Arts·My Favourite Season

The 13 most egregious snubs from the 2024 Oscar nominations

Team Oppenheimer rejoiced this morning, but it wasn't such a great time for fans of All of Us Strangers or all of them Gretas.

Team Oppenheimer rejoiced this morning, but fans of some of the year's greatest films did not

Margot Robbie as Barbie in Greta Gerwig's film, Barbie.
Margot Robbie (pictured here in Barbie) and Greta Gerwig both got Oscar nominations this morning... but not all the ones they deserved. (Warner Bros.)

My Favourite Season is a column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt that runs through the six-month "season" that is both his favourite and Moira Rose's. It explores all things awards in the lead-up to the big one: the Oscars, which are currently scheduled to take place on March 10, 2024.

The nominations for the 96th Academy Awards were announced very early this AM, and there was lots to celebrate — particularly if you were a big fan of Oppenheimer, Poor Things and Killers of the Flower Moon (for what it's worth, I consider myself a big fan of exactly one of those films). But for many of us, this was a morning of mourning for the Oscar chances of a lot of favourite work this past year, even if we knew some of them never stood a chance against an awards season machine that favours a certain kind of movie.

The following are the most offensive of the omissions, at least to me personally. And while I do understand that cinema is a subjective medium, I also do admittedly believe that if you don't agree with at least a few of them then you are not a serious person (I joke!).    

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie

The two biggest "snubs" were technically both people who got Oscar nominations: Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, who were nominated for best adapted screenplay and best picture for their work writing and producing Barbie, respectively. However, they were not nominated in the two categories that clearly meant the most to fans of their work (including this one): best director (Gerwig) and best actress (Robbie). While Oppenheimer dominated the festivities with a near-record 13 nominations, these two Barbie snubs felt like a pretty big slap in the face to the two primary creative forces behind the other half of the year's major movie phenomenon. 

Natalie Portman (left) and Julianne Moore in May December.
Natalie Portman (left) and Julianne Moore in May December. (Netflix)

May December

May we not forget back in early December when we were all talking about how Charles Melton might end up winning best supporting actor, how Julianne Moore was a shoo-in for her first nomination since winning for Still Alice and how the Academy might finally give a Todd Haynes film the best picture and best director honours so many of his previous films have deserved (see: Far From Heaven and Carol in particular). That hype dwindled, and it turned out Oscar voters once again could not handle the queer brilliance of Haynes, giving it a sole (and extraordinarily deserved) nomination for Samy Burch's screenplay. 

All of Us Strangers

Speaking of overlooked queer brilliance (an unfortunate trend during most awards seasons), Andrew Haigh's profoundly moving meditation on memory, grief, death and trauma All of Us Strangers deserved all the Oscar nominations. And it received exactly zero. Not even lead actor Andrew Scott — who at one point seemed poised to be the rare example of a queer actor being nominated for queer role — ended up with a nod (though notably Colman Domingo and Jodie Foster both pulled this feat off instead). If it were up to me, its entire cast — Scott, Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy — would have received mentions, and Haigh would have at least got an adapted screenplay nomination.

Teo Yoo (left) and Greta Lee in Past Lives.
Teo Yoo (left) and Greta Lee in Past Lives. (A24)

Greta Lee and Teo Yoo for best actress and actor

While I am very grateful for the two big nominations (best picture and best original screenplay) the Academy bestowed on the wonder that is Celine Song's Past Lives, it is hard to truly enjoy them knowing they did not come with acting nods for the film's two tremendous leads. Greta Lee and Teo Yoo had been getting nominations all season (Lee got a Golden Globe nod, Yoo a BAFTA), though we knew it was going to be tough for them to break through here. Still, it was a surprise I was hoping to have this morning that sadly did not come.

John Wick: Chapter 4 for best cinematography

You think I'm kidding? Watch (or re-watch) Danish cinematographer Dan Laustsen's absolutely stunning work in the fourth installment of the John Wick series and honestly tell me it shouldn't have made the cut. Laustsen (who received Oscar nominations for his Guillermo del Toro collaborations The Shape of Water and Nightmare Alley) has been a huge part of why Wick has been such an elevated franchise, working on the last 3 "chapters." It's too bad it couldn't have been celebrated.

Teyana Taylor for best actress

Teyana Taylor's performance in A.V. Rockwell's A Thousand and One is nothing short of a revelation. As a single mother who decides to kidnap her son out of the foster care system, Taylor offers an electrifying emotional intensity in her work that should have at least made her a serious contender for a nomination. But while the film was a big award winner at the Sundance Film Festival last January, its March release in cinemas came and went without the fanfare that the movie — and Taylor — deserved. That didn't given Taylor the traction she needed to compete in what was admittedly a pretty epic best actress race, though hopefully we see her name in a future one very soon.

The Boy and the Heron and The Zone of Interest for best original score

Potentially the single most ridiculous thing Oscar voters did today came in the best original score category, where they failed to nominate two of the year's most undeniably powerful compositions: Mica Levi's for The Zone of Interest and Joe Hisaishi's for The Boy and the Heron. This was particularly hard to take given they did nominate John Williams for the 54th time for a forgettable rehashing of his own previous work on Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Rachel McAdams for best supporting actress

For those who swooned over our fellow Canadians Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling's early 2000s on-and-offscreen romance, seeing both actors nominated this morning sure woulda been fun. It would also have been incredibly deserved. Gosling, of course, ended up getting his due as Ken in Barbie. But McAdams was nowhere to be seen for her deeply heartfelt work as the titular character's mother in the Judy Blume adaptation Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret (though she did end up getting the second most critics awards in the category after Oscar frontrunner Da'Vine Joy Randolph). McAdams still has just the one Oscar nomination (for Spotlight), though she now has three more in my heart: for this, Game Night and Mean Girls.  

One of the many incredible tops designer Khadija Zeggaï has Franz Rogowski wear in Passages.
One of the many incredible tops designer Khadija Zeggaï has Franz Rogowski wear in Passages. (MUBI)

Passages for best costume design

If it were up to me, Ira Sachs' Passages would have had five or six nominations (including best picture), but if I had but one Oscar wish to bestow it, it would be that costume designer Khadija Zeggaï would have been nominated for creating the most stylish movie of 2023. The shirts she put on actor Franz Rogowski alone should have propelled her to a nom, even if I suppose I understand why the 5 films that did make the cut (Barbie, Killers of the Flower Moon, Napoleon, Oppenheimer and Poor Things) warranted attention too.

Messi from Anatomy of a Fall for best supporting dog

I fully understand that there is not currently a category at the Oscars for performances by canines, but thanks to Anatomy of a Fall, the case for one has never felt stronger. Messi the dog's performance as Snoop in that film is nothing short of astonishing (if you've seen it, you know), and it led the film's distributor Neon to even legitimately campaign Messi for awards attention:

May Messi and all of the humans I mentioned all take solace in the fact that they now have joined films like Carol, Children of Men and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (not one of them best picture nominees!) and performances like Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin), Björk (Dancer in the Dark) and Reese Witherspoon (Election) in this Oscar nerd's hall of fame for the most egregious exclusions from an awards body that  — let's face it  — gets it wrong as much as it gets it right. 

Check out our predictions for the 2024 Academy Awards, which have now been updated to include all of this year's nominations and our bets on who will win.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Knegt (he/him) is a writer, producer and host for CBC Arts. He writes the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada) and hosts and produces the talk series Here & Queer. He's also spearheaded the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2010s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films, the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights and the host of the monthly film series Queer Cinema Club at Toronto's Paradise Theatre. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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