The Academy Award nominations came out today to the usual groans and sighs. I understand that not all of our favorite films will garner an Oscar nomination, but it’s always a little disappointing when you finally see the finalized list. Thus, putting the nail in the coffin of our little films that could. Once again, there are no nominations for any Marvel films, except for the standard technical achievements. I think we can all agree that Blockbuster films aren’t the most welcome when dealing with the Oscars. However, there were several nominations that just caught us all completely off-guard. Here are my top snubs, surprises, and disappointments in this year’s list of Oscar nominees.
- No nomination for Jennifer Lopez in the Best Supporting Actress category?
Sure, I was thinking Lopez was a shoe-in for Best Supporting Actress. Lopez winning the award was a long shot, but I still expected her to get that nomination for her performance in Hustlers. Sadly, those dreams were crushed when the Best Supporting Actress nominations were announced and left Lopez nowhere to be seen. Yes, Lopez found herself at the top of various critic wins. Not to mention, a nominee for Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes. It’s surprising, but then it isn’t, that Lopez has been left off the list. And in doing so, makes the Best Supporting Actress category, an all-white affair.
- No Nomination for Lupita Nyong’o for Best Actress?
Here’s the nominee that definitely gave Renée Zellweger a run for her money when it came to wins within critics associations. In fact, time after time, critics groups found Nyong’o performance in US at the top of their list. Nyong’o seemed another shoe-in for a nomination, but then she missed the cut for Golden Globes, and again with the Baftas. Slowly she has found herself out of contention. But wait, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe the Oscars would finally show Nyong’o some love. I personally thought she would squeak in there with a nomination. But sadly, that is not what we’re reporting this morning. Nyong’o misses the mark on what should have been another Oscar nomination.
- Say farewell to any nominations for The Farewell…
The Farewell was truly a surprise. The film is sweet and deeply moving. Hell, I cried at the end. However, the Academy saw differently. Lulu Wang, who did some of the best writing and directing this past year, but missed the nomination short list for Best Director AND Original Screenplay. In a movie as touching as this one, I would have expected SOMETHING for Wang’s achievements. But the missed nominations for Wang aren’t my biggest pet peeve. Awkwafina’s missing nomination for Best Actress, is absolutely awful. Awkwafina, who’s most known for her quirky, comedic side, provides one of the best dramatic roles of 2019. Sure, Awkwafina may have been a long shot, though she did win at the Golden Globes. The point here is that there needed to be something for The Farewell.
- “Congratulations to all those MEN…”
We say we’re making strides in taking the initiative to recognize women in film. And yet, here we are with another all male list of Best Director nominees. I don’t believe on giving out awards to people because of the race, gender, etc., but for no women to be nominated is a travesty. Dear Academy, in case you need some possible nominees for this category, here’ s what I came up with:
- Greta Gerwig for Little Women
- Lulu Wang for The Farewell
- Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers
- Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
- Alma Har’el for Honey Boy
- Céline Sciamma for Portrait of a Lady on Fire
To say that there was not a single woman that directed an award winning film in 2019 is… well, I’m at a loss for words.
- A Portrait of a Lady on Fire’s chances for an Oscar nom just went up in flames.
I had a terrible feeling that this was going to happen. When Portrait of a Lady was announced as a nominee during the Golden Globes, there was a surprising lack of claps from the audience. Have they seen it? Did they not like it? I refuse to believe the latter statement, because Portrait of a Lady is an outstanding film. This movie is so beautiful it should have received a cinematography nomination as well. The film has yet to be released in theaters, so set a reminder on your calendars because it comes out February 14th. Maybe then, and only then, will audience members fully appreciate how wonderful this film is. In the wise words of Bong Joon Ho, “once you overcome the one-inch barrier of subtitles, you will be introduced to so many more amazing films.”
- And now for our leading men…
There was a shake up in the Best Actor category this morning. Taron Egerton was snubbed for his work in Rocketman, even after he won Best Actor (Comedy/Musical) at the Golden Globes. Take it or leave it, I know Rocketman isn’t universally loved. However, Egerton is still better than Rami Malek’s, Freddie Mercury. Why can’t Egerton get, at least, a nomination? As for the other nominees, Robert DeNiro was left out of the cold after his performance in The Irishman. I’m not as upset by this as some, but it’s definitely a surprise. And while DeNiro and Egerton will sit out on this one, Antonio Banderas managed to score a hist first-ever nomination for Pain and Glory.
- It’s a good surprise!
The nominations this morning had its share of good surprises. For example, Florence Pugh is a first-time Oscar nominee with her role of Amy in Little Women. I’m going to say it, and I’m sure I’m correct, Pugh is having one of the best years of her life. She has been able to solidify herself as one of the best actresses in film. I’m sure she continues to pinch herself, but it’s well deserved. Another surprise from this morning was Scarlett Johannsson’s entry into the Best Supporting Actress category, with her first ever Oscar nomination for Jojo Rabbit. Not only is Johannsson nominated for her role in Jojo Rabbit, but she also managed to receive a Best Actress nomination for Marriage Story. And although I’m extremely happy for Johannsson, I can’t help but think she’ll leave the Oscars empty handed. I will say that with the including Pugh and Johannsson in the mix, the Best Supporting Actress category suffers from a bit of, what I’m calling, “white blindness.” It’s so white, it’s blinding. Again, I reference Lopez’s absence from the nominations.
- Joker and The Irishman lead nominations.
I’m sure Martin Scorsese is happy about Joker and The Irishman leading nominations. Even after Scorsese made comments that he had no desire to see Joker. Well, I guess you’re going to have to see it now, Mr. Scorsese. He probably won’t, and to be honest no academy voter watches all the movies that are nominated, but I digress… To see Joker come in with so many nominations, including Joaquin Phoenix’s nomination for Best actor, is amazing. I know it’s a darker “comic book” movie, but we have to take our wins where we can get them. This may be the turning point of implementing more blockbuster type films into the mix of the stereotypical Oscar films. As for The Irishman, there was no doubt that the film would run away with nominations. I expect them to get more love from the Academy voters than other previous award entities. I’m still holding out hope that Joe Pesci may have another Oscar in his future, but with Pesci and Al Pacino being in the same Best Supporting Actor category, there’s a good chance they will split the vote, and neither of them will win.
There’s always more room for more other nominees. And with the repetitive theme of not recognizing brilliant works between different ethnicities or genders, I think the Oscars are going to not be as “inclusive” as they should be. At least for a while. Overall, I am pleased with this morning’s nominations. There are so many great films that truly exemplified cinema at its best, and I wish every nominee the best of luck!