Biggest Oscar Snubs and Surprises
The 2018 Oscar nominations were announced last Tuesday and as is so every year with the Academy Awards, many have pointed out what films and performances the Academy has given the cold shoulder to this year. That being said, this year’s Oscar nomination list consists of many big firsts.
Black Panther is the first Marvel film to be nominated in the Best Picture category.
Spike Lee earned his first nomination for Best Director (how is this only his first?) for BlacKkKlansman.
Paul Schrader received his first Oscar nomination ever (scratching my head at the moment) for his screenplay for First Reformed.
For her brilliant performance in The Wife, Glenn Close earns her seventh Academy Award nomination, giving her the record for the most Oscar nominations for an Actor without a win.
And while this isn’t the first time this has happened at the Oscars, the 91st Academy Awards will be hosted by…no one. With all of the controversies surrounding Kevin Hart and finding a host shortly after he was withdrawn from the position, it makes sense for the Oscars to go host-less this year as quite frankly, this has been a thankless job for years. Bring back the days of Billy Crystal, Bob Hope, and Whoopi Goldberg!
This will be the first time since 1989 that the Oscars have gone without a host.
Typically, by the time nominees are announced, it’s often that we know who the clear frontrunners are in all the major categories, but this year’s Academy Awards is looking to be quite unpredictable.
Roma, the Netflix-distributed black and white film currently leads the Oscar race with 10 nominations.
While I was happy to see several of my favorite films acknowledged in this year’s list of nominees, I think it’s more fun to point out what films, performances, etc. were passed over. Below is a quick rundown of this year’s films and performances that should have been acknowledged.
Best Director: Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born
With a total of eight nominations (including Best Actress for Lady Gaga and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper), this musical drama is a major contender to rack up some big awards this season. Considering the universal praise for this film, it seemed obvious that Cooper would receive recognition, this being his directorial debut, but maybe Cooper will walk away with a Best Actor win?
Best Actress: Toni Collette for Hereditary
While I think that audiences proclaiming Hereditary as The Exorcist of our generation was a little overreaching, there is do denying that Toni Collette (often overlooked by The Academy) delivered one of the most dysfunctional and intensified performances of the year. With audiences becoming tired of The Academy ignoring superhero films, I myself would like to see horror movies get more recognition during awards season.
First Reformed: Best Actor (Ethan Hawke) & Best Director (Paul Schrader)
This dysphoric narrative may not have been the type of film that audiences came flocking to theaters to see but Paul Schrader’s brilliantly written First Reformed featured the best acting of Ethan Hawke’s career. It’s difficult for films that are released earlier in the year to be considered for Oscar nominations as come November and December, they are often forgotten about by critics. This was the case for Schrader’s First Reformed which only managed to receive one Oscar nomination for Schrader’s original screenplay.
Best Original Score: First Man
Justin Hurwitz is well on his way to becoming one of the best film composers in cinema. His collaborations with director Damien Chazelle have helped him create masterful scores including his Oscar winning Original Score for 2016’s La La Land. This is why it is so mind boggling to me that Hurwitz’s incredible score for First Man has been completely overlooked despite winning the award at this year’s Golden Globes.
Best Actor: John David Washington for BlacKkKlansman
Spike Lee’s biographical drama is certainly getting noticed by Oscar voters. It received six Oscar nominations, including Spike Lee’s first nomination ever for Best Director. And although Adam Driver received a Best Supporting Actor nod, it’s shocking to see John David Washington’s name missing from the list of this year’s Best Actor nominees. I think many would have expected to see John David Washington among the list of nominees over Willem Dafoe for his performance in At Eternity’s Gate.
Best Documentary Feature Film: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
This lighthearted documentary about the life of Fred Rogers was adored by audiences and critics alike and even made it to #2 on Time Magazine’s Top 10 Best Movies of 2018. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? did not receive any nominations this year and I’m still trying to figure out why.
If Beale Street Could Talk: Best Picture & Best Director (Barry Jenkins)
This romantic drama based on the 1974 novel of the same name was one of the last critically acclaimed films released in 2018 so it was fresh on voters’ minds come awards season. While Barry Jenkins’ moving film has earned three Oscar nominations, including a Best Supporting Actress nod for Regina King, many were expecting If Beale Street Could Talk to receive recognition in the Best Picture and Best Director categories.
Boy Erased: Best Actor (Lucas Hedges) & Best Adapted Screenplay
Lucas Hedges seems to have a knack for starring in Oscar nominated films (Manchester by the Sea, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri). With it's gripping and controversial storyline, Boy Erased seemed like a shoo-in for Oscar nomination territory. Driven by captivating performances from Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe, Boy Erased is an emotional ride and unfortunately did not receive the Oscar attention it deserves.
Widows: Best Picture & Best Actress (Viola Davis)
In a year revolved around female empowerment and acceptance, it would make sense for Oscar voters to acknowledge the immense power of Steve McQueen’s heist drama Widows. Even without that factor, Widows is a phenomenal film that has one of the best ensemble casts of the year, including a stellar performance from powerhouse actress Viola Davis. Perhaps the film couldn’t maintain momentum come awards season as Widows did not receive a single Oscar nomination, which is a real shame.
Eighth Grade: Best Picture, Best Director (Bo Burnham), & Best Actress (Elsie Fisher)
In 2014, Richard Linklater’s coming-of-age drama Boyhood received six Academy Award nominations, winning one. This year, Bo Burnham made his first major film debut as a director with Eighth Grade, a story about a girl who struggles with social anxiety as she prepares herself for high school. Eighth Grade captured adolescence and social media culture perfectly and much of this film’s essential qualities are owed to its directing style from Burnham and a naturally convincing performance by Elsie Fisher. The zero nominations for Eighth Grade is the biggest oversight by the Oscars this year.
To view the full list of this year’s Oscar nominees, click here.