29 Oscar Snubs & Surprises We Cannot Believe Actually Happened

29 Oscar Snubs & Surprises We Cannot Believe Actually Happened

Nominations for the 87th annual Academy Awards were announced on Thursday morning and we can't even with some of these omissions. No Jennifer Aniston, Ava DuVernay, "The LEGO Movie" or "Gone Girl"? You chose poorly, Oscars. Fortunately, there were some surprises mixed in to ease our pain. Ahead, the best and worst of Thursday's Oscar nominations.

Best Actress: Jennifer Aniston, "Cake"
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: How volatile is awards season? In September, Jennifer Aniston was barely considered a legitimate contender after "Cake" made its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. By December, Aniston became a full-fledged favorite in the category, a possible upstart who could even unseat presumed winner Julianne Moore. Today, she's snubbed. Aniston was visible throughout the last two months, but this may have come down to the fact that not a lot of people actually saw "Cake." If they did, Aniston would have been a nominee. She's great in the movie.
Best Director: Ava DuVernay, "Selma"
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: After "Selma" premiered in November, Ava DuVernay rose to the top of this category in the eyes of many pundits. Unfortunately, pundits don't vote for Oscars. DuVernay would have been the first black woman ever nominated for Best Director, but instead of taking victory laps over the last month, she was forced to battle back claims of historical inaccuracy. DuVernay's snub at this week's Directors Guild nominations felt like her campaign's last gasp.
Best Picture: "Gone Girl"
SNUBBED: The seeds for this egregious snub were sowed back in October: "Oscar voters greet 'Gone Girl' with a shrug" read the L.A. Times headline at the time. Oscar voters, get out more.
Best Actor: David Oyelowo, "Selma"
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: David Oyelowo plays Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," a performance that many have cited as the film's highlight. But a late start to awards season and the presence of too many other choices kept Oyelowo out of the Best Actor race. Future contenders, take note: Maybe come out in November instead of December.
Best Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal, "Nightcrawler"
Scott Roth/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Jake Gyllenhaal became one of awards seasons strongest -- and most visible -- contenders throughout the last two months, yet he was snubbed on Thursday in the Best Actor category. It comes as a shock, as Gyllenhaal previously grabbed nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards.
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, "American Sniper"
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: After scoring a nomination from the Directors Guild on Tuesday, it felt like Eastwood's momentum in this race was unstoppable. On Thursday, however, it stopped. Eastwood would have been the oldest Best Director nominee in history had he been able to complete a stunning late-season push for awards glory.
Best Director: Angelina Jolie, "Unbroken"
Vince Bucci/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Recent history suggests the directors branch of the Academy doesn't take kindly to actors turned directors (just ask Ben Affleck). And while Angelina Jolie came into awards season as one of the favorites here, support for "Unbroken" never materialized. One reason why is Jolie the filmmaker: She wasn't able to lasso Louis Zamperini's incredible true story into a compelling narrative.
Best Animated Feature: "The LEGO Movie"
Warner Bros.
SNUBBED: After "Everything Is Awesome" was a surprise inclusion in the Best Original Song category, it seemed like "The LEGO Movie" would sail through to a nomination for Best Animated Feature. It didn't, despite being one of the year's best reviewed movies, animated or not. Everything is not awesome.
Best Director: Damien Chazelle, "Whiplash"
Scott Roth/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Damien Chazelle spent an actual year in the awards conversation, so the absence of his name in this category is a shock. Fortunately, Chazelle is still an Oscar nominee: his "Whiplash" script was nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category.
Best Picture: "Nightcrawler"
Open Road
SNUBBED: If "Nightcrawler" had earned a Best Picture nomination it would have counted as one of this year's big surprises, but that doesn't preclude it from ranking among the day's snubs. In addition to sparkling reviews, Dan Gilroy's debut feature rated very highly within the industry: "Nightcrawler" grabbed nods from the Producers Guild, Writers Guild and Art Directors Guild, while star Jake Gyllenhaal received nominations from the Screen Actors Guild and BAFTA Awards. That kind of support usually translates into a Best Picture nomination. In this case, it didn't. Maybe "Nightcrawler" was just too weird (or, cynically, too good) for Academy tastes.
Best Director: David Fincher, "Gone Girl"
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Fincher was going for his third Oscar nomination in six years for "Gone Girl," but the Academy never warmed to his icy cold black comedy. Even Gillian Flynn, who turned her best-selling novel into one of the year's best scripts, was left out of Best Adapted Screenplay category.
Best Picture: "Foxcatcher"
Sony Pictures Classics
SNUBBED: Since its debut at the Cannes Film Festival last May, "Foxcatcher" has stood out as a major Best Picture contender. And it scored four big nominations on Thursday: Best Director for Bennett Miller, Best Actor for Steve Carell, Best Supporting Actor for Mark Ruffalo and Best Original Screenplay. Yet its Best Picture nomination never materialized. What happened?
Best Picture: "Unbroken"
SNUBBED: Thanks to an impressive list of collaborators -- cinematographer Roger Deakins, co-writers Joel and Ethan Coen, among many others -- Angelina Jolie's World War II drama came into awards season with the expectation that it would be a front-runner. It wasn't, and now it's done. The writing was on the wall for a while -- even the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group notorious for courting favor with major stars, snubbed Jolie's film at the Golden Globes -- but Jolie shouldn't feel too bad: "By the Sea," which Jolie directed and stars in alongside Brad Pitt, will arrive sometime this year, meaning it could be one of next year's Best Picture contenders.
Best Picture: "Into the Woods"
Best Picture: "A Most Violent Year"
