It’s Oscar season. The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards came out yesterday with Joker leading the pack closely followed by The Irishman, 1917, and Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood. But as always there were some big omissions from this year’s awards. So let’s get into them.
There were a number of bug names to miss out across the two categories for Best Actor including Taron Egerton, who just won a Golden Globe for Rocketman, Robert De Niro in The Irishman, and Adam Sandler who a lot of people have championed for Uncut Gems, a film that is unfortunately not playing where I live. But given that much of the controversy has centered on the lack of diversity in the major categories perhaps the biggest miss for many people would be Eddie Murphy for his role as Dolemite in Dolemite Is My Name.
In fact the only person of colour nominated in all four of the acting categories this year was Cynthia Erivo for her role as a slave, Harriet Tubman in Harriet. This seems to be one of the few sorts of roles that many people of colour are able to secure nominations for, when there were a lot of fantastic performances out there. In the Supporting Actress category, there was a lot of surprise that Kathy Bates was nominated for Richard Jewell with little fanfare, a spot that could easily have been taken by The Farewell’s Zhao Shuzhen, or one of the heavy favourites Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers. The Farewell was also overlooked in Best Actress, a big surprise given that Awkwafina had just won a Golden Globe for her performance. Similarly Lupita Nyong’o received huge acclaim for her double role in Us, but given its March release date I can’t say I’m shocked she was overlooked, but I am tremendously disappointed.
The biggest outcry however was the all male lineup for Best Director, especially this year when so many great films were directed by women. Olivia Wilde, Lulu Wang, Alma Har’el, Lorene Scafaria, and Céline Sciamma directed Booksmart, The Farewell, Honey Boy, Hustlers, and Portrait of a Lady on Fire any one of which would have been worthy nominees. But the massive miss is Greta Gerwig, whose adaptation of Little Women should have seen her amongst the five nominees, and is easily the biggest snub of the year for me.
For a snub that wasn’t necessarily a big negative however we just need to look at the Best Animated Feature category. This is full of fantastic films, but I’m sure almost everyone was shocked to see Frozen II not feature amongst them. Whilst I liked Frozen II I’m delighted to see smaller films like Missing Link, Klaus, and I Lost My Body represented alongside a couple of big films.
There were a couple of big snubs in the realm of music as well. Alan Silvestri’s score for Avengers: Endgame is probably the one aspect of that film that I thought would get recognised outside of the Visual Effects. In the Best Original Song category a lot of people are talking about Beyoncé’s song for The Lion King missing out, but the more egregious snub was the lack of ‘Glasgow (No Place Like Home)’ from Wild Rose which I think should have been winning the award, let alone just being nominated. But there’s no chance of that now.
Amongst the technical awards there were some big shocks as well. Lee Smith for 1917 and Fred Raskin for Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood didn’t get a look in for best editing, which could hurt the film’s Best Picture chances, and 1917’s omission here in particular feels like a huge snub. Hearing about the level of thought and care that went into Little Women’s hair and makeup I’m shocked that it missed out in that category, whilst Ruth E. Carter’s costume design in Dolemite Is My Name should have picked up a nomination. Finally Alita: Battle Angel whilst not the strongest film had some stunning visual effects, and deserved a place in that category.