12 Biggest Oscars Snubs and Surprises

Oscar Snubs -- Biggest Surprises From

In what was truly a roller-coaster awards season, the Academy ultimately crowned “Birdman” as the best film of 2014, giving it four Oscars including the top prize of the night. “Boyhood,” Richard Linklater’s adolescent drama that was 12 years in the making, was long considered a frontrunner, until it started losing the guild awards. It only took home a single Oscar for best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette.

Here are the 12 biggest snubs and surprises from Oscars night.

SURPRISE: “Birdman,” best picture
A victory for any of the eight nominees for best picture would be considered a surprise, given how close this year’s award season race has been. Many predicted there would be a picture/director split this year, much like last year (between “12 Years a Slave” and “Gravity”), but that turned out not to be the case. “Birdman” swept the top two prizes of the night, causing “Boyhood” fans great heartache.

SURPRISE: Alejandro G. Inarritu, best director, “Birdman”
Linklater, who won the Golden Globe, lost momentum after the DGA, which went to Inarritu. But many pundits still thought that Linklater would emerge victorious in this category, for the simple fact that he spent so long making “Boyhood.” It turned out that the Academy really loved “Birdman.”

SURPRISE: “Big Hero 6,” best animated film
It was yet another showdown between Disney (“Big Hero 6”) and DreamWorks (“How to Train Your Dragon 2”) in this category. The original “How to Train a Dragon” lost to “Toy Story 3” in 2010, and the sequel couldn’t cross the finish line either, despite picking up the early precursors like the Golden Globe and the Annie Award.

SURPRISE: “Birdman,” best original screenplay
One of the few awards that “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” which landed four Oscars (tying with “Birdman”), didn’t win was best original screenplay. It was considered the frontrunner after taking home the WGA.

SURPRISE: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” best hair/makeup
Oscar predictors were divided if this category would go to “Guardians of the Galaxy” (with Zoe Saldana and her gecko green skin as Gamora) or “Foxcatcher” (with Steve Carell and his prosthetic nose). It was an unexpected surprise that it went to “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” and an early indication that the Wes Anderson comedy would do well.

SURPRISE: “Interstellar,” best visual effects
Christopher Nolan’s space epic, which was nominated for five Oscars, managed to eke out a single award in this technical category. But the fact that “Interstellar” beat frontrunner “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is proof, once again, that the Academy doesn’t understand motion-capture.

SURPRISE: Best editing, “Whiplash”
Richard Linklater’s editor Sandra Adair spent 12 years sifting through footage to assemble “Boyhood,” but the Academy gave the award to “Whiplash” instead. It was an early foreshadowing that “Boyhood” wouldn’t win best picture.

SURPRISE: Sound mixing, “Whiplash”
“American Sniper,” which won best sound editing, was expected to win both sound categories, but it lost the first award to “Whiplash.”

SNUB: “Boyhood”
IFC’s “Boyhood” had six Oscar nominations, but it only managed to win a single award — for best supporting actress Patricia Arquette. Many thought it would win at least best picture or best director, or possibly both.

SNUB: “American Sniper”
The biggest-grossing movie at this year’s Oscars, “American Sniper,” which has amassed more than $300 million at the domestic box office, only received a single Oscar for best sound editing. Some had predicted it would upset in either best actor (which went to Eddie Redmayne) or best adapted screenplay (where “The Imitation Game,” which had eight nominations, won its only Oscar).

SNUB: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Since “Birdman” swept both picture and director, it’s s a little surprising that its star didn’t win an Oscar as well. Keaton was an early favorite in the category, until Eddie Redmayne — who delivers a career-changing performance as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” — won the SAG and BAFTA trophies, which are usually good predictors for the Oscar.

SNUB: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Even though “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won four awards, Anderson lost in both the directing and screenwriting categories. Like Linklater, Anderson has yet to win an Academy Award.

