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Redford, Hanks, Gandolfini top list of should-have-beens

By McClatchy News Services

LAST UPDATED: 2:50 a.m. HST, Jan 17, 2014

As always, the Oscar nominations are significant not only for who gets the nod, but for who misses out.

This year's snubs:

» Black films: In a breakout year, only "12 Years a Slave" got much of any recognition. "Lee Daniels' The Butler" (Oprah!), "Fruitvale Station" (Octavia Spencer!) came up empty. "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" is up for original song, but that's more a nod to U2 than the film.

» "Saving Mr. Banks": This tale of the making of "Mary Poppins" seemed a good prospect for best picture — after all, Hollywood loves a film about Hollywood (see "The Artist"). But it wasn't Oscar's cup of tea. Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson & Co. came up empty. The only nomination was for original score.

» "Inside Llewyn Davis": And here we thought the academy loved the Coen brothers. Yet their downbeat folk music saga "Inside Llewyn Davis," so well-crafted, was ignored in all but a couple of technical categories. Though Oscar Isaac was brilliant in the title role, maybe his character was just too unlikable.


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» "Tom Hanks": The two-time Oscar winner had two chances, but was spurned: for his riveting performance as Captain Phillips and for channeling Walt Disney in "Saving Mr. Banks." The last time Hanks was even nominated was for "Cast Away" in 2001.

» Robert Redford: In "All is Lost," the veteran actor delivered perhaps his greatest performance while barely uttering a word. Apparently, Bruce Dern got the one and only old-man slot. Redford will have to content himself with his only previous acting nomination, for 1973's "The Sting."

» "Rush": Ron Howard's thrilling Formula One ride was shut out. If Daniel Bruhl as racing ace Niki Lauda couldn't get a supporting actor nod, the movie at least deserved recognition for its visual spectacle.

» Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix: "Her" is basking in five nominations, including best picture, but none for acting. As lonely Theodore, Phoenix bares his soul. Johansson never appears, but through her voice alone, she creates an intimate, endearing character. Obviously the academy just can't bring itself to reward the unconventional (see Andy Serkis in "Planet of the Apes," "The Lord of the Rings," anything).

» James Gandolfini: It would have been sweet to honor the late, great actor for his play-against-type performance in "Enough Said." After all, the academy has bequeathed seven posthumous acting nominations and awarded two (Peter Finch for "Network" and Heath Ledger for "The Dark Knight"). Not this time.

» "Monsters University": How can this be? For years, Pixar has dominated the animation category, but it was shut out this year. Sulley and Mike, you deserve better!

» "August: Osage County": Well, of course, Meryl Streep was nominated, just as the sun rises each day. And Julia Roberts is in for supporting actress. Though critics were divided, this dysfunctional dramedy was on the short list for best picture and screenplay nominations, too. Nope.


Sharon Hoffmann, Kansas City Star

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