When the Academy announced the latest crop of Oscar nominees this morning, they left out some pretty famous — and deserving — folks. They also anointed a movie that wasn’t expected to get major Oscar attention.
We asked Rolling Stone film critic Peter Travers and New York Times film critic A.O. Scott to run down who got snubbed and which nominees surprised them:
1. SNUB: Kathryn Bigelow. Travers called Bigelow’s lack of a best director nomination for “Zero Dark Thirty” the Academy’s No. 1 snub. Bigelow was up for best director for 2009′s “The Hurt Locker” and became the first woman to ever win that Oscar. He’s calling sexism: “Do they think that because they gave it to her for ‘Hurt Locker, they don’t have to give another woman best director for another 100 years?”
Scott was similarly shocked: “That movie is such a piece of directing. It seemed like something I thought everyone could agree on.”
2. SNUB: Ben Affleck. The “Argo” director and star didn’t get recognized in the acting or directing categories, though, like Bigelow, his film is up for best picture and other awards. ”His was one of the most acclaimed directing jobs of the year,” Travers said. “It was a film that was intelligent, adult, and made money.”
Affleck’s talents may have rubbed the directors who choose the category’s nominees the wrong way. “Sometimes directors have a grudge against actors who direct,” Scott said.
3. SNUB: Quentin Tarantino. Another director who didn’t make the cut, though his movie did: Tarantino. “Django Unchained” is up for best picture and an acting award, but no dice for best director. “I think he’s a little scary for the Academy,” Scott said. “He’s sort of a maverick and a bit of a loose cannon. If you look at that nomination as the club of directors voting for who they like, they might not want him in that club.”
4. SNUB: Leonardo DiCaprio. The “Django” villain could’ve finally clinched an Oscar had he been up for best supporting actor, but the Academy left him out, instead nominating Christoph Waltz, DiCaprio’s lovable co-star. “If they were thinking of ratings, they probably should’ve nominated Leo,” Travers said. “But I think Christoph Waltz does have a better performance.”
5. SURPRISE: “Amour.” Though the French drama won the top trophy at the Cannes Film Festival this year, it wasn’t expected to get mainstream recognition. “Winning that prize usually means nothing,” in terms of Hollywood, Scott said. ”But this one, it’s really touched a chord. It’s a really tough movie. It’s very sad, it’s very emotional, but really, extraordinarily well made.”
Travers quipped that the film about two octogenarians might appeal to the Academy for other reasons. “If you consider that the average age of an Academy voter is 127,” he said, “they’re going to be really interested about a couple in their 80s dealing with death.”
Who do you think got snubbed? Share your thoughts below.