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  1. theonethatgot.away says:

    Seriously??? Birdman? What a piece of shit…. I saw it and the only brilliant part was the end….
    .now, you watch Boyhood… And you can’t understand why the hell a movie 12 years in the making with ALL the same actors didn’t win more Oscars… Pathetic

  2. d dubue says:

    It really doesn’t matter that “American Sniper’ did not sweep the awards show. Even if it was the best movie released,Those other award winners can sleep well knowing that they really did not win,They where just given a award. They know the truth…

  3. Random47 says:

    ‘American Sniper’ should have won everything that it was nominated for, especially Best Picture and Best Actor. I was happy that Keaton didn’t win Best Actor, though, but sadly Birdsh*t won…that is no bueno!

  4. TOM says:

    SNUB: Although I wasn’t expecting it, I was somewhat hoping that as a ‘consolation’ award really intended for ‘Best Animated Feature,’ members would band together and select ‘Everything is Awesome’ (The Lego Movie) for Best Song.

    SURPRISE: Has it occurred to you how really forgottable most of the past ‘Best Song’ winners really are? I noticed this during the ceremony when the orchestra was playing intro/exit selections from past winners/nominees. Maybe they didn’t play any winner from the past 15 years. If they did, it certainly didn’t stir a memory with me. The orchestra had to resort to ‘Theme From Rocky,’ ‘Nobody Does it Better,’ ‘(I’ve Had)The Time of my Life,’ ‘Theme from Shaft,’ ‘Theme from Arthur, ‘Take My Breath Away.’ even, desperately, the Huey Lewis/Back to the Future squirmer ‘The Power of Love.’ Perhaps ‘My Heart Will Go On’ or ‘Lose Yourself’ or ‘Let it Go’ the last three ‘memorable’ Best Song that are be identified via an orchestra. I can hum ‘SkyFall,’ ‘Hard out here for a Pimp,’ and ‘Falling Slowly…,’ but has anything else truly been sticking in your movie brain? Please hum to yourself the following ‘award-worthy’ classics:
    When You Believe, You’ll Be In my Heart, Things Have Changed, If I Didn’t Have You, Into The West, Al Otro Lado Del Rio, I Need To Wake Up, Jai Ho, The Weary Kind, We Belong Together, Man or Muppet…will anybody now really remember how to hum ‘Glory’ as time passes?

  5. It was a poor lot of movies this year. Nothing special, nothing new, nothing outstanding. Worst year for a long time.

  6. chrismovie1 says:

    Lots of snubs in general. Jennifer Aniston should have been nominated and won over Moore for “Cake.” Moore’s performance in “Still Alice” doesn’t scratch the surface of what an Alzheimer patient endures. “Life Itself” was the best documentary of the year and completely ignored. Rosemund Pike gave an Oscar winning performance in “Gone Girl,” far more compelling than Arquette. “Imitation Game” or “Whiplash” were superior movies to “Birdman.” “Gone Girl” should have been nominated and “Sniper” should not have been even considered.

  7. Emmet says:

    LEGO MOVIE!! That that movie wasn’t nominated for best picture is a freaking crime. Boyhood was a great gimmick with uninteresting, stale characters and no story. Birdman sucked and some people absolutely hated it. Any of the other movies should have won. Also Guardians should have won best makeup hands down. The Academy rarely gives superhero movies that sort of recognition. Crusty old farts are egotistical and dismissive of stuff they feel is beneath them. Heath Ledger absolutely deserved to win the Oscar for the Joker but would he have won had he been alive?

  8. Was hoping Boyhood to win best picture and director but oh well. NPH was alright, Billy Crystal has been amazing in the past. Ellen was great too.

  9. asf says:


  10. anne miller says:

    Michael Keaton’s performance was the not only the best of his career but truly better than any candidate up for best actor.

  11. Cecil B Da Mill says:

    So many people say Birdman is boring, and the Oscars was down 16%=there is hope for witers!!

  12. Gary T says:

    What s disgrace that Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t win best makeup. Proof that these guys have no idea. There is no comparison. Have no respect for the Oscars any more. It should now be called….. ‘Awards for movies that don’t do well at the box office.’

