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Snubs And Surprises Loom Large in the Wake of the 91st Oscar Nominations

As we continue to make sense of the Academy Award nominations that were announced yesterday, a few things are very clear. Chiefly, we saw that the new crop of voters, representing a more diverse background, spread the love out more than usual. We sort of expect that, but perhaps not to this extent. As such, there were a whole host of snubs and surprise inclusions about 24 hours ago. As we start to make sense of it all, we can begin by looking at what the actual snubs and surprises were. There were plenty, so there’s no shortage. I picked out six specific ones to look at, but the list easily could have been doubled. Hell, I didn’t even include Emily Blunt’s double snub…

Here now are a half dozen snubs and surprises from the nomination announcement that occurred yesterday:

Black Panther becomes the first comic book film nominated in Best Picture – History was made yesterday morning. Ryan Coogler’s singular take on the Marvel Cinematic Universe did what no other superhero movie has done before, not even Christopher Nolan and The Dark Knight. Yes, Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture. Kevin Feige and company have now shattered that glass ceiling. The flick had hit enough precursors that it wasn’t a huge surprise, but the fact that this history making nomination actually went down…well, that’s a bit surprising. When in doubt, you assume the Academy will play it safe. Here, they did not.

Bradley Cooper misses in Best Director – The highest profile shock was easily Bradley Cooper being snubbed in Best Director for A Star Is Born. Up until recently, he had been seen as the frontrunner to win the Oscar in Director, so this was stunning. As you’ll see in another snub or two below, it’s a situation where too many voters assumed he was safe. His loss was Yorgos Lanthimos and Pawel Pawlikowski’s gain, to be sure. Those unique citations were cool, no doubt, but this miss for Cooper was positively stunning.

Sam Elliott makes the cut in Best Supporting Actor – Sure, he had, more or less, followed the same path that James Coburn took to be nominated in Best Supporting Actor (and win the Oscar) for Affliction, but it was a nice surprise to see Sam Elliott become an Academy Award nominee. His long career was finally rewarded. I posted a plea to voters not to snub him, so I’ll take some small bit of credit here for keeping just enough pressure on his candidacy to make sure he got in. Now, we wait and see if he can do what Coburn did and take the Oscar in an upset. Stay tuned!

First Man is snubbed up and down the line – We’d sort of prepared ourselves for it, but it wasn’t just above the line snubs for First Man. Claire Foy missed in Best Supporting Actress, but then Tom Cross’ editing was left out of the Best Film Editing lineup. Then, Linus Sandgren was snubbed in Best Cinematography. As the terrible icing on the cake, presumed frontrunner in Best Original Score Justin Hurwitz missed too. In Hurwitz’s case, it’s another scenario where voters probably thought he was safe dn spread their support out. All in all, the Neil Armstrong biopic was not the technical player we’d assumed it to be. Still. Why?

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? is left out of the lineup in Best Documentary Feature – This is the other snub where it seems like Oscar voters thought the contender didn’t need their help. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? was running away with the Best Documentary Feature category during the precursors. Now, it’s on the outside looking in. It’s a shame this sort of thing happens, though there’s ultimately no way to prevent it from happening. Alas…

Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira are both nominated for Roma – In Best Actress, it was thought that if Yalitza Aparicio could slip in, it would signal some extra support in the industry for Roma. Well, the Academy members not only went for her, they tapped Marina de Tavira in Best Supporting Actress as well. A surprising double dip, it just proved how impressed Oscar voters are with this film.


Stay tuned for a whole bunch more coverage of the nominations!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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