On January 10, the Academy Award nominations will be announced. While there is certainty of the films & actors that will get in - Lincoln & Daniel Day-Lewis, Les Miserables & Anne Hathaway, and Zero Dark Thirty among them - there will be certain movies and actors who will get the unfortunate shaft of the snub.
It's a sad part of Oscar life - works and performances certain audience members loved with the longing for others to take notice, only to get ignored in the bigger picture. Even if they get recognition from other popular awards shows (the Golden Globes and the SAG's among them), it may not be enough to lure Hollywood's most significant prize to their attention. For this Examiner, these were five ridiculous failures perpetuated by the Academy's lack of recognition (or perhaps foresight).
5. Donald Sutherland doesn't show up for Ordinary People
Robert Redford's 1980 directorial debut had the dubious task of being crowned that year's top film - defeating Martin Scorsese's landmark boxing drama Raging Bull. While the latter film's star Robert De Niro deservedly won the Best Actor prize, the leading man of Redford's film was nowhere in sight. Sutherland starred as a man dealing with the ramifications of a family tragedy, and its impact on his wife (Mary Tyler Moore) & young son (Timothy Hutton). Most of the praise Sutherland received for this film is reserved for its penultimate scene, where his character Calvin confesses his feelings about his wife's handling of her guilt. While De Niro would have likely beaten Sutherland, he was still unjustly robbed of a nomination. He has never been nominated for an Oscar during his long-distinguished career.
4. Malcolm McDowell got no love for A Clockwork Orange
Like Sutherland, this British actor has never received any love from the Academy throughout his career. His greatest snub - and perhaps his finest hour on screen - may have come in Stanley Kubrick's 1971 adaptation of Anthony Burgess' outrageous totalitarian novel. McDowell sang, danced and warped his way through the role of Alex DeLarge, a self-proclaimed "droog" who terrorizes London - only to see the light of his ultraviolent ways. Besides his raucous behavior, McDowell also had the stunning task of making the classic song "Singin' in the Rain" sound menacing - and yet hilarious at the same time - even in a violent act committed with Alex's fellow hoodlums. While Kubrick's film received top nods in Best Picture and Best Director, the heart and soul of that work was nowhere to be seen on the Best Actor list.
3. Baz Luhrmann snubbed for Moulin Rouge!
This may be an example of how a film doesn't exactly direct itself - while this ambitious 2001 musical scored eight nominations including Best Picture, its ambitious storyteller was nowhere on the list for Best Director. Luhrmann had only done two films prior (1992's Strictly Ballroom & 1996's Romeo + Juliet), but his kinetic visual style added to the powerful love story of a Bohemian writer (Ewan McGregor) and the courtesan (Nicole Kidman) that steals his heart. The use of 20th century pop music in a 19th century setting was certainly daring, and critics were divided over the film's content. Yet when Moulin Rouge! became an awards darling, it was expected for Luhrmann to be rewarded for his risk-taking. He wasn't.
2. Hoop Dreams gets snubbed for Best Documentary Feature
This 1994 film had the feel of an epic fiction film, but the stories being presented by Chicago filmmaker Steve James are all too real. Two teenagers, Arthur Agee and William Gates, grow up through their school days with the hopes of achieving basketball stardom - and the effect it has on their families. Along the way, they all encounter various setbacks and triumphs on and off the court. Critics hailed Hoop Dreams as one of the greatest documentaries ever made, with Chicago-based critics Gene Siskel & Roger Ebert stepping up as champions for James and his fellow filmmakers. Yet the film was kept off the shortlist for Best Documentary Feature, with news later circulating several Academy members purposefully voting it low enough to stay out of the race. The three-hour film received a consolation prize, in the form of a Best Editing nomination.
1. Jim Carrey's no-show for The Truman Show
For most of the 1990s, the Canadian-born performer was mostly known for his outrageous comic characters - from his work on In Living Color to Ace Ventura and The Mask. Then in 1998, Carrey took on what had to be the riskiest move of his career by taking a more serious role than fans had grown used to. The Truman Show was a satirical dramedy centered around Truman Burbank (Carrey), the star of the world's most popular reality show - yet he doesn't realize any of the success surrounding it. Truman has always seen the world he lives in and the people he knows are real, until a light falling sets off a chain of events to unravel everything he has ever known. Carrey won the Golden Globe for his role as Truman, but when the 1998 Oscar nods came out, he wasn't even a nominee for the Best Actor prize. Over a decade later, it remains a great slight on the list of all-time slights that Oscar should have never committed.