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Nominated for Nothing: 'The Way, Way Back'

Just about every year, brilliant movies are utterly ignored by the Oscars. The Searchers, Groundhog Day, Breathless, King Kong, Casino Royale, Touch of Evil, Caddyshack, Mean Streets, The Big Lebowski, Shame — the Academy has a long history of overlooking comedies, action movies, horror flicks, hard-boiled genre pics, artsy foreign films, and documentaries that aren’t about World War II. This year, we’ll be taking a closer look at films that were too small, too weird, or perhaps simply too awesome for the Academy Awards. These are the Non-Nominees.

The Film: The directorial debut from The Descendants writing team of Nat Faxon and Jim Rash told the story of 14-year-old Duncan’s (Liam James) summer vacation with his mother, her new boyfriend, and said boyfriend’s daughter. Always the misfit, Duncan tries to find a way to enjoy his summer, a mission that eventually leads him to Water Wizz, the local water park. There, he’s introduced to a father-figure/friend who’s life will force Duncan to change how he sees himself.

Why it Wasn’t Nominated: Once again, an amazing film fell victim to the July release date. It sounds funny to say, considering that summer is a great time for movies to come out budget-wise, but in terms of the Oscars, if the film is released before November, its chances of being recognized might as well be cut in half. However, other than the bad timing, it’s a bit of a mystery why this one got overlooked.

'The Way, Way Back' writers, directors, and stars Nat Faxon and Jim Rash take the EW Pop Culture Personality Test


Nat Faxon and Jim Rash may have won an Oscar for their adapted screenplay for The Descendants, but that doesn’t mean that they take themselves too seriously. It’s quite the opposite. Self-deprecating and humbled by their recent high-profile successes, Faxon and Rash are just giddy at the chance to talk about a movie that is entirely their creation. They wrote, directed, and acted in the summertime coming-of-age tale The Way, Way Back, which opened in theaters last Friday.

The two multi-talented guys took the EW Pop Culture Personality Test during a recent press junket for the movie. We won’t spoil too much but Rash does admit to a longtime love of My So-Called Life.


Maya Rudolph and Sam Rockwell take the EW Pop Culture Personality Test


Summertime for a kid can be brutal. It’s a dirty secret, but, when your mom is too aloof to notice that her awful boyfriend is treating you poorly, there is little reprieve. Such is the fate of Duncan, the endlessly sweet but super awkward teen hero of The Way, Way Backtill he discovers Water Wizz. Maya Rudolph and Sam Rockwell play Caitlyn and Owen, employees of the modest water park that turns into not only a summer job for Duncan, but an oasis.

Though the two actors were together quite a bit during the filming of The Way, Way Back, the EW Pop Culture Personality Test has a way of bringing out information that usually doesn’t come up on set. Take a look at the video after the jump to hear Rockwell’s reaction to Rudolph’s admission that she wrote some TV fan fiction as a kid.

'The Way, Way Back' stars Steve Carell and Allison Janney take the EW Pop Culture Personality Test


In The Way, Way Back, a coming-of-age tale about insecure teens and their sometimes-flawed adult influences, Steve Carell and Allison Janney play a few of most ill-equipped authority ever to befall a group of children. Janney’s character Betty teases her own son for having a lazy eye while Carell’s Trent does all he can to undermine his girlfriend’s son. Thankfully, Carell and Janney are nothing like their characters.

The two actors graciously agreed to be subjected to EW’s Pop Culture Personality Test, and they proved to be as charming and witty as you might expect. Check out the video after the jump to hear Janney rant about Game of Thrones (with some season 3 spoilers!), and Carell reminisce about the hockey moment that made him cry.

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