Cue all the “did ‘Barbie’ direct itself” snark. But Greta Gerwig not being among the five best director nominees for this year’s Oscars is one of the biggest shocks in recent memory. Here are some other major “snubs” and “surprises” from Oscar nomination morning.
If we knew anything going into Oscar nominations morning, it was that Gerwig was obviously going to be nominated for directing “Barbie.” It was that rarest of things, a critically praised original blockbuster (about a woman to boot) that became the highest earner of the year by a wide margin and was a legitimate cultural phenomenon. Gerwig was previously nominated for best director for “Lady Bird,” and missing out for “Little Woman” was even a snub. Unfortunately many will likely point to Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”) for taking Gerwig’s spot, but let’s not pit two great female directors against one another. If it’s any consolation to Gerwig, last year’s blockbuster directors were also shut out of this category – neither James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”) nor Joseph Kosinski (“Top Gun: Maverick”) made it in.
Even with her years of service to the academy, Ava DuVernay could see the writing on the wall: “Origin” was completely overlooked by her fellow members, most upsettingly for Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor’s leading performance as Isabel Wilkerson. It’s not a secret that the Oscars have a bad track record with Black female directors — remember last year how Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King” was also shut out? DuVernay’s “Selma” remains the only best picture nominee directed by a Black woman. And Halle Berry will for another year continue to be the only Black woman to ever win best actress, as “The Color Purple’s” Fantasia Barrino also missed out on a nomination.
Someone tell Charles Melton’s mom to get a batch of her kimchi going ASAP. The “May December” actor was not nominated for his heartbreaking performance as the unknowing victim of an older woman’s grooming. The surprise inclusion in this category was Sterling K. Brown for “American Fiction.” “May December” did not do well at all, getting only one nomination for screenwriter Samy Burch.
“Barbie’s” chaos didn’t stop with Gerwig’s exclusion from best director. Margot Robbie was not among the lead actress nominees Tuesday morning but her co-star America Ferrera, of that now famous monologue, made it into supporting. Robbie did snag one nomination for the film, as producer in the best picture category.
It’s not the Oscars without a Diane Warren nomination. The songwriter got her 15th nomination, this time for “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot.” Though she has now received an honorary Oscar, Warren has not yet won a competitive statuette. This is not likely to be her year either, up against two “Barbie” juggernauts: “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For.” Oscar rules state that only two original songs from a single film can be nominated, meaning Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night Away” was the unlucky “Barbie” exclusion.
The international feature category always has some heartbreakers but this year stung a little more: Aki Kaurismäki’s acclaimed deadpan romantic comedy looked like it could have been a shoo-in for the Oscars, but it got zero nominations Tuesday. It’s in good company with France’s selection “The Taste of Things,” which was also shut out. Many thought it wild that France selected that film over “Anatomy of a Fall,” which was rewarded with four nominations in other categories including director and picture.
In one version of nominations morning, “Past Lives” could have been among the top six nominees but Celine Song’s graceful romance came out with only two, for screenplay and best picture. Besides Song missing out for her direction, the biggest snub is for Greta Lee’s gorgeous, soulful lead performance.
Oh no, Mario! “The Super Mario Bros.” movie, the second highest grossing film of the year was completely shut out from nominations including animation. We knew going into the morning that Bowser’s ballad to Princess Peach had not made the shortlist for original song, but it is pretty surprising that it wasn’t at least among the best animated movies. Perhaps the unexpected element of chaos here was Neon’s “Robot Dreams,” a Cannes acquisition that has not yet been released in the U.S.
The Almodóvar/Anderson duel in the short film category just became a draw. Pedro Almodóvar was not nominated for his Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke led film “Strange Way of Life,” making the category a little less starry. Wes Anderson, who has never won an Oscar, did make it in however for his Roald Dahl short “The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar.” This makes eight nominations of Anderson over the years.
Listen, we didn’t really think that Emerald Fennell’s “Saltburn” would make a big splash nominations morning, but it had been trending that way based on its popularity on Prime Video over the holidays. Time to blast Sophie Ellis-Bextor’s “Murder on the Dance Floor.” Clothing optional.
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