94th Academy Awards: The Oscar Snubs

The 91st Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Sunday, February 24, 2019. Photo credit: Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S.)

As usual, there were a number of snubs when the Academy announced the Oscar nominations for the 94th Academy Awards.

Let’s talk about the big one: Spider-Man: No Way Home. Many people were discussing the film being nominated for Best Picture but not me. It may have been the year’s most popular film but it didn’t launch early enough to really be in the conversation. FYC screenings started as far back as October if you don’t count all the festival screenings in August and September. The fact that the premiere wasn’t until mid-December really shot its chances in the foot. Black Panther is likely to be one of the few comic book films that are able to get a Best Picture nomination. Obviously, The Dark Knight was the best picture of 2008 despite what the Academy voters said. If not for the Christopher Nolan film, we’d still be looking at five  nominees so the film set an Academy Awards legacy in many ways.

One film that I did expect to receive a Best Picture nomination was tick, tick…BOOM! Unfortunately, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut just misses out on a nomination. However, the PEGT winner did earn an Oscar nomination in Best Original Song for Encanto. Disney really missed the mark this year because the surprise success of “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” became a complete shock to everyone. There is still a chance for Lin-Manuel Miranda to join the EGOT club and the more exclusive PEGOT club.

Dune director Denis Villeneuve misses out on a directing nomination. Overall, the film earned 10 nominations. Not having this nomination, however, will hurt its overall chances for Best Picture. But hey, Argo won after Ben Affleck missed out in the same category,

Belfast editor Úna Ní Dhonghaíle did not receive a film editing nomination this morning. While it’s not uncommon for a film to take Best Picture without editing, it’s rare. Since the Academy established the category in 1934, only ten films have gone onto win without the key nomination. The last film to win Best Picture without the nomination was Birdman in 2014. Before this, it had been since Ordinary People won in 1980. The Kenneth Branagh film is going to have a bigger hill to climb without editing or cinematography as Haris Zambarloukos also misses out. Production designer Jim Clay also misses out on a nom. What he did was rather impressive with building a set out of an airport runway.

I often look to the guilds as precursors to the Oscar nominations. SAG correctly predicted three Best Actress nominees, only missing Jennifer Hudson (Respect) and Lady Gaga (House of Gucci). Meanwhile, Best Supporting Actor saw three SAG nominees miss out including Ben Affleck for The Tender Bar. Honestly, Bradley Cooper never had much of a chance for his limited screen time in Licorice Pizza. Belfast‘s Caitríona Balfe misses out in Best Supporting Actress. Some of these are not a surprise when you look at how the critic group awards have played out. A few BAFTA nominees didn’t make the Academy’s list including West Side Story‘s Mike Faist and Passing‘s Ruth Negga and Tessa Thompson. Negga was getting a strong push from critics here in the US.

The biggest non-shock is Jared Leto not getting an Oscar nomination. After receiving a Razzie nomination this week, an Oscar nom would have been seen as laughable. He made a mockery of the performance, which was criticized by family members and those who knew Paolo Gucci. It doesn’t bode well for what I highly expect will be an antisemitic caricature in WeCrashed. House of Gucci might have a Best Cast nomination at SAG but the film also misses out on Best Picture.

CODA is one of the best films of the year but I thought that Emilia Jones could have found a way to breakthrough to Best Actress. The same, too, goes for the end credits song, “Beyond the Shore.” There are only so many slots and someone almost always falls short.

In Best Song, Don’t Look Up‘s “Just Look Up” falls short. Similarly, Leonardo DiCaprio misses out after he delivered one of the best performances in his career.

Aaron Sorkin missing out for his Being the Ricardos screenplay isn’t a snub in my mind. I didn’t like the film and I learned more from watching Lucy and Desi than I did from this film. After all, the documentary tells their story way better and doesn’t butcher the timeline. One screenplay snub is Tony Kushner’s take on West Side Story.

I have some other complaints but the Academy largely manages to get it right.

The 94th Oscars will air Sunday, March 27, 2022 live on ABC at 8 PM ET/5 PM PT.

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.