It only takes one weak link to break a chain, and when The Counselor debuted in theaters in November, a once highly buzzed awards contender was reduced to entertainment rag cannon fodder rather unjustly thanks to the weak link of Cameron Diaz’s misguided performance in the film. Critics were divided, audiences were discouraged, and haters were ravenous — but to this author, much of the criticism is quite confusing in their points. If critics were to consider the tone of the film off-kilter, why not apply the same criticism to award-worthy oddities like Nebraska? If the film’s content was truly the issue, then why did audiences embrace downers such as Prisoners or Blue Jasmine?
Of course, the predictable pool of Oscar nominations is surely attributed to that of safety and necessity. While out-of-the-box candidates such as Gravity and Her will receive obligatory nominations, they’ll never be truly embraced by the Academy, allowing instead for the routine mix of charming character pieces, heart-wrenching melodramas, and zeitgeist-penetrating biopics to scoop up nominations all around. Meanwhile, as the horror genre is continually ignored for their incredible work in SFX, the Academy can sleep soundly knowing that legitimately unique cinema will not be given the satisfaction of critical embrace, at least not during its initial release.