85th Academy Awards nominations: the biggest surprises and snubs

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on the 24th of February, but some of the biggest surprises of the night have already happened. The host of this year’s big award event, Seth McFarlane, together with Emma Stone, announced the nominations on the morning of January the 10th. For many, the rest of the day was characterized by upsets together with quite delightful surprises that so many of us had not foreseen.

From the complete list of nominations, only some of the biggest categories will be brought out in this post. Since the Academy Awards has been receiving quite a bit of unsettling feedback due to so many amazing movies, actors and directors not getting the deserved nod, the aim is not to doubt the nominations but discuss how some of 2012’s most memorable moments were discarded by the Academy.

7. Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role


Amy Adams for The Master (2012)
Sally Field for Lincoln (2012)
Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables (2012)
Helen Hunt for The Sessions (2012)
Jacki Weaver for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)


The opposite of Anne Hathaway’s obvious nomination was the Academy’s praise towards Sally Field’s performance in Lincoln, which for many was not good enough to be in this list. Another surprise, though a more positive one, was the presence of Jackie Weaver in the supporting actresses category, making the Silver Linings Playbook into one of the Academy’s highly praised movies.


Among the discussion of who deserves to win and who did not belong to the list, Nicole Kidman’s performance in The Paperboy was mentioned in numerous occasions and it would be most likely the first snub in this long list of disappointments for many last year’s shining moments.

6. Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role


Alan Arkin for Argo (2012)
Robert De Niro for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master (2012)
Tommy Lee Jones for Lincoln (2012)
Christoph Waltz for Django Unchained (2012)


The surprise of the list was actually the lack of surprise – all the nominated actors have had the pleasure of winning an Oscar before, making this list a sort of a boring category. More specifically, out of all these great actors everybody has already gotten their well deserved golden statue, so there will be no underdog moment and well, that is just not fun at all.


Yet, there was one guy who should have been in the list of nominations, a guy who has been so close and yet so far, and just by writing this, everybody at least familiar with the movie world would probably know who this guy is, it is of course Leonardo DiCaprio. The man just does not seem to catch a break when it comes to the Oscars and yet again his performance, this time in Django Unchained, was dismissed and pushed aside by men who already have had their winning moment.

5. Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role


Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Jennifer Lawrence for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (2012)
Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Naomi Watts for The Impossible (2012)


There is something really amazing in this list of actresses in a leading role and they are both extremely positive. Firstly, the youngest ever actress to be nominated for an Oscar is Quevenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild who is just nine years old. Secondly, Emmanuelle Riva for Amour is the opposite to that, being 85 years old, she is the oldest person to get an Oscar nomination. Either of them could win just for the continuing effect of surprise but it seems pretty impossible against Jennifer Lawrence.


Though the list is pretty much a great one, there was a slight moment of sadness for the lack of a certain French actress named Marion Cotillard who’s performance in Rust and Bone was seen as award worthy. But, next to DiCaprio’s snub, this seems much less disturbing and the joy of seeing the two surprises kind of overshadows this particular snub.

4. Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role


Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln (2012)
Hugh Jackman for Les Misérables (2012)
Joaquin Phoenix for The Master (2012)
Denzel Washington for Flight (2012)


This list compared to the previous one had less surprises stored in its sleeve, if not taking into account the nod for Denzel Washington in Flight, a movie that got two nominations despite the fact that it was not as discussed as some of the other nominated movies. Also, despite his negative opinions towards the Academy Awards, Joaquin Pheonix still got his third Oscar nomination for his work in The Master but he will most likely talk his way out of winning since he does not seem to want the Oscar anyway.


Though the list of leading actors did not seem to cause as big of a fuss as did the supporting category, Helen Hunt, who herself got a nomination for The Sessions, spoke up about her co-star John Hawkes not getting a nomination for his performance. Hawkes, who also played in Lincoln, was previously nominated for an Oscar in 2011 for his supporting role in Winter’s Bone which he lost to Christian Bale for The Fighter.

3. Best Achievement in Directing


Michael Haneke for Amour (2012)
Ang Lee for Life of Pi (2012)
David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Steven Spielberg for Lincoln (2012)
Benh Zeitlin for Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)


The surprises continue for the two movies that which us the leading actress category unforeseen moments, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild directors Michael Haneke and Benh Zeitlin get nominated for an Oscar for the first time ever. Especially thrilling is to see Benh Zeitlin among these experienced directors since Beasts of the Southern Wild is actually his first ever feature length film!


