Why so serious, Joaquin Phoenix? Joker dominated the competition on Oscar morning, picking up a whopping 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor. That’s a new record for a comic-book movie, and marks the first Best Picture nomination for a DC Comics-derived film after Black Panther put Marvel Studios on the board last year. The news wasn’t as happy for another box-office superhero, Jennifer Lopez. The Hustlers star was shut out of the Best Supporting Actress category, which sparked an immediate outcry on Twitter and brought renewed attention to the Academy’s recurring #OscarsSoWhite problem. Here’s our round-up of the biggest Oscar snubs and surprises.
SURPRISE: Joker is the Clown Prince of the Oscars
With endorsements from such stars as Cate Blanchett and Jessica Chastain, as well as a Golden Globe victory and SAG and BAFTA nominations, Joaquin Phoenix’s Best Actor nomination (and likely win) was a foregone conclusion. But even the Dark Knight Detective couldn’t have predicted that Todd Phillips’s divisive Joker origin story would emerge as an Oscar superhero. The film received 11 nominations overall, leading such presumptive frontrunners as The Irishman, 1917 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Somewhere, all of the big-screen Batmen — from Michael Keaton to Ben Affleck — are crying beneath their cowls.
SNUB: J.Lo couldn’t hustle up a Best Supporting Actress Nomination
Jennifer Lopez’s faced her fears when she performed her first big dance number on the Hustlers set, and was rewarded with some of the best reviews of her career, along with Best Supporting Actress nods at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Unfortunately, she didn’t dance her way into Oscar voters’ hearts: Lopez’s name wasn’t among the final five nominees, her spot most likely going to Richard Jewell’s Kathy Bates or Little Women’s Florence Pugh. And speaking of Little Women...
SURPRISE: Little Women is a big Oscar success story
Oscar morning definitely wasn’t a “bummer” for Greta Gerwig and her Little Women team. After largely being passed over by the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, the hit film scored six Academy Awards nominations, including Pugh for Best Supporting Actress, Saoirse Ronan for Best Actress and the film itself for Best Picture. Best of all, Gerwig broke up the Best Adapted Screenplay boys’ club, joining such nominees as The Irishman’s Steve Zaillian and Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi. Unfortunately, another boys’ club remains intact.
SNUB: With Greta Gerwig passed over, it’s another #OscarsSoMale Best Director lineup
For the second year in a row, voters failed to honor a female filmmaker, which is particularly disappointing following a year in which women made serious strides behind the camera. Little Women’s critical and commercial success led many to hope that Gerwig would make the final list of five nominees. Speaking with Yahoo Entertainment, Gerwig indicated that she’d be equally happy to see such colleagues as Céline Sciamma (Portrait of a Lady on Fire), Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Mati Diop (Atlantics) honored. Issa Rae, who helped announce the nominations on Monday, shaded the Academy on the exclusion by remarking, “Congratulations to those men,” after their names were read. Don’t be surprised if more women make a point of mentioning that on Oscar night.
SURPRISE: No pain, and plenty of glory for Antonio Banderas
The sun went down on Taron Egerton’s Oscar hopes as the Rocketman star failed to translate his Golden Globe win for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy into an Oscar nomination. But Egerton (and Sir Elton’s) loss was Antonio Banderas’s gain as the Spanish actor picked up his first-ever Best Actor nomination for his powerful performance in Pedro Almodóvar’s semi-autobiographical drama Pain & Glory. We think it’s going to be a long, long time before Banderas stops celebrating.
SNUB: Lupita Nyongo’s absence from the Best Actress category is horrific
Two years ago, Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya joined the short list of horror movie leading men who scared their way into a Best Actor nomination. Unfortunately, the leading lady of Jordon Peele’s follow-up, Us, fell prey to the oft-present horror movie curse. While Lupita Nyong’o was among the critics’ choices for Best Actress, Oscar voters apparently disagreed. Fortunately, Cynthia Erivo’s nomination for the biopic Harriet brought some necessary diversity to the category. But voters shouldn’t pat themselves on the back just yet: Erivo was also the only performer of color nominated in all of the acting categories, with The Farewell’s Awkwafina, Just Mercy’s Jamie Foxx and the Parasite cast all going overlooked. (For the record, the Spanish-born Banderas is not typically considered a person of color.) Memo to voters: there’s a reason why #OscarsSoWhite keeps trending.
