Nine films saw Best Picture 2014 Academy Awards nominations in the ten spot category, and surprisingly the critically acclaimed Inside Llewyn Davis by the Coen Brothers was not one of them, nor did the Academy see fit to fill the tenth spot with Davis.
As expected, early frontrunners Gravity, Captain Phillips, American Hustle, and 12 Years a Slave were all included on the Academy Award Best Picture list. The latter is expected to run away with the prized award. Joining the pack is Dallas Buyers Club, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, and The Wolf of Wall Street.
The Coen Brothers’ tenth film was lauded by several critics as one of their best. The drama is set in 1961 and it focuses on the travails of Llewyn Davis, a folk musician struggling to find success and a bed to sleep on in Greenwich, New York. This was one of the better films in recent memory to capture the struggles of finding artistic success in the music business.
The titular character, portrayed by Oscar Isaac, is an insincere and dishonest man, yet at the same time he is trying so hard to be an authentic and honest musician. Isaac did a great job portraying this conflicted and flawed character, yet he was also snubbed for Best Actor at the Academy Awards. This is not so much a surprise given the strength of the other five actors nominated.
Both Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey in American Hustle and Dallas Buyers Club respectively, completely transformed themselves physically making them unrecognizable. Leonardo DiCaprio of The Wolf of Wall Street, Chitwetel Ejiofor of 12 Years a Slave and veteran actor, Bruce Dern of Nebraska, all gave powerful performances in their films.
Inside Llewyn Davis was also not nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, which saw the list consisting of American Hustle, Her, Nebraska, Blue Jasmine and Dallas Buyers Club; all equally deserving.
In Inside Llewyn Davis, John Goodman portrays Roland Turner, a jazz musician that Llewyn finds himself going on a road trip with. The character says in the film that folk rock is not music. Apparently the Academy agrees, as Davis was not nominated for Best Original Score, which was produced by T Bone Burnett, or Original Song.
The Academy only nominated three songs, which were from Alone Yet Not Alone, Despicable Me, and Frozen. Many of the songs in Davis did sound kind of the same, but there were a couple gems, including Please Mr. Kennedy, which featured Justin Timberlake and Adam Driver. The song was so wacky and weird that it was actually pretty darn good and much deserving of at least a nomination.
Meanwhile, The Book Thief, Gravity, Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, and Her all received best soundtrack. Some of them didn’t even have much music in it, such as Gravity, which is a rub in the face to Inside Llewyn Davis, a film all about music.
The only categories which Inside Llewyn Davis was nominated for was Best Cinematography for its tinted green and sombre view of Greenwich, and Best Sound Mixing.
Three of the last four Coens’ films – No Country for Old Men (2007), A Serious Man (2009), and True Grit (2010) – all received plenty of attention at previous Academy Award ceremonies, with No Country for Old Men winning Best Picture. In the following year in 2008, the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading was not nominated for anything at the Academy Awards, but it was not made for awards seasons; Inside Llewyn Davis was, the snub being an unexpected turn of events for the accomplished filmmakers.
By Kollin Lore