It wouldn’t be the Oscars without some truly shocking snubs and surprises, both good and bad, and this year certainly delivered.
History was made all over today’s nominations with Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) is the first woman to receive four nominations in a single year. She is also the first woman of color nominated in Best Director. Emerald Fennell is the first woman to be nominated for her feature film directing debut. With both women in, it marks the first time in Oscar history that’s happened.
Let’s take a look at some of today’s biggest snubs and surprises for the 93rd Academy Awards nominations.
SNUB: Studio films
While it was certainly a banner year for streamers, major studios took a backseat with theaters closed, choosing to hold most of their films for later in 2021 or beyond. That held at the Oscars too as this year only one major studio film was nominated in Best Picture, Warner Bros’ Judas and the Black Messiah. Universal Pictures’ News of the World managed four below the line nominations but couldn’t clinch adapted screenplay or supporting actress for Helena Zengel, who had been nominated by the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild.
SNUB: Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami in Best Picture
Both Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and One Night in Miami earned Producers Guild of America (PGA) nominations but failed to be one of Oscar’s eight Best Picture nominees. Ma Rainey earned two acting nominations (for Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis) among its total of five and One Night in Miami earned one for acting (Leslie Odom, Jr.), song (also Odom) and adapted screenplay.
SNUB: Regina King in Best Director (One Night in Miami)
King earned a First-Time Directors Guild of America nomination and a Golden Globe nomination for directing One Night in Miami but the Oscar winner found herself out this morning. Her snub continues the streak of no Black women nominated in this category.
SNUB: Aaron Sorkin in Best Director (The Trial of the Chicago 7)
Like King, Sorkin was nominated by both the DGA and Globes but missed here. His did earn a nomination for his screenplay among the film’s six nods and is still a top contender for Best Picture.
SNUB: Jodie Foster in Supporting Actress (The Mauritanian)
After Foster shocked at the Golden Globes with a win in this category, an Oscar nomination for the two-time Best Actress winner seemed almost inevitable. After all, there hadn’t been a snub for a Golden Globe winner in Supporting Actress since Katharine Ross in 1976.
SNUB: Mank in Original Screenplay and Film Editing
Although it led the nominations, two of Mank’s that didn’t make the cut were the screenplay penned by director David Fincher’s father, Jack, and the editing by two-time Oscar winner Kirk Baxter (both times for Fincher films); two categories historically needed to become a Best Picture winner.
SURPRISE: LaKeith Stanfield in Supporting Actor (Judas and the Black Messiah)
While his co-star Daniel Kaluuya was a shoe-in here, Stanfield making it into supporting actor was probably the biggest surprise of the morning. Stanfield was campaigned in lead yet had zero precursor support in either category. Sometimes the Academy does what it wants to do despite a studio’s campaign (see Keisha Castle Hughes, Kate Winslet, Jennifer Connolly and Benicio del Toro).
SURPRISE: Thomas Vinterberg in Director (Another Round)
While his film received a nomination for International Feature Film, the Danish director hadn’t showed up anywhere until BAFTA (who used a jury of 7-12 people for the acting and directing categories) but he fit the mold of the directing branch gravitating towards non-American directors in outlier films, like Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War) mst recently.
SURPRISE: Paul Raci in Supporting Actor (Sound of Metal)
Despite being the overwhelming critics’ leader, Raci failed to earn Golden Globe or Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance (previous winner Jared Leto swooped in there for The Little Things) but he managed a BAFTA and that was enough, as well as the overall strength of his film, to get him in.
SURPRISE: The Father bounces back
After a dismal guild, The Father rebounded with nominations in Best Picture, Film Editing and Production Design to go along with its expected nods for Best Actor (Anthony Hopkins), Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman) and Adapted Screenplay. Although the film did well with nominations at the Golden Globes, it failed to earn a PGA nomination. Its strong showing at BAFTA (getting all of these categories save Colman) was enough to pull out the ‘British’ vote.