Welcome to the aughts. The new century started out with the terror of 9-11 and it ended with the collapse of the world’s economy. In between, a lot of films were released. Some of them were really good. A few of them were nominated for Best Picture. Most of them were not. As always, there were snubs aplenty.
2000: Michael Douglas Is Not Nominated For Wonder Boys
I recently saw someone online bemoaning the fact that Michael Douglas appears to be fated to end his career as a supporting character in the MCU as opposed to playing the type of “mature” roles with which he made his reputation. And I actually think that person had a good point. Michael Douglas, whose performances once epitomized the last few decades of the 20th Century, does seem a bit out of place surrounded by CGI and responding to the overly quippy dialogue of the MCU. If you want to see a truly good Michael Douglas performance that doesn’t involve anyone shrinking, check him out in Curtis Hanson’s Wonder Boys. Though Wonder Boys won the Oscar for Best Original Song and picked up nominations for Editing and Adapted Screenplay, Michael Douglas’s wonderful lead performance was overlooked.
2001: Mulholland Drive Is Almost Totally Ignored
Considering the reverence with which it is now viewed, it’s interesting to note that Mulholland Drive only received one Oscar nomination, for David Lynch’s direction. The film was not nominated for Best Picture. Naomi Watts and Laura Harring both went unnominated. At the time, I imagine the film was too strange for Academy voters and its origin as a television pilot probably worked against it. Today, it is regularly cited as one of the best films ever made.
2002: Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks Are Not Nominated For Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can was that rarest of movies, an underrated Steven Spielberg production. Christopher Walken was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and the film’s score was nominated as well. But both Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hanks went unnominated, despite doing some of the best work of their careers.
2002: Robin Williams Is Not Nominated For One Hour Photo
One Hour Photo featured what I consider to be Robin Williams’s best and most poignant performance. It was also perhaps his most frightening performance, which probably explains why the Academy shied away from honoring it.
2003: Scarlet Johansson Is Not Nominated For Best Actress For Lost In Translation
Though Bill Murray got most of the awards attention, Scarlet Johansson’s performance was just as important to the success of Lost In Translation.
2004: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Is Not Nominated For Best Picture or Best Actor
Even before he decided to present himself as being an expert on vaccines and modern art, I wasn’t a huge fan of Jim Carrey’s. That said, even I have to admit that he deserved a nomination for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. The film itself was only nominated for two Oscars. Kate Winslet was nominated for Best Actress and Charlie Kaufman won the Oscar for Original Screenplay. The film deserved quite a bit more.
2007: Once Is Not Nominated For Best Picture
This is one snub that I haven’t quite gotten over. Once, a beautiful independent film from Ireland, deserved far more love than it received from the Academy. That said, it did win the Oscar for Best Original Song and Glen Hansard gave one of the best acceptance speeches in Oscar history. So, there is a little justice.
2008: The Dark Knight Is Not Nominated For Best Picture
If ever there was a comic book movie that deserved to be nominated for Best Picture, it was this one. To me, I think the main reason why The Dark Knight is superior to so many other comic book movies is because, even with Batman and the Joker running around, it still feels as if it’s taking place in the real world. The smartest decision that Christopher Nolan made was to use a real city for Gotham instead of constructing a phony-looking set. The fact that The Dark Knight received 8 nominations without also receiving a nomination for Best Picture leaves little doubt that the film’s lack of a nomination was due to its origins as a comic book movie. There was such an uproar about The Dark Knight failing to pick up a Best Picture nomination that the Academy increased the number of Best Picture nominees to ten. (Of course, that’s didn’t do much to help anything.)
2008: Robert Downey, Jr. Is Not Nominated For Best Actor For Iron Man
The MCU is now so big that it’s easy to forget that, if Robert Downey, Jr. hadn’t been a convincing Tony Stark in 2008, the whole thing would have never happened. Going back and watching the early MCU films, before they got bogged down in their own formula, can be an eye-opening experience. Downey’s performance in the first Iron Man holds up extremely well. He goes from being an irresponsible businessman to being a hero and he’s convincing at every turn. He gave such a good performance that it convinced even those of us who weren’t comic book readers to stick around and see what was coming up next in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
2009: George Wyner Is Not Nominated For Best Supporting Actor For A Serious Man
Not all snubs involve big stars or famous actors. Some of them involve talented character actors like George Wyner who totally knock their one scene out of the park but who still don’t get the recognition that they deserve. In A Serious Man, Wyner plays the rabbi who tells Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) the parable of the dentist who found Hebrew phrases on the teeth of one of his patients. It’s a mesmerizing scene, thanks to George Wyner’s skill as a storyteller.
Agree? Disagree? Have a snub of your own that you’d like to mention? Let us know in the comments!
Coming up next, we go from the 2010s to the present day!
Excellent choices. I wholeheartedly agree with these (except maybe RDJ). Some more for me:
Almost Famous 2000 Best Film
Spirited Away 2001 Best (non animated) Film
The Prestige 2006 Adapted Screenplay
Adam Sandler 2002 Punch Drunk Love
Joe Wright 2007 Atonement
Phillip Seymour Hoffman 2002 Love Liza
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