The 2021 Academy Award nominations have been unleashed upon the world, and like yearly, individuals have robust emotions.
Earlier than we dive in, although, let’s make one factor clear: The Oscars are a remarkably flawed strategy to bestow worth on good storytelling. Snubs and surprises don’t—or, at the least, shouldn’t—designate a lot concerning the inherent high quality of a movie. What the Academy Awards are is a captivating finger on the heartbeat of energy in Hollywood, and the way that energy will get divvied up in unequal and sometimes jarring methods. So whereas shifting developments and deserving nominees are price celebrating, it’s necessary to recollect none of those bulletins happen in a vacuum. It could be the primary yr a couple of lady was nominated for Greatest Director—and the primary yr a girl of coloration was nominated in that class, ever—however that also means it took practically a century to occur. That historical past isn’t evaporating in a single day.
With that in thoughts, let’s discuss snubs and surprises.
Snub: Regina King shouldn’t be nominated for steering One Evening in Miami.
Living proof: Whereas the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences would possibly lastly really feel snug nominating two ladies for Greatest Director, it appears they don’t seem to be but prepared to think about three. King, whose acclaimed time within the director’s seat for One Evening in Miami positioned her as a shoo-in for Greatest Director, didn’t obtain a the nod this yr.
Shock: Steven Yeun turns into the primary Asian American actor to be nominated for Greatest Actor.
The shock right here shouldn’t be that Yeun earned a nomination for his breathtaking flip in Minari, however extra that he is the primary Asian American actor to be nominated within the class, ever. When an awards present has been round since 1929 and remains to be frequently celebrating “firsts,” that ought to inform you one thing concerning the validity of the awards themselves. Nonetheless, it is a second price applauding for Yeun, whose work in Minari is nothing in need of transfixing.
Snub: By no means Not often Generally At all times will get no love.
The critically adored, Eliza Hittman-directed drama By no means Not often Generally At all times shouldn’t be a stunning snub given its coasting beneath the radar for a lot of awards season, however that doesn’t make the dearth of recognition much less irritating. Particularly when the subject—abortion entry, or lack thereof—is probably extra polarizing and important than ever.
Shock: Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield are nominated for Greatest Supporting Actor.
The popularity is fabulous. The class is…weird. Each Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield, stars of Judas and the Black Messiah, earned nods, however had been slotted into the Greatest Supporting Actor class slightly than Greatest Actor. That is puzzling for a lot of causes, however specifically as a result of it begs the query: In the event that they’re each supporting actors, who on earth was the lead of Judas?
Snub: Delroy Lindo doesn’t earn a nomination for Da 5 Bloods.
Spike Lee’s gorgeous Da 5 Bloods was virtually universally minimize out of Oscar consideration this yr, quick a Greatest Authentic Rating nod. However maybe probably the most egregious snubs all through this awards season has been the dearth of recognition for Delroy Lindo. His efficiency as Paul, one of many 5 “Bloods” who make up a bunch of Black U.S. Military troopers in the course of the Vietnam Warfare, was persistently praised by critics, and even landed him a Critics’ Selection Award. Nevertheless it didn’t garner sufficient consideration to get him the Oscar gold.
Shock: Jodie Foster’s Golden Globes win sputters.
Golden Globes wins often sign good news for an actor or actress’s prospects on the Academy Awards, however this yr, Jodie Foster’s highlight dimmed and burnt out. After she received the supporting-actress Globe for her efficiency in The Mauritanian, the acclaimed however low-profile film may seemingly do no extra for her.
Snub: Dick Johnson Is Lifeless is ignored.
The Documentary Characteristic class appeared the slot the place lots of the morning’s surprises came about. Each Boys State and Dick Johnson is Lifeless, two of probably the most acclaimed documentaries of the yr, had been knocked out of awards rivalry. Johnson’s absence is especially egregious, given its recognition amongst doc lovers. Nonetheless, it’s a shock in and of itself that probably the most controversial classes on this yr’s Academy Awards nominations was Greatest Documentary. What that claims concerning the Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences—and its shifting priorities—stays to be seen.
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Henry Davidson has been the senior editor at Wahu Times since 2018. A two-decade veteran of journalism, Henry’s work has appeared in the NPR, Examiner, The Sun and numerous other publications. He is a member of the United Media Guild.