Well, this year’s Oscar nominations were announced this morning and of course nobody outside of the nominees are happy about them. Take to the internet right now and you’ll find a veritable cornucopia of outraged hashtags and lengthy think-pieces about why one movie made the cut and another didn’t or eviscerating the Academy for this oversight or that. As much as I hate to add to all of it, I kind of feel like I have to — but I do promise to keep it quick.
I haven’t seen Selma yet so I can’t say with any authority whether I think the person at the helm of it, Ava DuVernay, deserved to be included in the Best Director category or David Oyelowo should have been among the Best Actor nods. Both seem like glaring omissions, particularly when you consider how biopics of important people are typically Academy catnip. In theory, the Oscars are supposed to go to the best films of the year, irrespective of the politics surrounding them and without concern for which demographic might be over- or underrepresented within the nominating process. It’s supposed to be about quality as opposed to an attempt to satisfy the public’s desire for a specific kind of field; the Academy’s responsibility should be to film and to film alone. But the fact is that’s not the way it works most of the time. Of course Hollywood enjoys patting itself on the back for what it believes is its own inclusiveness and it usually won’t miss out on a chance to show the world how socially conscious it is. Sometimes, though, things just fall through the cracks and that may be what happened for some of the major awards for which Selma could have been nominated.
But while maybe there can be some debate about Selma and whether its director and star should have received spots in what were crowded fields, there’s one snub this year that really can’t be overlooked. Sure, the oversight isn’t as important politically as Selma, but if you really do believe that the Oscars are about honoring the best of the best in motion pictures then there’s zero excuse for why The Lego Movie didn’t pick up a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category. Not only was it one of the best animated films of 2014, it was hands-down the best animated film of 2014. Only How To Train Your Dragon 2 came close and it still whiffed when compared to the cleverness, creativity and overwhelming heart on display in Lego. Not even seeing the movie in the category for which it should have been a shoe-in isn’t simply perplexing, it’s dumbfounding. This was always the movie to beat and it’s not even there.
If you can make your brain twist into the logical pretzel necessary for you to come to the conclusion that The Lego Movie wasn’t among the five best animated features of 2014, you deserve your own award.
This wasn’t even a case of a crowded field since, really, only a few animated features rise far above the pack each year. I’m not going to appeal to authority and rattle off Lego‘s Rotten Tomatoes rating or begin quoting individual critics, I’ll only speak for myself in saying that what the movie delivered was so wonderfully unexpected, so gorgeously executed, so genuinely funny and, yes, so awesome that it defies all reason that it didn’t even manage to land a nomination in the category for which it was always the best film of the year. If the Oscars really are about honoring the most outstanding achievements in motion pictures, removing at least most other considerations, then The Lego Movie is the snub that’s most inexcusable this year. It was the one film, in the one category, for which there was no question. None.
So yeah, the Academy blew it. But what else is new?
At least the film’s co-director, Philip Lord, is taking the whole thing in stride.
It's okay. Made my own! pic.twitter.com/kgyu1GRHGR
— philip lord (@philiplord) January 15, 2015
Make no mistake: Right now this thing is far more valuable than a real Oscar.
On a side note, is there any way we can get John Milius, Walter Hill and the ghost of Sam Peckinpah to beat the shit out of Wes Anderson?
Chez Pazienza was the beating heart of The Daily Banter, sadly passing away on February 25, 2017. His voice remains ever present at the Banter, and his influence as powerful as ever.