SNUBBED: The NBR gave "A Most Violent Year" its best picture prize, an out-of-nowhere selection that wound up being more of an outlier than anything else. This is the kind of low-key film that would have needed months of grassroots support, and as a December release it just didn't have the time.
Best Picture: "Interstellar"
SNUBBED: "Interstellar" may have been the year's most hyped film, but that didn't translate to any awards love. In spite of Paramount's best efforts -- pleas to voters to see the film on the big screen, where Christopher Nolan's film had the most power -- "Interstellar" was an expected snub. It's a shame: while far from perfect, "Interstellar" is the kind of big swing from a major filmmaker that should be recognized in a category that swelled its ranks to include a better array of quality features.
Best Actor: Ralph Fiennes, "The Grand Budapest Hotel"
Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Was there a more disappointing snub on Thursday? Ralph Fiennes is wonderful in "The Grand Budapest Hotel": acerbic, heartbreaking, profane and hilarious. He's the best leading man in a Wes Anderson movie since Gene Hackman in "The Royal Tenenbaums." But a nod failed to materialize even after Fiennes was included among the BAFTA Award nominees for Best Actor.
Best Actor: Timothy Spall, "Mr. Turner"
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: No amount of grunting could get Timothy Spall a first career Oscar nomination for playing J.M.W. Turner, this despite a surfeit of strong reviews that dated back to the film's debut at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Spall stayed on the fringe of the Best Actor race for months, but he was never able to become a serious contender.
Best Picture: "Wild"
SNUBBED: Last year, Jean-Marc Vallée's "Dallas Buyers Club" scored a surprise Best Picture nomination and stood as one of the year's strongest contenders. This year, "Wild" wasn't so lucky. The Reese Witherspoon drama had its fans and supporters, but a serious campaign never materialized as Fox Searchlight focused its efforts in on "The Grand Budapest Hotel" and "Birdman."
Best Actress: Amy Adams, "Big Eyes"
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Let's call this a mini-snub. Once pundits felt Jennifer Aniston became a viable option for "Cake," Adams has consistently ranked sixth in a five-person race. (Adams' victory at the Golden Globes said more about the musical or comedy category than Adams' bona fides.) She's fine in "Big Eyes," but it pales in comparison to any of her previously nominated roles, including last year's "American Hustle" turn. Proof: even with Aniston's snub, Adams still wasn't nominated.
Best Actress: Emily Blunt, "Into the Woods"
Jonathan Short/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Emily Blunt should have known: you can't live in the woods.
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, "A Most Violent Year"
Omar Vega/Invision/AP
SNUBBED: Jessica Chastain had a surfeit of Oscar contenders this year, and maybe that was the problem. She was a supporting contender for "Interstellar" and "A Most Violent Year," and while that latter film had gotten most of her awards attention it didn't make the final cut on Thursday. The perils of being Hollywood's most sought-after actress!
Best Documentary: "Life Itself"
SNUBBED: Critics loved Steve James' documentary about Roger Ebert, but it didn't rate with Oscar voters on Thursday. One of the year's most-discussed docs was left off the list of contenders.
Best Picture: "Selma"
SURPRISE: "Selma" had some of 2014's best reviews and was listed on all 27 expert ballots over at Oscar prognostication site Gold Derby, but its status as a Best Picture nominee was still in some doubt. That's because the major guilds -- the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, American Society of Cinematographers, American Cinema Editors and Screen Actors Guild -- all declined to cite "Selma" among the year's top features. (It was shut out by the BAFTA Awards, too.) It looked like things would go that way with the Oscars, too, but "Selma" grabbed a Best Picture nomination, one of two it scored on Thursday.
Best Picture: "American Sniper"
Warner Bros.
SURPRISE: Back in 2004, in a year without a great many solidified Oscar contenders, Warner Bros. released Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby" on Dec. 15. It would go on win Best Picture. Whether that happens with "American Sniper" is unclear -- "Boyhood" and "Birdman" are better than anything "Million Dollar Baby" had to contend with -- but Warner Bros. and Eastwood were able to complete step one. After entering the conversation at the 11th hour, "American Sniper" is a Best Picture nominee, besting high profile contenders like "Unbroken" and "Interstellar" and, so far, avoiding widespread controversy despite its subject.
Best Picture: "Whiplash"
Sony Pictures Classics
SURPRISE: Okay, not really. "Whiplash" ranked as one of the 2014's most-loved films for literally a year: it premiere at last January's Sundance Film Festival and rode a surge of strong reviews and further festival plays to major contender status. The key was peaking at the right time: "Whiplash" remained consistent throughout 2014, and then took a huge upward turn over the last month, culminating with a Producers Guild Award nomination.
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper, "American Sniper"
Charles Sykes/Invision/AP
SURPRISE: Never bet against Bradley Cooper. The 40-year-old star scored his third Oscar nomination in as many years, and second for Best Actor. Cooper underwent a huge physical transformation to play former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle in "American Sniper," a commitment to his craft and performance that likely spoke to a many actors.
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, "Two Days, One Night"
Scott Roth/Invision/AP
SURPRISE: Sometimes critics do matter? Probably not, but it was critical support that threw Cotillard back into the race after her excellent-but-underseen performances in "Two Days, One Night" and "The Immigrant" won some key critics' groups prizes. "Two Days, One Night" is what Cotillard will represent at the Academy Awards in February, but consider this a nomination for both films. It's Cotillard's second nod, and first since winning in this category at the 2008 ceremony.
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, "Wild"
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
SURPRISE: Sometimes the Oscars get things right. Laura Dern was as deserving as any of the nominees in this category, but she was considered a long shot going into Thursday morning. She was cited for "Wild," but this might as well be a cumulative nod: Dern was just as good in "The Fault in Our Stars."

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