Oscar nominations 2014: According to Raja Sen, this year's chosen ones are (mostly) loud and showy examples of the best in the craft.
Its Oscar season, folks, and the nominations are upon us.
This year's chosen ones are (mostly) loud and showy examples of the best in the craft -- which isn't to say that they aren't (mostly) very good indeed -- but the Academy does seem content staying in the world of the obvious rather than springing a quirky surprise.
But then in a year so populated with great movies, merely staying on the radar feels more than adequate.
The most disappointing omission has been the Coen Brothers' masterful Inside Llewyn Davis, a film that deserved nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor (for the wonderful Oscar Isaac), Best Song and Best Original Screenplay, but was instead given a consolatory nod for Best Sound Mixing.
It wasn't likely to expect a sweep for the filmmakers, but recognition of their ever-admirable efforts was due for a film that ranks up there next to their very finest. The film was left in the cold quite like its unforgettable cat-misplacing protagonist.
Others who lost out were Robert Redford, whose work in All Is Lost is considered truly extraordinary, and Tom Hanks, who failed to get an acting nomination and whose Saving Mr Banks was shunted out entirely, a perplexing decision considering the Academy-friendly content: Hanks as Walt Disney and a celebration of family-friendly cinema.
Captain Phillips, which Hanks stars in, got a Best Picture nod but, without a Best Director nod for Paul Greengrass, it feels only like a slap on the back.
Impressive films like Lee Daniels' The Butler and Fruitvale Station were ignored entirely, as was Ron Howard's Rush -- which should have had a look-in at least for cinematography and for Supporting Actor Daniel Brühl.
For Best Picture, the smart money must now be placed squarely on 12 Years A Slave.
Steve McQueen's relentless film is a serious and strong motion picture as opposed to that other frontrunner, American Hustle.