It’s fair to say that Academy Awards voters are over any presumed anti-Netflix bias.
Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma showed up on Oscars nominations morning in a major way, co-leading all films with 10 nominees (joining The Favourite with that distinction) and responsible for two of the happiest surprises of the morning: stars Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira in Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, respectfully. But that’s not the only good news for Netflix. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs also scored three mentions, despite being overlooked for the majority of awards season by other organizations.
But it was not all about Roma. It was about Regina King and Willem Dafoe and Black Panther, all of which have reason to celebrate, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, Timothee Chalamet and Emily Blunt and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, all of which missed the major nods they were pegged for. And it may have been about nomination announcers Kumail Nanjiani and Tracee Ellis Ross most of all. The two comedy stars woke up early for this, and they were going to let you know!
There was plenty to nod a slightly surprised “Oh!” about this morning. But for the most part, the Oscar nominations stuck to the awards-season script, meaning nothing hugely alarming or angering happened—at least not to anybody who has been following the race thus far. (So as much as we wished to see Private Life, Paddington 2, Hereditary, Leave No Trace, The Rider, or Support the Girls show up, we know a pipe dream when we have one.)
That said, here are the biggest snubs and surprises from an otherwise fairly predictable list of nominations. (Check out the full list here.)
SNUB: Won’t You Be My Neighbor, Best Documentary Feature
Mr. Rogers would want us all to only say nice things no matter how difficult, a truly trying exercise given the fact that Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, which has won pretty much every Best Documentary category there is thus far and was supposed to do the same on Oscar night, was passed over in this category. Not a great day in the neighborhood!
SURPRISE: Marina de Tavira, Roma, Best Supporting Actress
The question of just how much love there would be for Roma was answered early when the very first name read on nomination morning was supporting actress Marina de Tavira, who, while lovely in the film, hadn’t shown up on any of the major precursor awards lists. A happy surprise!
SURPRISE: Yalitza Aparicio, Roma, Best Actress
Here is a list of the A-list movie stars that Yalitza Aparicio, a 25-year-old aspiring preschool teacher from Mexico who had never acted before, beat out for her first Oscar nomination: Emily Blunt, Toni Collette, Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Viola Davis, Saoirse Ronan, and Felicity Jones. Truly, the Oscars’ real A Star Is Born moment.
SNUB: Emily Blunt
Emily Blunt was on the bubble for two acting nominations—Best Actress for Mary Poppins Returns and Best Supporting Actress for A Quiet Place—and didn’t make it into either category. They are both strong categories but I am sad for Emily Blunt! Incidentally, she now joins the ranks of actresses perhaps most overdue for an Oscar nod. Well, she was arguably on that list before; now she surges to the top.
SNUB: Claire Foy, First Man, Best Supporting Actress
While there were several actresses presumed to be vying for a fifth slot in Best Supporting Actress—including Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place), Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased), and Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians)—it was First Man’s Claire Foy who had been predicted to be the most likely contender. Who’s going to dress down that buncha boys on Oscars night?
SURPRISE: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk, Best Supporting Actress
This may be less a surprise than a relief. A one-time (very deserving) frontrunner to win this award, King had been passed over for nominations by BAFTA and SAG, both of which have large voting body overlap with the Academy. It’s been 18 years since an actress won the category without a SAG nod, but King is gonna try to do it!
SNUB: Timothee Chalamet, Beautiful Boy, Best Supporting Actor
Beautiful Boy is not a great film, but Chalamet is spectacular in it. More, he had been consistently nominated for his performance throughout awards season, suggesting that maybe an indifference toward his movie hurt his chances with Oscars voters. (The five nominees in this category are all from films that scored multiple nods elsewhere.)
WTF: Best Director (Adam McKay, but No Bradley Cooper?!)
Despite it looking dangerously likely to be the case, the Best Director category does not reflect a voting body that had entirely lost its damn mind. But it still reflects that one that could use some serious reflection about what it’s done! Cold War’s Pawel Pawilkowski and The Favourite’s Yorgos Lanthimos made it in despite being snubbed at some precursor awards. And Peter Farrelly does not get what would have been the most ludicrous nod in years for Green Book. But Vice’s Adam McKay makes it in for his college newspaper humor column come to life and Mr. Bradley Cooper, who did miraculous work with A Star Is Born, does not? Oscar voters, I’m gonna need another long, hard look at you.
