Oscar Surprises and Snubs: Gary Oldman Gets His Due, But Leo Sits This One Out

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Gary Oldman, Leonardo DiCaprio | Photo Credits: Focus Features, Warner Bros.

Just after the Oscar nominations were read on Tuesday morning, Albert Brooks tweeted:  "And to the Academy: "You don't like me. You really don't like me." The Drive star seemed to be a near-lock for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, but his name wound up on the wrong side of the shortlist. "I got ROBBED. I don't mean the Oscars, I mean literally. My pants and shoes have been stolen," he continued to quip on Twitter. But Brooks' omission wasn't the only big shocker. Here are our top surprises and snubs:

See the complete list of Oscar nominations

Surprises

Acting nominees: The past few years have seen a Michael Shannon here and a Maggie Gyllenhaal there, but this year's acting class features the most surprises — big and small — that we've seen in a while. After the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations came out, Melissa McCarthy's Supporting Actress nomination for Bridesmaids and Rooney Mara's for Best Actress for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo weren't that shocking, but Max von Sydow (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) for Supporting Actor? He only got a handful of critics' awards nominations and now joins Shannon and Gyllenhaal, among a few others, on the list of people who earned an Oscar nod without having first cracked the Golden Globe or SAG finals. Also joining that exclusive club? Gary Oldman, who at long last received his first — yes, first — Oscar nomination for Best Actor for Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Unlike von Sydow, however, Oldman earned a BAFTA nod, which counts for a lot since Brits make up a huge portion of the Academy voting bloc. The Best Actor category also features a surprising fresh face in Demian Bichir (A Better Life). Both Bichir and McCarthy were snubbed by the Globes but nominated by SAG, proving once again that, of the two, the SAGs are a better predictor of the Oscar acting races. (It makes sense: Actors vote for both the SAGs and the Academy's acting awards). This year, 17 of the 20 Oscar nominees also received SAG nods.

Broad comedy: Speaking of McCarthy, many predictors thought she was unlikely to be nominated because Bridesmaids was too raunchy a flick for the stodgy old Academy voters' taste. But that perception is now officially changing (see also: Robert Downey Jr.'s nomination for Tropic Thunder three years ago). Unfortunately, Bridesmaids missed out on a Best Picture nod. Baby steps, people.

The Tree of Life: Terrence Malick's divisive drama about the origins of life had been snubbed for the majority of the awards season, but it managed to make it into both the Best Picture and Best Director races (Malick is an Academy favorite). That one-two punch is a deadly combo — especially with fewer directing slots than picture slots. (Only three films have won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination.) The Tree of Life is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of movie, and it's clearly the former with the Academy.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: Producer Scott Rudin's schmaltzy, poorly reviewed adaptation of Jonathan Safran Foer's 9/11 drama made the Best Picture cut over his other better — and better-reviewed, even prematurely — book adaptation (Stieg Larsson's The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) without much momentum. We probably should have seen it coming since the Academy loves Stephen Daldry (The Reader, The Hours, Billy Elliot — all Oscar-nominated films). The Brit, however, was excluded from the director lineup, preventing him from getting four Best Director nominations for his first four feature films.

Billy Crystal to host the Oscars for the ninth time

Snubs

Albert Brooks: Like we said, the SAGs are the best indicator for Oscar success. Brooks' SAG snub for Drive was shocking then, but many believed he could overcome it since he had been giving Christopher Plummer (Beginners) a run for his money in precursor awards. Instead, the Academy went for the veteran in von Sydow. Fun fact: Both Plummer and von Sydow are 82, and if either wins, he would become the oldest acting Oscar winner in any category. Jessica Tandy, who was 80 when she won Best Actress for Driving Miss Daisy, currently holds the record.

Steven Spielberg: The two-time winner didn't earn a directing nod for War Horse, but perhaps most shocking is that The Adventures of Tintin, which he co-produced with lord of the Lord of the Rings Peter Jackson, was snubbed from the animated feature lineup after winning the Globe and the Producers Guild Award. Don't feel too bad for Spielberg: War Horse received a Best Picture mention, so he's nominated as a producer.

Shailene Woodley: The final Supporting Actress slot came down to Woodley (The Descendants) and McCarthy (neither earned both Globe and SAG nods like the other four women in the category). Woodley lost out in the end, despite starring in the more Academy-friendly film and being a young starlet. The Academy usually loves breakout young actresses, especially in the supporting race — recent nominees include Hailee Steinfeld, Anna Kendrick, Abigail Breslin and Saoirse Ronan, and of course, the youngest acting winner ever was Tatum O'Neal, who was 10.

Leo and Fassy: The Best Actor lineup was shaping up to be one of, if not the hottest ever, but Leonardo DiCaprio (J. Edgar) and Michael Fassbender (Shame) both failed to score nods. Were voters uncomfortable with Shame's NC-17 rating and the never-ending nudity? While we wish Fassbender made the shortlist, we're OK with DiCaprio's snub. His J. Edgar Hoover was adequate in an inadequate film, and we're glad he didn't make it in on his name — or Clint Eastwood's — alone, which happens more often than not with A-listers.

What surprised you the most? Who do you think deserved a nomination?


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