The Motion Picture Academy is struggling. The problems with hosts, nominations, and the overall programming for the night had many questioning what would happen. As expected, the evening had the highs of rewarding diversity and the lows of a long and slow ceremony. Before the 91st Academy Awards were given out yesterday night at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles for the best films and industry professionals for the year 2018, the fauna of the Internet highlighted many notable absences from the ceremony. This is a non-exhaustive list, since a mere 347 films were eligible for this year’s awards, but here it is nonetheless: the list of this year’s most high-profile snubs.
Best Actress and Actor: Emily Blunt (A Quiet Place, Mary Poppins Returns), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer, Boy Erased), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), John David Washington (BlackKklansman)
Emily Blunt is incredibly talented, and she keeps showing it while the Academy keeps failing to recognise it. Mary Poppins may not be an Oscar-winning part, but her acting in A Quiet Place was definitely the best you can get right now. A similar thing might have happened to Nicole Kidman, who could have gotten her fifth and sixth Best Actress nominations. Michael B. Jordan is a star on the rise that many would have liked to see among the male nominations given his acclaimed role as the villain in Black Panther. John David Washington’s role as a black police officer that infiltrates KKK was perceived as worthy of more praise, also considering the overall acclaim of the film.
Best Supporting Actress and Actor: Michelle Yeoh (Crazy Rich Asians), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Black Panther cast
Michelle Yeoh’s role in Crazy Rich Asians was seen by its fans as the last hope for the film to earn some praise. Recent sensation Timothee Chalamet, previously nominated for Call Me by Your Name, has had a successful run in festivals and awards, but many were taken aback when he didn’t make it to the nominee list. Black Panther is a superhero film, but by now it’s become something more, and the Academy has failed to nominate a single name from its ensemble cast.
Best Director: Bradley Cooper (A Star is Born)
This is the film that reminded the world that Lady Gaga is a chameleonic entertainment powerhouse capable of shifting career directions at the drop of a hat. The third remake of an old Hollywood classic that has reinvented the story and has made it an undisputable success the world over. And all under Bradley Cooper’s direction. No wonder some have felt his Best Actor nomination was probably not enough recognition for his effort.
“They vote as they go down.”
Best Documentary: Won’t you be my neighbor?
This sparked some controversy as the documentary on Fred Rogers, the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and a much-loved staple of children entertainment in the US, has received wide acclaim, including many awards, and it was assumed it would contend for the Academy Award. Questlove, of The Roots and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon fame, did a very nice job of explaining how the sheer amount of films up for consideration can lead to snubs: every voting member of the Academy is given a ballot with 5 votes and, according to him, what happens is “they vote as they go down.” Naturally, a film starting with a “w” will often get less attention that those starting “a” to “h.”
Best Score: First Man
Recent success at the Oscars is no guarantee of anything in the long run, we know that. Nevertheless, Oscar-winner Justin Hurwitz’s score of Damien Chazelle’s First Man was recently awarded a Golden Globe, and yet it hasn’t even been nominated.
Best Costume and Production Design: Crazy Rich Asians
Comedies rarely fare well in terms of Academy Awards, regardless of their popularity. Their recognition often comes from fans alone. In the case of Crazy Rich Asians, a massive box office hit and the first US film with an all-Asian cast in three decades, most fans remained realistic on the chances of nominations for the major categories. However, what many complained about when the nominations were announced at the end of January was that the film had been absolutely ignored and had not even gotten nominations for technical categories. The general claim is that, at least, this colourful, elaborate, and at times over-the-top film qualified for these recognitions.
Ground broken this year
After reading this just one day after the ceremony, it seems like there was something wrong with it, but that’s not true. Snubs happen every year, and will continue to happen despite increase in the number of nominees from 5 to 10 for Best Picture and 2014’s change increasing the number of actors and actresses a studio can submit for consideration. However, this year was the first a comic book adaptation, Black Panther, was nominated for Best Picture, two foreign language film directors, Alfonso Cuarón (Roma) and Paweł Pawlikowski (Cold War), were in the race for Best Director, which Cuarón won, and both female leads in Roma were recognised with nominations after having been overlooked by the rest of the award circuit.
Final Editor: Mana Reed Stutchbury