In any other year, the Academy Award nominations would have long been released by March 15. Then again, in any other year, Hollywood’s apex awards show would have already aired and sent stars packing with their very own Oscar gold by now, too.
But 2020-2021 wasn’t any other year — onscreen or off — and now that film fans are finally getting a look at which movies are in the running for the big honors, they can see yet another way the 93rd annual Academy Awards will prove to be a standout.
Because this year, the snubs are few and the biggest surprise of all might just be what a great job Academy members did when it came to narrowing it down to the best of the best.
Where they missed the mark
Of course, while the overall list of snubs may be shorter than usual, the oversights still sting all the same.
For instance, while the late Chadwick Boseman was honored with a best actor nod for his role in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” his equally worthy supporting work in “Da 5 Bloods” went ignored among the noms. That seems a particularly egregious miss given that these films mark the last opportunities for the Academy to recognize his body of work.
But he wasn’t the only star dimmed in the supporting nominations. Jodie Foster went into the awards season a favorite for her work in “The Mauritanian,” but despite the buzz, the iconic actor was nowhere to be seen in the best supporting Actress category.
However, the one category in which seeming shoo-ins were really in short supply was best director.
Three of the most talked-about talents behind the cameras had to be Shaka King for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” Aaron Sorkin for “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and Regina King for “One Night in Miami.” All three directors wowed filmgoers and critics alike with their efforts, but evidently, they didn’t wow the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters enough.
At least in the case of “Judas and the Black Messiah” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” Shaka King and Sorkin received indirect honors, as both films made the best picture roundup. The same can’t be said of Regina King’s film — which leads us to another miss in the noms.
King’s “One Night in Miami” gave viewers a peek into a fictional meetup of historic proportions — with Malcom X (Kingsley Ben-Adir), Muhammad Ali (Eli Goree), Jim Brown (Aldis Hodge) and Sam Cook (Leslie Odom Jr.) all rubbing elbows in 1964. The film and the director earned nominations for the Golden Globes, so this is one stands alone as a double snub in the roundup.
But when it comes to best picture, “One Night” wasn’t alone being left out. The bluesy drama “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” just didn’t make the cut among the other top titles of the year, either.
That film made up for it in other areas, though.
The biggest surprise? So few surprises
As mentioned above, Boseman was recognized for his work in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” and he wasn’t the only one. His co-star, Viola Davis, earned a best actress nomination, too.
In fact, the entire roundup of leading stars looked like a fitting assortment of top contenders — right down to the one surprise inclusion in the mix.
With such a talent-heavy load during this odd film season, veteran actor Anthony Hopkins still found a way to gain a lot of attention with his quiet and moving role in the dementia drama “The Father.”
The best actress assortment looked like every critic's Oscar predictions condensed into one list, with Frances McDormand (“Nomadland”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Vanessa Kirby (“Pieces of a Woman”) and Carey Mulligan (“Promising Young Woman”) all joining Davis for another surprisingly perfect group of nods.
But one best supporting actress nominee had what might have been the best surprise Monday.
For Glenn Close, the announcement that she was nominated for her performance for “Hillbilly Elegy,” her eighth Oscar nomination ever, came directly on the heels of being for the worst supporting actress Razzie Award for the very same performance.
“Today I’m so thrilled,” she said during a call to TODAY. “To get a Razzie and an Oscar nomination in the same year is pretty cool.”
The only thing cooler would be winning both accolades.
See which films, stars and directors actually take home Oscar gold when the 93rd annual Academy Awards air Sunday, April 25.