2016 Academy Awards: This Year’s Biggest Snubs and Surprises

2016 Academy Awards
Brie Larson, Jennifer Lawrence, Lady Gaga and More React to Oscar Nominations

Now that all of the 2016 Oscar nominations have been revealed, let’s discuss this year’s biggest Academy Award’s snubs and surprises, and of course, #OscarsSoWhite part deux.

For one, Carol did not get the love it deserved. Rarely do you forget you’re in a movie theater while watching a movie. Watching Carol, however, you will. A beautifully crafted film based off the book The Price of Salt by Patricia HighsmithCarol is foremost a (forbidden) love story, and the best one you’ll see all year. The Academy historically loves the theme of oppression! So it’s surprising that the Academy overlooked such a perfect film in every way: it had a well-paced plot that gets the idea and practice of love right, not to mention superb acting (Cate Blanchett stole the show, but Rooney Mara was equally as compelling). In addition, the film is to its core so aesthetically pleasing; New York never looked so glamorous than in Carol’s 1950’s setting. All these aspects come together for a transformative, stunning experience. While Blanchett and Mara were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively, Carol and director Todd Haynes were surprisingly left out of the Best Picture and Best Director categories. Carol’s Best Picture snub also marks the first time since 2008 that a Harvey Weinstein-backed movie isn’t included in the top Oscars category. Regardless, let’s count Carol’s Best Picture snub as one of the most unexpected and one of the most disheartening.

On the other hand, Mad Max: Fury Road surprisingly got a lot of love. Although The Revenant lead the nominations this morning with 12 nods, George Miller’s off-beat post-apocalyptic flick was runner-with a total of 10, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography.

In the Best Supporting Actress Category, Mara and Alicia Vikander were nominated for their roles in Carol and The Danish Girl, respectively. This news is amazing of course, but what’s weird is that both actresses were undeniably lead actresses in their respective films. Meanwhile, Helen Mirren was left out for her roles in either Trumbo or The Woman in Gold, as was Kristen Stewart for her critically-acclaimed role in Clouds of Sils Maria.

In terms of Best Screenwriting, The Hateful Eight’s Quentin Tarantino and Steve JobsAaron Sorkin were overlooked, while for Best Director, Bridge of SpiesSteven Spielberg and Carol’s Haynes were left out, not to mention Ridley Scott for The Martian even though it was nominated for Best Picture. Needless to say, no women directors were nominated. The few female-directed movies from 2015 included Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Grey, Nancy Meyer’s The Intern, Sarah Gavron’s SuffragettePatricia Riggen’s The 33Angelina Jolie’s By the Sea and Elizabeth BanksPerfect Pitch 2.

And lastly, for yet another (unfortunate) year, #OscarsSoWhite is trending on Twitter because, like last year with Selma, David Oyelowo and Ava Duvernay’s snubs, the Oscars is yet again an exhibition on lacking diversity, biased against minorities as well as women. Not one person of color is nominated in any of the top categories, be it any African-American actors, writers or producers. That means the twenty nominees in the top categories (Best Actor and Actress, and Best Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress) are all white.

And the Academy certainly did have many opportunities to round out a more diverse selection in the top categories, with brilliant (diverse) films like Creed, Straight Outta Compton, Beasts of No Nation and Chi-Raq amongst the crop on prediction and contender lists.

The Academy Award’s diversity issue is made strikingly more apparent by the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton’s single nomination for Best Original Screenplay. Though it featured an ensemble cast of relatively unknown black actors, it’s sole Oscar nomination went to its two screenwriters Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff, both white.

Major Best Actor snubs include Michael B. Jordan for his leading role in the Rocky revival Creed, for which Sylvester Stallone got a Best Supporting Actor nod. In addition, Idris Elba was snubbed for his role in the Cary Fukunaga-directed Beast of No Nation, as did Will Smith for Concussion. Lastly, need we repeat that the actors in Straight Outta Compton were, in one word, brilliant.

Maybe the 2017 Academy Awards will be more diverse. Or, sorry to put it bleakly, maybe they won’t. Especially since if you thought last year’s #OscarsSoWhite was a fluke.

The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will take place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Feb. 28.