  13. More crap from Sootadeh on how he’s right, and the Academy’s wrong. “…the fact that “Interstellar” beat frontrunner “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is proof, once again, that the Academy doesn’t understand motion-capture.” Really? Or could it be they just chose what they saw as the greatest in the category. Nolan’s practical effects and massive efforts to stay in the real and use CGI as a last resort are what was awarded. Motion capture is not that impressive anymore, and it’s hardly innovative.

  14. Laura says:

    Birdman was not eligible for a WGA screenplay award, hence the Grand Budapest victory. I think Birdman would have won that Guild award if it had been eligible.

  15. It is curious that Variety considers it a “surprise” when the film that takes home the statue wins out over another in a “hotly contested race” – such as between Birdman and Boyhood. Variety staff critics desperately wanted Boyhood to win big, and especially win big over Birdman. Variety was disappointed and – dare I say it – righteously infuriated – thus the surprise.

  16. Marty Gillis says:

    Sad that Taylor Negron was omitted from the memorial reel. He added much to all the films he appeared in.

  17. thesteelgeneral says:

    sniper won too many oscars.

  18. grandmal006 says:

    I was disappointed! I thought American Sniper should have gotten more awards! But again we the people, can’t vote for the Oscars. The Oscars get more and more boring every year. I no longer watch all of it. I channel surf, then the Walking Dead came on and I watched it.

  19. JD says:

    Having downloaded all of the Best Picture nominees (Screeners) and listening to the hype, I assumed Selma or Sniper would take best picture/director. Obviously the movies were better than Birdman/breakdown

  20. I loved Boyhood, I can’t believe it didn’t win more!

  21. Carol Kremer says:

    Could not relate to Boyhood in any way – not as a mom of a ten year old boy at least. My boy is nothing like Mason and none of his friends are either. Boyhood seemed to be more about the director’s boyhood experience than that of “every boy.” The last line of the movie about not seizing the day, let the day seize you – what kid talks like that? None that I know. True, the age progression on film was interesting, but not enough to recommend this film for best picture. It found it dull and insincere and quickly tired of the mother’s repeated poor choices in men. Loved Birdman and found it engaging and exhilarating and current. Happy it won and wish Keaton had won also.

    • You have my full support on this. Boyhood had received an enormous boost by critics and media, who, in my opinion, suffer from too many sequels and the general agony of stupid comedies and relentless comic book fantasies. They responded to Richard Linklater’s bodacious idea and ignored the movie’s vacuous storyline. Linklater has become the new God of the Unique, and Boyhood is its avatar. However, aside from watching four actors grow older over twelve years of their lives in two hours of screen time, Boyhood is far and away the most boring film on the list. (Three out of four ordinary people I spoke to that saw it said they were bored out of their skulls.) It is a coming of age movie without a point, where time is marked by the most obvious of markers, and where every scene is a cliché: the annoying sister, the parent’s divorce, dad taking the boy fishing, dad taking the boy to the ball game, his first crush. Note that there are no scenes to speak of in school for the longest time, despite that this is where boys spend most of their waking hours. Aside from its very uniqueness and the sense that we are watching a kind of time lapse movie, Boyhood has little else going for it. I read a few reviews that called this movie “groundbreaking” to which I must ask: What can anyone – other than wannabe directors who must be scanning their video files from the last ten years to see if they can do the same – what can anyone build on this ground?

  22. Julienne says:

    Obviously Hollywood doesn’t care about the people that pay their salaries…or for that matter, making money. I heard several numbskulls say they didn’t make movies for financial profits. EXCUSE ME?!

    I don’t want you making my films!

