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The Oscars 2017: Snubs of the year

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Oscar season is now upon us and, for film fans, it’s now time to guess which films will claim the gold statues. There’s not too much mystery, though – musical La La Land is pretty much guaranteed most of the awards it is put up for (a film about how great Hollywood is and always has been – how could it not do?), and Viola Davis’ name is already being carved onto an acting gong for her turn in Fences (deservedly so, too). In guessing the winners, we also talk about the snubbed films, and there was a bunch of them this year – here are a few of them.

For a start, Amy Adams. Talking about the Best Actress race, it was a dead cert that Adams and Emma Stone would be certain of a place – to see her name fail to appear was a massive shock. She was nudged out by a decidedly average turn by Meryl Streep, who picked up a lot of votes after she criticised President Trump (thus proving that strong acting is somewhat less important that whoever can kiss Hollywood’s backside and stroke its wounded ego).

There was a lot of Oscar buzz around 10 Cloverfield Lane when it was released, but nearly a year passed and viewers moved onto different things. Even so, it was a shame to not see John Goodman’s name on the list for Best Supporting Actor. Goodman makes the film, and his flitting between a friendly uncle-type and an insane controlling monster generates masses of tension. What would have been comical in the hands of a lesser actor is genuinely chilling here.

A still from 10 Cloverfield Lane, Image: Hiron King/ Flickr

Still, it was a very remote possibility this would be nominated, but its horror connotations made it unlikely. Horror films never feature, meaning strong films like The Conjuring 2 and Green Room also didn’t put in an appearance. The latter is a strong showing for the late Anton Yelchin, and an acting nod would have been both a good call and a sign of respect for a lost talent. Sadly, the gory nature of the film means its didn’t even enter the Academy’s mind. (Another actor who missed out is Tom Hanks for Sully, because when he’s brilliant, it’s now the norm.)

Oscars are given to films designed to win them and the massively overrated La La Land is leaving with lots of gold

I see La La Land taking the Best Screenplay Oscar, even though that is the weakest part of the film. Two better shouts weren’t recognised, but they explore some big ideas, offer biting social commentary and are funny in their own rights. The first is Zootropolis, an amusing and insightful exploration of racism. The second is Sausage Party – it not only missed out on the Best Animation nod, it missed out here too. It’s a shame, because the sheer creativity of its screenplay is of a level we rarely see in film – however, the adult nature of the film was never going to please the conservative minds of voters.

I wouldn’t expect to find much in the way of surprises at the ceremony – Oscars are given to films designed to win them (how else explain DiCaprio winning an Oscar for breathing heavy and eating a fish?), and the massively overrated La La Land is leaving with lots of gold. Just know that for every film winning an Oscar, there will be loads of equally good ones that don’t.

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