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2021 Oscars: Biggest snubs and surprises

2021 Oscars: Biggest snubs and surprises

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Andrew H Walker/Shutterstock (8434891ne) Barry Jenkins after 'Moonlight' is named as 'Best Picture' winner 89th Annual Academy Awards, Backstage, Los Angeles, USA - 26 Feb 2017

2021 Oscars: Biggest snubs and surprises
March 16
20:23 2021

Much like any other year, the Oscars netted a plethora of snubs and surprises when the nominations were announced Monday morning. In a delayed awards season thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, we are finally in the final stretch and now have a clearer picture as to who will eventually take home the top prizes when the Oscars finally air on April 25, 2021. Below is a breakdown of the biggest snubs and surprises of the 2021 Oscar nominations.

Snub: “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami” in Best Picture

While there was much to celebrate in terms of diversity in this crop of nominees, two Black-led, Black-directed films that have been seen as frontrunners to be nominated in the top category were left off the list. The Academy allows up to 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture, but once again, this year they opted for a smaller slate, nominating only eight, leaving “Ma Rainey” and “Miami” in the cold. Regina King, the director of “One Night in Miami” was also left off the Best Director category.

Surprise: Thomas Vinterberg for “Another Round”

The clear frontrunner to win Best International Feature, “Another Round,” was also given recognition to its director with Vinterberg landing a surprise Best Director nomination. This continues the trend of The Academy nominating a surprise international director in this category after typically nominating the international feature that the director helmed. Furthermore, this trend follows Bong Joon-ho getting nominated— and winning —for best director last year for “Parasite,” Alfonso Cuaron for “Roma” and Pawel Pawlikowski for “Cold War” both in 2018 and Michael Haneke for “Amour” at the 2013 ceremony.

Snub: “Da 5 Bloods” in just about every category

Spike Lee’s war epic, “Da 5 Bloods” was left off just about every major category, garnering only one nomination for Best Score. The film missed nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor for Delroy Lindo, Best Supporting Actor for Chadwick Boseman who was nominated in a leading role for “Ma Rainey” and every other technical category as well.

Surprise: “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” in two major categories

The topical, bizarre comedy sequel garnered a surprise Best Original Screenplay nominee and Maria Bakalova pushed through all the way to the end and got a Best Supporting Actress nominee for her role as Tutar. Bakalova has long been presumed to be among the field of nominees, especially after her nominations at the Golden Globes, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) and the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG) — however, there were still doubts that she would make it all the way to the Oscars due to The Academy’s odd deterrence to comedies. Nonetheless, Bakalova surprised as made it in.

Snub: A number of ‘sure thing’ documentaries were left out

The Best Documentary category has been a strange one to predict all season long. Now, notable, presumed documentaries such as “Time,” “Crip Camp” and “Collective” (a double nominee this year, also getting a Best International Feature nomination) making the cut, there were a number of other presumed ones to make the list that were left off such as: “Dick Johnson is Dead,” “Boys State,” “All In: The Fight for Democracy” and “Welcome to Chechnya.”

Surprise: LaKeith Stanfield in Best Supporting Actor for “Judas and the Black Messiah”

Stanfield missed out on the BAFTA, SAG and Golden Globe, so it is a surprise that he ended up here after missing those typical precursor awards leading up to the Oscars. Secondly, it is a surprise that he landed in the Supporting Actor category as he has been campaigned as the lead actor in the film the entire awards season up until now. He now shares this category with his costar, Daniel Kaluuya.

Snub: “Mank” in Best Original Screenplay

“Mank” follows Herman Mankiewicz as he struggles and races to finish the screenplay of “Citizen Kane.” For a film about the writing of such a seminal screenplay in the annals of film history, snubbing the screenplay for the film about the writing of said screenplay almost feels like a joke The Academy couldn’t wait to pull.

Surprise: “The White Tiger” in Best Adapted Screenplay

A late player in the awards season game, “The White Tiger” is a Netflix movie that premiered in January of this year, but was eligible for the Oscars this year thanks to the extended eligibility period set by The Academy. The film follows a poor villager who eventually becomes a successful entrepreneur in India. The screenplay secured a lone BAFTA nomination earlier this year, so an Oscar nomination comes as a surprise considering the lack of other recognition for it.

Snub: Ellen Burstyn for Best Supporting Actress in “Pieces of a Woman”

Ellen Burstyn was long thought to narrowly secure a nomination in a very inconclusive category but failed to do so, even as Vanessa Kirby landed a nomination for Best Lead Actress for the same film.

Surprise: “Pinocchio” in Best Costume Design and Makeup and Hairstyling

This Italian iteration of Pinocchio follows similar beats of the classic story, albeit in a much darker tone this time around. The film was predicted for a makeup and hairstyling nomination but surprised with a costume design nomination as well.

Snub: Pedro Almodóvar’s “The Human Voice” for Best Live Action Short

Pedro Almodóvar’s and Tilda Swinton’s short film was left off the Best Live Action Short category even as it was originally predicted to win it. This is just another example of how we might not really ever know how The Academy thinks in terms of what they decide to nominate or not. (I also reviewed the film here.)

(I also reviewed Best Picture nominees “Promising Young Woman” and “Nomadland.”)

Other films completely shut out this year that deserved recognition: “I’m Thinking of Ending Things,” “First Cow,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” “Palm Springs,” “The Forty-Year-Old-Version,” “The Assistant,” “Miss Juneteenth” and “Babyteeth.”

Courtesy Variety

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Spencer Kain

Spencer Kain

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