Oscars 2019: Nomination Snubs and Surprises

The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards were announced on the morning of January 22. As expected, this year was a doozy, with many predicted frontrunners being left in the dust and some surprising honorees being revealed. Below are some of the nominations that surprised us at POPAXIOM. Let us know what surprised you most in the comments below!

Snub: If Beale Street Could Talk
Although the newest film from Barry Jenkins did get some love, picking up a total of three nominations from the Academy, that isn’t nearly enough. This film deserved a Best Picture nomination (and honestly, the win). The fact that it wasn’t nominated in the top category is a huge disappointment. It was also snubbed in the Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography categories, for both of which it deserved a nod. All in all, it’s sad that If Beale Street Could Talk didn’t get more love.

Surprise: Vice
Most people pegged Vice as a strong contender heading into the season… and then people saw it. The film’s reception seemed lukewarm at best (although it is far better than many claim it to be), so it came as a huge surprise that the film racked up eight nominations this morning. Some were predictable, like Christian Bale for Best Actor or Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling, but nominations in other categories, such as Best Film Editing and Best Picture, were more unexpected. Will it win in these categories? Probably not. Still, this is farther than many expected this film to go.

Surprise?: Bohemian Rhapsody
On one hand, this really shouldn’t be a surprise. Despite controversy and lackluster reviews, Bohemian Rhapsody has been picking up a lot of love this awards season. It isn’t a bad film — it just isn’t particularly artistic or groundbreaking in any way. Rami Malek’s nomination comes at no surprise, but the film even got nominated in Best Film Editing, one of the most critically panned aspects of the film. We all just have to prepare for the fact that this may be one of the least well-received Best Picture winners since Crash.

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Snub: First Man
Although it didn’t really deserve them, First Man was widely expected to pick up nominations in the Best Cinematography and Best Original Score categories. The cinematography was nauseating and the score didn’t fit the film particularly well (even though it is rich and complex on its own). The Academy made a right choice in this case, honoring more deserving films in those categories.

Surprise: Actresses in Roma
Roma picked up a lot of love from the Academy, tying for the most nominations with The Favourite at ten. Yalitza Aparicio’s performance was great — the best part of a film that is mostly overrated — so it wasn’t particularly surprising to see her get a nod. However, it was surprising to see Marina de Tavira get a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, defeating such presumed favorites as Claire Foy in First Man.

Snub: Timothée Chalamet, Beautiful Boy
On one hand, it shouldn’t really be that surprising that Timothée Chalamet didn’t get a nomination for his performance in Beautiful Boy. He gave a solid turn, but the movie just wasn’t that good. That being said, he was thought to have the Academy’s favor, so it is a bit unexpected. Does this mean that Chalamet’s fifteen minutes of fame are already over? Possibly so.

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Surprise: Cold War
Cold War was an expected nominee in the Best Foreign Language Film Race, but it also picked up two other nominations — Best Director and Best Cinematography. The film? Solid, but not mind-blowing. The visuals are great, though, so the Best Cinematography nod is well-earned.

Snub: Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace was always an underdog Best Picture contender since its Sundance debut, but with its relevant message and respected female director, some were hoping that it would sneak in and get a nomination. Sadly, it did not. The film was a safer bet for a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination, but the Academy didn’t even give it that.

Surprise: Never Look Away
Never Look Away is a great film that should be seen by more people, so it is nice that it was nominated in not one, but two categories. Foreign films really racked up the cinematography category this year, as this, Cold War, and Roma all got nods. Was its cinematography the best of the year? Not really, but it is a beautiful film and anything that will make this get seen by a wider audience is beneficial.

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Snub: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
It’s hard to believe that the Academy gave no love to Mr. Rogers. The other two best documentaries of the year — Free Solo and RBG — got nominations, but Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, the most financially successful of the three, was snubbed. I guess this shows that the world really does need a little more kindness.

Surprise: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
The film that came out of left field in this morning’s announcement was the Coen Brothers’ anthology Netflix film, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. It’s a pretty uneven film, so the nomination in Best Adapted Screenplay was surprising, but Best Costume Design and Best Original Song make more sense. After all, “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” lent itself to one of the best scenes of the year.

Snub: Widows
Sadly, Widows was a longshot from the beginning, and it shouldn’t have been. Steve McQueen delivered a sleek, stylish, and intelligent heist film with plenty of political commentary, and yet it got no love from the Academy. Not even Viola Davis, typically an Oscar sweetheart, got a nomination. Oh well, this film will still have a special place in our hearts.

The 91st Oscars will be held Sunday, February 24, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live by the ABC Television Network.


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Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


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