Oscars 2020: Biggest snubs and surprises from today's nominations

Tom Beasley
Contributor
Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lopez and Lupita Nyong'o were among the major Oscars snubs. (Credit: Netflix/STX/Universal)

The nominations have now been unveiled for the 92nd Academy Awards, ahead of the 2020 Oscars ceremony in mid-February. Controversial comic book tale Joker leads the way with 11 nominations, mirroring its success at the BAFTAs last week.

Todd Phillips’ film is closely followed by a trio of films with 10 nominations — Martin Scorsese’s mob epic The Irishman, technically audacious First World War thriller 1917 and Quentin Tarantino’s ode to Los Angeles in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Read more: Can Joker win big at the Oscars?

But all eyes, as always, are on the movies and the stars who did not make the cut and were left snubbed by the Academy. There’s a hefty bunch this year who will be absent from the final shortlists, and plenty who managed to sneak in around the outside and nab a seat at the glittering ceremony, as well as a prime spot on the red carpet.

SNUB: No-go for J-Lo

Jennifer Lopez portrayed a stripper in 'Hustlers'. (Credit: STX)

One of the big snubs at the BAFTAs was mirrored by the Academy today. Jennifer Lopez, who had been tipped for her first Oscar ever since the summer release of Hustlers, missed out on a nod for Best Supporting Actress. Lopez’s performance in the film is a force of nature, portraying the unpredictable ringleader of a group of strippers who fleece wealthy Wall Street types out of their cash. It’s based on a true story, which has attracted legal action from the real people involved.

Read more: Ups and downs of J-Lo’s movie career

In fact, Hustlers missed out completely on a spot at the Oscars, with Lorene Scafaria’s smart script — adapted from a magazine article — also absent from the Best Adapted Screenplay field. The film, though, was acclaimed as one of the best of the year and anyone who witnessed Lopez’s incredible first scene will not forget it in a hurry.

SURPRISE: Ford v Ferrari carried to Best Picture after technical recognition

Christian Bale as racing driver Ken Miles in 'Le Mans '66', aka 'Ford v Ferrari'. (Credit: Fox)

Yet again, the Oscars elected not to fill the maximum ten slots on its Best Picture shortlist, nominating nine movies this year. One of those, perhaps surprisingly, was James Mangold’s road race biopic Ford v Ferrariknown in the UK as Le Mans ‘66. The film’s success can perhaps be chalked up to its popularity in the technical branches of the Academy, with Le Mans ‘66 also earning nominations for Best Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing.

The movie doesn’t seem likely to be a major winner on the night, though, with stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale both missing out on acting nods. Mangold failed to score a Best Director nomination and the screenplay also went unrecognised.

SNUB: Best Actor bloodbath claims De Niro, Egerton, Murphy and Sandler

Adam Sandler in 'Uncut Gems'. (Credit: Netflix)

This year’s Best Actor category was always going to leave some big names on the cutting room floor. Joaquin Phoenix’s transformative work in Joker seems like the likely winner, but the list of five nominations squeezed out some big names. Robert De Niro missed out despite his best work in years as the generation-spanning star of The Irishman, while Eddie Murphy’s comeback performance in Dolemite is My Name won’t complete a fairytale story.

Read more: All of the Brits who won at the Golden Globes

There was also no room for Taron Egerton’s take on Elton John in the musical biopic Rocketman, despite his Golden Globe victory just a few weeks ago, and Adam Sandler missed out for his work in the Safdies’ bizarre, stressful thriller Uncut Gems. If the Sand-man is true to his word, we’re getting a deliberately terrible film now, out of revenge.

SURPRISE: Antonio Banderas gets his first Oscar nod

Antonio Banderas in 'Pain & Glory'. (Credit: Pathé)

It seems remarkable that it has taken this long, but Antonio Banderas now has his first Academy Award nomination after a screen career spanning almost 40 years. It’s fitting that the nod comes for Pain & Glory, which sees Banderas collaborating once again with Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar — their eighth movie together.

He got his break in an Almodóvar movie, so it seems right for his time in the Oscar spotlight to come from their fruitful creative relationship. Given the names left off the shortlist, as noted above, this is one of the most competitive Best Actor races in years.

SNUB: Lupita Nyong’o and Awkwafina miss out in Best Actress

Awkwafina won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Musical or Comedy) for her work in 'The Farewell'. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Along with fellow Globe winner Taron Egerton, Awkwafina found herself on the outside looking in today after her leading performance in The Farewell failed to land a spot in the Best Actress race. Her heart-breaking role in director Lulu Wang’s family tale allowed her to combine comedy and drama for a true breakout performance on the prestige cinema stage.

