The Academy Awards: Top 5 Anticipated Oscar Snubs of 2008

All right, so the Golden Globes have been canceled, but maybe that’s not really such a bad thing after all. It’s almost like7.jpg our waitress forgot to bring out the cheese dip appetizer before she delivered the sizzling steak fajitas. Perhaps this way we won’t eat up too much of the extraneous filler before we reach the heart of our endeavor, the main course. Yes, the Academy Awards, the delicious fajitas entrée that is more than capable of filling your belly on its own, well, assuming that the entrée even makes it to the table this time around. Of course, it is quite possible that the Academy Awards will share the same fate as its counterpart—who knows what the future may hold—but we’ve already got our margaritas, so let us dig in my friends. If my memory serves me correctly, ten years ago I looked on as SAVING PRIVATE RYAN—unquestionably the best movie of the year as far as I was concerned—fell to the likes of SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE for best movie. For some of you cinephiles out there, this may not even have been a small pothole on the long highway of Academy Award f*ck ups, but for a young me, it was like finding out that no one can actually tell you “how to get to Sesame Street.” What I mean is, the Academy makes mistakes. I, however, am always right. So for the enjoyment, or shall I say, enlightenment of you dear ladies and gents, I will now list out the Top 5 Oscar snubs for nominations most likely to take place at the 80th Annual Academy Awards… if the show’s not canceled.

5. I Am Legend

8.jpg Horror films appeal to your most simplistic and base senses and therefore do not deserve consideration amongst higher-brow formats like the historical drama and political thriller, right? Sometimes. But not in this case. Because it has been categorized as a “sci-fi-thriller” you won’t see it in the list of noms, but “I Am Legend” is much more than your standard horror fare. This film would be more aptly labeled an “apocalyptic suspense thriller”, or some such previously uninvented category. With little to no gore at all this film manages to literally keep you on the very razor edge of your seat the whole way through. While the occasional, psyche revealing flashback lets you breathe a little easier from time to time the screenplay rips you back in at will with moments of gut twisting, sweat soaked, anxiety, masterfully created in a frighteningly real way. This film crosses the boundaries of its category in a way that would make Hitchcock, the master of suspense, proud, but it won’t be enough to convince the Academy that there’s enough meat in a “horror” film for an Oscar nod.



4. The Darjeeling Limited

THE DARJEELING LIMITED is probably one of Wes Anderson’s better films, right up there with THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS, which is arguably his best film to date, though probably not my favorite – I’m all about BOTTLE ROCKET. And while TENENBAUMS was nominated for Best Screenplay, I have a hunch that DARJEELING won’t get the same kind of love from the Academy this year. Why? Because so often, it seems like, the Oscars come down to the buzz factor. This film sort of came and went, flying a tad too low under the radar to make it a hopeful for much Oscar buzz. Which is sad, because this is probably the closest Owen Wilson will ever get to a performance worthy of a nomination. And this is all not even mentioning the writing and directing categories, which certainly deserve to be mentioned.

3. Zodiac

102.jpgFor some reason, it seems like the Academy often has a pretty short-term memory when it comes to Oscar nominations. After the flash and excitement of the big budget blockbuster summer films fade away, all that were released earlier in the year are often forgotten, which is why studios usually save their potential Oscar contenders for the end of the year. ZODIAC, directed by David Fincher (FIGHT CLUB, SE7EN), is a great thriller that shows how obsession can transform a person. While it seems like a little bit of a departure for Fincher from his usual ultra-edgy and stylized approach to storytelling, the story itself is very compelling, the performances are outstanding, and the whole thing is shot beautifully. For some reason I don’t think Gyllenhaal’s nomination for a Teen Spirit award for his role as the reporter hell-bent on cracking the Zodiac case will carry much weight with those responsible for picking Oscar nominees, and while there’s a slight chance that Fincher could get an Oscar nod for Best Director, seeing as he’s been nominated for several awards already for the film, my bet is that the Academy’s pre-fall forgetfulness will put this film solidly on the snub list.

2. 300

 So, who of you didn’t like 300? I know that you haters are out there lurking in the shadows, just waiting for PIRATES OF115.jpg THE CARIBBEAN to take the third nomination for the franchise in visual effects. And you know what? The Academy will be one of you haters, I’m sure of it. TRANSFORMERS, THE GOLDEN COMPASS, and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD’S END will get the nominations this year. Politics as usual perhaps, but 300’s gritty and surrealist presentation provide it with an epic passion that would be difficult to provide in any other way. 300 is 300 because of the work done by its visual effects crew, the result is a storytelling that is tragic and classic and of its own genre, nevertheless, 300 will get snubbed.

1. Judd Apatow

122.jpg There is no doubt that Judd Apatow has had his fair share of accolades this year — with both KNOCKED UP and SUPERBAD premiering in the same summer, what would you expect? In fact, some might even say he’s had more than his fair share. But screw everything else; I’m talking about Oscars here. Regardless of the props Apatow has found elsewhere, he will be snubbed at the Oscars, all around. This shouldn’t be surprising, comedies are consistently left out, but both KNOCKED UP, and especially SUPERBAD are spot on, relevant and just plain well-made movies that simply will not get any love from the Academy. And that, my friends, is a shame
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