Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious)
Killers of the Flower Moon – Adapted Screenplay
A truly stunning miss considering the film got nominated for basically everything else it was expected to, including Picture, Directing, Actress, Original Score and other technical awards. But something was going to get robbed since the Academy decided to categorize Barbie as an adapted work.
Barbie – Actress
Margot Robbie is still a nominee for Barbie, just as a producer. But I don’t think a single person predicted this. She’d hit every precursor imaginable and was the face of the biggest movie of the year. I’m less annoyed Greta Gerwig wasn’t nominated, but only because I wasn’t quite as high on the film as most everyone else.
May December – Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress
Just gonna be glaring at the acting branch from a distance for the next six weeks. Even with crowded fields, ignoring all three incredible performances – especially Charles Melton’s – feels like a punishment for a good yet uncomfortable film.
All of Us Strangers – Picture, Directing, Actor, Adapted Screenplay
It was always a longshot, especially with Searchlight putting all their weight behind Poor Things. But no other movie this year made me cry big, ugly tears like this one. It was an extremely moving experience, anchored by Andrew Scott’s terrific performance. I’d take him over Bradley Cooper’s turn in Maestro any day.
Asteroid City – Picture, Directing, Original Screenplay, Production Design, Costume Design, Cinematography
Well, Wes Anderson did get nominated for something. (More on that later.) But this is the second straight film where at minimum, he deserved consideration for writing and his amazing crew deserved consideration for their work in turning out one of the flat-out best-looking movies of the year.
Past Lives – Actress, Directing
Nominations for Best Picture and Original Screenplay – especially for a tiny movie from a first-time filmmaker that first premiered a year ago – are nothing to sneeze at. But Past Lives certainly deserved more, especially for its pair of leading ladies (Greta Lee and Celine Song).
Saltburn – Actor, Cinematography
Despite being talked about far more than a lot of other nominees, this divisive movie had neither a hope nor a prayer. But I would have liked to have seen Barry Keoghan – the best thing about the film – nominated for playing this marvelous sociopath. And I’d honestly swap out Matthew Libatique (as strong as his work is) for Linus Sandgren’s similarly boxy, colorful work.
The Boy and the Heron and Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse – Original Score
Both films deservedly got nominated for Best Animated Feature, where they’ll go head-to-head in an extremely worthy showdown. But their fantastic scores losing out to American Fiction (whose score I honestly have never thought about, and I’ve seen the movie twice) and another sequel from John Williams (who I will never disrespect, but think his less original work getting in time and time again is tiresome) is absurd.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret – Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay
It was never going to happen. There was simply too much competition and the movie didn’t find an audience until home video and streaming, and by then it was too late. But I’ll hold a special place in my heart for Rachel McAdams’s turn and Kelly Fremon Craig’s lovely adaptation.
John Wick: Chapter 4 – Film Editing, Sound
I’m still not sure what the Academy has against this franchise. It consistently features the best stunts (in a category they’re way behind the times on in creating), along with stellar film editing and sound work. But it’s yet again ignored for its tremendous below-the-line work.
Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order)
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One for Visual Effects and Sound
Despite being one of our most reliable and entertaining franchises, these are the first nominations for *any* Mission: Impossible movie, and both are well-deserved. A Film Editing nod would have been the cherry on top.
Godzilla Minus One for Visual Effects
Despite Oppenheimer not showing up in this category (it wasn’t even shortlisted), this is a stacked category. But the best VFX of the year came from a movie with a tiny budget compared to the biggest blockbusters Hollywood produced. Japan’s Godzilla prequel had dazzling effects, deployed masterfully. With any luck, it will win too.
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar for Live-Action Short
Well, at least Wes Anderson got something. The longest and most acclaimed of his Roald Dahl adaptations for Netflix got him his first nod since Isle of Dogs, and will hopefully net him his first Oscar.
Nimona for Animated Feature
I still haven’t seen Nimona (I know! I know!), but its troubled production and eventual success is enough to make anyone feel good. The film was originally set up at Blue Sky Studios, but when Disney acquired 20th Century Fox, it closed the former competitor. It was revived by Annapurna Pictures, who got Netflix to distribute. And now it’s an Oscar nominee. That’s quite a turnaround.
A truly international Best Directing lineup
In what I believe is a first – though I’d have to do some research on the first 25 years or so of the Academy – only one nominee here is an American, and it’s one of the greats (Martin Scorsese). None of the other nominees have won before, and Justine Triet and Jonathan Glazer had never been nominated before. Christopher Nolan still has this sewn up, but it’s nice to see this branch expanding their horizons, if only as far as Europe.