SNUB: Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther, Best Supporting Actor
This was always going to be a long-shot nomination, but a long shot we were rooting for!
SURPRISE: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate, Best Actor
The veteran actor gets his second consecutive Oscar nod, the fourth of his career, in the ceremonial “Actor From the Movie that 100 Percent Nobody Saw” slot.
SNUB - John David Washington, BlacKkKlansman
It was likely Washington’s slot that Dafoe snatched up. Given the love for BlacKkKlansman elsewhere on the nominations list, we figured that the actor was sure to ride the wave of support to his first nod.
SNUB: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
When Paul Schrader’s indie premiered at the end of the summer, Ethan Hawke was crowned Oscars frontrunner, and began picking up loads of critics’ awards in kind. But somewhere along the way, his momentum faded and he became a long shot that never came to fruition on Oscars morning.
SNUB: First Man, Best Original Score
First Man’s Oscar run hit a bumpy trajectory early on, with an unfair and untrue controversy over the American flags shown in the film setting a bizarre narrative for the otherwise excellent film. Truthfully, it should have shown up in several categories Tuesday morning, but it’s the absence from Best Original Score that really suggests that voters were out to space on this one.
SNUB: Burning, Best Foreign Language Film
It was a strong year for the Best Foreign Language category, so strong that the bigger snubs may be that Roma was the only foreign-language film to show up in Best Picture. And if Cold War and Shoplifters deserved that promotion, so too did Burning, South Korea’s entry, which confusingly didn’t even make it into the Best Foreign Language Film race.
SNUB: Three Identical Strangers, Best Documentary Feature
It was the year of blockbuster documentaries at the box office. The twisty, tragic Three Identical Strangers may have had the people’s vote in this category, but it joins Won’t You Be My Neighbor? as one of the most surprising snubs of the morning. Yet another tragic twist. :(
SURPRISE: Hannah Beachler, Black Panther, Best Production Design
We’ll let Oscar guru Kyle Buchanan’s tweet from this morning sing Beachler’s praise: “Hannah Beachler just became the first African American to ever be Oscar-nominated for Best Production Design. In addition to working on Black Panther (where she was Marvel’s first female production designer), she also did Moonlight and Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade.’”
SURPRISE: “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Best Original Song
Dolly Parton and Troye Sivan were jockeying for a nod in Best Original Song, but it was an unheard-of contender (to many, quite literally) from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs that joins the likes of Lady Gaga, Diane Warren, and SZA and Kendrick Lamar instead.
SNUB: Cold War, Best Picture
Riddle me this: A film is one of only five to be singled out for Best Director, but not one of eight to make it into Best Picture? I understand Foreign Language film basis, but reading subtitles ain’t that hard, Oscar voters!
SURPRISE, First Reformed, Best Original Screenplay
Despite stellar reviews and nods from critics groups, Paul Schrader’s First Reformed had been largely ignored by the bigger voting bodies. A Best Original Screenplay mention for what is Schrader’s (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) best work in decades and most intimate work yet is a sweet surprise.
SNUB: Eighth Grade, Best Original Screenplay
We live in a world where Nick Vallelonga has an Oscar nomination for the Green Book screenplay but Bo Burnham does not have one for Eighth Grade.
SNUB: A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, Mary Poppins Returns
The Best Picture category already boasted a strong showing from blockbusters, a nice middle finger to the Best Popular Film clowning that ran amok last year. But in a Best Picture race that capped off at eight nominees, that meant hit films A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, and Mary Poppins Returns missed the cut. In a bad look for the year in film, Crazy Rich Asians was shut out completely, while A Quiet Place managed only one sound nod. (We’re here for you if you need any tender consoling, John and Emily.)
SURPRISE: Eight Nominees
I thought there were only going to be eight nominees, and I was right! That means that If Beale Street Could Talk joins A Quiet Place, Crazy Rich Asians, Cold War, and Mary Poppins Returns on the chopping block. It’s hardly a surprise, but that all those failed to make the cut at the expense of Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book, and Vice is ludicrous! The Oscars, where lunacy is expected.