Here's a legitimate question for the Oscar voting committee from the movie-going public: What about The Lego Movie?
While some film fans buzz madly over the Oscars' failure to acknowledge Jennifer Aniston's dramatic acting chops in Cake or Clint Eastwood's directorial prowess on American Sniper, the most glaring snub was ignoring the one film that had everyone leaving theatres with smiles on their faces last year.
And just in case it counts, The Lego Movie was also the only animated film of 2014 to receive unanimously glowing reviews.
Described by Globe film critic Liam Lacey as a "subversively flippant story," the tongue-in-cheek feature set inside the sprawling Lego universe and featuring the voice talents of everyone from Will Ferrell to Morgan Freeman was also one of last year's biggest box-office hits.
Working off a modest budget of $60-million (U.S.), The Lego Movie went on to gross $469-million (U.S.) in worldwide box office sales. Plans are already under way for a spinoff film based on the character of Lego Batman (voiced by Will Arnett) for release in 2017 and a direct sequel for release in 2018.
No question some Lego Movie fans were expecting recognition from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which yet again showed that it can never be accused of pandering to populist public tastes.
Consider the five films that did receive a nomination in the animated film category.
Nominating Disney's Big Hero 6 was a no-brainer. The movie came with the standard Disney moralizing and an animation style clearly designed to captivate pre-schoolers and inspire Happy Meal toys.
Equally obvious was the inclusion of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Like the 2010 original, the sequel boasted lush 3D animation and provided teen and tween moviegoers with an important message: Dragons are nice.
Also up for best animated feature honours was The Boxtrolls, a precious bit of fluff about a precocious orphan lad being raised by trash-collecting trolls. The story (an adaptation of the novel Here Be Monsters!) was smart and funny, but the clunky stop-motion animation style had kids fidgeting after the first 20 minutes.
The surprise nominee in the animated-film category: Song of the Sea, which was directed by Irish filmmaker Tomm Moore. Constructed in traditional animation style, the story was based on an ancient Celtic legend and told a fanciful tale of magical lighthouses and mythical creatures.
For some moviegoers, however, Song of the Sea was undone by its incessant use of telling the story through song. The 94-minute film had more than two-dozen original songs!
And of course there's the biggest surprise nominee of all: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. The Japanese-made animated feature was derived from a 10th-century folk tale and was released to North American theatres in a re-dubbed format featuring the voices of Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan and others.
The downside of Princess Kaguya: Although well-reviewed, the story was, frankly, depressing. It turns out most 10th-century Japanese folk tales do not have happy endings.
All of which makes the omission of The Lego Movie in the animated-feature category seem even more egregious.
Sure, The Lego Movie was slick and clever – seemingly constructed to entertain the restless YouTube generation, that was practically the film's entire raison d'etre.
And yes, The Lego Movie closely resembled a 90-minute toy commercial, but for many moviegoers, it was the only animated film of 2014 that kept both grownups and children fully engaged for an hour and a half – and how many modern animated features can make that claim?
But instead the Oscar voting committee seemed to go for the high road and reward those films with the highest level of artistic pretensions – and those are animated films, mind you. Not surprisingly, Gizmodo has already declared "The Lego Movie Oscar snub is garbage."
To his credit, Lego Movie co-director Phil Lord addressed the snub via his Twitter account (@philiplord) on Thursday morning by posting a tweet showing a lifelike Oscar statuette along with the comment stating, "It's okay. Made my own!"
Or as the blocky and adorable Lego characters themselves might say: Everything is Awesome (for which, as it happens, Canadian music duo Tegan and Sara did get an Oscar nod).