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The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

The Voice of Bates College Since 1873

The Bates Student

Oscar Nominations 2024: Snubs and Surprises

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Sipa Press/Rex

With award season underway, it is officially Oscar time! “Oppenheimer,” an engrossing depiction of the emergence of the Atomic Age, took the lead in the race for the 96th Academy Awards with an impressive 13 nominations. “Poor Things” trailed behind to illustrate a feminist fantasy set in a steampunk universe inhabited by mutant animals, male chauvinists, and liquid skies. Securing 11 nominations, “Poor Things” is a strong contender in the awards lineup. With 10 nominations, “Killers of the Flower Moon” unfolds as a historical crime drama. The storyline delves into a vast conspiracy aiming to deprive the Osage Nation of its valuable oil wealth. Although awarding many worthy films, actors, and crew, the Academy snubbed and surprised notable achievements in film.

Click this link to see the full list of the 2024 Oscar nominations.

SNUB: “May December” for Best Picture (Ana’s Take)

Todd Haynes’ “May December” is a breathtaking film. Yet, it’s understandable why “May December” isn’t getting Oscar nods. Some actors voting for the Academy might be annoyed by its mockery of actors. Others could find the tone — a fusion of black comedy and drama — confusing. Or, its provocative premise might leave a bad taste in an audience member’s mouth. The film depicts a marriage between Joe and Gracie, which began 20 years earlier when a previously married Gracie began an affair with the thirteen-year-old Joe. In early January, a judge released documents related to a court case connected to the late sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, revealing the many celebrities within Epstein’s circle. I cannot help but theorize that, although these documents do not necessarily indict these celebrities, they cast a dark shadow over Hollywood, making a Best Picture nomination for “May December” unlikely. 

SURPRISE (or not): “Maestro” for Best Picture (Ana’s Take)

Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic, from its origin, was Oscar bait, so this nomination is not necessarily jaw-dropping. However, “Maestro” certainly has its flaws; its straightforward narrative neglects Bernstein’s complexities and controversies, including his many sexual affairs. It might not be a perfect film, but it’s right up the Academy’s alley. 

SNUB: Greta Gerwig (“Barbie”) for Best Director (Ana’s Take)

Just like her 2019 take on the classic novel, “Little Women,” Gerwig has been snubbed. A daunting film like “Barbie,” which smoothly oscillates between goofy humor and deeply validating and devastating ruminations of womanhood, requires the deft hand of a director in peak form. This snub is especially heartbreaking considering Jo Koy’s patronizing joke at the Golden Globes, in which he said, “Barbie is based on a doll with big boobies.” His belittling of Gerwig’s piece of art — the highest-grossing film directed by a woman — affirms the exact sentiment Gerwig criticizes. 

SNUB: Andrew Scott (“All Of Us Strangers”) for Best Actor (Ana’s Take)

Scott, who stole hearts as the hot priest in Season 2 of “Flea Bag,” positioned himself as a captivating leading man and movie star with his compelling turn as a contemplative screenwriter in “All of Us Strangers.” Especially considering his character’s profession is a screenwriter, I figured the Academy could not resist giving Scott his well-deserved recognition. 

SNUB: Zac Efron (“The Iron Claw”) for Best Actor (Felix’s Take)

Among one of the most controversial snubs was Zac Efron in “The Iron Claw.” Zac Efron’s performance, while highly praised, was not the kind of flashy, showy role that often attracts Oscar attention. But, in my opinion, the premier cinematic award shouldn’t necessarily be award-flashy, or even popular performances. Instead, it should give recognition to subtle, emotional, and quality performances. Efron’s performance was deeply emotional, showing Kevin Von Erich’s struggle with the pressures of his family legacy and personal tragedies. In the future, I hope we see subtle performances rewarded with nominations from the Academy. 

SURPRISE: America Ferrera (“Barbie”) for Best Supporting Actress (Ana’s Take)

Besides her breathtaking monologue about the contradictory societal expectations of women, Ferrera’s performance was nothing we have not seen before. This nomination feels obligatory considering it would be a bad look for the only actor to get a nomination for a film empowering women to go to Ryan Gosling (who rightfully deserves the nomination). 

SNUB: Julianne Moore (“May December”) for Best Supporting Actress (Ana’s Take)

Oh, Julianne. I’m terribly sorry the Academy is discounting your cinematic achievement. Moore’s performance as the inscrutable Gracie displays her mastery of subtlety and intrigue. Perhaps a nomination for a portrayal of a pedophile is too on-the-nose for Hollywood. Yet, they have no problem awarding actors who have played murderers — Charlize Theron won Best Lead Actress as real-life serial killer Aileen Wuornos and Javier Bardem won Best Supporting Actor as a fictional serial killer in “No Country for Old Men.”

SNUB: Charles Melton (“May December”) for Best Supporting Actor (Ana’s Take)

The Academy refuses to give love to young male actors, preferring to highlight more established actors; all of the Best Supporting Actor nominees are over 40 years old. Meanwhile, Melton gifted the world the performance of the year and secured his status as a rising star. In my humble opinion, this is the biggest snub of the Oscars. His restrained yet full-body portrayal of a man reckoning with past trauma deserved all of the accolades. Thankfully, he earned nominations for a Golden Globe Award and a Critics Choice Award. I initially predicted in my review of “May December” that Melton would be a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. Unfortunately, sometimes the Academy is wrong. 

SURPRISE: Mark Ruffalo (“Poor Things”) for Best Supporting Actor (Ana’s Take)

Securing a Best Supporting Actor nomination, Ruffalo joins an exclusive group of actors with four Oscar nominations. Ruffalo lost the SAG nomination for Best Supporting Actor to “Poor Things” co-star Willem Dafoe, so this Oscar nomination feels out of left field. Considering his three prior nominations, however, the Academy makes it evident that they adore Ruffalo more than indie legend Dafoe. 

SNUB (or not): Margot Robbie (“Barbie”) for Best Actress (Ana’s Take)

Was Robbie snubbed? Her absence from the nominations list shocked the internet, erupting fury not just among “Barbie” fans but even politicians; Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton posted on her Instagram story a personal tribute to Robbie and Gerwig: “Greta & Margot, While it can sting to win the box office but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re both so much more than Kenough.” Like the pop culture junky she is, Clinton ended the message with the hashtag “HillaryBarbie.” Margot embodied the heart of “Barbie” amidst the whimsical world building and comedic elements. Although she delivered a beautifully human performance of a doll, this was a competitive year for Lead Actresses. At least she rightfully earned a Producer nomination for the film’s Best Picture nomination.

SURPRISE: Mark Ronson, Andrew Wyatt (“I’m Just Ken”) for Best Original Song (Felix’s Take)

Mark Ronson has a past filled with legendary platinum albums and songs. From co-writing with Bruno Mars on “Uptown Funk” to winning multiple Grammy’s for his production with Amy Winehouse, Ronson is a legend of the business. In 2019, Ronson won Best Original Song for “Shallow” from “A Star is Born”, converting his first nomination to an Academy Award. “I’m Just Ken” stands as his second nomination. While “I’m Just Ken” is undoubtedly a catchy, even fun song, it’s surprising that “I’m Just Ken” was nominated. “I’m Just Ken” is simply too memeable. Compared to his heart-throbbing song, “Shallow,” “I’m Just Ken” presents itself as a whimsical and tangentially silly piece that lacks the depth of his previous work. So, in my eyes, “I’m Just Ken” is a surprise. 

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