Lupita Nyong’o, meanwhile, was also snubbed after being tipped to make it for her double turn in Jordan Peele’s satirical horror movie Us. The up-for-grabs fifth slot in the Best Actress category ultimately went to British actor Cynthia Erivo for her high-pressure role as American abolitionist icon Harriet Tubman in biopic Harriet. Erivo will now be eyeing the chance to become the youngest EGOT winner in history.

SURPRISE: Parasite smashes glass ceiling for Asian cinema

Cho Yeo-jeong in 'Parasite'. (Credit: Curzon)

In May 2019, Bong Joon-ho became the first Korean filmmaker to win the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for his precision-tooled class war satire Parasite. He made a whole lot more history today in the nominations for the Oscars 2020, as the movie became the first ever Korean nominee for Best Picture. Bong also scored a Best Director nod and recognition for Best Original Screenplay — shared with co-writer Han Jin-won. That’s not to mention the Best International Feature Film category, which Parasite seems a dead cert to win.

Read more: Most exciting original movies coming in 2020

As with many foreign language Oscar contenders, Parasite has not yet been released into UK cinemas, but it is due to arrive soon and demands to be seen. It’s an intricate genre hybrid with lashings of comedy amid its social commentary and home invasion horror elements. As well as being a brilliant movie, it’s now a history-maker.

SNUB: Greta Gerwig misses out as Best Director goes all-male

Greta Gerwig arrives at the 77th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Little Women was a strong performer today, scoring six nominations including recognition in Best Picture. However, director Greta Gerwig was notable by her absence from the Best Director shortlist, which was all-male yet again. Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to have ever won an Oscar for directing a movie — 2008’s The Hurt Locker. Gerwig herself is a previous nominee for her coming-of-age movie Lady Bird. Producer Amy Pascal and Little Women star Saoirse Ronan were among those who expressed disappointment at the snub.

She’s not the only major female snub from the Best Director list, with Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood) also missing out. There was also a snub for Gerwig’s partner Noah Baumbach, despite the fact his film Marriage Story also scored half a dozen nominations elsewhere.

SNUB: Animation field ignores Frozen 2 as Netflix soars

'Frozen 2' was left out in the cold at the Oscars 2020. (Credit: Disney)

Disney is usually a reliable name when it comes to Best Animated Feature, with Pixar dominating the category since its inception in 2002. Pixar is nominated for Toy Story 4, but Disney has missed out for Frozen 2 — despite its billion-dollar box office success. The blockbuster song Into the Unknown did get a nomination, but the film itself was ignored in the animation category.

Read more: Frozen 2 cast and crew discuss sequel plans

The beneficiary of this absence was Netflix, which has two contenders in the category this year. Revisionist Christmas movie Klaus was on most of the prognosticator’s lists, but the baffling I Lost My Body proved to be a surprise addition. Given they are two of the most interesting animations of the year, it’s a good choice by the Academy.

SURPRISE: Screenplay nomination boosts 1917 chances

George MacKay in '1917'. (Credit: eOne)

Few had 1917 pegged as a bona fide Best Picture contender before it won the Best Picture (Drama) category at the Golden Globes. Now, though, Sir Sam Mendes’ single-take war movie could well surprise everyone and emerge with Best Picture. Its chances have been bolstered by a surprise nomination in the Best Original Screenplay category — a key component of showing just how widely the love for the movie is spread across the Academy’s various strands.

It’s not a clear enough sign to start throwing money at a 1917 victory just yet, but there will certainly be cheers from Mendes and his team.

SNUB: Unusual Best Original Song race forces out Wild Rose

Jessie Buckley stars in country music tale 'Wild Rose'. (Credit: eOne)

One of the strangest categories at this year’s Oscars is Best Original Song, which left out several tracks believed to be top contenders. The Academy spurned a chance to nominate Spirit from The Lion King, which would likely have facilitated a Beyoncé performance on the night. However, the Oscars also left out Irish actor Jessie Buckley’s stunning country ballad Glasgow (There’s No Place Like Home) for Wild Rose.

Read more: Under-appreciated films from 2019

Buckley’s absence from the song shortlist is all the more surprising given the track tied with likely Oscar winner (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again from Rocketman for the Best Original Song prize at the Critics’ Choice Awards last night. It’s a shame that one of the year’s most touching films won’t get the chance to shine on the Oscars stage.

MIXED FORTUNES: Knives Out misses out on Best Picture, but lands screenplay nod

Ana de Armas and Daniel Craig in whodunnit thriller 'Knives Out'. (Credit: Lionsgate)

It was a real mixed bag of a day for Rian Johnson’s modern whodunnit Knives Out, which flew high enough to score a Best Original Screenplay nod for its intricate storytelling, but missed out on a widely expected Best Picture slot. If the Academy had put together a 10-movie shortlist, it’s likely that it would have been this tale of murder and family squabbling that would have nabbed the final place.

With a sequel to Knives Out in the pipeline, though, there’s always another chance for Benoit Blanc to take to the Oscars stage.