Tom Ford's directorial debut A Single Man received a chilly reception Tuesday from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The film, which features a gay man struggling with the loss of his longtime lover, was given an Oscar Best Picture snub.

The exclusion does not necessarily come as a surprise. The academy has only nominated two gay-themed films to win its top best movie prize: Brokeback Mountain and last year's Milk. But neither film took home the statue. Additionally, directors rarely score a best picture nomination on their first outing.

Colin Firth stars in Ford's big-screen adaptation of Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel of the same name as professor George Falconer. George is the ultimate outsider in 1960s Los Angeles: middle-aged, gay and British.

Playing George, Firth told Variety, was an opportunity to experience a range of subtle emotions.

“[George] was smart, and the way he masks his massive despair is poignant,” Firth said. “That obsession with external perfection is a sign of panic. He has to control his exterior world because his interior one is chaos. His precision is all desperate measures.”

Critics had lauded the film, setting up expectations of an Oscar nod.

Firth, however, will be representing the film during the March 7 ceremony. Firth's interpretation of Falconer has been nominated in the Best Actor category.

At its premiere at the Venice International Film Festival, the film took home the 3rd annual Queer Lion award and Firth was named best actor.

Fashion designer turned film director Ford has said the film has a universal message and should not be confined to a gay niche.

“It's really a film about love and isolation that I think all of us feel, so it is very universal,” Ford said at its Venice premiere. “When I see someone who sees the film and says, 'It's a gay story,' I don't even know what they are thinking, it just seems to me a human story.”

Firth agreed, saying the movie is “a love story, and love is love.” “George misses the love of his life, and that's that. … George is struggling with an awful lot but not with his homosexuality. There's a lot of dignity in that.”