Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Big Snub of 2005

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 2005:

“Walk the Line” for Best Picture

Why it was all set to happen: Let me first preface this by saying that this is likely to be the least convincing installment of this series. 2005 was not a year big surprises, and I thought that saying “a lone director nominee” or “Star Wars Episode III” for Best Visual Effects wouldn’t have held up in court. This is instead the major omission that surprised me back in January 2006 when nominations were announced. The PGA lineup preserved only three of the Golden-Globe nominated Best Pictures, adding “Capote” and “Crash” into the mix. The DGA list matched that, but left “Walk the Line” off in favor of Steven Spielberg’s “Munich.” With those four films vying for three slots alongside “Brokeback Mountain” and “Good Night, and Good Luck,” three seemed to have an advantage because of their stars who were getting nominated for and winning awards, leaving “Munich” out in the cold with no attention for lead actor Eric Bana. “Walk the Line,” on the other hand, won all three of the Golden Globes it was nominated for (Best Motion Picture – Comedy/Musical, Best Actor, Best Actress) and Reese Witherspoon had also won the SAG Award several days before the nominations announcement.

Why it probably didn’t: Only two of the Golden Globe nominees for Best Picture ended up with corresponding Oscar nominations for the top prize. This was the first time in almost twenty-five years that the Best Picture and Best Director nominees matched up perfectly, mirroring the DGA’s list. Joaquin Phoenix and Witherspoon may have been locked, but “Walk the Line” director James Mangold was never truly in the running to accompany his film. That’s not a deal breaker, but when the main competition is a film directed by Steven Spielberg, who did earn a Golden Globe nod (as well as a mention for Best Screenplay) despite the film’s snub in Best Picture. Without a doubt, it occupied the sixth slot and would have certainly made it in had the field been expanded to ten, or even just six, nominees.

Who took its place: “Munich”

Consolation prize: The film earned five nominations – for both actors, costume design, and sound. Witherspoon took home Best Actress.

Come back next week for a look at the Big Snub of 2004. If you have a prediction or a suggestion, please leave it in the comments. Unlike 2005, the big snub of 2004 is extremely notable and especially staggering, especially looking back on it six years later.


Greg Boyd said...

"Walk the Line" was good, but it could have been so much better if they had used more of Cash's music. As it is, "Ray" is far superior.

Greg Boyd said...

Witherspoon and Phoenix were great, though.