Racial, gender and genre bias: the Academy Awards are back at it again. While some nominations are for sure deserving, such as everything “Parasite” and “Little Women” received, it’s hard to be excited when so much went under-appreciated. Here are the biggest snubs for this Oscar season.
Awards snubbed: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Benny and Josh Safdie, Oscar Boyson), Best Cinematography (Darius Khondji), Best Actor (Adam Sandler), Best Supporting Actress (Julia Fox), Best Director (Benny and Josh Safdie), Best Original Score (Oneohtrix Point Never), Best Sound Editing, Best Film Editing.
The Safdie brothers' launch into the mainstream with “Uncut Gems” should have been met with praise from major award shows as well as audiences, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The most obvious award snub is for Adam Sandler’s unforgettable portrayal of compulsive gambler and sociopath Howard Ratner.
It’s unsurprising Benny and Josh Safdie spent over 10 years working on “Uncut Gems” with how relentless the script is paced and how tight the dialogue is. With how many characters talk over each other coupled with Oneohtrix Point Never’s anxiety-inducing electronic score, it’s a wonder how the sound and film editing for this movie couldn’t be recognized by the academy either.
The Safdie brothers' directing talent is apparent in every aspect of this movie, from the performance they got from Sandler and making the debuting Julia Fox memorable alongside Sandler's powerhouse performance and with their cinematography work with Darius Khondji. “Uncut Gems” is one of the best movies of 2019, and it's a shame it won’t be found anywhere in the Oscar history books.
Awards snubbed: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Ari Aster), Best Cinematography (Pawel Pogorzelski), Best Actress (Florence Pugh), Best Director (Ari Aster), Best Costume Design (Andrea Flesch).
It was unlikely the Academy would recognize “Midsommar” for anything, given their well known genre bias against horror (see Toni Collette’s snub for her performance in “Hereditary,”) but that doesn’t make their failure to recognize the talents of filmmaker Ari Aster any less disappointing.
“Midsommar” is a story about a woman finding empowerment while overcoming a life-changing traumatic experience and breaking free of a toxic relationship that transcends genre. Beyond the film’s script and impact is a bright and colorful atmosphere not only unseen in any horror movie but any movie, and it's much more memorable than many of the boringly shot nominations for Best Cinematography such as “The Irishman” and “The Joker.”
While Florence Pugh deservingly received a Best Supporting Actor nod for her role in “Little Women,” her extremely emotional and heartbreakingly realistic performance in “Midsommar” is her real breakout performance this year. She has more of a reason to be double nominated than Scarlett Johansson does.
Awards snubbed: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Robert and Max Eggers), Best Director (Robert Eggers), Best Actor (Robert Pattinson), Best Supporting Actor (Willem Dafoe), Best Original Score (Mark Korven), Best Sound Editing.
While “The Lighthouse” did manage to receive a nomination for Best Cinematography, it’s truly a head-scratcher as to how the academy viewed this film and believed that’s all it deserved. While the academy is known to not appreciate the horror genre, and it's predictable that “The Lighthouse” went under appreciated for its masterful script and directing, it’s shocking to see arguably Willem Dafoe’s most impressive and most memorable performance of his career go unrecognized. While Dafoe was at his best, Robert Pattinson managed to outshine him in the leading role and solidified himself as one of the most exciting young actors in the world today.
Awards snubbed: Best Actor (Song Kang-ho), Best Supporting Actress (Cho Yeo-jeong), Best Cinematography (Hong Kyung-pyo)
Surprisingly receiving a nomination for Best Picture, “Parasite” attracted more praise from the Academy Awards than most fans of the movie could have hoped for. However, it’s clear the academy couldn’t fully hop on board with the phenomenon, ignoring the acting talents of Song Kang-ho and Cho Yeo-jeong.
It doesn’t matter what your native language is, Kang-ho as a fed-up father in an economic system that has failed his family and Yeo-jeong as the hilariously naive mother of a wealthy family significantly outshine the impersonation roles the academy loves to give nominations for over-original characters. Failure to recognize these actors gives Bong Joon-ho’s statement about the Oscars being a “local film festival” much more validity. It’s also a shame to see one of the best shot movies of the decade go unrecognized for its cinematography as well.
Awards snubbed: Best Director (Greta Gerwig)
“Little Women” received nominations for everything it deserved except for one category. It makes no sense why Greta Gerwig was left out of the best director nominations, given how much praise “Little Women” received across the board in other categories. It’s understandable why many are calling the Oscars biased when Todd Phillips is nominated for Best Director for “Joker,” a movie which succeeded little due to Phillips directing and was carried by Joaquin Phoenix's performance.
Awards snubbed: Best Actress (Lupita Nyong’o)
Playing two polar opposites, Lupita Nyong’o killed it in Jordan Peele’s second horror outing. Nyong’o is both a terrifying scissor wielding murderer and a connectable mother. It’s another horror performance frustratingly snubbed due to genre bias. The academy would once again rather nominate subpar impersonation performances rather than anything completely original.