Sarah Polley overlooked for Oscar nom

The academy also snubbed Sundance icon Robert Redford and Inside Llewyn Davis


Great news that Dallas Buyers Club, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, is a best picture nominee and kudos to Owen Pallett, who was nominated for his work with the Arcade Fire on the Her soundtrack, but it’s deeply disappointing that Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell did not get an Academy Award nomination in the best documentary category.

You could argue that we here at home gave her enough kudos last year – she took the Canadian Screen Awards best documentary prize and walked off with the Toronto Film Critics Association’s best doc award and then $100,000, thanks to TFCA’s best Canadian feature honours – but her elegant doc about about her attempts to trace her family background deserved this last Oscar laurel.

Actually, just describing the theme of the movie may explain why it got passed over. Surprising discoveries about family history? It doesn’t sound very thrilling unless you’re unearthing a war criminal in the process.

Speaking of war criminals, her main competition, The Act Of Killing, deals with just that. The Square (reviewed this week) has up-to-the-moment political turmoil on its agenda, and 20 Feet From Stardom is one of the year’s major crowd pleasers. Cutie And The Boxer makes a longtime couple its centrepiece and Dirty Wars trashes America’s excessive use of drone aircraft. Polley’s pic doesn’t pack the same punch. It’s brilliant but, I’d say, too subtle for Academy tastes.

Also snubbed: Robert Redford in All Is Lost (silence is obviously not golden). I’m thinking Christian Bale got the nod because the academy loves weight gain.

And though I disliked Saving Mr. Banks, Tom Hanks deserved recognition for his turn as Walt Disney. Nominee Bradley Cooper’s only as good as David O. Russell’s screenplay and doesn’t deserve to be on the list.

And what happened to Inside Llewyn Davis? Film critics associations, including ours, which gave it the best picture and best actor prize, loved it and it’s not as if the Academy hates the Coen brothers. But they didn’t even get a best screenplay nod.

Then again, nothing’s a lock when it comes to the Oscars, except best actress nominee Cate Blanchett – trust me, you can bet on her.

For a complete list of nominees, go to oscar.com.

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