We could sit here wondering why Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson were left out of the Best Actor and Actress fields, scratch our heads over the snubbing of The Butler, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Saving Mr. Banks, and, frankly, go mad attempting to figure out how the beloved American Hustle still couldn’t swing a nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
But we’d like to focus on the films and craftspeople who did manage to finagle a nomination, in search of an answer to this question: is this the nuttiest batch of Oscar nominees ever?
On our highly subjective, intangible, not-at-all-mathematically-measured scale of nuttiness, we’re looking for the most out-there nominations; a sense that no-one could have possibly predicted said nomination a year or two ago, based on the current careers of the talent.
For instance, Christian Bale and Amy Adams squeezing into the Best Actor and Actress categories, respectively, was a surprise, but not outside the realm of human imagination.
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa walking away with a nomination (for Best Makeup and Hairstyling) kinda was.
The same goes for Jonah Hill scoring a nod for Best Supporting Actor. Sure, he was previously nommed for Moneyball. Yet, it’s still hard to imagine “Two-time Oscar nominee” Jonah Hill adorning the poster for 22 Jump Street (and certainly not something we would have bet on when he emerged with that odd cameo in The 40-Year-Old Virgin).
Matthew McConaughey has won a lot of love of late, though we implore you to think back to 2008, when his career was in the crapper and he couldn’t even open Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. Also, his Dallas Buyers Club co-star Jared Leto is the closest thing we have to a winning lock, and yet, he’d abandoned acting for six years to follow his dreams of becoming a rock star in 30 Seconds to Mars. They’re both making the list.
Lupita Nyong’o getting her first ever nomination for her first ever movie (12 Years a Slave) wasn’t a shocker, though maybe it would have been if she was a former Limo driver with no acting experience. Barkhad Abdi, a nominee for Captain Phillips, can claim that former profession, earning him a place on our ‘nutty’ scale.
We’re also throwing in former alternative-radio favourites Pharrell, Karen O, and Arcade Fire. Though they’ve all seen mainstream success in recent years, whouldathunk they’d ever potentially perform at the Academy Awards?
The Nutty nominees, as we see them:
Alone Yet Not Alone
Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
That may not seem like much, but compare that to 2012’s batch:
Not so crazy. How about 2011?
Still can’t quite compete. In our research, the last almost-as-nutty event was in the year 2000, when stuntman Richard Farnsworth competed for Best Actor, newcomer Haley Joel Osment fought for Best Supporting Actor, the guys from South Park and Aimee Mann competed for Best Original Song, and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me, Life, and Start Little were considered deserving contenders in the technical categories.
This is why we love the Oscars.