- All of Us Strangers, a festival favorite and critically acclaimed film, was completely shut out of the Oscar nominations despite its strong screenplay, cinematography, and acting performances.
- The Boy and the Heron‘s composer, Joe Hisaishi, was shockingly not nominated for an Oscar despite his acclaimed work and previous recognition at the Golden Globes.
- Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie were surprisingly omitted from the nominations for their work on the highly successful and praised film Barbie, especially considering the Academy’s historical lack of recognition of female directors.
The Oscar nominations are officially here. As expected, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer dominated the lineup, while critical and audience favorites like Killers of the Flower Moon, Poor Things, and Barbie also made a strong showing. Seeing the Academy recognize two foreign-language films in Best Picture, The Zone of Interest and Anatomy of a Fall, is a delightful surprise.
But as always, several great films were shut out or overlooked, some of these sadly unsurprising, others shocking snubs. Today, we’re looking at the most egregious snubs from the 96th Academy Awards lineup.
All of Us Strangers
Andrew Haigh’s heartbreakingly personal drama was a festival favorite last fall and widely acclaimed as one of the best films of 2023. However, it seems the Academy didn’t get the memo, as All of Us Strangers was completely shut out of the nominations. On paper, Haigh’s beautifully empathetic writing seems like a lock for Adapted Screenplay, and the same goes for the lush cinematography and dreamlike editing.
The most egregious absence of all, however, is Andrew Scott, who gave an emotionally searing performance as a gay man dealing with the loss of his parents. It’s one of the best performances of the year, and it still couldn’t emerge victorious within the field of contenders for Best Actor.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
This lovely adaptation of Judy Blume’s book of the same name always seemed a long shot for Oscar gold since the Academy rarely recognizes young-adult adaptations, and its underwhelming box office performance didn’t help matters. Nonetheless, seeing Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret not recognized for costume design is incredibly disappointing. Kelly Fremon Craig’s script, utterly reverent of the source material, was worthy of a screenplay nod.
Considering how stacked Best Actress is this year, Abby Ryder Forston never had much chance of getting nominated, but she was certainly deserving. Much less excusable is the snubbing of Rachel McAdams in Supporting Actress, who delivered career-best work as Margaret’s perpetually overwhelmed mother.
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The Oscars Could See a Flood of Japanese Films Nominated for Best Picture
With smash hits like Suzume, Godzilla: Minus One, and The Boy and the Heron, Japanese cinema has the potential to dominate this year’s Oscars.
The Boy and the Heron – Original Score
Joe Hisaishi is one of Japan’s most acclaimed film composers, having won seven Japanese Academy Awards for Best Music. In America, he’s most prominently known as Hayao Miyazaki’s go-to composer, and his music for films such as Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke are iconic and widely beloved by fans.
This makes it all the more shocking that Hisaishi has never once been nominated at the Oscars. Many hoped that would finally change with his beautiful score for The Boy and the Heron, especially since it was nominated at the Golden Globes. Alas, it was not meant to be, and Hisaishi remains at zero Oscar nominations and counting.
Zac Efron – Best Actor
The Iron Claw arrived late on the scene last year, and it’s not hard to feel that if A24 released the film a month or two earlier, it would’ve gotten more awards traction. And for good reason; while it’s an emotionally draining viewing, it’s also immensely powerful and faithful to the tragic true story it’s based on, even as it takes dramatic liberties.
As depressing as the film is, a Best Picture nod was likely always going to be a stretch, but it would’ve been wonderful to see Zac Efron get recognized for his revelatory, career-best work. The internet clearly didn’t campaign hard enough for him, and he was sadly, if unsurprisingly, snubbed.
Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie – Barbie
- Release Date
- July 21, 2023
This one might be the most shocking and disappointing of all. Barbie was the year’s highest-grossing film and an outright cultural phenomenon. Critics and fans alike adored it. While its nomination tally and Best Picture nod is nothing to slouch out, it’s absolutely bewildering that the Academy would recognize so much talent involved and not Greta Gerwig, who brought everything together, or Margot Robbie, the film’s leading star.
The film was entirely Gerwig’s vision when it could’ve easily felt studio-mandated or compromised. In turning a movie about a doll into one of the defining films of 2023, Gerwig silenced all doubts that she’s one of this generation’s best filmmakers and broke barriers for other female directors. In any circumstance, her snubbing would be baffling, but considering how much fire the Academy has come under for historically ignoring female directors, it’s even less excusable.
Although American Ferrera received a Best Supporting Actress nod, it’s also shocking that Robbie was left out of the Best Actress category, which features names such as Annette Bening (Nyad), Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon), Sandra Hüller (Anatomy of a Fall), Carey Mulligan (Maestro), and Emma Stone (Poor Things).
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- Release Date
- December 1, 2023
- 1hr 57min
Considering its incredibly touchy subject matter, it was inevitable that Todd Haynes’ camp masterwork, May December, wouldn’t appeal to Oscar voters. While it was a pleasant surprise to see the film get a nod for Original Screenplay, seeing it completely overlooked everywhere else is a shame.
Julianne Moore, who gave her best performance in ages, should’ve been in the Supporting Actress lineup. Natalie Portman, who gave one of her best performances ever, should’ve been an easy lock in Best Actress. And Riverdale’s Charles Melton, an utter revelation who outshone both his costars, was maybe the most outlandish snub of them all, having seemed destined for a Supporting Actor nod earlier this year.
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Will Tom Cruise Ever Win an Oscar?
If Tom Cruise wants to win a competitive Oscar, he needs to change the course of his career.
- Release Date
- August 31, 2023
- Celine Song
- 1hr 46min
- Celine Song
Past Lives has been almost unanimously hailed as one of 2023’s crowning cinematic achievements deserving of an Oscar run and a heartbreaking romantic drama worth mentioning in the same sentence as In the Mood for Love and Richard Linklater’s Before trilogy. It’s wonderful to see it make the Best Picture and Original Screenplay lineups.
But to recognize the film and none of the actors who brought it to life is baffling. Teo Yoo gave beautifully understated and internalized work worthy of a Best Actor nod. John Magaro deserved Supporting Actor recognition for bringing depth to a role that could’ve easily been stock and cliche. Snubbing Greta Lee in Best Actress, who gave one of the year’s best acting performances, is ludicrous.
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Leonardo DiCaprio – Killers of the Flower Moon
Despite leading the film nominated for Best Picture, like Margot Robbie, Leonardo DiCaprio and his role in Killers of the Flower Moon was ignored by the Academy in the Best Actor category. His role as Ernest Burkhart in the film was an excellent performance, though it apparently wasn’t enough against the other nominations in the category, including Bradley Cooper (Maestro), Colman Domingo (Rustin), Paul Giamatti (The Holdovers), Cillian Murphy (Oppenheimer), and Jeffrey Wright (American Fiction).
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
While the Academy expectedly recognized Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse in Animated Feature, seeing it otherwise entirely ignored was surprising and disheartening. Its eye-popping visual effects couldn’t make the final lineup in its category, nor could its score by Daniel Pemberton, one of the best of the year.
In a very mixed year for blockbusters, the adrenaline shot that Spider-Verse represented should’ve secured a slot in Best Picture. Alas, this was not to be, but not entirely surprising, as only three animated films have ever been nominated for the top prize. Perhaps Beyond the Spider-Verse will have more luck. The 2024 Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, Mar. 10.
Stream Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse on Netflix