Moviegoing may still not be completely back to normal, but this year’s Oscar nominations signal something of a return to business as usual. Amid a wide array of varied fare, no film has necessarily dominated awards season chat, leaving this morning’s nominations full of shocks—both good and bad. Here, a rundown of the biggest snubs and surprises.
Snub: (Almost) Everything House of Gucci
Regardless of whether the Oscar voters consider themselves particularly ethical people, in this case, they were fair. Following the mixed critical and audience reaction to House of Gucci, the Ridley Scott film was almost completely shut out of nominations. That meant no acting noms for Lady Gaga, Jared Leto, and the rest of the packed cast—but, perhaps even more surprisingly, no nomination for Best Costume Design, either. However, the film did pick up a nomination for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, likely due to Leto’s complete physical transformation and Gaga’s many, many hairstyles. Like we said, fair.
Surprise: Drive My Car
Japanese director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Drive My Car was a hit at Cannes with critics, but that doesn’t always translate to Oscar glory—especially for foreign-language films. The film wasn’t completely off the radar however, but with nominations for Best Picture, Best Director for Hamaguchi, Best International Feature Film, and Best Adapted Screenplay it certainly outperformed expectations. It also cements a recent trend of Oscar voters looking further into world cinema. This is the fourth straight year in a row a non-English film has been nominated for Best Picture.
Snub: Dune’s Denis Villeneuve
Dune did what it needed to do at the Oscars: it picked up a Best Picture nom and recognition in multiple technical categories. But director Denis Villeneuve was widely expected to pick up a Best Director nod as well, but voters threw that to the sand worms instead.
Surprise: Judi Dench
It feels wild to say that international treasure Judi Dench being nominated for an Oscar is a “surprise,” but while her performance in Belfast this year had been lauded (much like everything else she does), she hadn’t figured majorly into the Oscar predictions game. Yet, here she is with her eighth nomination. She’s now tied with Marlon Brando, Geraldine Page, and Jack Lemmon for number ten on the list of most all-time acting nominations.
Snub: Frances McDormand
Frances McDormand has won two of the last four Best Actress trophies, but even her turn as Lady MacBeth couldn’t snag her a third nomination in five years. There’ll be no wolf howling this year.
Snub: Aaron Sorkin
Voters liked Being the Ricardos enough to give it three acting nominations, but shut Aaron Sorkin’s film out elsewhere—most notably for Best Original Screenplay, a shock for Hollywood’s biggest power writer.
Surprise: Jessie Buckley
Thirty-two-year-old Jessie Buckley has quietly put together quite the career for herself over the past few years with roles in Chernobyl, Judy and I’m Thinking of Ending Things, but her Supporting Actress nomination for The Lost Daughter comes as a pleasant surprise.
Snub: Ruth Negga
Negga had racked up all the important prerequisites for her role in Passing: nominations from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild, Independent Spirit Awards, and BAFTAs amongst others, but was passed over by the Oscars.
Snub: Bradley Cooper
Cooper was technically snubbed twice for his leading role in Nightmare Alley (a somewhat surprise Best Picture nominee) and his supporting role in Licorice Pizza. Before the awards were announced he was favored to walk away with that supporting nod. Apparently not.
Surprise: J.K. Simmons
Fun fact: did you know J.K. Simmons is the voice of the yellow M&M? Anyway, the veteran actor somewhat surprisingly scored his second nomination this year for playing William Frawley (AKA “Fred”) in Being the Ricardos.
Snub: Ariana Grande
The academy liked Don’t Look Up enough to nominate it for Best Picture, but passed on the film’s big musical moment “Just Look Up” in the Best Song category—which means performer and co-writer Ariana Grande did not get her first Oscar nom. Maybe she’ll have better luck with Wicked.
Snub: Lady Gaga’s Oscar Gown
Regardless of our thoughts on House of Gucci, we desperately wanted to see what Gaga would wear for her second trip down the Oscars red carpet. Unless she’s asked to present (and actually accepts), we’ll be left wondering what could have been.
Not a Surprise or a Snub, Just a “Phewwww”: Kristen Stewart
A few months back, Kristen Stewart was considered the front runner in the Best Actress race for her role as Princess Diana in Spencer. Then, in duel shocks, she was snubbed by both the SAG Awards and BAFTAs. That put the hope for her first Oscar nomination in turmoil, but at the end of the day the Oscars came through with the nod. Who knows? It’s very possible she could still end up winning it all in the end. At least we know Chanel is happy. Stewart will almost certainly be wearing the label on the red carpet.
Snub: Spencer in Down Ballot Categories
While Stewart managed to snag her first nomination, she couldn’t carry the rest of Spencer’s crew with her. Once upon a time the film did have Best Picture aspirations, and while those may have fizzled you could still make a very strong case that it deserved nominations, at the least, for Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Score for Johnny Greenwood’s haunting, jazz-inspired musical accompaniment.