With all the excitement buzzing around the entertainment industry for the Academy Awards, there is always a fair share of criticism and disappointment regarding who was and who was not nominated for certain categories. The snubs of the 2015 Oscars seem to be raising quite a bit of controversy, more so than usual.
One individual many thought they would see as a first-time nominee at this year’s Academy Awards is that of Jennifer Aniston. Aniston has been receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences all over the world for her groundbreaking performance in Cake. The film portrays the Friends star as a woman suffering from depression that undergoes her own personal battle with an addiction to prescription painkillers. Aniston’s character becomes obsessed with a young woman in her self-help group (played by Anna Kendrick) who has committed suicide. Aniston actually ends up romantically pursuing the deceased woman’s widowed husband and begins to see hallucinations of Kendrick’s character, which adds another layer of “cake” to this heavy dramedy.
From the trailer, alone, Aniston showcases her talent in a way she has never done before. Although she lost out on the Academy Awards nod, she did receive nominations for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for her performance. Fellow actresses Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon, who were in direct competition with Aniston, personally reached out to the Cake actress to let her know she was more than deserving of a slot at the Oscars.
As for the male actors who were snubbed by the Academy Awards, David Oyelowo is among the most talked about. Oyelowo gave an outstanding performance in Selma, the first mainstream feature film about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The movie focuses on the beginnings of King’s civil rights movements, specifically the march that ensued from Selma, AL to Montgomery, AL. The Selma star received a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal and has been highly praised by all that have seen the film. It is expected to do very well at the box office this weekend as the national holiday named after the famed human rights activist takes place on Monday.
It is a peculiar thing that Oyelowo was not nominated, as the Academy Awards tend to favor performances based on actual people. One would think that the likes of a being as important as Dr. King would be just the type of character the Academy would hand the golden trophy over to. As a matter of fact, all but one of the Best Leading Actor nominees play characters based on actual people in history. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing in The Imitation Game, Bradley Cooper as sharp-shooter Chris Kyle in American Sniper, Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything and Steve Carrell as John E. du Pont in Foxcatcher compile the aforementioned list of nominated actors portraying actual people.
This year’s Academy Awards have also garnered much controversy over the lack of diversity amongst nominees. The biggest factor being pointed out is the fact that all twenty of the acting nominees are Caucasian. It is no question that all the actors nominated this year are very deserving, but when it almost seems as if the Academy has purposefully left out stellar performances such as Oyelowo’s, many eyebrows tend to be raised. The lack of female nominees in many of the creative and technical categories has provided much controversy as well, as there were many noteworthy women that performed outstanding work in these fields this year that received little to no recognition. Sources state that the individuals that make up the Academy are 97 percent Caucasian, 77 percent male and have a median age of 63 years old. Perhaps it is time for the Acadmey to admit a more diverse collection of members, so all aspects of the creative spectrum are brought to light in equal measure.
The Academy Awards snubs of 2015 seem to have brought much unrest to many, but perhaps the buzz of all the controversy will awaken reason for future Oscar ceremonies to make a beautiful change for the better. The Academy Awards will be broadcast live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, CA on Feb. 22, 2015.
Opinion by Cody Collier
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