The Best and Worst of The 2014 Oscar Nominations


The Academy giveth, and the Academy taketh away…

Things I’m Happy About:

  • The Grand Budapest Hotel leads with 9 nominations! (Birdman also gets nine nominations, but who’d be excited about that?)
  • Wes Anderson gets nominated for Best Director for the first time in his life, and for his best movie.
  • While we’re on the subject of firsts: The Grand Budapest is the first Anderson movie to get nominated for Production Design. A ridiculous occurrence, considering that’s Anderson’s most iconic feature as a director, but good that it finally happened!
  • Marion Cotillard managed to get nominated for her superb work in Two Days, One Night based almost entirely on critics hailing the performance, while all of Jennifer Aniston’s PR and campaigning couldn’t get her a nomination for Cake, which is apparently a movie that exists.
  • Laura Dern surprised everyone with a Supporting Actress nomination for her lovely performance in Wild
  • Despite a muted response from audiences and a mixed response from critics, Inherent Vice rightfully gets into the Adapted Screenplay category, and gets another nomination for Costume Design to boost.
  • Beyond the Lights is an Oscar nominee! Now please watch this movie.
  • The Animated Feature category shines a light on foreign, hand-drawn animation with nominations for Song of the Sea and, one of my favorites, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
  • Despite stupid controversy and a lackluster showing at previous awards shows, Selma managed to get a Best Picture nomination… which brings me to…

Things I’m Unhappy About: 

  • How does Selma only get two nominations?! One for Best Picture, the other for Original Song. How do director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo not get nominated for work superior to 90% of the nominees in both those categories?!
  • The Academy proves they’re as out-of-touch as the worst corners of America, as they barely notice Selma, while showering the jingoistic American Sniper with six nominations.
  • To further prove this point, all sixteen actors nominated today are white…
  • …and there are zero women nominated for Directing, Cinematography, or any of the two Writing categories.
  • The Lead Actor category is a freaking snooze. Just yesterday, performances as sublimely idiosyncratic as David Oyelowo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Ralph Fiennes all seemed possible. Today, we get the worst Lead Actor line-up since… 2004?.
  • As for Best Director, I might not be a huge fan of surprise nominee Bennett Miller, but at least he was trying to do something with FoxcatcherMorten Tyldum’s direction of The Imitation Game makes Tom Hooper look like Ingmar Bergman.
  • Robert Duvall got nominated for The Judge. I don’t know if he’s deserving or not, but now I feel like I have to see The Judge and I sure as hell don’t want to.

Things That Are Surprising But I Don’t Particularly Care About:

  • The LEGO Moviedespite being one of the biggest hits of the year, and earning rave reviews, didn’t get nominated for Best Animated Feature. I, for one, think it’s a fun but flawed movie, so I don’t really care that much that it wasn’t nominated. Although it deserved the nomination much more than Big Hero 6 and How to Train Your Dragon 2. 
  • Similarly, Gone Girlthe biggest hit this year that was also not based on a franchise and aimed primarily at thinking adults, only got one nomination for Rosamund Pike. I didn’t love the movie, but if I’m being honest, it’s infinitely more accomplished and interesting than freaking The Imitation Game. 
  • Another big hit with critics was Force Majeure, which didn’t make it into the Foreign Language Film category despite being Sweden’s official submission. Most people found it to be a deliciously dark comedy. I didn’t.

If you want the full list, click here.



  1. The Animation Commendation · January 15, 2015

    The LEGO Movie snub was a big one for me! As well as Glen Keane’s ‘Duet’ snub for Best Animated Short Film.

    All the nominated actors being white or no women being nominated for the categories you mentioned don’t really bother me as I personally didn’t even notice it until you mentioned it. Maybe the Academy felt that the actors mentioned deserved the nominations and the directors/choreographers/etc deserved the nominations. Granted, I haven’t seen many of the films and I’m FAR from a professional critic, but I don’t feel that the Academy should nominate minorities JUST for the sake of nominating minorities. If they do nominate anyone, it should be because they deserved to be nominated as opposed to just increasing a statistic.

    But like I said, I could be totally wrong and maybe there were many non-white actors who DESERVED acting nominations, but were snubbed or many women directors/writers/etc who DESERVED nominations, but were snubbed. I don’t really know.

    • Conrado Falco · January 15, 2015

      I think it’s not so much that they should nominate minorities and women just because, if they thought someone else did a better job, then vote for him/her. What is bothersome is that this shows a lack of opportunity and respect for people of color and women in the industry. The Academy has the opportunity to lead in charge in helping different and unique stories to be told. I personally think we should have more diversity in the movies we watch, and in that respect, the Oscars aren’t really helping much.

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