Like an eager child on Christmas morning, I got up and turned on CNN at 5:37 a.m. today to watch this year’s Academy Award nominations. After Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth finished announcing the nominees in the major categories, I noticed several surprises and major snubs.
Two big ones: No Tom Hanks for best actor in “Captain Phillips.” (What?) No love for indie “Fruitvale Station.” (Boo!)
OK, here are some of the major categories with surprises and snubs:
Picture: “12 Years a Slave,” “American Hustle,” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “Philomena,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Surprise: “The Wolf of Wall Street” getting in because it’s such a divisive film. Although the American Film Institute named it one of the top 10 films of 2013, audiences rated by CinemaScore gave “Wolf” a “C” grade.
Snubs: A sour note for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” “Blue Jasmine,” director/writer Woody Allen’s take on “A Streetcar Named Desire,” was also left out, as were “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and “Saving Mr. Banks.”
Leading Actor: Christian Bale, “American Hustle”; Bruce Dern, “Nebraska”; Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave”; Matthew McConaughey, “Dallas Buyers Club”; Leonardo DiCaprio, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Surprise: DiCaprio, who won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical.
Snubs: In one of the most competitive leading actor races in years, there were bound to be egregious exceptions. The last time Hanks received an Oscar acting nod was in 2000 for “Castaway.” Robert Redford, whose last acting nod was for best actor in 1973’s “The Sting.” He performed most of his own stunts in “All Is Lost.” Joaquin Phoenix, whose character had a love affair with a computer operating system in “Her.” Idris Elba, who portrayed antiapartheid leader and South African President Nelson Mandela in “Mandela:Long Walk to Freedom.” Up-and-comer Michael B. Jordan, who played the ill-fated Oscar Grant in “Fruitvale Station.” Forest Whitaker, who gave a subdued but strong performance as Cecil Gaines in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler.”
Leading Actress: Amy Adams, “American Hustle”; Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”; Dame Judi Dench, “Philomena”; Meryl Streep, “August: Osage County”; Sandra Bullock, “Gravity.”
Surprise: Although critics were split over “August,” hey, she’s Meryl Freaking Streep! She has earned her 18th record acting nomination.
Snubs: To make room for Streep, Emma Thompson’s portrayal of cantankerous author P.L. Travers in Disney’s “Saving Mr. Banks” was overlooked.
Supporting Actor: Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips”; Bradley Cooper, “American Hustle”; Michael Fassbender, “12 Years a Slave”; Jonah Hill, “The Wolf of Wall Street”; Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club.”
Surprise: Two, actually – Cooper and Hill.
Snubs: It would have been nice to honor the late James Gandolfini for “Enough Said,” whose gentle character closely matches his real-life persona. Also left out: Daniel Brühl for Ron Howard’s “Rush” and “Saturday Night Live” alum Will Forte for “Nebraska.”
Supporting Actress: Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine”; Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”; Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave”; Julia Roberts, “August: Osage County”; June Squibb, “Nebraska.”
Surprise: Hawkins, who wasn’t nominated for this year’s Screen Actors Guild awards.
Snub: Oprah Winfrey of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” who was nominated for a SAG award.
Director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Gravity”; Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”; Alexander Payne, “Nebraska”; David O. Russell, “American Hustle,” Martin Scorsese, “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Surprise: Actually, none.
Snub: The problem with having up to 10 best picture nominees is that not all the directors can be nominated. No Paul Greengrass for “Captain Phillips.” No Spike Jonze for “Her.”
Animated Feature Film: “The Croods,” “Despicable Me 2,” “Ernest & Celestine,” “Frozen,” “TheWind Rises.”
Surprise: I hadn’t heard of “Ernest & Celestine,” the story of a destitute bear who befriends an orphan mouse, until today. The film is in French.
Snub: “Monsters University,” one of the few instances that a Pixar animated feature was left in the cold.
Documentary: “The Act of Killing,” “Cutie and the Boxer,” “Dirty Wars,” “The Square,” “20 Feet From Stardom” (Yay!)
Surprise: Can’t say because I’m unfamiliar with the first four films.
Snub: No “Blackfish”?! The documentary about the capture of killer whales for amusement parks was both heartbreaking and chilling. I saw the trailer and was enraged.
The 86th Academy Awards, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will be held March 2 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.