Ava DuVernay, left, director of the film “Selma,” and cast member David Oyelowo pose together at the Four Seasons Hotel on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
An acting “King” — David Oyelowo — was denied the throne. A chance for history in the directing category — the nomination of a black woman, Ava DuVernay — was missed. But “Selma,” which earned a best picture nod despite those omissions, wasn’t the only film Thursday to feel the sting of an Oscar snub. Everything was NOT awesome for “The Lego Movie,” either. No worries, though: Director Phil Lord displayed his own Oscar, made of Lego bricks, on Twitter.
Will the others denied their Oscar moment have an equally witty response? That remains to be seen. Here are some of Oscar’s biggest snubs and surprises:
SNUB: A KING DENIED
The most glaring omission in the acting categories was Oyelowo; the British star of “Selma” had been widely praised for his restrained and layered performance as Martin Luther King Jr. It was one of the standouts in a year of excellent portrayals of real-life characters (in fact, four of five best-actor nominees were playing a real-life roles.)
SNUB: AND DIRECTING HISTORY, TOO
Many thought “Selma” director Ava DuVernay was a lock to become the first Black woman nominated in the category. DuVernay may have been hurt by the controversy over the depiction of Lyndon B. Johnson in her film as foot-dragging on voting rights legislation, rather than collaborating with King. Or maybe the studio’s delay in sending DVD screeners to various guilds in Hollywood slowed momentum. Whatever the reason, DuVernay’s omission highlighted another: No Black nominees in the 20 acting or five directing slots.
SNUB: LEGO DISMANTLED
That sound you heard when the animated film nominees were announced was millions of Lego concoctions being dismantled and tossed to the floor in disgust. No nomination for “The Lego Movie?” Really?
SURPRISE: COOPER SETS AIM ON OSCAR
While not really a shock, Bradley Cooper’s nod for playing Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle in the late-surging “American Sniper” — his third career nomination — surprised some who thought the heavyweight-packed best actor field was just too tight. It’s been quite a few months for Cooper: He’s starring on Broadway, he just turned 40, and now he has to get the tux out again.
SURPRISE: MARION, ENCORE!
French actress Marion Cotillard is no stranger to Oscar: She won in 2008 for playing Edith Piaf. But her nod for the Belgian drama “Two Days, One Night” — despite the film being left out of the foreign-language film category — was a mild though pleasant surprise, and she edged out contenders like Amy Adams in “Big Eyes,” Jennifer Aniston in “Cake” and Emily Blunt in “Into the Woods.”
SNUB: SPEAKING OF ADAMS…
Adams’ snub was particularly noticeable since she just won a Golden Globe. At the Oscars, she’s the perennial bridesmaid, nominated five times without a win. This year, she’s not in the wedding party. Other acting snubs included Jake Gyllenhaal, so creepy in “Nightcrawler.”
SNUB: FOXCATCHER DOESN’T CATCH A BEST PIC NOD
Steve Carell scored a best actor nod, and Mark Ruffalo a supporting actor nomination. “Foxcatcher” also scored nominations for best director (Bennett Miller) and original screenplay. So why wasn’t it nominated for best picture? Adding to the confusion: “American Sniper” DID get a best picture nod, but director Clint Eastwood was left out in the sandstorm.
SNUB: LIFE ITSELF
The late critic Roger Ebert, subject of the documentary “Life Itself,” was much loved, and director Steve James is highly respected. But that didn’t help the film get a best-documentary nod — even though Hollywood loves movies about the movies.