Oscar Nominations: Surprises and Snubs

Oscar Nominations: Surprises and Snubs

Every year, the Academy gives us some unexpected choices, and missed a few great films - and here's this year's.

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It's that time of year again – Oscar season is upon us. The nominations were dropped on January 23rd for the 90th Academy Awards, and they were filled with surprises and snubs. From Best Picture nominees that were actual wide audience successes to the usual of indie films and Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis getting the usual nominations. I won't talk about my predictions, those will come later once I've seen the nominees and can make an informed decision. This year is a mixed bag of near-guarantees and surprises, as well as changes to the people that make up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and changes in how the awards are given out to prevent another “Moonlight, you guys won Best Picture” incident. We'll have to tune in to see what happens, but we can at least look at what was unexpected and ignored.

Surprises first, we have Get Out as a Best Picture hopeful. A horror film, directed by a comedian, starring a relatively unknown group of actors, and a film about race relations that isn't based on the Civil Rights Movement or slavery. Now it is entirely possible that it was moved up after the sexual harassment allegations on James Franco, thus giving bad press to The Disaster Artist, but in all reality it may be that the Academy wanted another Mad Max: Fury Road situation where there's a big hit movie in the running so people can say they saw at least one of the movies. Another surprise to be sure, but a welcome one, was the nomination of Logan for Best Adapted Screenplay. Superhero movies are a genre that more or less only gets visual effects nominations, though there is the Best Supporting Actor win that Heath Ledger was awarded in 2008. Logan does have some heavy competition in that category, but it at least means the Academy saw something in the film – and while it's just a screenplay nod, it's still “Oscar nominated.” The Boss Baby of all movies is up for Best Animated Feature, for some reason or another, but it's going against Pixar's hit Coco, so we can assume Pixar will take home the gold again. Despite the positive surprises, there were snubs that shocked most people reading the nomination list, in near every category.

Oh man, was there some snubs for awards. Logan easily could have been nominated in the acting categories and even Best Picture, but we'll just have to stick with the screenplay – though I will say Patrick Stewart was robbed of a nomination until the end of time. While stars Margot Robbie and Allison Janney were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively, I, Tonya is not in the Best Picture run, nor is the previously mentioned The Disaster Artist (which did get a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination but nothing else.) Blade Runner 2049 was considered by many to be a frontrunner for at least a nomination, but in the end, it got mostly technical nods. Many cite Wonder Woman as being the big snub, but let's be real, while the movie is great, it does become a cut and paste origin story after a while, and the third act is mostly just a CGI villain fight. On the topic of DC Comics films, I'm surprised The Lego Batman Movie didn't get a Best Animated Feature nod, though back in 2015, The Lego Movie didn't get a nomination either, maybe the Academy is biased against Lego. Adam Driver nor Mark Hamill got a not for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, but again, it wasn't really an expected thing. Strangely, The Shape of Water was not nominated for Best Makeup and Hairstyling – perhaps it was unclear what was CGI (basically just the eyes of the Amphibious Man) and what was makeup on Doug Jones.

And lastly, there was the guaranteed nominations. Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Shape of Water, and Darkest Hour are in the fight for Best Picture, and stars from all four including Saorise Ronan, Frances McDormand, Octavia Spencer, Laurie Metcalf, and Gary Oldman are all nominated in acting categories. Dunkirk was almost a sure bet, considering it fits the usual bill of a World War II film about soldiers overcoming a major adversity during battle, and it's a Christopher Nolan (who has a Best Director nod) movie at that. Blade Runner 2049 is up for Cinematography, an aspect that was highly praised in reviews for the film. And of course Meryl Streep is in the Best Actress race, because whatever movie she's in, she'll get Oscar buzz for, along with Daniel Day-Lewis for Best Actor for his final role in Phantom Thread – so Gary Oldman has some decent competition.

As I said, this year could go any possible way. With new members of the Academy that are younger and covering a wider audience of people, it does allow for movies like Get Out, a January horror movie, to get a legitimate shot at Best Picture, and for more unconventional nods towards Lady Bird and Blade Runner 2049. Yes, these nominees are more diverse, but as I've said before, forcing diversity in nominations only allows for lesser performances to be put over great ones – but it does not seem to be the case this year, and each acting category has at least one good pair of rivals in terms of who should get the award. As per tradition, I intend on watching as many of the nominees as I can, then deciding who wins, because as of right now, it would basically all go to Lady Bird, Logan, and Star Wars. Some theaters are showing all the Best Picture nominees, and you can go out and rent at least two of them right now. Give them a watch, see what's up, and when the office pool starts, you can put in for some movies you wouldn't have otherwise seen. The show is in March, and much like the Super Bowl, pregame has already started. Nominations are out, now it's time to determine who gets to accept their award.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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