Oscar snubs: ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ and Robert Redford and Oprah deserved better

Ann Hornaday
Movie critic January 16

First, you kvell.

When the 2014 Academy Awards nominees were announced early Thursday, all ears were attuned to the expected names. Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong’o, Cate Blanchett, Matthew McConaughey and Bruce Dern given nods in their respective categories? Check.

Ann Hornaday is The Post's movie critic. View Archive

Gravity,” “American Hustle” and “12 Years a Slave” dominating nominations for acting, writing, directing and best picture? No big surprises there, and all as it should be.

Then, you cry. No nomination for Robert Redford for his astonishing one-man show in the gripping seafaring thriller “All Is Lost”? Outrage! No Tom Hanks, who delivered such a subtle tour de force in “Captain Phillips”? The nerve! No Oprah Winfrey or Forest Whitaker for their superb performances in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler”? Robbed, I tell you, robbed!

No love for “Inside Llewyn Davis,” other than deserved nods for sound mixing and cinematography? (The film’s brilliantly satiric ditty “Please Mr. Kennedy” should have been a shoo-in for best original song but was deemed not original enough because of its sly nods to previous ’60s folk songs.) No “Stories We Tell” in the lineup for best documentary?

Washington Post film critic Stephanie Merry breaks down the snubs and surprises in the nominations for the Academy Awards, which will air on ABC on March 2. (Jayne Orenstein/The Washington Post)

Oh, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. You exist to make us crazy.

Granted, in a year as strong as 2013, there are bound to be heartbreaks once the winnowing process begins. But Thursday’s shutouts were notable, especially the near-complete shutout of “Saving Mr. Banks,” a paean to Hollywood studio big-footing (er, collaboration) that earned only one nomination, for original score. Emma Thompson, who many predicted would be recognized for her tart portrayal of “Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers, went unlauded, her spot presumably on permanent hold for Meryl Streep.

Still, having nominated nine films for best picture, surely the Academy could have come up with a 10th in such a strong year. What a perfect way to honor “Fruitvale Station,” Ryan Coogler’s stunning debut featuring a quietly electrifying lead performance by Michael B. Jordan — or at least “Saving Mr. Banks,” “Blue Jasmine” or “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

The day’s biggest “Huh?” came when the nominees for best original song were announced. Exactly which left field did “Alone Yet Not Alone” come from, and how did it snag a coveted Oscar nomination?

The 3-D space thriller "Gravity" chronicles astronaut Ryan Stone's (Sandra Bullock) desperate attempt to survive in space after an accident separates her from the NASA space shuttle she was working to repair. The movie was nominated for Best Picture by the Academy Awards. (Warner Bros. Pictures)

After the kvelling and the crying, the questioning begins.

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