SNUB: Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler aren’t laughing this morning
What do Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy have in common? They’re both popular veterans of Saturday Night Live who recently returned to the show for celebrated hosting gigs. What else do they have in common? Both of them were passed over for Best Actor nominations despite giving the best performances of their careers. Sandler went dramatic — kind of — in the darkly funny thriller Uncut Gems, while Murphy recaptured his comic mojo as the title character in the riotous biopic Dolemite Is My Name. On the other hand, now that they don’t have to go to the Oscars, maybe they can co-host SNL that week instead?
SURPRISE: Scarlett Johansson joins the double nominee club
She’s already joined SNL’s “Five-Timers Club.” Now, Scarlett Johansson has qualified for another exclusive group: the “Double Nominee Oscar Club.” The actress became the 12th performer to be nominated in both the Lead and Supporting categories for Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit, respectively. Johansson joins such company as Jessica Lange (double-nominated in 1982), Al Pacino (double-nominated in 1992), Cate Blanchett (double-nominated in 2007, the last to accomplish the feat). So when does Johansson get fitted for her jacket?
SNUB: Avengers: Endgame isn’t the next Black Panther (or the next Avatar)
Avengers: Endgame may have squeaked by Avatar to claim the title of highest-grossing movie of all time, but the Infinity Saga-capping adventure didn’t come close to matching that movie’s nine Oscar nominations… including a nod for Best Picture. That means that both James Cameron and Marvel’s own Black Panther still have bragging rights over Team Time Heist. You must not feel too good, Mr. Stark.
SURPRISE: Parasite makes history as a viral Oscar hit
Ever since it premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2019, Bong Joon-ho’s class-conflict comedy, Parasite, has spoken to audiences around the world. And now the movie has made history as the first South Korean film to score nominations in both the Best Picture and Best International Feature Film categories. Additional nods in the Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design and Best Film Editing categories, gives Parasite a grand total of six nominations overall. No inoculations necessary.
SNUB: Frozen 2 is iced out
Frozen fans aren’t gonna let this one go: the hit sequel to the 2013 blockbuster — and Best Animated Feature winner — didn’t make the cut for this year’s category. In fact, Disney only picked up a single nomination, for Toy Story 4, in the category it often dominates. (The studio declined to submit the 2019 version of The Lion King for consideration.) Three out of the five nominees, including I Lost My Body, Klaus and Missing Link, are from smaller studios, which proves that the Mouse House isn’t the only name in cartoons at the Oscars anymore.
SURPRISE: Netflix is the most-nominated studio for the first time ever
It may not be able to boast to having the most-nominated film, but Netflix takes the title of most-nominated studio with 24 nominations. The one-two punch of The Irishman and Marriage Story — along with The Two Popes and one-nominee wonders American Factory and I Lost My Body — elevated the streaming service past its closest competitor, Sony, which picked up 20 nominations overall. That’s a seismic shift that will likely be felt for years to come.
SNUB: Beyoncé’s Lion King ‘Spirit’ didn’t roar with voters
Here’s something that should warm Elsa’s heart: Frozen 2’s anthem, “Into the Unknown” picked up a nomination for Best Original Song, along with Randy Newman’s latest Toy Story tune, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away.” Once again, though, the new Lion King failed to roar: Beyoncé’s original song “Spirit,” didn’t make the final list of nominees. That’s not the only cat that got overlooked: “Beautiful Ghosts,” Taylor Swift’s all-new ballad for the box office bomb, Cats, never had the ghost of a chance at being recognized.
The 92nd Academy Awards air Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
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