The top five Oscar snubs and surprises

By Hayden Donnell

Top directors cut

Best director is the most controversial category of the 2013 Oscars. Academy members weren't listening to the storm of praise for Ben Affleck as he thrilled audiences and permanently exorcised his Bennifer demons with Argo. Neither did they reward previous best director Oscar winners Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty), Tom Hooper (Les Miserables) or past contender Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained).

Academy members instead opted to nominate less hyped efforts such as Benh Zeitlin's understated crafting of the low budget Beasts of the Southern Wild. Steven Spielberg was the only top contender to survive the cull and is now the favourite to win for his Civil War drama Lincoln.

Skyfall's Oscar dreams plummet

Skyfall may have revived the Bond franchise, but making it big in the Oscars is a task too big even for an MI6 superspy. Daniel Craig's third outing as Bond failed to secure a best picture nomination despite being tipped to make it into the potential 10-film field. Adele is likely to give the film a consolation prize, with the diva a frontrunner in the best song category for the film's theme Skyfall.

Quvenzhané Wallis breaks Keisha Castle-Hughes' record

Quvenzhané Wallis was only six when she played the lead role of Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild. Her performance was spellbinding, anchoring the film and investing it with real emotional weight. Despite that, Rolling Stone reviewer Peter Travers predicted the child star would not get a nomination because "stupid" Academy members thought she was just being herself rather than acting.

Academy members proved him wrong, with Wallis, now nine, nominated alongside Hollywood veterans such as Naomi Watts and Jessica Chastain for best actress. She is the youngest ever best actress nominee, beating out Keisha Castle-Hughes, who was 13 when she was nominated for Whale Rider. Luckily someone has now told her what an Oscar is.

Life of Pi great, Django chained

The Ang Lee-directed Life of Pi is a surprise Oscar heavyweight, with its 11 award nominations second only to the tally for Lincoln. It beat out predicted Oscar frontrunners including Les Miserables, Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, which had eight, seven and five nominations respectively.

Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino's acclaimed slavery revenge flick Django Unchained missed out in several categories. Leonardo DiCaprio did not get a deserved supporting actor nomination for his role as a vicious Francophile-slave-owner, though one of the nods did go to his co-star Christoph Waltz. Tarantino was not nominated for best director, though he is up for best screenplay. The film's star Jamie Foxx was not nominated for anything.

The Hobbit: A slightly expected failure

The Hobbit missed out on all the major awards categories, including best picture, best director and all the acting prizes. It did pick up nominations in three technical categories.

Peter Jackson has said he didn't expect the film to be nominated for best picture, though he will be disappointed at the Academy's continuing refusal to honour the brilliant work of Andy Serkis, who steals the show with his return as Gollum in the film. The first film of The Lord of the Rings trilogy fared better at the Oscars. The Fellowship of the Ring was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won four. Academy members may have grown a little bit sick of Middle Earth.

- Herald Online

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