Oscar nominations outrage: Why was ‘The Lego Movie’ snubbed?

What the block?! If you had told me yesterday that “The Lego Movie” would be snubbed for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars (see complete list of Oscar nominations), I would have thought you were making a terrible joke.

But alas, when noms were announced Thursday morning, “The Lego Movie” only had a single Oscar bid to show for itself: “Everything Is Awesome” as Best Song. So what went wrong with this one-time Oscar frontrunner?

‘Birdman,’ ‘Grand Budapest’ lead Oscar nominations
with nine, Aniston and DuVernay snubbed

To recap, “Lego Movie” was nominated as Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes (where it lost to “How to Train Your Dragon 2”), Annie Awards, BAFTA and Critics’ Choice. Usually all of those precursors combined equal an Oscar nomination, but not so this year. Hmm, could the film’s early release date of February 2014 have something to do with its snub?

My colleague Zach Laws put it best when he wrote, “Everything wasn’t awesome for ‘The Lego Movie’ this morning. [The snub came] despite a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a nearly $260 million box-office tally in the US alone. Perhaps the aged Academy members felt embarrassed voting for a film that revolved around children’s toys, no matter how heralded.”

Don’t forget, “Toy Story 3” was able to pull off a well-deserved victory in 2010. However, it remains the only movie about toys to secure victory with the geezers of the academy, so perhaps we were all foolish to have “Lego Movie” in our #1 positions to begin with. See the complete list of past animation winners in our photo gallery below.

Shocking Oscar nominations snubs: Jennifer Aniston, ‘The Lego Movie,’ ‘Gone Girl,’ …

According to Gold Derby’s combined racetrack odds, “Lego Movie” was riding high in first place to win this race with leading 8/5 odds. In fact, of the main 21 categories predicted by our Experts, Editors and Users, Best Animated Feature is the only race where our top frontrunner ended up being snubbed. (This also happened in those wildly unpredictable races for Best Documentary Short and Best Live Action Short.)

“Lego Movie’s” loss ended up being a massive gain for “Song of the Sea,” which Gold Derby had down in seventh place in our predictions with 100/1 odds. The other four nominees we predicted accurately: “How to Train Your Dragon 2,” “Big Hero 6,” “The Boxtrolls” and “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.”

“Lego Movie” writer/directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller previously worked together on “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” another popular animated flick that was skunked by the Oscars. Anybody else sensing a pattern here?

Here’s the fine print regarding how balloting works for the Best Animated Feature race: Voting is restricted to academy members from any branch who volunteer to be on the screening committee and see at least two-thirds of the 20 eligible films (i.e, at least 14). Members score each film from 6 (poor) to 10 (excellent) and only those films with an average rating of at least 7.5 remain as contenders. If only one film merits such a score, it will receive a special award; otherwise, the five highest ranked above 7.5 will be the nominees.

What do you think of “The Lego Movie’s” snub? Sound off in the comments section below our new Editors’ slugfest on the 2014-2015 Oscar nominations.

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