Awards season has long been my favorite holiday. The marathons of every nominated film and drunken viewings of Live from the Red Carpet tend to be the only things that hold me together during these gloomy winter months. Perhaps it’s the feeling of loss after Joan River’s tragic death (RIP you glorious bitch), but awards season this year has felt strange and wrong, to say the least.
Movies that seemed to be shoo-ins were almost completely ignored, and random films and actors who seemed non-existent during the rest of the season made a grand appearance when Academy Award nominations were announced last week. Selma was expected to sweep most categories, but ended up with only two nominations: Best Picture (which is nothing to scoff at) and Best Original Song for “Glory”. David Oyelowo, who turned in an exceptional performance as Martin Luther King, Jr., walked away with nothing. Ava Duvernay was expected to become the first African American female director to be nominated, and perhaps win, an Oscar. But again, when the nominations were announced, there was no mention of her. When it comes to a film that has been critically lauded since its release only a month ago, it’s shocking to see it lose out in two of the most major categories.
Jennifer Aniston was also expected to come away with her first Academy Award nomination. Her role in the film Cake, though not yet released, has been praised for its heart-wrenching complexity. She’s been a frontrunner at every major award this season, but again, when the nominations were announced, she was notably absent. Instead, her expected spot went to Marion Cotillard for her role in Two days, One Night. This situation would seem crushing to many. Most know Aniston as the fashion-obsessed, sometimes funny, and bizarrely stalkerish (seriously, go re-watch the show), Rachel Green on Friends. Seeing her turn in such a serious performance seemed to be her chance to rewrite her career and take a turn for the dramatic. The loss of an almost guaranteed Oscar nomination may destroy some, but Aniston seems pretty okay with the whole situation.
On a recent episode of Ellen, she shared her thoughts regarding her Oscar snub. When Ellen suggested that the lack of a nomination had to feel kind of good, since it was generating so much buzz for the actress, she jokingly agreed: “Yeah. I’m the number one snubbed! That’s the silver lining!” Perhaps it takes someone with Jennifer Aniston’s experiences to reach such a point of enlightenment. When your divorce is dragged through the public and a nonexistent female rivalry is created and pinned on your heartbroken shoulders, I’m sure you become an expert in the power of positive thinking.
When you think about it, she’s got a really beautiful point. My boyfriend and I were playing a game recently where we were going through previous nominees and trying to correct the Oscar’s mistakes. (Seriously, Morgan Freeman should have beaten Tom Hanks in 1994). But what ended up standing out the most were the years we came across when we remembered the actors who got snubbed. Paul Giamatti deserves one hell of a lifetime achievement award after losing a nomination for Sideways. I was personally offended that Mila Kunis didn’t get nominated for her performance in Black Swan, and frankly, her snub stands out more in my mind than Natalie Portman’s win. Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most prolific directors of the twentieth century and the absolute master of horror, never won for Best Director. These snubs did little to undermine the careers of these men and women. If anything, it makes most of us boil with rage at how stupid the Academy can be for situations like choosing Dances with Wolves over Goodfellas. Most seem to care more about the brilliant performances and directorial efforts that were ignored unjustly than the ones that were given due credit. A snub can do wonders for your career.
When you get snubbed by the Oscars, you have a beautiful opportunity to take advantage of the bullshit system that is Hollywood. You have the opportunity to talk about the art being the most rewarding part of acting, without sounding completely up your own ass. You have the opportunity to be remembered as the one who was unappreciated in their own time, rather than the one with the most aggressive campaign. And most importantly, you have the opportunity to fall into Leonardo DiCaprio’s understanding, unappreciated arms.
He gets you.
Molly Regan is an improviser and writer in Baltimore. She likes chicken pot pie, Adam Scott’s butt and riot grrl.