Snubs And Surprises From The 92nd Academy Award Nominations


Now that we’ve had about 48 hours to decompress and take in the Oscar nominations, it’s a better time to talk about the Academy’s snubs and surprises. Sure, it’s rather trendy to immediately throw them out into the world moments after the nominees are announced, but I like to think on it a bit. Sometimes, what’s initially bemoaned isn’t that huge a deal. Other times, it is. Below you’ll see ten specific instances where I think the Academy Award nominations either snubbed a worthy contender (beyond the ones I love that had no chance, or obvious events like Scarlett Johansson being double nominated) or surprised with a different choice than expected…

Here now are ten snubs and surprises from Monday morning’s big announcement:

Jennifer Lopez misses in Best Supporting Actress – Of course, social media went insane over this omission. Now, Jennifer Lopez is obviously very good in Hustlers, but there was some sentiment building over the final section of voting that she was vulnerable. I didn’t fully buy it, but I should have. To some degree, who got in instead of her is part of why the Lopez snub burns so deeply for many, but JLo missing was definitely a somewhat shocking way to kick the announcement off.

Joker leads the field – On the flip side, when the final tallies were done, seeing Joker lead the nominations with eleven, beating back the expected leaders (who each got ten, so it’s not a huge difference) was pretty surprising. Just a few years after almost exclusively dismissing comic book fare, and a year after gently welcoming the genre to the club with Black Panther, the Academy was ready to go all in for this one.

Uncut Gems (and Adam Sandler) are snubbed – The hardest film to accurately predict was Uncut Gems. It could have gotten five nominations. It could have been shut out. Anything in between was fair game, too. In the end, it proved slightly too abrasive (and probably a bit too cool) for Oscar. The Safdie Brothers and Adam Sandler will have to wait for their recognition, sadly.

Frozen II is left out of Best Animated Feature – There wasn’t any buzz suggesting Oscar voters loved the Frozen sequel, but it was presumed to still be safe for a token Best Animated Feature nomination. Not so much, it seems. The cartoon still got into Best Original Song, so it wasn’t shut out, but this snub was definitely not expected.

Taron Egerton snubbed in Best Actor – Just like Sandler missed, so too did Taron Egerton. However, Egerton seemed way safer, so seeing his film Rocketman underperform like it did was both a snub and a surprise. Some has the movie actually slipping into Best Picture. In the end, it could only manage to remain the prohibitive frontrunner in Best Original Song, sacrificing Egerton’s nomination along the way.

Apollo 11 proves Best Documentary Feature voters are tough sells – This particular branch doesn’t seem to like archival footage documentaries, so perhaps Apollo 11 was always doomed with Oscar? After winning almost all of the important precursors, it seemed safe, but this is the Academy we’re talking about, so in the end, they followed their own tastes…

Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce make it to Oscar night after all – After peaking early, The Two Popes was looking very vulnerable at the Academy Awards. In the end, the film missed in Best Picture and below the line, but Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins still made it into Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively.

No women again in Best Director – Greta Gerwig was the likeliest, so her miss in Best Director for Little Women stung many, but don’t forget about Gurinder Chadha for Blinded by the Light, Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Lulu Wang for The Farewell, and Olivia Wilde for Booksmart. These talented ladies were snubbed too, so it wasn’t just Gerwig who missed.

Kathy Bates sneaks back into Supporting Actress – When Lopez missed, it was almost assuredly at the inclusion of Kathy Bates for Richard Jewell. Her nomination in Best Supporting Actress comes after her candidacy had supposedly faded, along with buzz for the movie, but in the end, Bates’ popularity with voters managed to overcome that all. Good for her, though perhaps not the ideal look for the Academy, especially considering it came at JLo’s expense.

Knives Out falls short in Best Picture – Making the Producers Guild lineup gave Rian Johnson’s film a chance in Best Picture, but whittling the nominees down from ten to nine ended up leading to this snub. Knives Out would have been a very cool inclusion in Picture, but up against other contenders who really hadn’t missed anywhere ultimately made this too high of a bar to clear for the hit whodunit…

Stay tuned for more on the nominations as the week goes on!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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