Before we settle in with popcorn for the big night in a couple weeks, let’s take a look at some arguably snubbed actors and filmmakers from the 2019 Oscars. If you’d like to compare these overlooked candidates to the full list of nominees as you read along, you can refer to our published compilation of possible winners here. There may not have been enough space to give a nod to every worthy performance, person, or film, but there certainly could have been a different lineup.
The acting categories, as the most popular and most competitive slots of the evening, took the biggest hits. For Best Actress, it was thought that Toni Colette would nab a nomination for her portrayal of a matriarch gone mad in Hereditary, following the film’s summer release. Another possible contender was Saoirse Ronan for the title role in Mary Queen of Scots. Surprisingly, she was also left out of the running for other awards shows, such as the Golden Globes and BAFTAS. But with such immense talent taking the screen this year it must be difficult to settle on a golden few.
Ethan Hawke’s performance as a steely and anxious pastor in First Reformed was painfully left out of the Best Actor category, as was Timothée Chalamet for Beautiful Boy. While Chalamet was nominated at the Globes, it came as a shock that his second nomination was curtailed… until another year.
A snub on all accounts certainly has to be Damien Chazelle’s First Man, which details the life of Neil Armstrong leading up to and during his famous first steps on the moon. Even after 2018’s Best Picture debacle, Chazelle is clearly an Academy favorite. Despite heavy advertising, the film also failed to garner attention at the box office. This, however, doesn’t reflect how masterful the film and its performances actually are. Claire Foy, who portrayed Janet Armstrong, should have been included in the Best Supporting Actress category, but rightfully earned a Globes nomination. It wouldn’t have hurt to, at the very least, have given Linus Sandgren a nomination for Best Cinematography considering the gorgeous visual language and landscape of the film.
While it does have a couple nominations under its belt, it’s a shock that If Beale Street Could Talk isn’t up for Best Picture, Best Director (Barry Jenkins), or Best Cinematography under James Laxton (those colors, those close-ups!). The tender and delicate tale of love and injustice, spun from James Baldwin’s novel of the same name, should have been given more attention. However, it’s wonderful that Jenkins and Regina King (Best Supporting Actress) have been placed in other categories.
Another notable film that should easily have gained multiple nominations for its creative team and actors was Paul Dano’s Wildlife. Based on the novel of the same name by Richard Ford, the film focuses on 14-year-old Joe and how his world changes when his parents, played by Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal (can this get any better?), split up.
While the directors nominated surely earned such recognition, it’s disappointing that no women were nominated in that category. There has been much discussion, debate, and uproar over how to create a more inclusive industry, but we have yet to see the desired results. A couple must-see films this year headed by women include Chloe Zhao’s The Rider, Debra Granik’s Leave No Trace, Josie Rourke’s Mary Queen of Scots, and Desiree Akhavan’s The Miseducation of Cameron Post. The first two films garnered a lot of attention, with Meryl Streep even citing The Rider as one of her favorites of the year. Hopefully, we’ll see the playing field level soon.
It was clear from its release that Steve McQueen’s Widows would be a no-show in any category, but it’s still a shame, as is the lack of any nods towards Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria. Though it’s understandable that the latter may be too niche for the Academy’s taste, Thom Yorke’s original score for the horror film should definitely have been recognized.
It’ll be exciting to see how the night unfolds, and how closely the results (most notably those in the acting categories) will mirror other award shows, if at all.
Do you agree with these snubs? Is there anyone else you think should have been nominated? Let us know in the comments below. The 91st Academy Awards air live on Sunday, February 24th on ABC.