As the 2019 Oscars ceremony fades into the history books, we can take a look at 2018’s crop of films and figure out who got “snubbed” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) this year.
Just because the film YOU loved this year didn’t win an award or two, doesn’t mean it was “snubbed” (sorry all you “Black Panther for Best Picture” Stans).
What constitutes a “snubbing”?
While it’s an “honour just to be nominated”, and not everyone can be a winner, sometimes the nominees and winners can seem wildly out of step with the general consensus among film-goers. Which is usually down to the unique memberships of the academy.
Unlike other awards ceremonies where voters are a part of an overall professional group (Screen Actors Guild and the SAG awards; the Broadcast Film Critics Association and their Critics Choice Awards) or even, heaven forbid, voted for by the public (People’s Choice Awards), the Academy is made up of past nominees and winners as well as those invited by the board.
While the Academy has made changes in recent years as to who gets invited, it still has an overwhelming majority of white men voting on the awards, many of whom are frequently “old”.
You can get some idea of how this affects the voting from The Hollywood Reporter’s annual “Brutally Honest Oscar Voter” series, where they interview an anonymous voters thoughts on that year’s contenders. In the past this has produced such “gems” of criticism such as how one voter didn’t like Get Out because “they started trying to suggest it had deeper meaning than it does, and, as far as I’m concerned, they played the race card, and that really turned me off.” or another didn’t like Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk because the “drone of the airplane through the whole f**king movie just drove me crazy.”
This year’s secret voters may have seemed to be a little less caustic in their opinions. However, it doesn’t mean that the majority have changed their tune.
In some cases many of the voters don’t even watch all the movies, especially the best animated features! or will reward films based upon gut feeling, because they like the people involved or it’s because someone is “due” their award having been looked over in the past. How else do you explain Scorsese receiving a Best Director award for The Departed, a remake of a (fantastic!) Andy Lau, Tony Leung movie but not for Taxi Driver, Casino, Raging Bull or Goodfellas!?
So, who got snubbed this year?
Not Even In The Race
Before we even get to the nominees, pour one out for those who weren’t even nominated.
While it’s not yet available in most parts of Asia, by all accounts Ethan Hawke’s performance as a Protestant Minister facing up to his demons and the state of the world in First Reformed, was worthy of a nomination, although screenwriter/director Paul Schrader (Taxi Driver, Raging Bull) was nominated for Best Original Screenplay.
Schrader didn’t manage to win either, leaving him with a sum total of zero Oscars in a career that has, so far lasted over 40 years.
Despite Get Out‘s nominations in Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor and its win for Best Original screenplay in 2018, the Academy can have a blind spot when it comes to horror movies in the “big” categories. It’s amazing to me how Toni Collette’s chilling performance in Hereditary didn’t even get a mention.
One of the most terrifying scenes in the whole movie, or the whole of 2018, has nothing to do with the supernatural elements of the film and is purely down to Collette’s scarily realistic portrayal of a mother losing it at a family dinner.
With that said, after watching her utterly charming acceptance speech. it’s hard to hold Collete’s snub against eventual Best Actress winner Olivia Coleman.
Winning Isn’t Everything; It’s The Only Thing.
Despite the impossibility of handing out multiple Oscars for a single category, Best Supporting Actor in this case, it also feels unfair that both Sam Elliot and Richard E. Grant walked home empty-handed. Like Schrader, both have had long productive careers and a distinct lack of Oscar love.
They’ll just have to make do with being worshipped by students everywhere for their roles in The Big Lebowski and Withnail and I although Grant seemed to be so happy at meeting Barbara Streisand he might not have even noticed losing out to Mahershala Ali.
Heroic & Historic
While Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse’s win for Best Animated Feature Film would seem to have ended the Academy’s habit of snubbing genre films, maybe they actually watched it this year?
It’s worth noting though, that Black Panther “only” won in the Best Original Score, Costume Design, & Production Design categories. We’re still a far way off from a super-hero movie winning Best Picture.
Another hero who couldn’t help but feel snubbed is Damien Chazelle and his team on the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man. They may have walked away with the statuette for Best Visual Effects but it’s a travesty that First Man wasn’t nominated in any of the bigger categories.
The lack of any nominations for Justin Hurwitz’s score, which builds up to the simply stunning “The Landing” as Neil and Buzz Aldrin (spoilers) land on the moon, is a crime. The pair were probably victims of their own success having won big in 2017 with La-La Land . they’ll need to slog away for a few years before they can win again.
“Based” Upon A True Story
The biggest snub of the night, however, seemed to be reality itself.
In spite of major issues with the “true” part of their “based on a true story”, both Bohemian Rhapsody and Green Book took home multiple awards.
Rami Malek deserves his Best Actor award however he, and Freddie Mercury, deserved a better film around them. Does a story of Freddie’s life really need the band to break up due to Freddie’s solo career in the third act? A point in the band’s career when the other members had already realised a number of solo albums?
And who thought it was a good idea to put Mike Myers in the film for a Waynes World gag? A joke that is literally 26-years old!
As for the film’s win for best editing check out the tweet below for a far better summation of the issues there than I could ever hope to provide.
Decided to add a counter to the Bohemian Rhapsody scene to count the cuts. If this film can win an Oscar for best editing, you can accomplish your dreams, as well! h/t @pramitheus pic.twitter.com/u6uyBkFvZq
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) February 25, 2019
As for Green Book, the family of Dr Don Shirley, the real-life charter played by Mahershala Ali, have strenuously denied that many of the events of the film ever happened and the producer even went as far to deny he even knew the real-life family existed during the Oscar post-show! It’s not a good look but never let it be said that Hollywood ever let truth or a little racism get in the way of a feel-good story.
OK, maybe that’s going a bit too far. Obviously, the REAL biggest snub of the evening and this awards season as a whole was “BCoops” himself, Bradley Cooper, who couldn’t seem to catch a cold, never mind an award, at least in the US (thanks BAFTA).
To create a film as well-loved, and as highly nominated, as A Star is Born on your first try in the director’s chair is a staggering feat, one that will, it seems to go mostly unrewarded (except in bags and bags of money).
I guess he can console himself with that and his Atlanta Film Critics Circle award for Best First Film.
A snub for the better?
Finally, the one Oscar snub that seems to have worked out well for everyone including the Academy, was snubbing the host! After Kevin Hart’s lost the gig over homophobic tweets in the past, ratings for the show in the US actually improved, something the Academy has been trying to achieve for years, even if they didn’t go with the perfect idea floated online: let The Muppets host.
Do you feel anyone else got snubbed this year? Sound off in the comments below or on Facebook.