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If Pajiba Ran The Oscars: 2017 Edition

By Pajiba Staff | Film | January 24, 2017 |

By Pajiba Staff | Film | January 24, 2017 |

The Oscar nominations are out, and while we’re thrilled to see nominations for Fences, Hidden Figures, Moonlight, Hell or Highwater and Lin-Manuel Miranda (EGOT is coming), there are some snubs and inclusions that have us fuming. So, here’s how the nominees would look if Pajiba ran the Oscars.

Hidden Figures
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Taraji P. Henson deserves an Oscar. As Katherine G. Johnson, she not only brought humanity to an historical figure too long overlooked, but also carved out a performance layered and inspiring. I marvel she got shut out this morning. The Academy caught on to the greatness of this biopic about real-life Black Girl Magic. Hidden Figures got a nod for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actress (Octavia Spencer), and Best Picture. But somehow Henson got overlooked for lead honors, even though the Academy knows her name (2009 Best Supporting Actress nominee for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and despite how she played to Oscar expectations, tackling a part that’s a dramatic shift from her best-known role. Maybe these fools don’t watch Empire.—Kristy Puchko

The Handmaiden
That Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden is not nominated in a single category is a blight on the Academy’s sad, irrelevant faces. Because South Korea declined to put it up for Best Foreign-Language Film, it was out of that running months ago. Yet, here’s a work from one of the world’s great living auteurs that is not only one of the best foreign movies of the year, it’s one of the best movies. Period. A meticulously constructed puzzlebox, it manages to be fiendishly clever and emotionally resonant to the nth degree at the same time. Visually it bleeds confidence from every frame, and the performances in it are strong enough to retire on. It should be nominated for every category.—Petr Knava

Excluded from the Best Actress category, Amy Adams is the heart and soul of Arrival. There is no way to praise the film—which got a Best Picture nomination—without acknowledging her exceptional work at the center of it. Not only does she have to move the plot along by making the art of communication compelling (which she does) but she has to handle an emotional performance that’s walking a tightrope. The way you understand her journey changes completely from the beginning of the film to the end of the film, and she has to play every second to work from both angles. It’s an incredible performance, and it’s baffling that the film and director would be recognized without a similar honor accorded to Adams for making a movie about alien contact one of the most affecting human dramas of the year.—Genevieve Burgess

Sing Street

Maybe it was too much to expect Sing Street to land a Best Picture nomination — it’s not really the kind of film that the Academy likes, because it’s exuberant, intoxicating cinematic joy instead of a hacky war movie directed by an anti-Semite. But at the very least, it should have received a Best Song nomination for “Drive It Like You Stole It,” the most infectious movie pop song since “That Thing You Do!”—Dustin Rowles

Jackie got the Portman nod we knew it would, but how it didn’t get best director is flummoxing. This movie ostensibly tells a story we all know. There should be no drama or tension, yet director Pablo Larrain weaves together 90 minutes of tension you can’t look away from. Eschewing the birth to death biopic mold, he deftly weaves back and forth through several periods of time and creates a virtual poem about Jackie’s attempt to both grieve and control the narrative. Larrain deserves recognition for crafting a beautify shot and sculpted film that somehow makes us feel like we understand Jackie both less and more.—Seth Freilich

Everybody Wants Some!!
This was one of my absolute favorite movies of the year (alongside Hell Or High Water). While I understand that Linklater’s uber low-key comedy might not be prime Oscars material (and I mean that with the utmost shade being thrown), the fact that its original screenplay didn’t get a nod still makes me shake my head instinctively at the state of the world. Richard Linklater writes movies like no-one else. Whether it’s the relatively expansive scope of Boyhood or the intimacy of something like Before Sunrise, the words he lovingly crafts for his characters have a life of their own. Everybody Wants Some!! is no different. The warmth, humor, and natural rhythms found in those script pages look simple to achieve in theory. In practice there is almost no-one else who can match him for it.—Petr Knava

