Oscar Nominations: Surprises and Snubs

It’s awards season in Hollywood, and the races for America’s most prestigious movie honors, the Academy Awards, are as close as ever.

On January 10, 2013, this year’s host, Seth MacFarlane, and movie star, Emma Stone, revealed the Oscar nominations. There were some obvious choices, exciting surprises, and serious snubs.

Even  before the nominations came out, there seemed to be one category that was attracting a lot of attention – the director’s category. With numerous options and only five spots to fill, the Academy had to choose between directors such as Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Ben Affleck (Argo), Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained), Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Steven Spielberg (Lincoln), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables), and many others.

However, this category was composed of only two of the above frontrunners – Steven Spielberg and Ang Lee. David O. Russel (Silver Linings Playbook), Benh Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild), and Michael Haneke (Amour) were surprise nominees, especially considering the directorial talent they took the place of.

Since these nominations were released, many other awards shows have occurred. And, without a nod for best director, Ben Affleck has prevailed at the Critic’s Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and The Director’s Guild of America, among others. This rare feat cemented Affleck’s fine directorial decisions and showed that while respected, the Academy is not omniscient.

It also seems that his movie Argo, will be the first film since 1989 to win the Oscar for Best Picture without a nod in the director’s category. Argo, along with Affleck, has been winning at ceremonies such as the Screen Actors Guild Awards, Golden Globes, and Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards.

Although these two categories are almost entirely determined, other contests are still very close. The closest one, perhaps, between Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty and Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook, seems like it will be ongoing until Oscar night.

Lawrence is slightly in the lead, and has been winning the honor over Chastain at many awards ceremonies. However, the Academy’s decisions are hard to predict, so it is still a tight race between the two nominees. Overall, the Oscars are on track to hold yet another thrilling and awe-inspiring event this year.

So, tune in on February 24 to see all of the red carpet dresses, Hollywood glamour, and awards—and look out for some more ceremonial surprises and snubs!

-Alexandra Stern ‘14