    • thesteelgeneral says:


  23. GO FOR TWO SPORTS says:

    Lets be clear here the snub was Fox Catcher.. That was the best movie nominated! Birdman was boring. Everybody who watches it comes out saying it was boring.. It was a bore fest.. Last year American Hustle was the same thing, it was beyond boring yet people praised it like it was great.. But almost every movie every year that these people say are great SUCK…JOHN WICK was the best movie in 2014

  24. Inarritu won in all 3 categories he nominated for he was the only major nominee that was ‘non-white’ and “Birdman’ was 1st Best Picture winner since ‘Ordinary People’ not nominated for best editing several best picture nominees won only 1 Oscar. Oscar in recent years has been know to ‘spread the wealth.’ NPH had been known for hosting other award shows well but that didnt translate to the ‘Oscars’ we dont know how much control he had over content but even Seth Macfarland and “Ellen; were able to put their own stamps of the show and make more enjoyable while focusing on their own strengths as performers NPH tried he get and ‘A; for effort but hes not either of the other too performers i for one would hope they would try someone like Jimmy Fallon b/c of his unique ways of engaging his celebrity guest as well producing enjoyable creative bits that ‘go virial’ well beyond his show which what you w/the oscars, then again they didnt nominate “Gone Girl” or ‘Foxcatcher’ for best picture and ‘Selma’ got ignored for several awards idk but ‘Oscar” needs to remember to honor the films ppl wanted to see but at he same time they need make it easier for the moviegoer to see the special films like ‘Whiplash’ when in many cases the films that appear at local theaters are based on what will draw an audience instead of what ‘Oscar” things we might enjoy. That could be done via making many of these films have earlier access via VOD.
    Nice try ‘Oscar” but you need remember ticket prices keep going up[ and movie attendance is down but lokat what have to look forward too this year F&F7,SPECTRE AVENGERS2,TED2,MOCKINGJAY2,ANOTHER FANTASTIC4, AND STAR WARS7!
    Does anyone believe box office will be a problem?
    All im saying ‘Oscar’ remember who is going to your movies and what ppl want to see.
    where are the new original ideas. granted they gave 3 awards to the creator of the out of the box high wire act that was ‘Birdman’ despite being liked by over 90% of critics its clearly an acquired that not even my mother liked its a movie about making a play and the complex thoughts running through an aging actor’s head so most of what u see is through ‘his’ eyes but it takes watching the movie a couple times to figure that out we all dont have that time!
    87th Oscars get a 5/10! 40mis too long and dull and too ordinary!

    • Bill B. says:

      I don’t care when they release them or how they release them, I’d be willing to bet a ton that none of the 2015 films that you mention will receive a single major Oscar nomination. The Academy is not out of touch with what people want to see. You can still see them. It’s the people who are getting further and further out of touch with seeing well written, directed and acted films about interesting issues, times and/or individuals.

      • leo says:

        Hollywood’s full of morons who were at the right time, right place!
        With damn good agents!

        – how many successful actors do you know complain about lack of education
        While making millions of dollars for a single film?
        I’d rather feed a family & educate them then on the artsarts to propel morons!! I’d have better chance at productive members of society in this way!

      • Mary says:

        Education cuts are to blame. That, along with the idiotic belief that the liberal arts no longer matter.

  25. Domino Palm says:

    A “best” picture or “best” director Oscar should go to films that shake-up the cinematic experience, not simply add to it. Perhaps this is why CITIZEN KANE only received a writing award…and why PSYCHO received nothing at all. Movie that change the movies are the movies that should be awarded, and not these quaint but obscured films that will soon be forgotten (like THE ARTIST) which gets the attention due to their mere “nomination” but does little else to change the movie-going experience. Sad, too bad, but the way it is.

  26. Bill says:

    Perhaps Academy voters DO understand motion capture but instead wanted to honor Interstellar for its incredible creation of multiple planets, and a scientifically accurate black hole among other things?

    Anyone surprised at the award success of “Birdman” is overlooking Hollywood’s long-standing desire to honor films about themselves and their profession, and anyone could have guessed that a film about a washed-up film actor would be the recipient of multiple accolades at award time if it had been middling, let alone the excellent film it turned out to be.

    • Joe Love says:

      Which science, as in “scientifically accurate” would that be, a model, such as in global warming? No one knows — just guesses — what goes on inside a black hole (even Eddie Remayne). But it surely isn’t likely looking through bookcases.

