Some time ago, I wrote an article highlighting my grievances with The Academy- specifically in reference to some notable performances that have been 'snubbed' throughout the years. That article can be found here. I ended it by saying "This year, I predict there will be a new crop of snubs that I will be complaining about in the future," and since we have now officially arrived at that future, allow me to complain.
Lead Actor Snubs
Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw
Honestly, I'm not sure what went wrong for Jake here, other than the movie being released relatively early in the year. Although that didn't seem to slow down Mad Max: Fury Road, which was a huge summer blockbuster now nominated for 10 awards, I'd assume that timing is more important for individual performances. That being said, Gyllenhaal's Southpaw turn was absolutely award worthy. It wasn't just a role, but an all-encompassing transformation so jarringly realistic that I was able to sit in the theater seats and enjoy the movie for what it was without reflecting on the real lives of the stars that I saw on screen. He and Rachel McAdam's chemistry was electric, and their story heart wrenching. The visceral and personal violence made for an incredible contrast to the heartwarming family relationships that were portrayed. One of the best redemption films since Rocky and a superior boxing movie to Creed (in my opinion).
Honorable mention: Will Smith, Concussion
Lead Actress Snubs
Emily Blunt, Sicario
In a world of amoral, back room government dealings by boots on the ground, there must be a moral compass. In the Sicario, that compass comes in the form of Emily Blunt's Agent Kate Macer. Throughout the film, her constitution is tested, and she's challenged to learn the art of bending rather than breaking. Blunt's performance is both physically and emotionally nuanced, and in a movie that should have been rewarded with more than 3 nominations, shines as the audiences' touchstone.
Honorable mention: Sarah Silveman, I Smile Back
Supporting Actor Snubs
Jacob Tremblay, Room
I expected that The Academy would nominate Larson as the lead actress, everyone else seems to be doing it as well. But being that I am of the opinion that there can only be one true lead performance in a non-ensemble film, I had a difficult time with it. The novel, Room, written by Emma Donohue (who also wrote the screenplay) is told through the prism of Jack's (Tremblay) first person narration. The movie seemed to largely stay true to that with his voice over and much of the cinematography shot from his perspective. So, I almost felt like Tremblay's Jack was the lead character, while Larson's was a supporting. Larson is, however, the front runner in the lead actress category, so I'll acknowledge that and call Tremblay's snub a supporting actor snub.
Honorable mention: Benicio Del Toro, Sicario
Supporting Actress Snubs
Jessica Chastain, Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak was my favorite film of 2015, hands down (with Mad Max: Fury Road taking 2nd place). It was visually breathtaking with all the Gothic overtones that made the Victorian era so beautiful. Chastain plays Lady Lucille Sharpe, a villain on par with Kathy Bates' Annie Wilkes, whose twisted psychology is the driving force behind the film's plot. Her Lucille was passionately monstrous, with enough restrain to make her measured dialogue as unsettling as her gruesome actions. Crimson Peak was snubbed in multiple categories including Costumes, Makeup, and Production Design, as well as supporting actress.
Honorable mention: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina & Charlize Theron, Mad Max: Fury Road & Elizabeth Banks, Love & Mercy
This article was meant to focus on the acting snubs, but let it be known- there were a plethora of technical snubs as well.