The Academy Awards may be the most prestigious movie awards out there, but that doesn’t mean they always make the best decisions. Join us as we look at which potential nominees got left out and which nominees don’t belong.
The nominees for the 2020 Academy Awards were announced on January 13th (see the entire list here), and the ceremony will take place on February 9th. We’ll have to wait until then to see who wins, but based on the potential nominees that were left out we DO know who WON’T be winning. After having a few days to think it over, here are our thoughts on the biggest mistakes that the Academy voters made this year.
Midsommar – No Nominations
Becky – This movie, shockingly, didn’t get nominated for anything! And that’s wrong, because Midsommar is one of the best films I saw last year. That’s saying a LOT coming from me because anyone who knows me will tell you I generally avoid horror films. Not only did I enjoy Midsommar in theaters, I even got my own copy to watch it again. Midsommar took some risks that deserve to be honored: it’s a horror film in broad daylight for crying out loud! Not to mention it has some stunning cinematography and an eat-your-heart-out performance from Florence Pugh. Granted, Pugh does have an Oscar nomination for Little Women, but I really feel she should’ve gotten a Best Actress nomination for her role in Midsommar also.
Us – No Nominations
Jordan – I’m in a state of complete shock. I mean, I wasn’t expecting Us to sweep the Oscar noms or anything, but to be COMPLETELY snubbed? That’s baffling. Personally speaking, I enjoyed the film more than his first, Get Out, and Lupita Nyong’o’s dual performance was more than worthy of a nomination. This feels like it’s going beyond simply ignoring genre films and almost seems like they forgot about this film entirely. I get that 2019 felt like an extraordinarily long year, and Us came out relatively early, but having a blank slate of noms all around is just bananas.
Lupita Nyong’o in Us – Best Actress
Garrett – While I don’t exactly agree with Jordan on the merits of Us, I will agree that Nyong’o should have been nominated. The Academy tends to love actors/actresses who give us transformative roles (uh, all of the other Best Actress noms besides Ronan’s were transformative). Nyong’o’s role was more complex than those other roles because she had to contrast her performance against her own performance in the same movie. I also feel Us found more success and was generally better received than Harriet was, and because of this should have taken the spot of that film’s nomination in this category.
Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems – Best Actor
Garrett – This has to be the biggest snub of the year. Sandler’s performance was being lauded for Best Actor honors from the day the film first premiered earlier this year. In fact, the film had so much buzz because of Sandler’s performance. It fits perfectly with the film, is very intense, and unique. The fact that Uncut Gems got exactly zero nominations is bad enough, but to not even honor the best performance in Sandler’s career is a shame. Despite earning (and winning) many critics circle awards for best actor, Sandler was essentially boycotted from the major awards. I heard rumors they didn’t get the film submitted in time to be considered for this year. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but honestly feels like the only legitimate reason why this performance would not get a single major nomination.
Dolemite is My Name – No Nominations
Garrett – Another film which failed to earn a single nomination was this one. I really enjoyed this film, and so did most of the people who saw it (97% on Rotten Tomatoes!). It was one of those films which got better and better as it went along, and a welcome return to form for both Eddie Murphy and Wesley Snipes. Okay, maybe it isn’t the best film of the year, but it certainly deserved nominations in some areas, including Best Costumes, Best Actor, and Best Hair and Makeup. It received nominations for the Golden Globes, and won best comedy at the Critics Choice Awards.
Jordan – It’s incredibly frustrating, but I can’t say I’m entirely surprised by the snub for Dolemite is My Name. While it’s a biopic, something the Academy tends to love, the fact that it’s a comedy almost ensured it was overlooked (though I was at LEAST hoping for some technical awards love). It’s a shame too as it’s still one of my favorite films of 2019. Truly, I haven’t stopped thinking about it since my initial watch and it just seems to get better with every viewing. Eddie Murphy was incredible and even just writing about it now makes we want to go back and watch it again.
Greta Gerwig for Little Women – Best Director
Garrett – Women have had terrible representation in this category over the years (actually in most of the big categories), and so this always seems like a point of contention. With Gerwig, I feel like she deserved to be nominated based on the merit of her work. Her last film was nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director, and while Little Women did get a deserved Best Picture nom this year, she should also have been recognized for Best Director. Her films highlight the strength and fortitude of women and her vision is always fresh and exciting – something most of the other men in this category have never been able to do, and something the Academy should covet. In fact, look at the other Best Director nominees and only Bong Joon-Ho’s film has more than one major female character (or really, features women in a positive capacity at all).
Jordan – For the life of me, I’ll never understand how a film manages to score a Best Picture nomination and get snubbed for Best Director. I Mean, does the Academy think Little Women directed itself? It’s not the first time this has happened, but it’s super frustrating. The idea that a film can score six overall nominations, many of which are directly related to choices/abilities of a director (actors, costuming, screenplay) and not nominate the director is ridiculous.
