Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Big Snub of 2006

Welcome to a new weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The Big Snub is the second in a series of projects looking back at the past eight years of the Oscars, dating back to the first ceremony I watched and closely followed.

Each year, the Oscar nominations announcement presents several notable omissions. This series is devoted to analyzing the biggest and most shocking snub of all (in any category). It has nothing to do with personal opinion but rather with what seemed likely at the time and what most people were predicting. Once again, this is a film/director/actor who didn’t even earn a nomination.

The Big Snub of 2006:

“Volver” for Best Foreign Film

Why it was all set to happen: After first winning an Oscar for Best Foreign Film in 1999 for “All About My Mother,” director Pedro Almodovar earned a nomination for Best Director for “Talk to Her” in 2002 after the film was not submitted by Spain as their official entry in the foreign film category, and even picked up the award for Best Original Screenplay. While his next film, “Bad Education,” didn’t get very far on the American awards circuit, his latest protect had an actress very well-known in the United States in the leading role. Penelope Cruz was on track to earn her first Oscar nomination, and the film was sure to come along with it.

Why it probably didn’t: “Volver” stood out at the Golden Globes when it was up against not-quite-foreign films by American directors, “Letters from Iwo Jima” and “Apocalypto,” and eventual Oscar frontrunners “The Lives of Others” and “Pan’s Labyrinth.” 2006 was a rare year in which almost all of the nine finalists on Oscar’s list for Best Foreign Film were in theaters during or shortly after Oscar season. The competition was stiff – the three aforementioned films, “After the Wedding,” “Avenue Montaigne,” “Days of Glory,” “Water,” “Black Book,” and the unreleased (at the time) “Vitus.” The theory is that everyone thought that someone else would be voting for “Volver” and decided to throw their support behind another equally compelling foreign entry from the rich field that year.

Who took its place: “The Lives of Others” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” were joined by the phenomenal “After the Wedding,” the terrific "Days of Glory," and the awfully boring and inexplicably praised “Water.”

Consolation prize: Cruz earned the first of her three Oscar nominations (and should have won). Unfortunately, their next collaboration fared even worse, as “Broken Embraces” received no nominations at all. At least they’re still producing excellent and wonderful films!

Come back next week for a look at the Big Snub of 2005. If you have a prediction or a suggestion, please leave it in the comments. Suggestions are especially welcome for this year since the nominations announcement was one of the most predictable and uninteresting in recent years.

1 comment:

G1000 said...

This isn't shocking or even a snub, but "Pan's Labyrinth" really deserved to get nominated for Best Picture. It was a work of breathtaking genius.