The 2023-24 awards season is well under way. Nominations for the 96th Oscars were revealed Jan. 23, with some glaring omissions and surprising nods. Acclaimed films “Oppenheimer,” “Poor Things,” and “Killers of the Flower Moon” led the race, each scoring double-digit nominations. That wasn’t a shock given the films’ success at previous awards shows.
Of course, not every film can catch the eye of the Academy, which doles out what cinephiles agree is the most prestigious trophy in Hollywood. It was a rough Tuesday for some of those whose names didn’t get called, while others launched or maintained celebration mode. Here are the biggest snubs and dubs of the 2024 Oscar nominations.
Snub: ‘Barbie’ (Film Editing, Actress in a Leading Role, Director)
Yes, “Barbie” is based on a famous toy, but that doesn’t excuse the Academy for toying with our emotions. The summer comedy blockbuster earned eight nominations, including Best Picture, but it was glaringly omitted from a few key categories. Editing was a miss, along with Greta Gerwig for Best Director and Margot Robbie for Best Actress. Sorry, what? I’m still confounded by the choice — even a little bitter. Given the film’s success on the awards circuit, the latter pair of snubs was unexpected, to say the least. Even more unexpected? The next “dub” on our list.
Dub: America Ferrera (Actress in a Supporting Role)
We can all agree that America Ferrera is delightful and captivating with her big moments and iconic speech in “Barbie.” The shock isn’t so much that she earned her first-ever nom, it’s that leading lady Margot Robbie didn’t. Naysayers may claim the category wasn’t robust and she essentially slid in by default. I’m not going there, because it’s an insult to the important role she plays in the film. Let’s give her the moment she deserves.
Snub: Leonardo DiCaprio (Actor in a Leading Role)
Just as surprising as Robbie’s absence in the Best Actress category is Leonardo DiCaprio’s in the corresponding Best Actor category. The Martin Scorsese film dominated other categories with 10 nominations, including Lily Gladstone for Best Actress. Is it strange that DiCaprio has never received an Oscar for his role in a Scorsese film? There have been six of them, each powerhouse in their own right. He earned a trophy for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s “Revenant,” but let’s face it: He should already be a multi-Oscar winner. Apparently, the Academy isn’t as much of a DiCaprio fan as the rest of us.
Dub: ‘Oppenheimer’ (Almost Every Category)
“Oppenheimer” was nominated in 13 categories, the most of any movie. It isn’t a shock, but could be a notable night for Christopher Nolan. Will Nolan finally earn the Best Picture award? He’s been nominated five times, so maybe the sixth time’s the charm? Notable among these noms, this is the first time Nolan has been nominated for both writing and directing on the same film. There’s a high likelihood the film will win in many categories, which could include Best Picture, Best Actor for Cillian Murphy, Best Supporting Actor for Robert Downey Jr. and Actress for Emily Blunt, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Cinematography, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and Best Film Editing.
Dub: Sterling K. Brown (Actor in a Supporting Role)
Sterling K. Brown is an incredibly talented actor and deserves every nomination he earns, which includes three Emmys and a Golden Globe. His role as Randall Pearson on NBC’s “This Is Us” remains one of my favorites. Now his role as flashy plastic surgeon Clifford Ellison in “American Fiction” earned him his first Oscar nomination. The competition in the category is stiff, with the likes of Robert De Niro for “Killers of the Flower Moon,” Robert Downey Jr. for “Oppenheimer,” Ryan Gosling for “Barbie,” and Mark Ruffalo for “Poor Things.” There’s nothing I’d like to see more than a Brown victory here, even if it’s unlikely.
We can’t forget Brown’s co-star, Jeffrey Wright, earning his first Oscar nomination for Best Actor. Here’s another film that’s done well on the awards circuit.
Snub: ‘Past Lives’ (Director, Actress in a Leading Role)
The unfortunate trend of leaving female directors with a Best Picture nomination out of the Best Director category strikes again. Celine Song, director of the romantic drama “Past Lives,” didn’t make the cut in the Director category. Surprisingly, Greta Lee was overlooked in the Best Actress category despite her powerful performance and wide praise, including a Golden Globe nomination. I have yet to watch “Past Lives,” but I’m sure I’ll share the snub opinion given my appreciation for Lee in “Russian Doll” and “The Morning Show.”
Dub: ‘Anatomy of a Fall’ (5 Categories)
A round of applause for “Anatomy of a Fall,” putting on a strong showing with five nominations, including Best Picture. Thankfully we have this female representation in the Best Director category for Justine Triet, the eighth woman ever nominated for a directing Oscar and the sole contender this year. Not to relive old wounds, but Gerwig’s absence in the category still burns. It’s nice to see history made with a trio of women-directed Best Picture nominees though.
Other nods for the French legal thriller film include Best Actress for Sandra Hüller, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing.
Dub: ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ (Almost Every Category)
With a total of 10 nominations, Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” is rejoicing — well, minus DiCaprio. It’s not a surprise that Lily Gladstone earned a nom for her impactful performance as Mollie. Not only did she play an Osage woman living in 1920s Oklahoma, but she was also the first Native American to earn recognition in the Best Actress category. The film has a chance to take home trophies for Best Picture, Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role for De Niro, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Editing, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.
Dub: ‘Society of the Snow’ (International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling)
Given my love for “Yellowjackets,” it’s no surprise I ate this film up. Although we’ve seen the miracle of the Andes survivors’ story in multiple forms, including a previous film, Netflix’s “Society of the Snow” still gave me chills. The harrowing survival story and deeply cut emotions and visuals are definitely enough to earn nominations for both International Feature Film and Makeup and Hairstyling. Competitors in the latter category include “Golda,” “Maestro,” “Oppenheimer,” and “Poor Things.”
Snub: ‘Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie’ (Documentary Feature Film)
“Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie” was my top pick for movie of the year in 2023. It received substantial acclaim at both the Emmys and Critics’ Choice Awards and was dubbed Best Documentary of the Year by the National Board of Review. I loved its poignant nature and the ties to pop culture and television. Is the latter the reason why the Academy passed on this exceptional documentary? We’ll never know.
Dub: ‘Poor Things’ (Almost Every Category)
Let’s hear it for “Poor Things,” which has been in the spotlight consistently this awards season. Emma Stone is coming off a Golden Globe win for her role as Bella Baxter in the comedy-fantasy film, while Yorgos Lanthimos is up for Best Director. In addition to Best Picture and Director, “Poor Things” earned nine other nominations, including Actor in a Supporting Role for Mark Ruffalo, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Production Design, and Adapted Screenplay.