Early last year I made a bold statement that Angelina Jolie’s ‘Unbroken’ would sweep the Oscars. I held onto that faith, that stance, for pretty much the entire year until the film was released, the reviews were tepid and Award’s Season was in full swing. It then became obvious that ‘Unbroken’ wasn’t going to come close to winning a single Oscar, even though it managed to snag three nominations. I had yet to see the film, and so I was under the impression that Jolie crafted an inadequate film. It all struck me as odd, since so many of the film’s facets seemed tailor made for Oscar (Jolie, Coens, Desplat, Deakins) and yet so many warned me that it was too on the nose for Oscar and that it would fail.
Failed Oscar bait is what they call this kind of thing.
Well, I’ve finally seen the film, and I can honestly say, no bias aside, that the Oscar snubbery baffles me. What Jolie did here was construct a handsomely mounted biopic that carries with it a tremendous story of courage, strength and perseverance, covers a large portion of one man’s life, inspires, uplifts and pretty much checks off every single requirement for Oscar voters. The fact that this was not wholly embraced by Oscar literally baffles me. It makes no sense, for it is everything they love.
You know, except the fact that it was made by a woman.
I’m not going to get on a soapbox here, so I’ll leave it here, but I will say that Jolie’s film has more heart, more technical bravado and more depth than ‘The Theory of Everything’, ‘Boyhood’ and ‘The Imitation Game’, and so seeing this snubbed so staunchly, while those films were embraced across the board, really causes me to pause and question the way that the Academy thinks. The accusations of sexism were swarming after AMPAS snubbed DuVernay and Flynn, and I got in on that, but this is yet another example of a film that played right into their hands and they completely ignored it, shunned it almost, without just cause.
Now, I’m not saying that ‘Unbroken’ is perfect. I’m not even saying that I’d personally nominate it in many places (I mean, those sound nominations were justly deserved, so maybe there), but what I’m saying is that the criticisms heaped onto the film feel oddly places and undeserved here.