The Founder
I don’t understand what happened here. I was awed at this biopic’s cleverness. It lures you in with our collective love of Michael Keaton, then unravels a tale of treachery and American Greed that’s meant to sicken you. And in light of the new regime, it’s disturbingly relevant. Plus Keaton is chilling and brilliant in the role of McDonald’s “founder” Ray Croc. When I walked out of this movie, I was convinced this would be his year, owed before with Birdman and Spotlight. But The Weinstein Company bungled the release, shifting its dates twice, announcing its changed qualifying run the day of. It’s the kind of thing that suggests a lack of faith in the product, but why when The Founder is fascinating and witty? Some have suggested TWC thought Lion had a better shot, so all eggs were reshuffled to that basket. And so here we are. Keaton’s left out in the cold. Again. —Kristy Puchko

Manchester By The Sea
Casey Affleck would not have got a nomination. Constance Wu explains why:

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Constance Wu would get a special Oscar for bringing truth to power and art.

Love & Friendship
Whit Stillman’s razor-sharp and delightful adaptation of Jane Austen’s novella Lady Susan was shockingly shunned! The class-conflict comedy was shouldered by Kate Beckinsale’s stirring and sly performance. The costume designs were lush and lovely, the kind of thing Oscar usually goes gaga over. And the script was friggin’ JANE AUSTEN. Yet the greatest affront to this fierce and fun film is that Tom Bennett did not get a Best Supporting Actor nod for playing “bit of a rattle” Sir James Martin, the wealthy but naive suitor who brought mirth and cause so much side-eye wherever he romped.

While Bennett didn’t get to be happy to just be nominated, he is happy others are so angry he’s been snubbed.—Kristy Puchko

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Star Wars films are the foundation of cinema as far as I’m concerned. The definition of a good film is one that makes me feel the way the best of Star Wars does. And Rogue One is hands down the best film of the franchise. I adored it, from start to finish. Not out of nostalgia, not out of turning my brain off and drooling for two hours, but out of the honest opinion that it was everything I go to movies for. I gave up caring about the Oscars many years ago when it became clear that films I love systematically don’t win Oscars other than for shit like “best sound grip adaptation”. Good on the technical people, but if an organization that professes to love film has no use for the best of Star Wars as one of its nominees for Best Picture, then I don’t really have any use for them as an evaluator of films.—Steven Wilson

Swiss Army Man
This was Daniel Radcliffe’s Revenant. But the Academy didn’t dare look his way for actor nominations, because Swiss Army Man is unrepentantly weird. That doesn’t change the fact that Radcliffe gave one of the riskiest, bravest, and most moving performance of the year. And all that while he was playing a farting corpse who can be used as a jetski. DiCaprio wouldn’t dare do that.—Kristy Puchko


As big fans of Barry Jenkins’ breathtaking coming-of-age drama, we’re thrilled it’s been honored with multiple Oscar nominations, including Best Supporting Actor (Mahershala Ali), Best Director and Best Picture. But the film’s 3-part structure, which jumps from the protagonist’s childhood, to his teen years, to his adulthood, disrupts the standard film structure in a way that doesn’t really allow for the actors playing Chiron over these spans to be seen as a true “lead actor.” Because the Academy lacks an ensemble category, performances like those of Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, and Trevante Rhodes will be infuriatingly overlooked. But hopefully the craftsmanship, originality, and daring of Moonlight will help it topple clear-front runner and overrated feel-good flick, La La Land. —Kristy Puchko

HELL YES I’M PISSED. The Oscars had a chance to shake things up and reward something that no one ever thought could be made properly, let alone break box office records.

Is Deadpool perfect? Yes, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is that the writers deserved a nod for taking a character so psychotic and unhinged and wonderful in the comics and they made him work onscreen. They hit every note of the character and they built a world acknowledging Deadpool’s place in the comics AND his place in the chopped up Marvel movie universe.

Best Picture? Why not. They’re rewarding a racist shitbag with a nomination. Tim Miller for Best Director? Sure. Special Effects? MAKEUP? Come on, Oscars. Thumb your nose and flip the bird at the status quo and the films made by racists and sexual predators and shake things up.—Jodi Clager

Hacksaw Ridge
It’d get nothing. Because it’s poorly made. Because it’s made by Mel Gibson, and we reject his redemption arc. Take your pick.

How would the Oscars look different if you ran them?

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Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.