Oscars: ‘Wonder Woman,’ James Franco, Steven Spielberg Among Noteworthy Snubs
While a number of Oscar hopefuls are cheering after their names were announced with Tuesday morning’s nominations, a number of other individuals and films considered to be contenders found themselves snubbed.
Wonder Woman was completely shut out by the Academy, even in the technical categories, despite being one of the highest-grossing films of the year and receiving acclaim from a number of critics groups and awards organizations. Also shut out despite receiving early-season awards attention and Golden Globe, SAG Awards and PGA Award nominations was Battle of the Sexes, about the historic tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs.
James Franco was considered by pundits likely to land a best actor nomination but he wasn’t included in this year’s five nominees for his work in The Disaster Artist, after he faced a number of sexual misconduct allegations.
Molly’s Game, Aaron Sorkin’s relentlessly entertaining film about “poker princess” Molly Bloom, scored a surprise nomination from the Producers Guild of America, but that support didn’t translate into widespread Academy approval on Tuesday, though Sorkin’s adapted screenplay scored the esteemed writer a nom. But not his star.
It’s arguably the best performance of Jessica Chastain’s career, but the past Oscar nominee and Molly’s Game star found herself at the mercy of a harsh numbers game — with too many top-flight best actress performances vying for just five slots.
On the men’s side, just one year after scoring a best actor nod for Fences, Denzel Washington is back — this time for Dan Gilroy’s Roman J. Israel, Esq. The film was met with mixed reviews, but the Screen Actors Guild and the Golden Globes both honoured Washington for his performance as the titular lawyer. Now, the Academy is also heralding him.
Usually, securing a nomination at the Critics Choice Awards, the Golden Globes Awards, and the Screen Actors Guild Awards is a sturdy prelude to an Oscar nomination, but not always. Jennifer Aniston nabbed the trifecta of nods for her work in 2014’s Cake, as did Daniel Brühl for his performance in 2013’s Rush, but neither followed up with an Oscar nod. The same goes for Downsizing breakout Hong Chau, undeniably the most celebrated part of Alexander Payne’s latest film. While the project was seen early (SAG’s nominations voting takes place way before most other precursor groups), Chau had momentum on her side, but the field quickly filled with established, veteran actresses (Allison Janney, Laurie Metcalf, Holly Hunter, Octavia Spencer) and A-list superstars known for their work outside Hollywood (Mary J. Blige), leaving little room for a lesser-known performer to hold her ground.
Michael Stuhlbarg’s scenes in Call Me by Your Name are some of the most powerful cinematic moments of the year, but the Academy apparently missed the memo. With several different performances in Oscar-recognized films this year (Call Me by Your Name, The Shape of Water, The Post), Stuhlbarg’s first individual nomination is still on the horizon if he keeps choosing to work on projects similar to those he released last year.
In fact, The Academy snubbed two supporting actors from Call Me by Your Name. Armie Hammer was also left out. He cued a collective swoon from audiences around the world thanks to his passionate portrayal of Oliver, the hunky, older lover of a smitten teen, Elio (Timothée Chalamet), in Luca Guadagnino’s same-sex romance. His charms weren’t enough to win over the Academy, however, as more established actors in higher profile projects likely bounded past him in the home stretch of nominations voting.
Other surprise omissions included The Post helmer Steven Spielberg in the best director category, The Post star Tom Hanks in the best actor category, Call Me by Your Name’s Armie Hammer in the supporting actor category, Girls Trip breakout Tiffany Haddish, who helped announce this year’s nominations, in the best supporting actress category and I, Tonya in the best picture category.
While Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri landed seven nominations including ones for best picture, best actress (Frances McDormand) and best supporting actor (Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson), the film’s director Martin McDonagh was left out of the best director field.
Well-received films The Big Sick, Florida Project, Molly’s Game each only landed one nomination, for best original screenplay, supporting actor (Willem Dafoe) and adapted screenplay, respectively.
In terms of specific category snubs, In the Fade not scoring a best foreign-language film nomination and Jane not landing a best documentary nomination were surprises after both films won awards in equivalent categories from other groups.