Rush
Ron Howard has always been an Academy favorite. Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Cinderella Man and Frost/ Nixon all picked up at least one nomination in a major category, and many of them got a whole lot more. So, it was assumed by some that Rush could, on the back of pretty decent foreign box office grosses, secure a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Daniel Bruhl, or perhaps even a Best Picture nomination. Nope.

The film likely wasn’t helped by its early September release date, and it likely wasn’t helped by its basic subject matter. Forward thinking and savvy as Academy voters might like to present themselves, they’re still mostly older white dudes, and on a list of sports that have caught on in America, Formula One racing is pretty damn low. After all, there are a lot of movies that get good reviews and leave a positive impact. It’s the ones voters really connect with that tend to make a dent during award season.

Inside Llewyn Davis
With a protagonist that’s basically an unlikeable jerk and the Coen Brothers typical off-beat vibe, Inside Llewyn Davis has been a pretty polarizing film. Look no further than Cinema Blend to discover that. Our own Eric Eisenberg called the film the Best of 2013, and yet, it didn’t make any of the three other Top 10 lists our critics ran. Given the Academy’s formula of weighing first place votes more heavily, many expected Inside Llewyn Davis to grab one of the last Best Picture slots, but the support just wasn’t there.

Nor was it there for lead actor Oscar Isaac. He’s really great as the unsympathetic Davis, but with McConaughey and Ejiofor as slam dunks, it was likely a five man race for three slots. In the end, Christian Bale, Bruce Dern and Leonardo Dicaprio found themselves in and Robert Redford and Isaac found themselves on the outside looking in. Luckily, the film did pick up some deserved hat tips in cinematography and sound.

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