In 2008, Christopher Nolan and co. made a little movie called The Dark Knight, a follow-up to their perfect 2005 film Batman Begins. The film was regarded as superior to the original, and a masterpiece in the crime, comic book, and suspense thriller genres. When the film wasn't nominated for Best Picture at that year's Oscars, so many people were outraged about the decision that the following year, the Best Picture category was expanded to ten nominees (one of the stupidest decisions ever, in my opinion). This upcoming Oscar ceremony marks the 86th year of Hollywood handing out statues to itself, and the fourth year in which the Best Picture category will have considered ten nominees.
I'm sorry, did I say ten? I MEANT NINE!!!!!!
Yes, that's right. This year, there are only nine nominees. The Academy, in all their infinite wisdom, nominated nine films for Best Picture this year, covering a wide range of topics including (but not limited to), larceny, dementia, AIDS, falling in love with a computer, Sandra Bullock in space, Leo DiCaprio having sex while smothered in cocaine, and Oscar bait-- I MEAN SLAVERY. I guess, having covered all their bases, they didn't feel that they could find one more freaking movie to nominate after they changed their own rule. Meanwhile, the Coen Brothers' brilliant drama Inside Llewyn Davis sits in the sad sack's corner with two freaking nominations.
If you haven't seen Inside Llewyn Davis yet, make it a point to. It's a refreshingly different piece of cinema, offering a subversive character study of a folk musician in the glory days of folk music (1960's Greenwich Village), featuring an outstanding performance by Oscar Isaac, and some extremely memorable supporting players found in Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, and Justin Timberlake.
Part of the brilliance in this movie is that it takes a severely unlikable character (seriously guys, Llewyn is a jerk) and not only makes you care about him, but shows you the sensitive, struggling side of him that he goes to lengths to cover up, making you root for him against your better judgement. Wrap it up in beautifully drab cinematography (one of the film's two nominations), an absolutely magnificent soundtrack assembled by T-Bone Burnett, and signature Coen Brothers dialogue and throw some truly soulful show-stopping performances in there, and you have what is easily one of the best movies released in this last year.
So I have one question.
WHAT IS THE ACADEMY THINKING?!
I've been racking my brains and I can't figure out for the life of me why this film wasn't included in the roster. And honestly, I can't come up with anything. If this sorry bunch honestly believes that this was an inferior film, then I am really starting to believe less and less in this weird governing body that thinks they can tell us what movies to like.
Moreover, the Coens have a high standing with the Academy, having been graced with no less than thirteen nominations and four wins in total (and that's just the brothers themselves, that doesn't include the other nominations for the films themselves). It seems like if Martin Scorcese can boast his jillionth nomination and David O. Russell can be nominated for every freaking awesome film he directs, then the Coen Brothers should have no trouble sneaking a movie in there.
Inside Llewyn Davis is far-and-away better than some of the films that I have actually seen take home the Best Picture trophy. To name a few:
Argo (2012) - Don't get me wrong, it was a great movie, but it wasn't even the best in its year. Totally undeserved.
The Hurt Locker(2009) - This one pissed me off. I honestly didn't like this movie. I thought it was too disjointed and lacked a sense of direction. It was just... there.
Slumdog Millionaire(2008) - The winner from the year that Dark Knight was snubbed. Good movie, not the best.
Chicago(2002) - I personally love this movie. But based on cinematic merit alone, there are a lot of better films out there. Not a lot of better satires though, I'll give them that.
Okay, now I'm letting myself ramble. But you get the point. I have seen Inside Llewyn Davis twice now, and it's better the second time than the first. It's one of those movies that gives you the joy of finding something new when you go back to look at it. It deserves multiple awards that it wasn't even nominated for, moreso than the films I just listed which walked away with them.
If I were the Academy, Inside Llewyn Davis would have scored the following nominations:
- Best Picture
- Best Actor- Oscar Isaac
- Best Supporting Actress- Carey Mulligan
- Best Original Song- "Please, Mr. Kennedy"
- Best Cinematography- Bruno Delbonnel
- Best Art Direction
- Best Director- Joel and Ethan Coen
I am aware that it was nominated for cinematography, but I included it in there anyway. And I didn't include the other nomination it scored for Sound Mixing, because I think that's a stupidly redundant category and should just be bundled with Sound Editing. But I have clearly gotten my point across that this film was hugely and disgustingly snubbed. Instead of scoring a well-deserved seven nominations, it got freaking two. It's ridiculous.
Maybe I'm crazy. But it seems to me that the Academy has proven themselves increasingly unable to recognize superior cinema in recent years. If this trend continues, eventually Friedberg and Seltzer will be accepting their Best Director trophies for Academy Award-Winning Movie.
Oh, and did I mention Leo still hasn't gotten an Oscar yet?
P.S. ere's a movie I made in the tenth grade satirizing the Oscars. Enjoy!