Noah Baumbach for Marriage Story – Best Director
Garrett – Gerwig’s partner also deserved some recognition for his work as director, and didn’t get it. His film got nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, and Best Actress….and he DIDN’T get a nomination for Best Director. I’m sorry, but in order to get a great movie with great performances, you need to be a good director. I understand Marriage Story is kind of pedestrian in terms of direction compared to some movies, but he still had a huge impact on the outcome of his film as director, and that’s what we should be honoring.
The Farewell – No Nominations
Garrett – The Farewell received nominations for best foreign film in nearly every major award circle, but not the Academy Awards. Awkwafina won the Golden Globe for best Actress in a comedy, and got no love from the Academy. The Farewell was one of those films which was released earlier in the year, and that may have hurt it. However, the popularity of this film did not seem to wane over time. In fact, it seemed to get more attention as award season came along. Why that didn’t translate to any Oscar nominations….I’m at a loss for words.
1917 – Best Editing
Garrett – How does a film which is designed to look like one continuous take not get nominated for best editing? I know it is a bit of a gimmick, but a gimmick that requires a lot of good editing to pull off. Editor Lee Smith won an Oscar for his work on Dunkirk, and yet his work on this film is not enough?
High Life– No Nominations
Becky-This one hurts to be honest. I can understand that the plot of the film might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but High Life has some beautiful cinematography, yet I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere in any awards discussion. That’s really a shame, as I had the pleasure of seeing this in the theater and I don’t think the Academy knows what they’re missing.
John Wick: Chapter 3-Parabellum– No Nominations
Becky- I’m not naive enough to think that any of the John Wick films would ever sweep the Academy Awards, but at the very least someone should be mentioning the name of Keanu Reeves because three times now he has been brilliant in the role of John Wick and has never once been nominated for it. The third film in particular has some gorgeous cinematography and musical moments (like playing Vivaldi as a gun battle is about to begin), and I’m shocked that none of these films, this one in particular, have gotten noticed by the Academy.
Joker – The Sweep
Jordan – Don’t get me wrong here…I very much enjoyed the Joker film. I thought the performances were great and it was an interesting take on this property, but I’ve honestly barely thought of it since the credits rolled. The most overwhelming thought I’ve had about the movie is “OK.” That’s it, it’s just okay. It’s not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination, but I can’t understand any of the hoopla surrounding the film. This isn’t the first film that’s tackled this type of subject matter and honestly, it’s not the best film to have pulled off these themes. It’s a fine movie, but 11 Oscars worthy? Nah.
Garrett – I get it. People loved Joker. It made a billion dollars at the box office. People were excited for a superhero movie that was different. They should be. But maybe we went a little overboard on this one. Phoenix’s performance is a great one, but one great performance does not make a great film. I think this movie blew up because only because it was a different and a mostly good take on a DC property. Phoenix’s (equally-as-good) performances in Her or The Master didn’t register a billion dollars at the box office. Joker is one of the lowest-rated films to ever win a Best Picture nomination. DC fans will be complaining that the critics are out to hurt their precious franchise, but they’re the same people trying to get the soon-to-be critically acclaimed Zach Snyder cut released to show us how wrong we were about that other DC movie the rest of us have mostly forgotten about by now. So, excuse me if I stick to my guns on this one and say Joker didn’t deserve all the nominations it got.
Quentin Tarantino – Best Director
Garrett – Tarantino is one of those directors whose cult has grown to exuberant proportions over the years and now everytime he does something remotely good everyone loses their mind. Well, I don’t want to burst your bubble, but OUATIH is not one of Tarantino’s greatest movies. It’s a meandering almost plotless love poem to movies. I thought we hated Hollywood because of how self indulgent and self centered it is. Well, this movie is those things. There are other, more worthy people who should have been nominated (see snubs above).
Scarlett Johansson – Best Supporting Actress
Garrett – Scarlett’s nomination for best actress was well deserved and expected. Her nomination for Best Supporting actress was maybe not as much deserved, and very much unexpected. She is quite good in this role, but enough to merit a second nomination at the expense of another actress (Jennifer Lopez)? I don’t think so. Especially when you consider the fact that she did not get a Golden Globe nomination in this category – which is usually an indicator that an Oscar nomination is coming. I didn’t see Hustlers, so I’m not sure how much Lopez deserved this nomination over Johansson, but her inclusion would have made more sense.
The Irishman – Best Visual Effects
Garrett – I liked The Irishman for its story, for its direction, for its acting. I didn’t like The Irishman for its visuals. In fact, the biggest problem I had with the film was its special effects. The de-aging was not always convincing. It was a distraction. It was weird. It was no good! The fact that the film tried to use computer technology to convince me that 76-year-old Robert DeNiro was a spry 30-year-old man felt unnatural. It’s ambitious, I get it. But that’s not enough to merit a nomination.
1917 – Best Original Screenplay
Garrett – A movie with few characters, and a simple premise, and comprised heavily of mostly action and visual shots gets nominated for best original screenplay? Why not The Farewell, Ford vs. Ferrari, or Dolemite is My Name? Those films all seemed to have more going for them in the script department than 1917 did. 1917 is about the production, the direction, the acting and the peril. We’re not going to be talking about how well written it was 5 years from now.