There’s plenty to celebrate in this year’s official set of Oscar contenders: Barbie’s eight nominations; Lily Gladstone making history; acting nods for Colman Domingo, America Ferrera, Danielle Brooks, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Jeffrey Wright, and even Ryan Gosling; favorite titles like The Holdovers and Past Lives landing in the Best Picture race, and another Original Song nomination for Billie Eilish.
And yet, with such fierce competition in this year’s awards race, potential nominees were brutally left out. That includes ones we thought were no-brainers, such as Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, who directed and starred in (and produced!) last year’s highest-grossing film, respectively. (Barbie is nominated for Best Picture, but the women who helmed it get no recognition?) And once again, female directors went largely uncelebrated with the exception of Justine Triet, the filmmaker behind Anatomy of a Fall.
Here are some of the biggest snubs and surprises (but mostly snubs) from this year’s Academy Award nominations.
Snub: Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie miss out for Best Director and Best Actress.
Ryan Gosling got an Oscar nomination in his category for Barbie. The women who directed him and co-starred alongside him did not. I’m far from the only one bemoaning this irony, given that Barbie itself centers the myriad reasons chasing validation as the ideal, “beloved” woman is a rigged game. (If I had to guess, Gosling himself is frustrated by the turn of events, given his viral reaction to winning a Critics Choice Award for “I’m Just Ken.”) Gerwig directed the biggest movie of the year, a remarkably nuanced film about a corporate behemoth and all she can and cannot say about femininity, while Robbie imbued its plastic vessel with vibrant humanity. Even with Barbie nominated in other categories, they each deserved a solo spotlight. —Lauren Puckett-Pope, culture writer
Snub: Greta Lee and Celine Song get passed over for acting and directing.
Past Lives, one of the best films of 2023, thankfully earned recognition for Original Screenplay and Best Picture, but they, of course, wouldn’t be there without Song’s exquisite vision on her script and Lee’s thoughtful interpretation of it. It’s another unfortunate instance of a woman’s directing achievements being overlooked and a breakthrough performance not getting the love it deserves. —Erica Gonzales, senior culture editor
Surprise: Jodie Foster and Annette Bening both get nods for Nyad.
The Foster and Bening-led biopic Nyad—about the swimmer Diana Nyad and her attempts to swim the Straits of Florida—has had a slow but relentless rise to the Oscars since its debut at the Telluride Film Festival. (Hey, kinda like marathon swimming!) Although both Foster and Bening are fabulous actresses who deserve the attention (and the former, in particular, is having an interesting run over on HBO as part of the new True Detective season), they gobbled up a couple spots in the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories that some expected Margot Robbie and Rosamund Pike might claim. And we all know better than to provoke the Saltburn devotees. —LPP
Surprise: The Academy Awards announced the highest number of female-directed Best Picture nominees in the show’s history.
For the first time in nearly a century, the Oscars are honoring three separate Best Picture nominees directed by women. (Yes, three is the record.) Those films include: Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, Celine Song’s Past Lives, and Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall. This is great! More women directors getting their flowers! Except...only Triet was nominated in the Best Director category. There’s something to be said for diversifying the awards and ensuring that the same group of nominees don’t dominate every category. But that doesn’t erase the harsh dissonance prompted by “women directors making history at the Oscars” and “only one woman being nominated for Best Director.” Sadly, that dissonance ain’t nothing new. —LPP
Snub: Origin, in general.
Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Isabel Wilkerson’s seminal book Caste did not get a single nomination, but the film’s awards campaign seemed noticeably lacking as a whole. The director even recently called out how the film’s star, Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor, was handing out flyers at a theater. And a handful of celebrities personally promoted the film for a possible last-minute push. Despite their efforts and glowing critic reviews, Origin went under the radar for the Academy, missing out on potential nominations like lead actress (for the astounding Ellis-Taylor), directing, adapted screenplay, and cinematography.
“It’s not happening because of a lack of promotion and strategy,” DuVernay recently told ELLE.com of the lacking award buzz. “We’re with a very small distributor, and so I really think people just have not seen the performance, which is unfortunate. But we’re hoping that that’ll be remedied when it’s in theaters with real people. That will be too late for all of the awards hoopla, and it’s unfortunate that the ball was dropped in that way, but real people, real things—that’s what Niecy Nash says in the movie, and that’s what we focus on.” —EG
Snub: Charles Melton fans will have to wait for an Oscar nomination.
