The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 2018 Oscars this morning, sticking relatively to the script written out by awards season pundits, critics’ groups and Golden Globes voters. The Best Picture race may appear more wide open than usual, but a lot of expected titles were present and accounted for when Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis read the nominees – The Shape of Water! Dunkirk! Get Out! Lady Bird!!!
But where, pray tell, was Haddish’s name in the Best Supporting Actress category? Or, for that matter, Sean Baker or Luca Guadagnino or Steven Spielberg regarding the Best Director slots? Or In the Fade for Best Foreign-Language Film, the expected frontrunner after that Globes win? Parsing the nominations for snubs and M.I.A. surprises is as much an annual tradition as the ceremony itself – which doesn’t make some of the Academy’s choices about who to leave out any less mystifying or rage-inducing. Here are the 10 biggest snubs and surprises from this year’s batch of nominations.
James Franco for The Disaster Artist
The Golden Globe-winning director and star of the comedy about the worst movie ever made was on a roll going in to the Oscar nominations, having picked up a Golden Globe, a Critics’ Choice Award and a Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for playing the heavily accented auteur of The Room, Tommy Wiseau. He’d been considered a lock in the category for months. Then Franco was hit with a series of allegations about sexual assaults and dodgy behavior, resulting in The Disaster Artist star getting pushed out by what’s arguably the worst film of Denzel Washington’s career. It may not have been a surprise – but it definitely qualifies as a snub.
No Best Directing Nod for Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The current king of Film Twitter debate seems like a runaway train on its way to a Best Picture win, especially after claiming major prizes from the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and many others. McDonagh got a nod for Best Original Screenplay, of course, and the cast is definitely getting a lot of Oscar love. But apparently no one directed Frances, Sam or Woody, as the man behind the camera missed the Best Directors cut. We have another Argo on our hands – Ben Affleck was famously snubbed for director but his movie won Best Picture, an Oscar rarity.
Where’s Wonder Woman?
The Oscars notoriously expanded to 10 nominees in the wake of Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight getting shut out of a Best Picture category that only had five. Since then, it didn’t really feel like there were a whole lot of movies about men in tights that could have found their way in – until a woman in them marched into No Man’s Land. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman wasn’t just shut out of Best Picture and Best Actress (Gal Gadot may have been a long shot in that stronger-than-usual category, but still); it missed out entirely, not even landing a single tech nomination. The Academy Awards are often accused of being elitist, and not throwing a single bone to the highest grossing superhero film of the year seems like it’s not going to help their cause. Even Logan is an Oscar nominee (for Best Adapted Screenplay). Diana should have been invited to the party somewhere too.
No Holly Hunter OR Tiffany Haddish in the Best Supporting Actress Category
Dying is easy, comedy is hard – but the Academy doesn’t seem likely to ever recognize that fact. The actual Oscar for Best Supporting Actress has been a race between Allison Janney (I, Tonya) and Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird) for a bit now, but that doesn’t make category pushing out two great turns from a pair of comedies – The Big Sick and Girls Trip – any less head-slapping. Holly Hunter’s strong, nuanced work as a fretting mom in the former deserved a nod; don’t even get us started about Tiffany Haddish, who’s turned a second-banana role in Girls Trip into one of the funniest stand-out performances in ages. Watch her New York Film Critics Circle speech again and tell me she would not have killed it had her name been called. Both deserved to be included.
The Post Gets Left Out of Best Original Screenplay
No film arguably speaks to our current moment of constitutional crisis then Steven Spielberg’s film about publishing the Pentagon Papers, and it popped up in Best Picture and Best Actress. But the movie missed the cut for Best Original Screenplay, which is a shame given how Liz Hannah and Josh Singer’s script turns shoeleather journalism and phone-call conversations into the stuff of first-rate drama. Someone at the paper should launch an investigation into how that happened.
Armie Hammer & Michael Stuhlbarg for Call Me By Your Name
It isn’t like Call Me By Your Name got shut out – Luca Guadagnino’s swooning romance scored deserved Best Picture and Best Actor nods. (Though no director nomination. More on that in a minute.) But Northern Italy is a little sadder this morning after both of the remarkable supporting performances – from Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg – missed the cut in an admittedly crowded Best Supporting Actor race. Did they split the vote, allowing a fine-but-come-on performance from Woody Harrelson to sneak in? Possibly. But most people thought at least one would find the support, especially when you consider the rare feat that Stuhlbarg pulled off this year: appearing in no less three Best Picture nominees. That monologue is still a heartbreaker though, nomination or not.
In the Fade Shut Out of Best Foreign-Language Film
Like the Best Documentary category, the Best Foreign-Language Film typically leads to a few WTF looks on Oscar morning – but the AWOL status of Fatih Akin’s In the Fade reaches even another level of “wait, what?!” when one considers its revenge story’s timeliness and the momentum of its Golden Globes win. The fact that it didn’t even score a nomination suggests people are picking titles merely by pulling random names out of a hat or throwing darts at a board.
No Luca Guadagnino or Steven Spielberg for Best Director
The story of Best Director turned into the crowning of two incredible debut directors who aren’t white men – Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele. Which doesn’t mean that a few deserving candidates were left on the sidelines: Steven Spielberg probably had his fingers crossed for his eighth directing nod for The Post and Call Me By Your Name‘s Luca Guadagnino will have to wait for his first. (We’re not sure his upcoming remake of Suspiria is going to nab him that honor, but you never know.) We would not kick anyone out of this category, to be honest. But both of these gents did stellar work, and both deserved a spot.
Jane Gets Left in the Jungle Regarding Best Documentary
Brett Morgen’s documentary culled from over 100 hours of raw footage of Jane Goodall and made a portrait of a strong, steadfast, iconic woman that felt like Oscar voter manna – it felt like a frontrunner to win, much less get nominated this year. Best Documentary is often a category that surprises on nomination morning but missing this masterful feat still feels weird.
No Florida Project for Best Picture?
Sean Baker’s awards-season darling only landed a single nomination for Willem Dafoe for Best Supporting Actor (and man, does he deserve it). Baker himself missed out on Director, which wasn’t a huge surprise – there are only five slots there. Best Picture gets nine … and still nada. This beautiful film could have used the push and extra exposure that an Oscar nomination would have given it, though maybe the street cred of not being invited to the party will actually help it. Moonee is too cool for this shit anyway.