Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Wednesday Oscar Retrospective: The Big Snub of 2013

Welcome to a returning weekly feature here at Movies with Abe, Wednesday Oscar Retrospective. The Big Snub was 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. With the 2013 Oscar season wrapped, it’s time to take a look back at the past two years.

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 2013

Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) for Best Actor

Why it was all set to happen: Hanks earned his first Oscar nomination in 1988 for his light performance in “Big,” and won back-to-back trophies for his second and third tries in 1993 and 1994 for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.” He was nominated again in 1998 and 2000, for “Saving Private Ryan” and “Cast Away.” Now, thirteen years later, he delivered a performance that didn’t look very much like his earlier work yet still showed a considerable amount of effort. He was also in one of the bigger crowd-pleasers of the year, “Saving Mr. Banks,” a film which didn’t end up earning much Oscar traction and also saw its lead star, Emma Thompson, another popular 90s Oscar choice, snubbed on nominations day. When it became clear that Hanks would definitely not be a double nominee, it seemed even likelier than he could earn one leading nomination with nothing to draw away from it and his film poised for a big Oscar haul.

Why it probably didn’t: The simple and unfortunate answer is “American Hustle,” which found its lead actor and least valuable player, Christian Bale, swept along with the rest of his film in a domination of the Oscar field. Hanks had Golden Globe and SAG nods, and his film was a sure thing for Best Picture. As the nicest guy in Hollywood and one who already had two Oscars, he was easiest to pass over. His director, Paul Greengrass, a Globe and DGA nominee, was also snubbed, leaving the film to earn only technical nominations to go with its Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay bids. Hanks did a terrific job of making his part look natural, and that superb ability ultimately made him go unnoticed.

Who took his place: Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio

Consolation prize: Hanks proved that he still cares about giving a good performance and taking on challenging roles, including ones that don’t fit into his typical oeuvre. He helped bring a powerful story to life, and will hopefully continue along in his career as he approaches his 60s.

Come back next week for a look at the Big Snub of 2012. If you have a prediction or a suggestion, please leave it in the comments. There a few contenders for this one, so chime in if you have a pick!

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