After a year off we are back with our annual Oscar nomination recap! Last year saw a massive pool of truly phenomenal films, making it difficult to project how Academy voters would winnow down the field of tremendous stories and performances. As always that process picks up some duds and omits some wonderful pieces of art. For the most part, this year was more good than bad and many of the seemingly biggest snubs came in stacked categories. A bit too much attention went to Oscar bait-y Maestro and another film got a baffling pair of acting nominations, but generally it was a day to celebrate in the above the line categories.
As always I will break down the favorites, the potential upsets, the surprises and the snubs in each of the acting categories, Best Director and Best Picture. Surprises can be good or bad so long as the nomination was the most unexpected of the bunch. I will try to highlight as many different films as possible so the snub identified may not be the only one or even the most notable. Finally, and importantly, if you think something has been snubbed, you have to be willing to take something nominated off the board. All of my snub picks will also indicate what picture or performer I would take out to accommodate.
The world of film is undergoing a massive change. More women and people of color are getting the opportunities to tell stories than ever before. This progress has been slow, at times frustratingly so, but the direction is a good one. As film diversifies so has The Academy, again, often slower than we would like, but the change is evident. After the debacle that was #OscarsSoWhite in 2015, The Academy began its deliberate effort to diversify membership. Record numbers of women, people of color, young people and non-Americans have joined the ranks of Academy voters and the fruits of that diversification have finally begun to bear. Add to that continued change the advent of the Academy’s new digital screening portal, making it easier than ever for members to see eligible films. Not every voter makes time for every film, but with easier access, more may have done so this year
Remember the Oscars? Believe it or not, more than 13 months have passed since Bong Joon-ho and his masterwork cleaned up at the Academy Awards. To some Parasite winning Best Picture is still the last good thing to happen in a since ravaged world. The film year that took place in those intervening months saw theaters closed and many would be awards contenders pushed back. Despite the migration of prestige films to 2021 and beyond, plenty of great films find themselves in contention this year. With nearly every title accessible at home in some form, the 93rd Oscars may be the toughest to prognosticate yet.
For film buffs, Oscar nomination day can be a bit of a roller coaster. Coming on the heels of the frequently wacky Golden Globes there is always a flicker of hope that the Academy will make good choices. Far more often than that though, the nominees are exactly what everyone pessimistically predicted plus a few surprises that are also usually bad.
2020 was no exception as beloved films such as ‘Knives Out’ and ‘Little Women’ underperformed while ‘The Farewell’ and ‘Uncut Gems’ were excluded entirely. Conversely the film that led all others in total nominations was the highly divisive ‘Joker.’ It wasn’t all bad news though, the Documentary branch nominated 4 women and 4 foreign language films in their category and ‘I Lost My Body’ found its way into the animated feature nominees after being snubbed by the Golden Globes.
Just like last year, I’m breaking down the nominations in the major categories. If you’re interested in how I did last year, check it out here. Without further ado, the nominees are:
The Oscar nominees were announced this morning marking the beginning of a month of lobbying and speculation about who will win what. With everything fresh in mind let’s take a look at the big categories (Best Picture, Director and the four acting categories) to see who has the inside track, who surprised with their nomination and who inevitably was left out.