It’s been almost a week since the 2015 Oscar nominations were announced. Oprah’s talking “Selma” snubs and media people are talking “American Sniper” controversies. That’s to be expected. But why is no one discussing the “Gone Girl” snub?
The only recognition “Gone Girl” got was a very deserving Best Actress nom for Rosamund Pike’s portrayal of crazy Amy Dunne. We can talk for days about the genius story and complex characters that are Nick and Amy and the underlying statements about marriage. But why do that? Let’s talk about something no one is talking about.
It’s something that makes it even more tragic that “Gone Girl” couldn’t even manage a Best Picture nomination from the Academy. After re-watching “Gone Girl” I’ve realized that the dazzling performances from Ben Affleck and Pike don’t necessarily make the film a best picture contender to me. It’s the supporting characters that push the film over the edge and make it best picture.
Maybe it’s because Neil Patrick Harris will freak you out. Maybe it’s because Tyler Perry can actually act. Who knew? Or maybe it’s just because the supporting characters are so real that you relate to every single one of them.
Admit it. Even if you read the book you still wondered if Nick had killed his wife. And you wondered if trust fund babies like Amy really exist. And you started to think, like great movies make you do, about manipulation and trust. But you wouldn’t have thought any of that without the supporting characters.
There’s Nick’s twin sister Margo. She’s a smart ass that dresses like a hipster and Nick even calls her the voice of reason. She says what’s on her mind and most of the time she says what the audience is thinking.
There’s the shark lawyer of Tanner Bolt, who trains Nick on what to say and how to act so he doesn’t get the death penalty for framed murder. We can imagine someone like him in every big trial we see on the news. There’s the Nancy Grace-type investigative TV hosts who know nothing but talk anyway. We all have seen those types on cable news.
There’s my two favorite characters; Detective Rhonda Boney and Officer James Gilpin (Patrick Fugit!). Boney doesn’t want to accuse Nick too quickly of murder. She gives him the benefit of the doubt believing that he’s innocent until proven guilty. She likes him so much that she even feeds his cat! Gilpin on the other hand hates Nick and again represents the audience and what most Americans would think of this case if it was unfolding on the national news. He says several times he doesn’t like Nick and it’s pretty simple to believe the man killed his wife story. After Amy returns home with her crazy, made up story Gilpin tells Nick to just be happy his wife is home. He’s an ass, but we are right there with him.
And then there’s Amy’s parents. Rich, famous, spoiled their only child rotten by the money they got from writing books about said only child. The entire time they sit there and wonder how their “Amazing Amy” could possibly be the bad guy. But the audience knows Amy’s parents are exactly why she’s so entitled, selfish, spoiled, and ultimately a cold blooded crazy killer.
Pretty damn good story, right? Guess the Academy is more into that meta “Birdman” crap. Fine, don’t give David Fincher a nom for Best Director. Fine, don’t even look at Adapted Screenplay or even Affleck for anything. OK, there was a lot of great movie music this year. But to not nominate a suspenseful and mind-blowing ride like “Gone Girl” for Best Picture? Come on.
It’s one thing to say Affleck and Pike are good. It’s another to go on and on about the writer and director. But when you have a film this complex with twists at every turn and characters to propel the story so far and make it too close to real, and not give even a little bit of recognition? No Oscar bait. Just a good story and a well-made film? That’s what really upsets me during Award Season.