Here is a category that will most likely disappoint many, since a lot of the big names of last year’s greatest movies have been left out. For instance, Quentin Tarantino does not get a nomination for Django Unchained as a director but his fans can calm down a bit, the talented man got a nomination for his original screenplay which kind of makes up his lack of presence in this list. Left out is also the first and the only female director to win an Oscar, Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty was, as many thought, a definite fort-runner in the director’s category. With the intent to make this the most snub-filled category of the 85th Academy Awards, one has to mention Ben Affleck’s absence for directing Argo, especially since his work was well received at the Critics Choice Awards which stated Argo as last year’s best movie!

2. Best Motion Picture of the Year


Amour (2012)
Argo (2012)
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
Django Unchained (2012)
Les Misérables (2012)
Life of Pi (2012)
Lincoln (2012)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)


Now, this list should look surprising but after listing all the excitements revolving around two of the main contenders of the 85th Academy Awards, Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild do not seem to be causing any more thrills. Getting a director nod and then being nominated for the best picture seems to be a natural course of the whole award-system. Especially since Life of Pi has gotten 11 Oscar nominations, therefore making its presence here the furthest from a surprise.


One of a kind director Wes Anderson got a nod for his original screenplay written together with Roman Coppola but that was the only nomination for Moonrise Kingdom. All the screenplay nominations, except Moonrise Kingdom and Flight, got into the best picture category but Moonrise Kingdom was also the one deserving to be in the running. Not to mention The master, a movie that had amazing and nomination worthy performances by actors and an actress, is also not among this list of best movies of 2012.

1. The total absence of The Dark Knight Rises


The last and final part of the post is mentioning the movie that did not get any nominations, making it a total surprise moment and for so many of its fans, the number one snub of the 85th Academy Awards. Dismissing The Dark Knight Rises in the previously mentioned categories is one thing but the lack of nominations in technical categories is a mystery of large proportions. Especially taking into account the fact that Snow White and the Huntsman got two Oscar nominations! This is not meant as an insult, surely the movie had its technical moments but looking at the factors and all the information, including the feedback of viewers, there is certainly some professionalism behind The Dark Knight Rises that deserves at least a nomination or two. Therefore, the lack of The Dark Knight Rises is itself entirely a whopping snub!

What do you think? Leave a comment.

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  1. Amanda Duke

    Very happy for Beasts of the Southern Wild, deserved! And I approve of the foreign category nominees too, strongly recommend Kon-Tiki.

    • Getter Trumsi

      I wasn’t sure enough to comment other categories but I recommend doing a post about the foreign category if you know about it! Oscar stuff is interesting to read as always.

  2. Taylor Ramsey

    I have had a problem with the larger Best Pic filed since it started and I still dislike it. The fact that a film can be a best picture without it’s director even getting nominated is just wrong. For years there was always a film that ‘directed itself’, this year we have four? Just a way to generate more interest among the general populace about something that they never really cared about in the first place. Sadness.

    • Getter Trumsi

      Yeah, I noticed that as well because I still remember the years when the “best film” category was much smaller and with the directors all getting a nomination. For instance, Argo not getting a director nod BUT is eligible for Best picture is ridiculous!

  3. “The surprise of the list was actually the lack of surprise” – that! Not that much surprises this year. Wishfully the show itself will be less boring.

  4. David Tatlow

    I think the presence of a film like Silver Linings constitutes a surprise. Typically there is a film that comes out of nowhere every year, and this seems to be it. Sure, it’s no surprise now that we’ve experienced all the good will the film has received, but generally it’s the year’s surprise package.
    I call for a nomination for Karl Urban’s chin in Dredd. That chin emotes more than all those other guys put together…

    • Getter Trumsi

      Silver Linings Playbook in some ways wasn’t a surprise, but mostly I’m not shocked to see it receive those nominations.

  5. James Walpole

    Marion Cotillard’s snub is unforgivable; she deserved her second Oscar for her performance in Rust and Bone, and she didn’t even make the nominations!

    • Getter Trumsi

      Haven’t seen the movie yet but I read about the disappointments online – I’m guessing the movie didn’t stand out enough.

  6. Daniel Day Lewis won Best Actor for that year. Just for a bit of a spoiler.

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