FRIDAY FIVE! Biggest 2013 Oscar Surprises

Academy Awards

Its on!

Nominations for the 85th Academy Awards were announced last week and there were a slew of wicked snubs and surprises.  Personally, I’m delighting in what is clearly the “inciting incident” (YES!) of Oscar pandemonium.  I love a good twist and the academy was sure to “flip the script” (DOUBLE YES!) on my expectations for nominees.  Seriously, this year’s list offers more head-scratchers than the Manti Te’o hoax.  And after the Golden Globes, some of the Oscar snubs seem even more outrageous.  A true award season “cliff-hanger” (OMG!  I’M ON FIRE!).

Most importantly… this means I’m going to have to work extra hard to win my 85th straight Oscar pool.

So what are the top 5 Oscar snubs and surprises this year?  Forget what you’ve read on on other lists and prepare to have your mind blown.  Here at the Casual Gentlemen, we don’t shy away from controversy.  Which leads us to…


5. “Everyone Needs a Best Friend,” Ted,  (Best Original Song)

What shocks me so much about the Best Original Song category is not necessarily the inclusion of this Norah Jones song — its an ok piece — but rather the lack of any Disney/Pixar song.  What the hell Academy?  “Touch the Sky,” from the first true Disney/Pixar collaboration, Brave, definitely deserves to be included and I vote we scrap the only nomination associate with Ted.  The movie is ridiculous enough… imagine if you’re stoned friend invites you over to watch “the Oscar winning film, Ted.”  The apocalypse is nigh!  Fortunately for planet Earth, I think Adel’s excellent theme from Skyfall has this category wrapped up.

4. Quevenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild, (Best Actress in a Leading Role)

To be fair, I haven’t seen Beasts of the Southern Wild yet.  Excessive hand-held camerawork makes me barf, so I either have to go to the theater doped up on dramamine or wait till the film comes out on video.  But, I think this nomination speaks more to excellent screenwriting and a massively talented director than true acting chops.  There is simply no way you can convince me a 9 year old is processing the script and making personal, informed acting decisions that enhance and challenge what is presented on the page.  Not in a million years.  They simply haven’t had enough time to establish skills and experience.  Any acting nomination of someone under, say, 14, is a nod to the director.

3. Ben Affleck, Argo, (Snubbed for Best Director)

Argo was a fantastic movie with some very solid directing from Ben Affleck.  I was most impressed with the pacing.  Affleck manages to build exciting, engrossing cinematic tension in a film where, basically, nothing much happens.  Screenwriters help by creating the structure necessary for this to work… they can help us understand and buy into the tension, but it is up to the director to make us feel the conflict.  And Ben did a great job with that!  Still, I wasn’t super surprised by his lack of a directing nomination.  Then the Golden Globes roll around and Ben Affleck wins Best Director AND Best Picture!  I bet you feel stupid now, don’t you Academy?

2. Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty, (Snubbed for Best Director)

I have NO IDEA what was going through the Academy’s mind when they didn’t offer Kathryn Bigelow a directing nomination.  Especially when Zero Dark Thirty is a front runner for best picture.  Is it because she won last year?  Is it because, dare I go here, she is a woman?  Whatever the reason, shame on you Academy.  You really dropped the ball… that was covered in crazy glue… and duct tapped to your hands… in zero gravity…

1. Silver Linings Playbook

I’ve seen Silver Linings Playbook and it is indeed a fantastic film… maybe a little formulaic, but what romantic comedy isn’t?  Still, this has to be the biggest surprise of all Oscar nominations!  Silver Linings Playbook is the only film this year to be nominated in every major category (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress) and the first film since Reds in 1981 (31 years!) to have nominations in all four acting categories.  This film has some serious mojo!  Could Silver Linings Playbook be the dark-horse that upsets Lincoln as best picture?  Only time will tell…



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