Since we are still on the topic of the Academy Awards, I thought I would present 10 most unbelievable and unforgiving injustices committed by the Academy Awards for the year 2017. In no particular order:
1. “Your Name.“
Rumours have it that “Your Name” now has the distinction to be the highest grossing anime film in history, suppressing the old record set by “Spirited Away” (2001). And, it is no wonder, Makoto Shinkai has crafted something truly unique and memorable. The story of two teenagers swapping bodies randomly at night has everything which any anime could desire to have: a moving long-distance romance, background of an cataclysmic event of cosmic significance and breath-taking visuals, among other things. But, no, in 2017, the Academy simply chose to shut its eyes and pretend this masterpiece does not exist.
2. Rebecca Hall for “Christine”
Rebecca Hall’s performance in “Christine” was simply staggering it was so good. She gave the performance of her career as a nervous and depressed worker for a TV station in the US, portraying a real life character too, but was ignored for a nomination. One may say that the Best Actress category is always very competitive, but the Academy also has this penchant for favouring films which feature in the Best Picture category in all other categories, and “La La Land” is no exception. Besides, if the Best Picture nominations have been expanded to 10, perhaps, it is time to expand the number of nominations in other categories?
3. Martin Scorsese for “Silence”
“Silence” had been Martin Scorsese’s “passion project” for years, even decades; the road to bringing this story by Shūsaku Endō to the screen had also been very steep; and it is only too clear that Scorsese completed work of tremendous effort in “Silence“. That film was also not nominated in the category of Best Picture, but at least the Academy could have nominated Scorsese in the category of Best Director. As a movie, “Silence” may have been too long and unfocused (though the latter is debatable), but Scorsese’s work on the project is most admirable and deserving of a nomination.
4. “I, Daniel Blake”
This British movie won the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, and its story has captivated both critics and audiences alike. Telling about the bureaucracy of governmental aid in Britain, the film can resonate with many people, but apparently not with the elite presiding over awards in Hollywood. Not only brilliant “I, Daniel Blake” was ignored in the category of the Best Picture, the film was also nowhere to be seen in other categories, such as Best Original Screenplay and Best Director. The most amazing and sobering realisation of the Academy’s short-sightedness.
5. Amy Adams for “Arrival“
Amy Adams’s omission from the nominees list for Best Actress has been cited by some as some of the Academy’s most unbelievable injustices in history. It seems everyone expected to see her name among the nominees (why should not they?), and, given her completely believable and at times heart-breaking performance, it is really a marvel that she was not there. It is even more surprising given the fact that “Arrival” was among the nominees for Best Picture, and Amy Adams played a big part in what ultimately made the film so good. Besides, the fact that Adams was mistakenly announced on the Academy’s web page as one of the nominees just rubbed salt into the wound.
6. Annette Bening for “20th Century Women“
“20th Century Women” may not have been the absolute masterpiece we all expected, but, Annette Bening’s performance there was nuanced, sublime and very memorable overall. If she did not deserve her nomination for acting, then I am not sure who deserved it. Was it Bening’s best work to date (in her career)? Very probably, yes. At least, the Golden Globes were of a different opinion than the Academy and nominated her.
7. Michael Keaton for “The Founder”
Michael Keaton character’s enthusiasm in “The Founder” deserves an Oscar in its own right. Keaton is the man who elevates the film to the high standard it ultimately has, portraying a real life character of Ray Kroc with the fire and zeal which could only come from Michael Keaton (if you also remember “Beetlejuice” (1988). He was not nominated by the Academy for this performance, but probably he should have been. This is the kind of performance which sticks with you after the credits rolled, and this is not something which could be said for many performances out there. The director of the film later said that probably the reason why “The Founder” received no major nominations was due to a bad strategy leading to “no one hearing about [the film]”.
8. Hugh Grant for “Florence Foster Jenkins“
Hugh Grant was a bit of a wild card when it came to the Oscars 2017, but his performance in “Florence Foster Jenkins” was nothing short of remarkable. In fact, it is not possible to think of the movie, and even of Streep’s performance there, without also recalling the character played so ingeniously and enthusiastically by Hugh Grant. It looked like the role was written just for him, and, therefore, it is even more pitying not to see any recognition of his performance by the Academy.
9. Abel Korzeniowski for “Nocturnal Animals“
The score from “Passengers” was beautiful, but was it really better than Korzeniowski score for “Nocturnal Animals“, with the result being that the score from “Passengers” was nominated and the score from “Nocturnal Animals” not? Whoever had the chance to listen to the heart-stopping melody from “Nocturnal Animals” could instantly recognise the master-strokes, that subtle ingenuity contained within each notes’ combination. However, resolutely stuck with the idea of ignoring “Nocturnal Animals” at all costs (well, except for the surprising Michael Shannon nomination), it came to no surprise that the the Academy bypassed the score composed by Abel Korzeniowski.
10. Mira Nair for “Queen of Katwe”
Bringing the story of Phiona Mutesi, an Ugandan chess champion, to the screen or merging an African slum tale with a Disney film was not an easy feat, but Mira Nair had achieved just that and against considerable odds. Nair also shot her film in difficult slim conditions, and, probably, deserved all the recognition for her work as a director. Strangely, especially given the critical acclaim generated by the film and despite all the initial Oscar rumours, “Queen of Katwe” was soon lost on everyone’s radar.
Also, both “Aquarius” and “The Handmaiden” were not submitted by their respective countries (Brazil and South Korea) for the consideration, and it is a real shame, because these two movies would have had a big chance to smash their competition otherwise.