Monday, February 18, 2013

The "SONSOFBITCHES!" Snubathon

The lovely Mette of Lime Reviews and Strawberry Confessions has commissioned a blogathon for her readers/fellow bloggers. Well, more accurately, it's a snubathon. If it wasn't clear enough from the name alone, it's a blogathon chronicling the the most unforgivable snubs in Oscar history. If you knew me enough, I would've just been rambling on and on about stars of Hollywood's past. I decided not to go down that route and opted for ones from the last decade. Sorry, rambling. Moving on!

The rules speculated that one choice for the most offensive snub was to be discussed. But I saw a few posts doing a whole list, so that's what I'm doing. Ten male performances and ten female performances, all ignored by AMPAS. (Some may not be downright cruel that they were ignored, but I was somewhat surprised when I found out they weren't nominated.) My somewhat long list starts after the jump.

My first entry is James McAvoy for Atonement. Now I didn't fall in love with the film completely like some people, but I was taken by McAvoy's performance. He's a man of few words and those sad eyes of his certainly help when it comes to expressing himself. It's a quiet performance like this that I admire.

Two other great (and neglected) performances from 2007 were from Ethan Hawke and Philip Seymour Hoffman in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead. Even in his final years, Sidney Lumet was getting stellar performances from his actors. Seeing these two work off each other is something that must be seen.

Even though the response for Birth is mixed at best, a number of people agree that Nicole Kidman delivered her best work in it. I must agree with them. Stripped of glamour and elegance, Kidman gives an amazing performance full of compelling twists and turns.

A role that's simple in concept but complex in depiction. This is Juliette Binoche in Certified Copy to a T. It's hard to sum it up in a few choice words, so I'll just say watch the film to see what I'm saying.

You'd think with their co-stars getting nominated, Jude Law and Julia Roberts would have gotten nominations for their work in Closer. They're just as vicious in their roles as Clive Owen and Natalie Portman are in theirs. After all, it is basically a modern albeit more brutal version of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (fitting since they're both directed by Mike Nichols), so nominations for all four actors would have been ideal.

I've dedicated a reasonable amount of blog space on The Deep Blue Sea and specifically Rachel Weisz's performance within the last few months. For good reason too. Like what I said about Binoche, Weisz's role is one that is simple in concept but complex in depiction. I can completely understand why some bloggers absolutely adore it.

Seeing an actor who spent so long playing second fiddle finally getting the spotlight is always nice to see. Case in point, Viggo Mortensen in A History of Violence. His once-friendly persona slowly gives way for a much more violent behavior. It's really an amazing transition.

Recently he's been getting acclaim for his directing, but his work in Hollywoodland proves that Ben Affleck can indeed act. As George Reeves, he maintains a charming persona as his promising career dwindles down to nothing. It's during the final moments of the film that we see how desperate he has become to keep his career alive. It's this desperation that must be seen.

Aloofness is a common trait among many of Kristin Scott Thomas' roles, but it's on full display in I've Loved You So Long. It's because of this aloofness that has people wondering what goes on in her mind. When the truth is revealed...well, just see it for yourself.

Far from her comedy roles, Kirsten Dunst shows she has talent as an actress. In probably one of the more unflinching depictions of depression, she shows what kind of bottomless pit the condition can be to certain people. It really is great.

Moon has to be as far from the goofy sidekick roles Sam Rockwell is noted for. (And thank God for that.) Just watching his features change as the paranoia seep into him is worthy of an award or two. (But he got nothing.)

Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive is one of a few examples where the performance took a while to sink in before I could fully appreciate it. Seeing her go from wide-eyed Hollywood hopeful to bitterly possessive burnout is just fascinating.

Likewise, Isabelle Huppert is just all sorts of wonderfully unstable in The Piano Teacher. This is one of those roles that should be performed more often (but maybe not on such an extreme level). After letting it simmer for a while, I can see why Tyler adores Huppert's performance so much.

How on earth did Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet not get recognized for their work in Revolutionary Road? Granted, I prefer Richard Yates' novel more than the film but they brought their characters to life. Seeing them go from the loving couple that their friends see to the small war seen only behind closed doors is staggering.

Boy, the outcry this snub got. Was it because Shame was too bold of a film for AMPAS' standards? Was Michael Fassbender's depiction of a sex addict too raw? I don't know the exact reason, but that snub was a damn blight on AMPAS' part.

Many people were upset that Michael Shannon didn't get nominated for Take Shelter, but I for one am upset that Jessica Chastain wasn't recognized for her work in it. While he's slowly losing grips with reality, she's the silent witness to it all. (Her quiet but powerful reaction to him losing his job is the perfect example of that.)

And finally, there's Joaquin Phoenix in Two Lovers. His performance here is much like his performance in The Master minus the unpredictable behavior. He's slowly falling apart as he tries to get his life in order. (The penultimate scene of the film is a perfect example.) It's quite devastating actually.

Phew, never doing that again. Anyway, those are my entries. I think I might have overdone it, don't you think?


  1. I love Atonement. So much.

    Fassy, Dunst, Weisz, Huppert and Leo in Revolutionary Road are the ones I definitely agree with. Closer should have won a million awards.

    Okay, I will watch Two Lovers today itself.

    1. I know.

      AMPAS is so stupid sometimes.

      Yay, another successful recommendation!

  2. Yay, Atonement!
    Hm, I haven't seen many of these actually, but Kirsten Dunst, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy and Leonardo diCaprio definitely deserve some more recognition. Also, I think I should see The Piano Teacher.
    Oh, and Joaquin Phoenix.
    Thanks for joining!

  3. Great picks here! From the movies I've seen, I agree with you completely: some things don't work for me in Atonement but MacAvoy was impressive, I was feel like he was holding a hurricane inside him, I love it; also agree with DiCaprio and Winslet, plus Law and Roberts.

    Kirsten Dunst is really growing on me, I was surprised with how good she was in Melancholia! And Sam Rockwell in Moon... I really liked the film, and he did it all by himself, brilliant. Fassbender was one of my picks as well, and I wish I could recall Chastain and Phoenix with more accuracy, but I'm sure they were great as well.

  4. Great list! I'm glad you included McAvoy too. Hopefully his time will come soon enough. I agree with all of these picks. Even though I didn't like Melancholia, I think that was Dunst's best work to date, and she definitely deserved more praise.

    1. Oh, McAvoy's been overdue for a nomination for way too long now.

  5. Great to see PSH mentioned for"Before the Devil..." it's my favorite performance of his. McAvoy wasn't nominated for Atonement? Damn, I was sure he was! Academy is insane.

  6. Fantastic list! I love every performance on here. More people need to see Two Lovers.
    Other than Affleck (who just misses), I'd nominate every one of them. Great job!

  7. Excellent picks here. Love the love for the men of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. I still have no idea why that flick was totally snubbed out.

    Kidman, Birth. Binoche, Certified Copy. Thomas, I’ve Loved You. Mortensen, Watts, Huppert – fuck, Anna, this is a solid list.

    1. A comment like that puts me in such a good mood.

  8. Such a great round-up for snubs. From Leo and Kate to Kristen and Rachel, it's nice to see others saw some serious shameful shunning as I did when they weren't nominated. :)

    1. I really wish AMPAS will nominate the right performances one of these years.


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