. Russell's "BC and JL Take a Shit!" Haha.

  • David | January 16, 2014 7:00 PMReply

    Because you aren't American, you probably won't appreciate Nebraska for it's very real representation of middle America. so shut up

  • David K | January 16, 2014 6:57 PMReply

    Besides June Squibb in Nebraska, the actress who played Bruce Dern's former flame--her look at the end was better than Lawrence and Roberts performances combined.

  • - | January 16, 2014 6:05 PMReply

    I thought the lack of a nod for Joaquin Phoenix in Her is the most egregious snub, although that's not exactly surprising. I think Amy Adams was fantastic too and could've gotten a nomination.

  • Rachelle | January 16, 2014 5:35 PMReply

    THANK YOU for the comments on American Hustle. When I hear about the powerful women roles, I always want to gag. They are two-dimensional Madonnas and Whores, and given what I've seen about how Russell treats women IRL, I'm not surprised. Hustle was scriptless, built to only win him an Oscar, and what disgusts me the most is that it seems to be working.

  • grace | January 16, 2014 5:32 PMReply

    Now I am by no means under the impression that the oscars hold any water then the simple entertainment of what happens when actors and films get caught up in a "buzz"...its not bad and at the same time it is not good either. How long are people going to eat everything that is spoon fed to them (forever) without ever questioning or wanting to see movies that make them think. I am disappointed that the Coen's got snubbed but rather happy that at LEAST Spike Jonze got a nod. Now I get exactly why everyone who got nominated got there (whether I agree or not) but the one I just cannot understand is the "Gravity" craze with Bullock getting a nomination for a role she could barely carry! Also the fact that Alfonso Cuaron ( I love Y tu Mama Tambien) says in some interview that "Gravity" can't be watched like a normal movie, of course it can't, it should be watched with a hallucinogenic drug that makes one think that it has a great script and great acting and I am slightly convinced that this must have happen in theaters somewhere...

  • Edu | January 16, 2014 4:34 PMReply

    Dallas Buyer's Club > Inside Llewyn Davis. Get over it.

  • Steve Barr | January 16, 2014 3:12 PMReply

    Too much Wolf of Wall St . Martin Scorsese is an empty suit . He's been making the same movie for over thirty years . The screenplay was a joke . If you take out the profanities, the nudity and drug use there is no movie . DeCaprio was good and Jonah Hill had great teeth .

  • Joe H. | January 16, 2014 11:38 PM

    Best film of the year. And your comment about Scorsese making the same film for over thirty years is funny to me, and clearly shows that you are only familiar with about four of his films. I can name ten that are radically different from each other in story, character, and substance. Your comment is a self-parody of itself.

  • Bugsy | January 16, 2014 2:45 PMReply

    I'm sorry, but you lose credibility with "Both over "Inside Llewyn Davis," my favorite film of the year?"

    Reading this, what I get from your bitching is simply: "They didn't agree with my opinions on film, so they're all wrong and stupid!"

  • MAIMA | January 16, 2014 2:16 PMReply

    I was extremely ungrateful because the Academy snubbed the best female performance of the year....Adele Exarchopoulos. If Adele just replaced Streep....Streep has three Oscars and 18 nominations!!!!! Give me a break!!! Give chance to others... I love Streep but still.... =((((

  • Joe H. | January 16, 2014 11:40 PM

    I agree. Streep is a strong actor, but she's becoming overrated. She didn't deserve a nomination this year over Thompson or Exarchopoulos, and that's all there is to it. But she's freaking Meryl Streep, so she'll continue to get her nominations and knock out more worthy competition in the future.

  • LOUIE | January 16, 2014 3:25 PM

    Have you watched Blue is the Warmest Color?? I guess you didn't. I've read a lot of reviews about Streep's showboating and her 'showy' performance. It's a good performance but not great. Not like Exarchopoulos who just gave her all and it was raw, and human performance. I like Streep, but this was just not the best. I would be happy if Thompson got her slot.

  • Bugsy | January 16, 2014 2:48 PM

    So Meryl Streep shouldn't get nominated because she's won a lot and has been nominated a lot? That's kind of unfair. If she gives a brilliant performance she deserves to be recognized for it. 18 nominations and three wins aren't just coincidence. She's a brilliant actress that gets recognized for her work.
    The Oscars aren't about being "fair" and going "well this person has been nominated a lot so let's not nominate her this time" They find the best examples of each category, vote on them, and then award the Oscars to them. The only thing that matters in or the Oscars are the films that came out in that one year.

  • Annalise | January 16, 2014 1:53 PMReply

    I'm losing faith in the Oscars more and more. What film awards do you (anyone) find to be the most accurate, or least like a popularity contest?

  • michelle | January 16, 2014 1:38 PMReply

    I totally agree with the JLaw/Roberts part. I was officially done with Lawrence when she called acting "STUPID". She is an obnoxious, undeserving little brat.

  • Shoes | January 16, 2014 4:32 PM

    Once again her comments were taken out of context. She said, and I paraphrase, doctors save lives, and firefighters rush into burning buildings, and all I'm doing is acting. She knows hollywood is a crock of fake sh** yet she still acts because she loves it. She was comparing it to actual essential jobs. You're the brat

  • Raul | January 16, 2014 12:51 PMReply

    Yes, the snubbing of "Inside Llewyn Davis" is a travesty. I want to special order a medal and send it to Oscar Isaac for his acting and singing. "Inside Llewyn Davis" was the best of the year.

  • Morris | January 16, 2014 12:22 PMReply

    Bravo at least to the National Society of Film Critics for giving Inside Llewyn Davis the respect it deserves. Several critics groups also gave prizes to Blue is the Warmest Color and those awards were well deserved. I am sorry Robert Redford was overlooked for All is Lost as well as Joanna Lumley and Jean Dujardin from "The Wolf of Wall Street" among many fine others. Last but not least one of my favorite movies was warmly received. Philomena richly deserved the nods it garnered for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score.

  • Melissa McCarthy IS Matt Damon | January 16, 2014 12:20 PMReply

    Best line of the day: "I can't wait for next year when Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence both win Oscars for David O. Russell's "Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence Take a Shit.""

  • M. | January 16, 2014 1:14 PM

    With DDL playing the hapless father, and De' Niro the desensitized grandfather.

  • JJ | January 16, 2014 12:32 PM

    Guess who plays Lawrence's mother in 'Cooper and Lawrence Take a Shit?' Meryl Streep.

  • Andrew | January 16, 2014 12:17 PMReply

    Best read of the day. Thanks boys.

  • Jan Berlin | January 16, 2014 12:13 PMReply

    Thank you, guys. Exactly like that.

  • Burt | January 16, 2014 12:08 PMReply

    I totally agree with you on that "Cooper and Lawrence take a shit" upcoming picture. That on is the one I'm waiting for! Should be splendid.

  • Javiera | January 16, 2014 12:08 PMReply

    I'm really upset with no Daniel Bruhl's nomination. He did a amazing job in Rush!