    • Well, they should have recognized better special effects imho. Interstellar was visually very good, but special effects alone were not really ground breaking. Plus I don’t understand this notion of Interstellar’s scientific accuracy, it was as accurate as Star Wars. Ideas of wormholes looking as balls and travelling trough them being as travelling trough tunnel are absolutely bananas :)

  27. Keaton should have won. Maybe the Oscars realized that he is too great to receive the award.

    • mj says:

      seriously? if yelling is award worthy, I get it. I like Michael Keaton. I always have but let’s be honest, he’s hardly an actor of any note. Eddie Redmayne is wildly talented. He runs the gambit from musical to drama. Let’s get real here. He’s already a much better actor than Michael Keaton 30 years his senior.

      • Gaurav says:

        If you think about Keaton’s tour-de-force performance as yelling, you could also say about Redmayne’s performance as ‘pathologically beatific quip machine’ (thats a actual phrase from an online review of Eddie’s film)… Also, dont forget to compare Eddie’s pathetic performance in Jupiter Ascending to Michael’s Batman or Bettlejuice…

      • Dex says:

        Bravo and superbly stated.

  28. Frankd says:

    That was Chris Pine’s best work to date.

  29. ezekiel says:

    keaton was robbed.
    why did howdy doody win instead????

  30. Red Camera says:

    Why does the Academy need to understand motion capture? Anyway the award for best special effects should have gone to either “Transformers Age of Extinction” or “Captain America Winter Soldier”.

    • playerthirteen408 says:

      Unfortunately the Academy tends to recognize the achievement in the category based on the better movie that offered the particular goods. Transformers was garbage and Captain America was ho-hum. No trophy for you!

  31. Michael Keaton was robbed! Birdman at least was half right, and took home trophy for it. Americans aren’t interested in substance. They just want blockbusters. Birdman may have been an indictment of Hollywood by its artistic statements, but it delivered the goods at the same time. Wes Anderson merely delivers an obscure vision unconcerned with approval, hence, once again, he is trophy-less. Hey Wes lay off on that whole art house weird humor. Rushmore was hilarious. All down hill from there. There’s a grander audience than yourself and your weird friends who buy into that weird stuff you call humor. Don’t be Broken Flowers. Be Airplane..It’s called laughter, not art.

  32. The Great Red Dragon says:

    Michael Keaton was the biggest snub of the night.

  33. Tricia says:

    Wes Anderson was robbed!

  34. Michael Jones says:

    Birdman! What a production. Wish it was The Imitation Game, but Birdman is very rewarding to the actors, producers, directors, the entire industry. Birdman! Is a quality picture worthy of best picture! I personally like the message better of Imitation Game, but Birdman does strike at the heart of the people who bring truly quality movies to our lives. Boyhood sure touched many people, but it just didn’t have the overall quality of an Academy Best Picture.
    Hooray for BIRDMAN!

    Long Live Birdman!

    • Julienne says:

      Those guys got a hold of some ‘heavy-duty-chit-meng’, to come-up with that bizarre storyline of acid tripping scenes.

  35. UGh says:


  36. Ben says:

    Boyhood should have won

  37. Terry says:

    I don’t think anybody was snubbed. All of the winners were worthy. Do critics have anything better to do than to create animosity? My favorite part of Birdman was when Edward Norton told off the NY Times critic!

  38. J Alexander says:

    In Memoriam snubs included Tom Sherak and Joan Rivers.

    • JSB says:

      Maximillian Schell & Shirley Temple Black

      • Shirley Temple was honored last year. As for Joan, I would say that was a snub. Normally I’d say it wasn’t because she wasn’t involved in the movie industry as an actual contributor/creative force. However, they honored Maya Angelou who wasn’t one either beyond writing stories that were later adapted by other writers. Although I do think she directed one movie that hardly anyone saw. Point is, she shouldn’t have been part of it either but since she was, they should have included Joan too.

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