Melton has been racking up Supporting Actor nominations, from Critics Choice to Golden Globes, and even a Gotham Award win, for his performance in Todd Haynes’ May December. Holding his own opposite heavyweights Julianne Moore and Natalie Portman (who were also snubbed by the Academy this year), he delivered a career-defining performance, graduating from Riverdale in the finest way. With this role surely changing the course of his career, this hopefully isn’t the last of Melton’s awards potential. —EG
Snub: Dominic Sessa isn’t recognized for The Holdovers.
It was always going to be a struggle to secure Dominic Sessa a position in the Best Supporting Actor category, given the caliber, profile, and experience of the talent he was up against. But after the young Holdovers star earned a Critics Choice Award for Best Young Performer and a BAFTA nomination for Best Supporting Actor, it seemed possible he might slip into the running at the last moment. That crowning achievement didn’t come to pass, but Sessa shouldn’t consider it any significant slight. If the acclaim surrounding Alexander Payne’s Best Picture nominee this season is any indication, Sessa has a long career ahead of him, and hopefully many more opportunities to grace the Oscars stage. —LPP
Snub: Saltburn went down the drain.
Writer-director Emerald Fennell previously won over the Academy with her film Promising Young Woman, which received five nominations and won Best Original Screenplay three years ago. But her sophomore film, Saltburn, couldn’t keep up. Though divisive, the film dominated pop culture over the holidays and featured engrossing performances from Barry Keoghan (previously nominated for The Banshees of Inisherin) and Rosamund Pike, plus lush production design and costumes. But that wasn’t enough to convince Oscar voters. —EG
Snub: All of Us Strangers is ignored.
The aching British romantic drama All of Us Strangers has enjoyed a quiet rise since its Telluride Film Festival debut, one that befits its similarly introspective, painful subject matter. But with multiple nominations under its belt—including at the Gotham Awards, the Golden Globes, and the Critics Choice Awards—it seemed actor Andrew Scott or director Andrew Haigh might have a real shot at generating Oscars noise. Both ended up snubbed, but fans of the Hot Priest can eagerly await Scott’s next shot at awards attention: He’s playing the eponymous Ripley in Netflix’s upcoming prestige series. —LPP
Snub: The Taste of Things misses out on an International Feature Film nod.
France obviously had a shoo-in in the bigger categories with Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, but its international submission also deserved some love. Directed by Trần Anh Hùng, the 19th century romance between two chefs has wowed critics for its sumptuous culinary scenes and touching performance by Juliette Binoche. (It has a 99 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, if that’s what you go by.) But it was squeezed out of the race. —EG
Snub: Priscilla gets brushed off.
Sofia Coppola’s low-budget Priscilla Presley biopic, however celebrated, was never a likely Oscars contender in any of the major categories. But to see it miss out in areas as obvious as Costume Design or Makeup & Hairstyling feels like another example of the Academy Awards side-eyeing smaller projects. Still, with such a stacked year for period pieces (Oppenheimer, Napoleon, Killers of the Flower Moon, Maestro, Poor Things), Priscilla never had the height to stand out. —LPP
Snub: Ferrari doesn’t place.
Michael Mann’s biopic starring Adam Driver and Penélope Cruz made noise when it premiered at Venice Film Festival last summer, but as award season approached, it was edged out by other contenders like Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon. Variety predicted it could’ve become a surprise Best Picture nominee, but Ferrari ultimately went home empty-handed, even for more likely categories like Sound and Costume Design. Cruz’s fiery performance also went unnoticed. —EG
Snub: Pedro Almodóvar’s Strange Way of Life gets pushed out.
The beloved director previously earned a screenplay nomination and a directing win for 2002’s Talk to Her, but his buzzy short starring Pedro Pascal and Ethan Hawke as cowboy lovers didn’t get a nod for Live-Action Short Film. —EG
The 96th Oscars will air live Sunday, March 10, on ABC.
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