The Oscar nominations Monday morning brought good news for films like “1917,” “Parasite,” and “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” but other major contenders fell just short of the finish line. Below, your Carpetbagger surveys the nomination list for the biggest surprises and most high-profile snubs.
#OscarsSoWhite? Well, Almost
After the British organization BAFTA nominated 20 all-white acting nominees last week, pundits fretted that the Oscars might pull a similar move. That crisis was averted, though just barely, when the “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo landed an Academy Award nomination for best actress. Still, the list of Oscar nominees across the board is awfully white, and aside from “Parasite,” the films nominated for best picture feature virtually no people of color.
Jennifer Lopez Got Hustled
Few actors came into Oscar season with more buzz than Lopez, who gave such a ferocious movie-star performance in the crime caper “Hustlers.” How, then, could she miss out on a supporting-actress nomination? Though “Hustlers” was critically acclaimed and a box-office smash, it failed to find much Oscar traction, and Lopez would have been the sole nomination for her film up against a field of women that mostly hail from best-picture nominees. Still, when you see Kathy Bates sneak in for the underperforming “Richard Jewell,” it’s natural to wonder whether J. Lo was fleeced.
‘Joker’ Had the Last Laugh
Most pundits, your Carpetbagger included, expected Monday’s nomination leader to be “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “1917” or “The Irishman.” Instead, the comic-book origin story “Joker” triumphed, picking up 11 nominations to those films’ 10 each. The most impressive of those has got to be the inclusion of Todd Phillips in the director race: Though Phillips had been cited by the Golden Globes and BAFTA, he still faced tough competition, and now the director of “The Hangover” is newly Oscar-minted.
Women Couldn’t Crack Best Director
Nearly every major awards show this season has fielded an all-male lineup for the best-director category, and the Oscars were no different, nominating Phillips, Martin Scorsese (“The Irishman”), Quentin Tarantino (“Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”), Bong Joon Ho (“Parasite”) and Sam Mendes (“1917”). That means the “Little Women” filmmaker Greta Gerwig, who could have been the very first woman nominated twice for best director, was left out, as were worthy contenders like Celine Sciamma (“Portrait of a Lady on Fire”) and Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”).
Is Neon the New A24?
When it comes to indie distributors, A24 used to have all the Oscar heat, steering films like “Moonlight,” “Room” and “Lady Bird” to awards glory. The past two years have proved more difficult for the company: After A24 was unable to get “Eighth Grade” and “First Reformed” into the best-picture race last year, the company was snubbed entirely this time around, netting no nominations for “The Farewell” or “Uncut Gems.” Meanwhile, the independent upstart Neon scored mightily, with “Parasite” getting 6 nominations, including best picture. Speaking of which …
‘Parasite’ Came On Strong
Bong Joon Ho’s acclaimed thriller did well, picking up key nominations in directing, original screenplay, editing and production design. Though no members of its acting ensemble managed a nomination, at least “Parasite” has already made Oscar history: It’s the very first South Korean film to be nominated in the international-film category.
‘Frozen II’ Got the Cold Shoulder
The first “Frozen” won two Oscars for best animated film and best song, but its sequel was one of today’s most surprising shutouts, falling in the animated category to lower-profile films like the Netflix duo “Klaus” and “I Lost My Body.” Break the news gently to your children by reminding them that the film’s power anthem, “Into the Unknown,” made it into the best-song lineup, at least. (It even beat Beyoncé’s tune from “The Lion King”!)