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The 2024 Oscar nominations came out this past Tuesday, and they were mainly full of the usual suspects. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Poor Things lead the pack with 13 and 11 nominations, respectively, while Martin Scorsese’s Killer of the Flower Moon rounds up the top three with 10.
However, although most of the names announced by Jack Quaid and Zazie Beetz in every major category were all but expected, there were some notable absences. From unexpected slights in the directing category to the absolute omission of some of the year’s best movies, the 2024 Oscars came with their fair share of snubs. Because what would Oscar season be without a few snubs to get unreasonably angry about?
3. Barbie was snubbed (and that’s okay)
Barbie was the biggest movie of 2023. The film grossed a whopping $1.4 billion and received glowing reviews. As expected, it has been doing quite well throughout awards season, receiving multiple nominations and winning a few awards, mostly for its songs. However, jaws dropped when, come Oscar morning, the film’s star, Margot Robbie, and director, Greta Gerwig, failed to receive nominations in the Actress and Directing categories.
Robbie and Gerwig still received nominations for producing Barbie, while Gerwig earned an additional nod for her screenplay. However, their omissions in acting and directing are noteworthy, especially since Robbie’s co-stars, Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera, got into their categories, and the film itself did quite well with eight nominations. The backlash to their snubs has been swift, with everyone from columnists to former presidential candidates reacting. And while not every take is good, the sentiment seems to be that these two talented ladies were paid dust by the Academy. Still, it’s not like Barbie was ignored; its eight nominations are impressive, and its major victory already happened at the box office. Barbie will be fine; how could it not be?
2. There was little love for May December
Without exaggerating, May December is the best Netflix movie of 2023 and one of the best of the past year. Period. Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton deliver career-best performances in Todd Haynes’ campy, heightened dramedy about scandal and society’s fascination with it.
The film started the awards season strong, with Melton winning critics’ awards left and right. However, crucial misses at SAG and BAFTA hinted at its vulnerable position, and the Oscar nominations confirmed it. In retrospect, May December was always too discomforting for the Academy’s tastes. However, its central trio of performers deserved all the recognition in the world, especially Melton, in a heartbreaking breakthrough performance. Had Netflix pulled its chips here instead of in the mediocre Maestro, then perhaps May December would’ve received its dues. Alas, the film will have to settle for a sole Original Screenplay nomination.
1. 2023’s best movie came up empty
All of Us Strangers is probably the best movie of 2023. It’s certainly my favorite movie of 2023 — although I admit, sometimes Poor Things gains the upper hand. Andrew Haigh’s profoundly evocative fantasy drama about grief and loss is as powerful as cinema can get, bolstered by a truly tremendous, career-defining performance from Andrew Scott. And yet, the Academy gave it no nominations. Zero. Nada. Just writing those words makes me physically sick.
This isn’t just another bitter film lover complaining about his favorite not making the cut. All of Us Strangers is an objectively great picture, a rich and tender exploration of human nature that’s bound to touch the hearts of anyone who sees it. Isn’t that what cinema is supposed to be about? Isn’t that why we go to the movies? Yes, All of Us Strangers is cosmic, esoterical even, but there’s a universality in its message about loneliness and acceptance. It’s heart-wrenching yet immensely rewarding, like the painful but satisfying feeling in the chest after a particularly intense crying session. My one consolation is that this is a film meant to endure, and endure it will. I speak with certainty when I say All of Us Strangers will stand the test of time and become that elusive word used to describe many films but fits only a select few: a classic. And it couldn’t happen to a better movie.
The 2024 Academy Awards will take place on March 10, 2024.