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Once again, the Oscar nominations proved a polarizing lot.
Some nominations were expected, others were a surprise and yet many deserving potential nominees were left trampled in the dust. In a year full of diverse new voices in cinema, the Oscar nominations seemed to ignore this by not nominating films made by and starring women, along with films made by and starring minorities, even though those films deserves to be recognized. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy a few years ago, it would be expected for the Academy to pay more attention to films that fall under these formalities but alas, they seem to have willfully “forgotten” that those specific films exist.
Nevertheless, here are the biggest snubs and surprises of the overall disappointing 2020 Oscar nominations:
While Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” was nominated for Best Picture, she was snubbed for Best Director along with directors such as Lulu Wang, Lorene Scafaria, Alma Ha’rel and Celine Sciamma, who made the films “The Farewell,” “Hustlers,” “Honey Boy” and “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” respectively. These are not even all of the films that deserved to be nominated that were made by women because if I listed all of them, I would run out of space. Here’s to yet another year of all male director nominations, I guess.
POC in the acting fields:
Cynthia Erivo was the only person of color to be nominated in the acting categories in a year where Lupita Nyong’o played two roles in one movie, the entire cast of “Parasite” got under our skin, Eddie Murphy made a triumphant comeback in “Dolemite is My Name” and Awkwafina and Zhao Shuzhen made us all cry in “The Farewell.”
Jennifer Lopez for Best Supporting Actress in “Hustlers”:
Jennifer Lopez has been a clear front-runner in this category to not only to be nominated but to win, so imagine the confusion when her name was not even called during the announcement. Lopez was nominated for a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice, a Spirit award and a litany of others for her role but for some reason was ignored by the Academy.
“The Farewell” completely shut out:
“The Farewell” became an indie darling after it premiered at Sundance in 2019 and after it was picked up for distribution by A24, but it was completely shut out in the Oscar nominations. The categories it was shut out in include Best Picture, Best Actress for Awkwafina (who won the Golden Globe), Zhao Shuzhen for Best Supporting Actress and Best Original Screenplay.
“Apollo 11” for Best Documentary:
“Apollo 11” has since been heralded as the clear front-runner to win this category, but the documentary chronicling the moon landing constructed entirely from unearthed footage, was left off of the list in one of the biggest snubs of the whole slate of nominations. A similar event transpired last year when the Fred Rogers documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” was snubbed from Best Documentary even though that was also predicted to win the award that year.
“Frozen II” for Best Animated Film:
Another one of the more shocking snubs was the Disney sequel being shut out of the animated category. It garnered a Best Original Song nomination, but was left in the cold for Best Animated film category.
Robert De Niro for Best Lead Actor in “The Irishman”:
Martin Scorsese’s mob epic amassed an impressive 10 nominations, but De Niro was left off the Best Actor category, even though his co-stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci were both nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category.
While “Rocketman’s” early Summer release might have proved troublesome, there was no reason why this film should have gotten ignored as much as it did. It scored a nod for Best Original Song, but it is noticeably missing from categories such as Best Picture, Best Actor for Taron Egerton, Best Costume Design and in both of the Best Sound categories. After the odd amount of nominations the arguably inferior “Bohemian Rhapsody” received last year, these snubs proved to be real head-scratchers.
“Dolemite is My Name”:
While a Best Picture nomination seems like a long shot, it still arguably deserved one along with Eddie Murphy’s fantastic portrayal of Rudy Ray Moore as mentioned above. Even if you do not agree on the Best Picture front, the fact it did not get a nom for Best Costume Design is really quite perplexing considering how fantastic Ruth E. Carter’s costumes really are.
Adam Sandler and “Uncut Gems”:
The Safdie Brothers’ anxiety-inducing crime odyssey was snubbed in all categories including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Lead Actor for Adam Sandler’s wild turn as a New York City jeweler. This doesn’t seem much like a film the Academy usually fawns over, but it deserved to excel this year.
“Joker” overperformance and Todd Phillips:
“Joker” has been a controversial movie from the beginning and while the quality of the film seems to vary from just about every person who sees it, it became the most nominated film with a bizarre and confusing 11 nominations spanning from two sound categories to cinematography. While Joaquin Phoenix’s nomination in Best Lead Actor is quite deserving, I start to scratch my head at several of the nominations it received especially, but certainly not limited to, the nomination for Todd Phillips in Best Director and the nom for Best Adapted Screenplay. Not to review the film, but I seriously have trouble seeing exactly why these were specifically honored especially considering some of the, ahem, interesting choices both director and screenplay took. I also find myself confused at the nomination for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling and frankly, its Best Picture nomination. In a year with a large number of many other, better films I wonder exactly how this garnered such coveted nominations. Call it personal preference if you will, but I call it nonsense.
Kathy Bates for Best Supporting Actress for “Richard Jewell”:
The Clint Eastwood directed biopic, Richard Jewell, seemed to come and go from theaters, but Kathy Bates still somehow netted a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her performance as Jewell’s nervous wreck of a mother. While the performance is indeed good, it comes as a surprise considering her performance was only mostly recognized by the Golden Globes.
“Klaus” for Best Animated Feature:
The Netflix-original film that offers a new take on Santa Claus has been mostly ignored this awards cycle, but still managed to nab a well deserved Oscar nomination. This is most likely due to the snub of “Frozen II,” but this category is all the better for it because a wholly original film triumphs over a billion dollar sequel made by the biggest company in the word.
“Honeyland” for Best Documentary and Best International Feature:
The documentary about a Macedonian beekeeper became the first film ever to be nominated for both categories simultaneously. It was predicted to possibly nab a nomination for documentary, but it surprised me by being triumphant in both categories.
“1917” for Best Original Screenplay:
The second half of the war film “1917” basically transforms into a silent film when all dialogue almost completely halts entirely, so it certainly came as a surprise when it locked in a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Featured Image: Joaquin Phoenix in “The Joker,” which received 11 nominations this year. Courtesy IMDB