It had to happen. In a jam-pack field of exemplary 2013 films and performances, a few of the best just had to be overlooked.
Such was the case Thursday when the 86th Academy Awards nominations were announced.
Here are some of the most heartbreaking snubs:
- Robert Redford: As a lone sailor battling for his life in a leaky boat on the open seas, the influential 77-year-old actor gave one of his most calibrated and accomplished performances ever in the unduly ignored “All Is Lost.” It was his bit of masterful, no-nonsense acting that was all but lost on the Academy. Subtlety often fails to snatch Oscar nominations.
- “Fruitvale Station”: Midway through 2013, this moving drama that depicted the final hours in the life of Oscar Grant III, the 22-year-old Hayward man who was fatally shot on New Year's Day in 2009 by a BART police officer, appeared to have a lock in numerous categories — best picture, actor (Michael B. Jordan) and supporting actress (Octavia Spencer). But Academy voters suffer terribly from short-term memory loss. And sadly, this fine film from the East Bay's Ryan Coogler got lost in the blinding blitz of late-term contenders.
- Tom Hanks: In any other year, it would have been smooth sailing for the popular actor to land a nom. But the “Captain Phillips” star was left scrubbing the decks, even though this was one of his strongest acting turns. On the other hand, his co-star, Barkhad Abdi, deservedly landed a nomination.
- “Inside Llewyn Davis”: Oscar showed little love for the Coen brothers' latest drama about a jerk of a folk musician. Not only did Oscar shun it in major categories, it didn't even score a song nomination. They basically gave the siblings the cold shoulder, with “Davis” scoring only two technical nods. To coin a song from Dylan, the times they are a-changing for the Coens — who used to be Oscar champs.
- James Franco: The crafty “Spring Breakers” star turned in the one of strangest, most unforgettable performances in any category of 2013. Yet Oscar failed to notice. Perhaps it's a case of sour grapes due to his dismal co-hosting awards duties. No matter what, this fierce acting turn deserved to be in this pack.
- “Lee Daniels The Butler”: This big historical family drama seemed tailor-made for Oscar. But it came out of the gates looking strong, and later got eclipsed by better films. Still, Oprah was sensational, and should have occupied that snug slot taken by Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”) in the supporting actress category.
- Emma Thompson: The reason “Saving Mr. Banks” goes down like a spoonful of sugar is due to Thompson, who played prickly author P.T. Travers to stuffy perfection. She was knocked out of the competition by perennial fave Meryl Streep, who shouted her trophy-winning heart out for the failed stage-to-film adaptation “August: Osage County.” Histrionics tend to get you noticed.