The Oscars Finally Got It Right

Earlier this week, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed their nominations. Surprisingly, they got everything… right?! Here are the 10 snubs and surprises.


1. Mary J. Blige now a 2x Academy Award Nominee


If this time last year someone told me Mary J. Blige would be a 2x Academy Award nominee I would have laughed hysterically. Yet, here we are! Mary J. was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mudbound and Best Original Song for “Mighty River. In my personal odds she floats between 3rd and 4th place, but just notching this kind of recognition decades into her career is admirable and incredible.


2. The Greatest Showman Underperforms


Although its absence at the SAG Awards should have prepared me, it still stung to see The Greatest Showman nominated in just one category at the Oscars. Despite three Golden Globe nominations (Best Picture – Comedy, Best Actor – Comedy, Best Original song [won]), The Greatest Showman didn’t hook the Academy. I thought the film was magnificent and the direction in the keys scenes and overall production was great. The film had a slow, organic rise at the box office, but nothing explosive enough to really set the case for Best Picture. It seems as if Michelle Williams didn’t campaign for either of her films this year, and the Best Actor race was extremely crowded. I think it’s highly likely “This Is Me” wins Best Original Song in March, but it would have been nice to see it recognized elsewhere.


3. Phantom Thread  Overperforms


We all should have seen this coming, but it was still a shock. Daniel Day-Lewis, a three-time Oscar winner, was always a lock for a Best Actor nomination. Few were expecting Leslie Manville and Paul Thomas Anderson bids for Best Supporting Actress and Best Director, respectively. The film is great, but it’s hard to decide whether its six nominations were given for its merit or its status as Day-Lewis’ final film.


4. Martin McDonagh Snubbed for Best Director


I honestly thought McDonagh, Three Billboards director, was a lock for a nomination. His snub serves a severe blow to Three Billboards‘ Best Picture hopes. Only three films in Oscar history have ever won Best Picture without a corresponding Best Director nomination. This makes the Best Picture Race more interesting. McDonagh’s snub increased Get Out and Lady Bird‘s chances substantially.


5. Octavia Spencer and Denzel Washington Make History


Denzel Washington collected his eighth career nomination this year in the Best Actor category for his performance in Roman J. Israel, Esq. He is the film’s only nomination and he extends his record as the most nominated person of color in Oscar history. Octavia Spencer notched her third Oscar nomination (all for Best Supporting Actress) for her performance in The Shape of Water. She is the first black actress to get a nomination after previously winning, she won in 2012 for The Help. Also, Washington and Spencer are the first black actors to be nominated in successive years, they were nominated in the same categories last year for Fences and Hidden Figures.


6. Hong Chau Snubbed for Best Supporting Actress


Despite notching nominations for Best Supporting Actress at the Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and SAG Awards, Hong Chau’s riveting performance as a Vietnam refugee was ignored by the Academy. This is indicative of a larger issue with award shows. Now that black artists have broken through and become near regular nominees across awards season, we have to realize that diversity acknowledgment does not end at black people. The lack of Asian and Latin American artists nominated at this year’s Oscars is a problem, and the solution starts with the proper roles.


7. Mother! Completely Ignored


The severely divisive movie was understandably left out of the Best Picture race, but Jennifer Lawrence and Darren Aronofsky deserved nominations for Best Actress and Best Director, respectively. Jennifer arguably gave the best performance of her career and the level of technical achievement Aronofsky reached was astounding.


8. Netflix Breaks Through

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After years of struggling for acceptance from the academy, Netflix scored 4 nominations for its World War II drama, Mudbound, including Best Supporting Actress. Amazingly, Mudbound made history with its nominee for Best Cinematography, Rachel Morrison, the first woman in Oscar history to be nominated in that category.


9. The Post  Underperforms


On paper, a pro-free press and journalism movie in the Trump Age starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep and directed by Steven Spielberg seemed destined to sweep the Academy Awards. Alas, the film received a measly two nominations, Best Picture and Best Actress (Streep). It’s hard to say why it underperformed, it had all the right ingredients but it just seemed too safe in comparison to conversation-provoking works like Get Out.


10. Acting Races Start To Get Interesting


Going into the nominations announcement, the acting races seemed pretty locked. Oldman (Darkest Hour) for Best Actor, McDormand (Three Billboards) for Best Actress, Rockwell/Dafoe (Three Billboards/The Florida Project), and Janney (I, Tonya) for Best Supporting Actress.

Starting with Best Actor, Gary Oldman still seems safely in the lead but the overperformance of Phantom Thread leads me to believe a Day-Lewis win could be more plausible. Also, Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) could come behind with an upset, since this category looks to be the film’s strongest.

In the Best Actress field, McDormand still looks like a lock but Saoirse Ronan is posing a larger and larger threat, this is her third nomination at just 23 years old. Regardless, Sally Hawkins is the biggest contender to take the Oscar from McDormand, especially if she wins the BAFTA.

The Supporting Actor Field was always the murkiest, but the nominations did not nothing to part the clouds. Rockwell won a number of awards in this category throughout the season with Dafoe snatching an ample number of wins and around the same number of nominations. The issue here is, Rockwell’s Three Billboards costar, Woody Harrelson also got a nomination in this category. This didn’t stop Rockwell at the SAG Awards, but it very well could at the Oscars. If Rockwell and Harrelson split enough votes, Dafoe could come from behind with the win.

Lastly, I still think Janney will win Best Supporting Actress, but her film has the least support out of all the other nominees. With just two nominations, I, Tonya‘s lack of support could hurt her chances. It really is a dead heat between her and Laurie Metcalf of Lady Bird.

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