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2019 Oscar Nominations: Snubs And Surprises

The 91st Academy Award nominations are out, and as always, there’s much debate and discussion about what The Academy got right or wrong. It’s obviously hard to say anything that was nominated didn’t deserve the recognition considering all the work people put into these films, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be some surprises for this year’s nominations. And of course there are also snubs, which are fair to point out.


Surprise: Black Panther for Best Picture

The first superhero movie nominated for Best Picture, Black Panther was basically a cultural phenomenon and an enjoyable two-plus hours for millions of people—but to call it Best Picture worthy is objectively a major stretch. It arguably wasn’t even the best Marvel picture released in 2018, as Avengers: Infinity War has far higher user ratings (8.5 on IMDb compared to 7.4 for Black Panther) and is just slightly behind among critics. Keep in mind, superhero movie masterpieces—most notably 2008’s all-time great The Dark Knight, which would’ve been remarkable even if it wasn’t a Batman film and was instead just a crime drama—weren’t nominated for Best Picture. Ryan Coogler easily could be considered a Best Director snub for his role in creating the film, but the movie probably should not have been nominated for Best Picture.


Snub: John David Washington for Best Actor (BlackKklansman)

Adam Driver received a well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor in BlackKklansman, but John David Washington was snubbed from a nomination in the leading role category. Denzel’s son is quickly becoming one of Hollywood’s top stars, and hopefully he’ll start receiving the recognition he deserves soon. The good news is 34-year-old should have many more opportunities to be in the Oscar discussion, which was the case this year despite the eventual snub from The Academy.


Surprise: Willem Dafoe for Best Actor (At Eternity’s Gate)

At Eternity’s Gate didn’t have a ton of box office success or super-high acclaim, which is the big reason Willem Dafoe’s Best Actor nomination qualifies as a surprise. However, Dafoe did an excellent job of capturing the troubled final days of famous painter Vincent Van Gogh, and it’s fitting that he’s received a Best Actor nomination after earning three supporting role nominations throughout his accomplished career.


Snub: Bradley Cooper for Best Director (A Star Is Born)

The Academy always seems to be tough on big movie stars making the move to the director’s chair for an Oscar-worthy film (most notably, Ben Affleck for Argo), and it appears Bradley Cooper fell victim to that after not getting a nomination for Best Director for A Star Is Born. At least Cooper’s film has a real shot to win Best Picture as Argo did six years ago.


Surprise: Roma for Best Picture

Netflix has received Oscar nominations in the past, but never for Best Picture until now, with the critically-acclaimed black-and-white film Roma receiving a nomination. Traditional Hollywood might not be happy with the streaming giant getting a Best Picture nom, but this could be just the beginning for Netflix getting yearly looks for Best Picture, especially with Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman coming out later this year.


Snub: Emily Blunt for Best Actress (Mary Poppins Returns) and Best Supporting Actress (A Quiet Place)

Emily Blunt might not be considered a huge snub if not for the fact that she was a candidate to be nominated in both the Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress categories and was nominated for neither. For Mary Poppins Returns in particular, Blunt probably should’ve been nominated—playing an iconic character decades later is not easy, but she did a fantastic job, which is supported by the lack of complaints about taking over a character many people didn’t believe should ever hit the screen again.


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