As is common with the Oscars, you always get nominations that you really don’t see coming. There are films that are 100/1 that go and get ahead of films that have had buzz all season. These are the ones, in my opinion, that are the biggest upsets of the list.
Best Picture: American Sniper in, Foxcatcher out- OK, to be fair I was expecting American Sniper to get nominated here and all the films I predicted to get Best Picture nods did. What was shocking here was that there were only 8 films nominated for Best Picture. This means that Foxcatcher, Gone Girl and Nightcrawler missed out. The biggest shock of these was Foxcatcher, as it got 3 major nominations and 5 in total, but still missed out. American Sniper is the most surprising of the ones that did get nominated (it was 10th in my lineup) as it has the lowest Rotten Tomatoes rating (73%) of the nominees and get their buzz very late.
Best Director: Bennett Miller (Foxcatcher) in, Ava DuVernay out- DuVernay could have made history if she had picked up a nomination here, but Selma’s lack of love (2 noms overall) cost her. The surprise here is Bennett Miller. He’s definitely deserving of his nomination, especially more than Morten Tyldum is, but he became the first director to be nominated here without the film getting a Best Picture nomination since the Best Picture category was expanded. DuVernay was very unlucky.
Best Actor: Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) in, Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler)/David Oyelowo (Selma) out- Whoever did the campaigning for American Sniper did a terrific job getting Bradley Cooper into the most competitive field despite not picking up a major nomination all season. This meant, though, that Jake Gyllenhaal’s much loved performance in Nightcrawler, which picked up a nomination at every major guild, missed out. Also, David Oyelowo misses out for his career making turn as Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma, which picked up a Golden Globe and a Critics Choice nods. Gyllenhaal’s snub is more shocking, but Oyelowo is most deserving of a nom as it begs the question of who thinks that Selma is worthy of a Best Picture nod but Oyelowo isn’t.
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (Two Days, One Night) in, Jennifer Aniston (Cake)- This is a surprise, but it is the right decision, especially as it means that people will see Two Days, One Night. It’s also great to see a foreign language performance getting nominated, the first since Emmanuelle Riva in Amour. I felt that Aniston was awards baiting with Cake, the point of it was more of showcasing that Aniston is talented dramatically and rather that than making a decent film. Maybe she was deducted points because of Horrible Bosses 2.
Best Supporting Actor: No shocks- This category went according to plan and I got 5/5 in my predictions. Robert Duvall probably didn’t deserve a nod for the disappointing The Judge but, him aside, this is probably the strongest category.
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern (Wild) in, Jessica Chastain ( A Most Violent Year) out- This is a bit of a surprise, but no one honestly knew who would take the 5th spot here. Laura Dern lost a lot of buzz over the last few months, but gave a strong enough performance in Wild to get a nod. Chastain missed out as A Most Violent Year got completely snubbed and Rene Russo also missed the cut because they weren’t massive fans of Nightcrawler.