One Oscar snub that's snatching serious attention away from those actually up for gold? The omission of Michael Fassbender in the best actor category.
The Irish hunk's bold portrayal of a sex addict in the NC-17-rated "Shame" has had tongues wagging since last fall, but as awards campaigning chugged along, some of the wagging moved from what was in his performance to what was in his underwear.
His brave displays of nudity and desperate sexual encounters in Steve McQueen's film revealed that Fassbender was gifted in both acting and anatomy, earning him Critics' Choice and Golden Globe nominations, among many others. But the conversation on Michael moved further south, so to speak, since those accolades were handed out.
Cut to George Clooney, who helped Fassbender's member reach superstar status by suggesting during the Globes telecast that the actor could play golf with his hands behind his back -- complete with an acted-out illustration of what he was referring to.
Was this otherwise flattering endorsement indicative of a mindset that cost Fassbender an Oscar nomination?
"He's a guy who's unfamiliar to a lot of people and did a movie that's really intimate," one high-ranking academy voter told the Ministry. "That was a super-brave performance but ... perhaps it inspired people to fantasize, and not actually vote."
So, no shot at a statuette for Fassbender this year, but he has at least one trophy already. What do you think of his Oscar snub? Tell us in comments.
-- Matt Donnelly
Photo: Michael Fassbender leaves a taping of "Late Night With David Letterman" in New York City on Jan. 18. Credit: Charles Sykes / Associated Press