Each year countless deserving contenders are left out of the Oscar running, and like clockwork, audience members, filmmakers, and culture consumers rant about it on Twitter.
I’ve never gotten too upset over Oscar snubs, until this year. I’m mad and I want to talk about it.
Let me get one snub off my chest. Nightcrawler was a spectacular film that I felt deserved a Best Picture and Best Director nod. But more disappointing than those omissions is that Jake Gyllenhaal was ignored and left out of the Best Actor category. His captivating performance as Lou Bloom was nothing short of magnificent. He was bone chillingly good as the nocturnal creature-of-a-man who will do whatever it takes to make money, and he absolutely deserved a nomination.
Now that Nightcrawler is off my chest, on to what really got me riled up.
SELMA. Anyone who has seen Selma would agree that David Oyelowo deserved an Oscar nomination (and I think, a win). How in the world was he left out? It just feels wrong; horribly and terribly wrong. The fact that Ava DuVernay was left out of the running also seems somewhat calculated. In the 87 years of the Academy Awards, only four women have ever been nominated for Best Director and only one has won (Kathyrn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker). This was an opportunity to add another talented and deserving woman to the list and I’m so sad that the chance fell through. Either way, DuVernay rocked it and Selma is a remarkable film – it’s still a win for aspiring female directors everywhere.
My last bit about Selma is that Carmen Ejogo’s performance as Coretta Scott King was absolutely Oscar worthy, yet her chance for an Oscar nomination was not even discussed. Why?
Last but not least, I want to talk about Wild. Wild received two important nominations (Reese Witherspoon for Best Actress and Laura Dern for Best Supporting Actress) but it was left out of the Best Picture category and I think that’s a shame. All of the films nominated for Best Picture this year feature a male protagonist, and all but one feature a white male. This shows women and girls everywhere that their stories simply don’t matter. That their lives just aren’t as important or entertaining as the lives of men. Based on merit alone Wild deserved a Best Picture nomination.
So what do I take away from this year’s nominations? O boy, does Hollywood have a long way to go. Tensions have been high in the US lately – race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and socioeconomic issues have all been on the forefront of discussions and debates about our society and what America stands for. Here’s what I think: empathy is one of the most important characteristics of any thriving community. We as Americans and human beings desperately need to understand those who are different from us, and movies have the chance to do that. By making movies that matter, our society can change. By including women and people of color in front of and behind the camera, we can change the world. Lets have our movies and television shows actually represent our country and all of the people who call it home.
What are your thoughts on this year’s Oscar nominations?