Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious)
1. Us – Actress
There was one acting nomination for a person of color (Cynthia Erivo), so technically it’s not an all-white line-up. Still, it’s pathetic, specially when they had the best performance by a leading actress staring them in the face and they just ignored it. Lupita Nyong’o gave that performance – the best of her career – which includes her Oscar-winning turn in 12 Years a Slave. I’ll be pissed about this one for a long time, and I’m not even the biggest fan of this movie.
2. Apollo 11 – Documentary Feature, Film Editing
I had a sneaking suspicion this might happen, especially after this branch snubbed Won’t You Be My Neighbor? just last year. But this is frankly inexcusable. It should have walked away with the Oscar for Best Film Editing too, but was never really in contention. And that great score? Wasn’t even shortlisted.
3. Hustlers – Supporting Actress, Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Costume Design
Jennifer Lopez giving her career-best performance somehow wasn’t enough against four blondes and Kathy Bates. That’s the real sting. But when Joker was somehow nominated in all these other categories, with its focus on people marginalized by society, I have to wonder whether they even saw Hustlers, which did all of that much better.
4. Portrait of a Lady on Fire – Cinematography, Picture, Director, Actress, Supporting Actress, Costume Design
Getting passed over by Les Misérables for Best International Feature Film by its home country of France really crippled its chances. That body and the Academy are going to regret not nominating one of the best romances of the decade for anything, most importantly the year’s best cinematography.
5. The Farewell – Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay, Picture, Actress
I thought if nothing else, it would get the former two awards. But Lulu Wang’s lovely bilingual dramedy got absolutely nothing. Baffling.
6. Uncut Gems – Actor, Film Editing, Original Screenplay
I long thought that Uncut Gems would be absolutely repellent to a large majority of the Academy, and it appears I was right. Still, Adam Sandler absolutely should have been up for Best Actor, and the editing kept you on the edge of your seat. The Safdies may one day be nominated for Oscars, but not today.
7. Dolemite Is My Name – Costume Design, Make-Up & Hairstyling, Actor, Supporting Actress, Original Screenplay
I knew it was going to be an uphill battle for Eddie Murphy to get nominated, not to mention Da’Vine Joy Randolph and Alexander & Karaszewski, who have never been nominated (not even for Ed Wood!). But snubbing Ruth E. Carter (who won just last year) is inexcusable.
8. Little Women – Director
All of its six nominations were well-deserved. But this really stings. Not only is it a better-directed film than Joker, it’s a better-directed film than the one Gerwig got a nomination for (Lady Bird). It was an especially strong year for women-directed films, and not even a nod to the easiest choice is absurd.
9. Pain and Glory – Original Screenplay, Director, Costume Design
At least Antonio Banderas got nominated (more on him in a minute), but there were plenty of other places to honor the film outside of a default nomination for International Feature Film. Almodóvar’s script and direction are top-notch. He’s been nominated before. Why they left him off this time is a head-scratcher. And the costume design branch never nominates contemporary costumes, so I’m not surprised, but the work on this film is exquisite, with plenty of eye-popping color.
10. Wild Rose – Original Song
It was the year’s best original song, with a great backstory, and an opportunity for breakout star Jessie Buckley to bring down the house during the show. They blew it.
11. The Last Black Man in San Francisco and Waves – Supporting Actor, Picture, Director, Original Screenplay, Cinematography
I knew it wasn’t happening. A24 had put what little muscle they had behind The Farewell and even that wasn’t enough. But these two films about race and home should have been contenders just about everywhere.
12. A Hidden Life – Cinematography
Days of Heaven. The Thin Red Line. The New World. The Tree of Life. All of these Malick films were nominated for Best Cinematography (with the former winning). But they ignored this gorgeous film shot by Jorg Widmer.
13. Once upon a Time… in Hollywood – Film Editing
It got 10 nominations, so I can’t really complain. But after the death of Sally Menke, Tarantino has finally made a film with editing that doesn’t feel off. The Spahn Ranch scene alone is a masterclass in tension, impossible without great editing.
14. John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – Film Editing, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing
Once again, a great action franchise is snubbed for the technical aspects that make it so thrilling. At least it’s in good company with Mission: Impossible.
15. Midsommar – Actress, Production Design
Florence Pugh is up for Supporting Actress at least, but she was even better in this horror flick. The production design was also astonishing.
Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order)
The Lighthouse nominated for Cinematography
It was a long shot after missing the main category at ASC, but this branch at least got one this one right.
Frozen II snubbed for Animated Feature
I have not seen Frozen II and don’t plan to. The success of the original is one of the most baffling phenomena of the 2010s. The sequel got its money (and unfortunately a Best Original Song nomination), but missed here.
Antonio Banderas nominated for Actor
He’s always been a reliable and charming on-screen presence (and source of one of the best GIFs ever), but he finally got nominated for his career-best work.
Knives Out nominated for Original Screenplay
It wasn’t a Best Picture nominee (which I predicted), but at least Rian Johnson got a long-overdue nomination in this category. He’s deserved it at least twice before (three if you’re generous), but better late than never.
Hair Love nominated for Animated Short
Matthew Cherry is a great Twitter follow, a former NFL player, director, author and now an exec at Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions. What began as a Kickstarter project is now an Oscar nominee. It would be hard not to root for the guy.