Anghus Houvouras on whether Amy Adams, Clint Eastwood and Finding Dory were snubbed by the Oscars with today’s Academy Award nominations…
No. They totally weren’t. None of them belonged on that list.
There’s the short version. Here’s the long one.
Every year the Oscar nominations stir up controversy. There are times where the incredulity is totally justified, like last year’s alabaster diversity free pile of nominees. Other years (like this one) is more about personal preferences and passionate entitlement.
For someone who doesn’t generally care about award season, I found myself nodding along as I read the list of nominees. There were movies I generally loved on the list. Films like Hell or High Water, Hacksaw Ridge, and Fences. Acting nominees like Andrew Garfield, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon, and Michelle Williams. Hair & Make Up nominees like Suicide Squad.
That’s right kids. Suicide Squad is an Academy Award nominated motion picture. And if that’s enough sand in your ass crack, they nominated Meryl Streep yet again for whatever over the top cartoon she appeared that I mercifully avoided like the plague.
There are those out there who take these nominations rather seriously and will go knives out immediately after not hearing a particular named called out. Right now the screaming masses of social media have focused on three major ‘snubs’ in this year’s nominations. Let’s take a closer look.
Clint Eastwood: Director – Sully
This is the one I find most puzzling. Did people see Sully? It was atrocious. A movie without a story featuring some of the most melodramatic performances ever put to film. Sully was a movie without stakes, without a second act, and an ending so hilariously awful that I cringed my way out of the theater. My favorite scenes in Sully were the ones where Tom Hanks and Laura Linney would be on the phone talking to one another. Eastwood has some kind of weird obsession with people talking on the phone trying to convey added drama. In Sully it was Linney saying things like “We have to pay this bill, Sully” twenty minutes after the guy is fished out of the Hudson.
Does anyone genuinely believe that Eastwood’s work on Sully is better than any of the five nominees? He crafted a very grey, very dull, very uneven drama. Had Sully not been directed by an icon like Eastwood, I think critics would have torn it apart like a pack of starving wolves at a petting zoo.
The people clamoring about Eastwood’s perceived ‘snub’ are probably doing because of his storied career, not the painfully less than average Sully.
Amy Adams in Arrival & Nocturnal Animals
I like Amy Adams. She’s a gifted actress and absolute delight to see on-screen most of the time. Unfortunately that Amy Adams didn’t show up in Arrival or Nocturnal Animals. Instead she spends both movies looking remarkably intense and spends a lot of time staring listlessly off camera. Nocturnal Animals has her constantly taking of her glasses and staring off camera. Had you taken a shot every time her character did this in the film you’d have died of alcohol poisoning by the start of the third act.
Arrival was the most beloved film of the year that I just didn’t click with. Her performance here was equally minimalistic. Lots of furrowed brows and off camera stares. Lots of the most dramatic lines delivered as voice overs. For me, what Adams was doing in Arrival and Nocturnal Animals wasn’t all that layered or nuanced. She lacked something in both films that I think factored greatly into her omission:
Say whatever you want about La La Land. Loved, hated, liked, loathed. Emma Stone acted her ass off in that movie. You saw joy, pain, elation, and heartbreak. Every reaction wasn’t a steely gaze or an off camera lament. There was an actual performance happening in front of you. When people were going on and on about Adams’ lock for an acting nomination, I wondered what exactly people saw in those performances that made them think that. I saw restraint and a general lack of range.
Finding Dory for Best Animated Feature
This is the ‘snub’ that makes me happiest, if for no other reason that people finally seem to understand that making the same film over and over again (no matter how pretty) doesn’t guarantee you a nomination. It’s strange to see the animated category without a Pixar film, but the studio has been so busy making pointless sequels far removed from their best work that this omission feels necessary.
For me, none of these were ‘snubs’. Just good, sensible voting from the Academy members.
What are your thoughts on the Oscar nominations? Let us know in the comments below…