The Academy Award nominations came out on Tuesday, so it is once again time for the film world to freak out about their favourites not being nominated, so let’s do that too. I’m going to be looking over some of the biggest shocks, and snubs, from this year’s Oscar nominations. As always I’d love to hear what you think the biggest snubs were in the comments.
Best Picture – Well I guess we don’t need that Best Popular Film category then. Given that both Black Panther and Bohemian Rhapsody managed to secure Oscar nominations, when most people seemed to think that only one of these box office smashes would make it. And given it’s Golden Globe success that seemed to be Bohemian Rhapsody. Black Panther’s inclusion seems to have divided people, personally I think this was a great surprise inclusion as it provides Comic Book Films with another level of legitimacy after The Dark Knight and Logan, and to compare it to those not getting nominated is ridiculous because it has happened in completely different years. As for snubs well take your pick, especially as only 8 out of the possible 10 slots were filled. The primary one has to be If Beale Street Could Talk, especially given it’s Screenplay and Acting nominations. Other major films that have been mentioned are Widows and First Man, and everyone obviously has their own personal picks for what should have been nominated, mine being You Were Never Really Here and Hereditary.
Best Actor – Bale, Cooper, Malek, and Mortensen were all pretty much locks for the Best Actor category, really only leaving one extra slot for someone to take. I don’t think many expected it to be Willem Dafoe for his turn as Vincent van Gogh in At Eternity’s Gate. This is a film that there has been a little buzz around, but I don’t many people who have managed to see it yet as it came and went in cinemas with very little fanfare. As for who else could have taken that spot. Well the obvious snub to me is Joaquin Phoenix for You Were Never Really Here who should be a favourite to win it, let alone be nominated. Lucas Hedges for Boy Erased, John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman, and Ethan Hawke for First Reformed are probably the other big performances that missed out.
Best Actress – If you want a sign that Roma is going to be one the major players on the night then look no further than Yalitza Aparicio’s well deserved nomination for Best Actress. Again Close, Colman, Gaga, and McCarthy seemed like locks for a nomination only really leaving one other spot open. Given that Aparicio was the first nominee announced that didn’t leave anyone looking for one of their favourites from outside of this with much hope they would make it. Nicole Kidman’s role in Destroyer was probably the most likely nominee, but it is hard to say that Aparicio doesn’t deserve a nomination. For myself and a lot of people that I have seen talking about the nominees the biggest snubs of the whole Oscars is Toni Collette in Hereditary. Her raw and incredible performance absolutely deserved to win the award, but because it came in a genre piece like Hereditary it never really stood a chance. I genuinely believe that it was the best performance of 2018, but despite a very vocal group on Twitter that campaign to get Toni Collette an Oscar never came to fruition.
Best Supporting Actor – I think perhaps the biggest shock in the acting categories was the inclusion of Sam Elliot over Timothée Chalamet. Beautiful Boy wasn’t hugely well received, but Chalamet’s performance was certainly worthy of inclusion, and most other awards seemed to agree. Elliott’s inclusion may suggest that there is still life in A Star Is Born’s Oscar push as no one really expect him to be nominated. Whilst I thought he was the strongest part of A Star Is Born I’m not sure about his inclusion of Chalamet. The other name that a lot of people have thrown out as a possibility for the category has been Daniel Kaluuya for Widows, but given the overall lack of love Widows got from the Academy and several other major awards this would probably have been very unlikely. A lot of people have also highlighted Steve Carell’s failure to secure a nomination despite being in three big Oscary films, Beautiful Boy, Vice, and the critically panned Welcome To Marwin, I don’t think it was a snub that he missed out, but it is clear that he wants an Oscar, and it’s worthwhile looking out for any films he has coming up in the next couple of years.
Best Supporting Actress – I said in the Best Actress category that Yalitza Aparicio’s nomination was good news for Roma’s Best Picture hopes, well how about Marina de Tavira being nominated for Best Supporting Actress completely out of left field. There wasn’t really any talk about her securing a nomination beforehand, but her inclusion suggests just how popular Roma has been with the voters. If that kind of momentum continues then it surely has to go into the big night as the favourite for the main awards. In terms of other actresses who could have made it, Claire Foy received a Golden Globe and BAFTA nomination for First Man, although I would have considered her more of a Leading Actress, and Margot Robbie made the BAFTA list over Regina King, although that was a big shock itself.
Best Director – It was a stacked year for the best director category, but I don’t think many people expected Pawel Pawlikowski to follow up his Bafta nomination for his Polish film Cold War with a Oscar nod. And his inclusion has helped push out a couple of other Directors who have been regularly appearing in most other award nomination lists. Bradley Cooper seemed a certain pick for A Star Is Born and Peter Farrelly for Green Book had been securing a lot of nominations himself. Not getting a Best Director nomination is a big blow for two films that had big Best Picture hopes, yes Argo managed it in 2012, but it is not a regular occurance, and it certainly hurt Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri chances last year. Outside of the best picture nominees Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk, Damien Chazelle for First Man, and Lynne Ramsay for You Were Never Really Here could all have been hoping for nominations, and may feel hard done by being overlooked.
Best Screenplay – Boots Riley, the writer and director of Sorry To Bother You, wrote on Twitter saying that he didn’t mind missing out on a Best Original Screenplay nomination because they put in no ‘for your consideration’ campaign and didn’t send out tonnes of screeners. That said it is certainly a snub that has a lot of people upset, but he wrote one of the most original, daring, and boundary pushing screenplays in years. Many fans will be delighted to see that Paul Schrader’s Screenplay for First Reformed managed to secure a nomination despite the general lack of love that it has received so far during award season. But I don’t think anyone expected The Coen Brothers’ Western anthology The Ballad of Buster Scruggs would also be nominated. Strangely this is another boost for Roma because it shows that the Academy is looking past the Netflix stigmas that would probably be its biggest barrier, as The Ballad of Buster Scruggs was a another big Netflix property, but one with a much more lukewarm reception, and virtuously no awards buzz.
Best Documentary – This isn’t normally a category that I really know about. But I am aware that alongside Free Solo, which is nominated, Won’t You Be My Neighbor and Three Identical Strangers were the most talked about and acclaimed documentaries of the year. And not seeing those two in the five nominations was a big shock.
Best Visual Effects – I am not quite sure how Annihilation and Aquaman were both overlooked in the visual effect category. I know Annihilation was an incredibly early in the year release, but the visual effects were spectacular, even watching at home on Netflix for those of us outside of America who didn’t have the opportunity to see it in cinemas. Aquaman too created a these incredible worlds, and it was the spectacular visual effect work that brought these to life, something that was so integral to the film. The effects in the nominated films are by no means bad, but only Ready Player One comes close to what these films achieved on the visual effect front.
Best Original Score – Man this category was a big unexpected jumble. I cannot believe that neither First Man nor A Quiet Place managed to score a nomination. Both Justin Hurwitz and Marco Beltrami delivered impactful and memorable scores that were widely heralded among the stand out aspects of what were two very well received films. On a personal note I’m also heartbroken that Jonny Greenwood (after not winning last year for Phantom Thread) didn’t even get a look in for his equally spellbinding score for You Were Never Really Here. On the flip side the score for BlacKkKlansman, which was not even close to the most impactful element of the film made it. Mary Poppins Returns inclusion was also something of a surprise because the music was one of the more divisive elements, personally I loved it, but a lot found it forgettable.