Shalom Life | March 09, 2014

Jewish Top 10s: Oscar Snubs

A look at some of the talented Jewish actors, directors and writers who were poised to win an Academy Award, but ultimately fell short

By: Zak Edwards

Published: March 8th, 2014 in Culture » Film » News

Jewish Top 10s: Oscar Snubs

Welcome to Jewish Top 10s, where we compile lists that highlight the best and the brightest of everything yehudi, from delicious recipes to funniest actors, to most obnoxious Jewish wedding songs.

Unless you were living under a rock, or paying attention to more important things like the invasion of Ukraine, then you know the Academy Awards happened last Sunday. The Oscars are the single most important movie awards in Hollywood and the Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences is one of the most esteemed organizations in cinematic history.

Of course, while this carefully selected group is very respected, their decisions are not always held up to the same esteem. An Oscar can make a person’s career, launch them into fame and fortune, or recognize their exceptional abilities, but some of the best and most talented performances and creative efforts have been skipped over by the Academy. I mean, what does Leo have to do to impress these guys?

Usually called the Oscar Snub, we thought we’d look at some of the biggest snubs against Jewish cinema talent since the first golden statue was handed out.

10.


Actor: Albert Brooks

Snubbed For: Best Supporting Actor in Drive

Who Won: Christopher Plummer for Beginners

For the record, I am a very good Canadian and I think Christopher Plummer’s beautiful and heart-breaking performance in Beginners was absolutely deserving of the Oscar. Drive’s complete lack of nominations in any category except Sound Editing was absolutely deplorable, from Ryan Gosling’s intensity to Nicolas Refn’s stylish directing. But Albert Brooks as the Jewish gangster gave a movie with some very intense but quiet characters some much needed flair and character. However, Brooks was completely ignored and Drive will remain a movie remembered.

9.


Actor: Mila Kunis

Snubbed For: Best Supporting Actress in Black Swan

Who Won: Melissa Leo for The Fighter

Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, and Jim Carrey have all enjoyed a rise in critical recognition, but one person who surprised everyone with their serious acting skills was Mila Kunis in Black Swan. Sure, Natalie Portman absolutely killed the role, and Darren Aronofsky’s directing was captivating and disturbing, but Kunis showed she’s come a long way from That 70s Show and most people took notice. Most, of course, except for the Academy.

8.


Director: Rob Reiner

Snubbed For: Best Director in A Few Good Men

Who Won: Clint Eastwood for Unforgiven.

Perhaps the Academy just “can’t handle the truth.” Rob Reiner has gone from TV star Meathead in All in the Family to acclaimed director in multiple genres. He has left his mark on movies and TV both in front and behind the camera. But while his 1991 drama A Few Good Men was was nominated for four Oscars, including one for Jack Nicholson’s supporting role, Reiner remained off the best director category altogether.

7.


Actor: Paul Giamatti

Snubbed For: American Splendor

Who Won: Tim Robbins for Mystic River

No, Paul Giamatti is not Jewish, but he played an absolutely incredible Harvey Pekar, one of our favourite Jewish comic writers, in American Splendor. The film itself was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay but largely ignored Giamatti’s stunning performance, and the performances of the entire cast, in favour of letting Lord of the Rings clean up shop. In fact, Giamatti has only been nominated once, for Cinderella Man. Did they not even SEE Barney's Version??? (another film where Giamatti plays a Jewish protagonist).

6.


Actor: Jake Gyllenhaal

Snubbed For: Best Supporting Actor in Brokeback Mountain

Who Won: George Clooney for Syriana

Brokeback Mountain was all the rage when it came to awards season, picking up numerous awards in pretty much every category. But the acting was not very well received by the Academy apparently. Heath Ledger was recognized, but his brilliant chemistry with Jake Gyllenhaal was completely ignored. Gyllenhaal gave everything he had in that role and pulled on more than a few heartstrings, but he was overshadowed by the film itself, which goes to show the Oscars may have been looking for political points more than looking at the film itself.

Continue Reading on Page 2 for Our Top 5 Jewish Oscar Snubs

 

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