A few indications that the Oscar nominations are a bit clueless…once again.

As I write this article, I am in a lot of pain and can barely type. After all, I just had shoulder surgery and am supposed to take it easy and not write any articles for a while. But, after seeing today’s list of nominations for the upcoming Oscars, I found myself unable to control myself. As usual, the Oscar folks made a few bizarre choices–ones that have forced me to take an extra pain killer and pack on some additional ice so I can write about a few glaring mistakes I think they’ve made. However, unlike many reviewers and articles you’ll read today, my complaints are not about which film was nominated for Best Picture or who was nominated for Best Actor or Actress. Instead, my complaints are about a few of the ‘lesser’ categories–selections that show a certain degree of cluelessness that should be surprising but aren’t.

It’s hard to decide which is the biggest omission from the nominations–the fantastic documentary Life Itself or the blockbuster The Lego Movie. Life Itself is such a great film that after seeing it, I thought that I wouldn’t have been very surprised if it had been nominated both for the Best Documentary Feature as well as Best Picture category. Yet, oddly, it wasn’t nominated in either. This simply doesn’t make sense, as the film had been quite successful and the argument couldn’t have been made that it didn’t get noticed.

Audiences and critics alike loved the movie. As for me, watching the film was an incredible experience–one that left me emotionally drained and wanting more. And, as for The Lego Movie, while I certainly wouldn’t have expected this film to be a Best Picture nominee, it seems to be a perfect choice for Best Animated Feature. After all, it was the fourth highest grossing film of 2014, was wildly creative and fresh and it is a film you just can’t help but love. Yet, oddly, only it’s song Everything Is Awesome was nominated–a song which is supposed to be silly and stupid (sort of like the old ditty Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny from the 1960s)!

The final nomination that left me baffled this morning is the Polish film, Ida. Now I do understand that the film has gotten a huge amount of publicity and was also nominated for the Golden Globes. Critics do, for the most part, like the film and it didn’t really surprise me that it was nominated. But I have a few problems with the nomination and I was one of the few reviewers who disliked the movie when it debuted. While it tackles some very emotional and serious issues, the film is completely devoid of energy and the leading lady essentially goes through the film as if she’s been tranquilized. The character also makes little sense–especially her behaviors at the end of the movie. But more importantly, this is a joyless black & white movie that has no appeal outside a small circle of film critics…none. The bottom line is that the average person would never even think to see such a lifeless film and if they tried, they’d probably bail on it after a while because it is so tedious.

Is my list of Oscar nomination mistakes complete? I’m sure it’s not. That is why I encourage you to reach out to me and give me your opinions about the nominations via Influx. Which films should have been nominated but weren’t or which nominations simply make no sense to you? Or, am I completely off base in the three films I mentioned? Let me know–I am looking forward to hearing from you.

by Martin Hafer