When I saw Stand By Me in 1986 when I was nine-years-old, I thought I was incredibly mature for loving a movie that was clearly made for grown-ups.

What I didn't understand was why it failed to be nominated for, let alone win, the Best Picture Oscar (it received a singular nomination for its screenplay).

I had long come to accept that movies I loved like Back To The Future and The Goonies weren't going to win Oscars, but here was a beautifully-realised drama that tugged at the heart-strings - surely this was what the Oscars were all about?

It made no sense to my nine-year-old mind that Stand By Me wasn't front and centre at the awards.


In the intervening couple of decades, my view on the Oscars hasn't changed a heck of a lot. Arguments fly back and forth regarding their relevance, but their prominence in the movie calendar cannot be denied.

I do my best to not get frustrated by any lack of correlation between my personal favourites and the Oscar front-runners, but I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly depressed by this year's list of nominations, which makes one the strongest ever cases for the Academy being out of touch.

The biggest travesty is the dearth of nominations for Drive, one of the most well-liked and critically acclaimed films of the year. Ryan Gosling deserved to be recognised for his steely lead performance, as did Albert Brooks for his supporting role.

At the very least, director Nicholas Winding Refn should've been nominated. But all it got was a one paltry nod for Sound Editing. Blerg.

This year the Academy changed the rules on how many films could be nominated for Best Picture. After a couple of years of there being 10 nominees, which was thought to have lessened the prestige of a nomination, this year the idea was that between five and 10 films would be nominated.

For a film to receive a nomination it had to make it over a vote threshold, which appears to have been set kinda low, as this year there are nine Best Picture nominess. And still no Drive. Or Bridesmaids. It's very disheartening.

The Academy has often treated the screenplay categories as conciliatory awards for films that in their eyes didn't quite warrant Best Picture nominations/wins (see: Pulp Fiction; Milk; The Social Network). Even under this thinking, Drive was snubbed, although it did allow for outliers like Margin Call and Bridesmaids to garner nominations.

The Best Animated Feature category is still pretty new, but its integrity has taken a knock this year with The Adventures of Tintin being overlooked in favour of ... Puss In Boots. Really?

Probably my biggest gripe however is with the lack of a nomination for Charlize Theron in Young Adult. Theron is nothing less than amazing in the film, and Patton Oswalt should also have been nominated for his supporting role.

I was stoked to see Pina nominated for Best Documentary though.

How seriously do you take the Oscar nominations? What were your major gripes? Do you reckon Andy Serkis should have received an acting nomination for Rise of the Planet of the Apes? Post your comments below...

- Herald online