Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences unleashed their nominations for the 2014 Academy Awards. And with those nominations, of course, came a large number of both surprises and snubs. This was to be expected, since every year there are people screaming at the top of their lungs with happiness and crying with the same pitch and tenor because they were left out. 2013, too, was a particularly excellent year for movies, which made the decisions even tougher.
But hey, you can't make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, and this year was no exception. Below are the biggest surprises and snubs of the 2014 Oscar nominations.
1. 'Inside Llewyn Davis' Was Lost in the Shuffle
This critical darling from the Coen Brothers, set during the folk rock scene of lower Manhattan in the '60s, topped a number of influential critics' lists and was poised to be the next breakout indie sensation (as it slowly expands nationwide). But this morning it was ignored entirely. The screenplay, a place where even the most esoteric Coens doodle has a chance at eking out a nomination, didn't even register and neither did any number of the movie's original songs. Instead, they gave it to that screechy ditty Joaquin Phoenix sings to his computer in "Her."
2. The Academy Said 'No' to 'Saving Mr. Banks'
Again, not a single major nomination for this well-regarded period piece about the making of "Mary Poppins." It did get a nomination for Thomas Newman's score, arguably the most grating part of the entire movie, but no Best Picture nominee and, most shocking of all, no nomination for Emma Thompson, who plays P.L. Travers, the thorny author of the original "Mary Poppins" books. "Saving Mr. Banks" was unfairly attacked at every turn, mostly due to the fact that Disney (the company) was making a movie about Disney (the man). That bad word of mouth clearly influenced voters, and turned the movie into this year's "Hitchcock" -- an insider-y movie-about-a-movie that failed to connect with the larger awards base.
3. Julia Roberts Was Nominated for 'August: Osage County' Instead of Margot Martindale
Of all the heavyweights in "August: Osage County," it would have been hard to predict that the "Pretty Woman" herself Julia Roberts would be one of the few to be singled out (the other, Meryl Streep, was more of a foregone conclusion). Not only did Roberts bump Thompson from contention, but she also sabotaged her "August: Osage County" costar Margot Martindale, whose performance has more depth and variety than Roberts's shrill, one-note role.
4. Robert Redford Was Ignored for "All Is Lost"
Simply put, "All Is Lost" is the performance of Robert Redford's career. It's subtle, internal, physical, and totally amazing. And yet he failed to get a nomination. I have a vision of elderly Academy voters everywhere popping in their DVD screeners and becoming outraged at the fact that there isn't any dialogue. Then swapping it out for "Philomena" or something. This is one of today's true tragedies.
5. The Critically Eviscerated 'The Lone Ranger' Was Nominated for Something
They said it couldn't be done, but it was! "The Lone Ranger," which underperformed at the box office (not to mention critically), is now an Oscar nominee. Sure, it's in one of the technical categories (Visual Effects), but it's totally deserved and hopefully will spur others to check out this unfairly ignored adventure, which features what might be the single greatest train chase in the history of cinema.
6. 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' Was Shut Out
Again, this was surprisingly shut out of every category. You know how bad Oprah wanted that award, too. It seems like Academy voters only had enough room in their heart for one movie that openly probed the African American experience, and that movie was "12 Years a Slave," since another film about race in America, "Fruitvale Station," was also snubbed. This is particularly a shame considering how wonderful Michael B. Jordan's lead performance in "Fruitvale Station" was.
7. 'The Wolf of Wall Street'Cleaned Up Like a Dirty Stockbroker
Honestly, this was my favorite movie of last year, but I didn't expect the Academy to go for it in such a big way. After all, one of the first things you see in the movie is Leonardo DiCaprio snorting cocaine out of a hooker's backside (something I still don't quite understand). But "Wolf of Wall Street" cleaned up like a dirty stockbroker -- not only did Leo and Jonah Hill secure acting nominations, but it was also nominated for Best Picture and, more importantly, Best Director for Martin Scorsese. (Tellingly, the three-hour monster did not get a nomination for Best Editing.) It's a shame newcomer Margot Robbie couldn't secure one of the contentious Best Supporting Actress slots. She can blame Sally Hawkins, whose nomination for "Blue Jasmine" was certainly a surprise.
8. Roger Deakins Was Nominated (for the 11th Time) for 'Prisoners'
Roger Deakins is one of the world's most accomplished cinematographers, most notable for his work with the Coen Brothers. He's also the Susan Lucci of cinematographers. His last nomination, for "Skyfall," was his tenth nomination. Maybe 11 will be his lucky number. We sure hope so.
9. Tom Hanks Was Completely Shut Out
It's kind of hard to feel sorry for Tom Hanks, who has not only won every award under the sun but seems to be the most well-liked actor on the planet. That said, it is pretty shocking that he wasn't able to secure a nomination for Best Actor, for "Captain Phillips" (which managed a shocking Best Picture nom), or Best Supporting Actor, for his role as Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks."
10. What Happened to 'Before Midnight'?
There was hope from some of us that "Before Midnight," the universally praised third installment of the unlikely series by director Richard Linkleter that mostly consists of people sitting around and talking, would rack up a few of the major awards. After all, there's a possibility that this could be the last installment in the "franchise" (not sure that's the right word, but hey). Julie Delpy would have been an excellent Best Actress choice, but like many of the bigger indie movies ("Frances Ha" and "Enough Said" included), it was overlooked. Instead, the Academy gave Delpy, Ethan Hawke, and Linkleter, a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, which the second film ("Before Sunset") also secured. Hopefully there's a fourth one just so they can pick up some much-deserved nominations.
The 2014 Academy Awards airs live Sunday, March 2 at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT on ABC.