2014 Oscar Snubs: Oprah Winfrey, 'Lee Daniels' The Butler' And More
With the Oscar nominations announced, speculation is running wild on who got subbed and who is undeservedly praised. Most notable on everybody’s snub list is Oprah Winfrey, who was considered a shoe-in for a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her work in Lee Daniels’ The Butler.
Winfrey, who had not appeared in a feature film since 1998’s Beloved, received a Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) Award nomination as well as a BAFTA nomination for her role, but was left out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) when they failed to nominate her for a Golden Globe.
Despite the Golden Globe snub, many still considered Winfrey a top Oscar contender. If nominated, this would have been Winfrey’s second nomination. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 1986 for her work in The Color Purple. Winfrey was passed over in favor of nominees Luita Nyong’o (12 Years A Slave), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), June Squibb (Nebraska) and Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine).
'The Butler' Gets Zero Nominations
Even more shocking than Winfrey’s exclusion from the Best Supporting Actress race was Lee Daniels’ The Butler’s exclusion from Oscar nominations completely. The film, heralded as an ‘Oscar movie’ since before its release, failed to receive even one nomination. The team behind The Butler was comprised of multiple Oscar nominees and winners, including Oscar-nominated director Lee Daniels and the Oscar-winning leading man, Forest Whitaker. Practically the entire cast has been nominated for an Academy Award – Terrence Howard (Hustle & Flow), Cuba Gooding Jr. (won for Jerry Maguire), Robin Williams (nominated four times and won once for Good Will Hunting), Vanessa Redgrave (nominated six times with one win) and Jane Fonda (nominated seven times with two wins).
Perhaps Lee Daniels’ The Butler was hurt by its early release (August, 2013) or by the film that, arguably, stole a bit of its press, 12 Years A Slave. Coincidentally, 12 Years A Slave received a total of nine nominations, including first time nominations for actors Chewitel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’o and Michael Fassbender. 12 Years A Slave director, Steve McQueen, also received a nomination for Best Director.
Oscar Snubs: 'Inside Llewyn Davis' And Robert Redford
But, Lee Daniels’ The Butler was not the only Oscar contender subbed Thursday morning. Inside Llewyn Davis was almost completely absent from the nominations list, save for two: one for Best Sound Mixing and the other for Best Cinematography. Oscar winning directors Joel Coen and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men) were left out of the Best Director race, as was lead actor Oscar Isaac.
Despite being nominated for Best Picture, Captain Phillips failed to pick up nominations in many of the big categories, including Best Director for Paul Greengrass and Best Actor Tom Hanks. Hanks’ exclusion from the Best Actor list is only eclipsed by the Academy’s decision not to give Robert Redford a nomination for All is Lost. Redford has never won an Oscar for his acting, but did receive an honorary award in 2002 as well as a Best Director win for Ordinary People in 1981.
One category relatively devoid of snubs is the race for Best Actress, though many consider Emma Thompson’s absence from the nominees a great oversight. Her performance in Saving Mr. Banks had been gaining steam going into the Oscar race – the role earned her nominations for a Golden Globe and BAFTA, among others. In fact, many considered Saving Mr. Banks a possible Best Picture contender, but the film was only nominated for Best Original Score.
Finally, writer/director Spike Jones was curiously left off the list of nominees for Best Director for his film Her while being nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. The movie also failed to pick up a nomination for lead actor Joaquin Phoenix.
The 86th Oscars, hosted for the second time by Ellen DeGeneres, will air Sunday, March 2, 2014 live on ABC at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. View the complete list of nominations here.
– Olivia Truffaut-Wong
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