The Biggest Snubs And Surprises Of The 2017 Oscar Nominations

The nominees for the 89th Annual Academy Awards were announced this morning and, as usual, there were plenty of moments that made you want to shout "Come on!" And to be fair, there were also plenty of moments where you smirked and announced to the empty room "Well, at least they got that one right."

The paint isn't even dry on these new Oscar nominations, but it's time to dive in and start picking them apart. So let's start with the knee-jerk reactions. Let's take a look at the biggest surprises and snubs of the 2017 Oscar nominations.

Silence Was Almost Shut Out

In some ways, it would have been better for Martin Scorsese's Silence to have been completely shut out. Then it would have been able to join the elite club of fascinating, powerful, and vital cinema that the Oscars have completely ignored over the decades. Instead, it was given a single nomination for its cinematography (which is well-deserved!). They even went and nominated Silence star Andrew Garfield for another film, which really adds insult to injury. There are a few important takeaways here. First, a new drama from one of the greatest American filmmakers of all time is not guaranteed admittance to the Oscars club. Second, films this long and challenging probably shouldn't launch their awards campaigns in late December.

top 10 movies of 2016 la la land

They Liked La La Land That Much?!

Look, we all knew that La La Land was going to dominate these nominations and it's surely going to win big at the actual ceremony next month. It has the momentum of a freight train. Critics love it. Audiences love it. It's a box office smash. It's about Hollywood, which always gets Oscar voters hot and bothered. But 14 nominations? That's huge. That's record-tying. La La Land just tied All About Eve and Titanic for the most nominations for a single film in the history of the Academy Awards. La La Land isn't just going to win next month – it's going to destroy everyone else.


The Academy Decides to Ignore Clint Eastwood For Once

Normally, the Academy bends over backwards to toss Oscar nominations at Clint Eastwood movies (even the bad ones!). So the fact that Sully, one of his better movies in recent years and a box office smash, only walked away with a nod for Best Sound Editing is peculiar.

2016 fall movie preview hacksaw ridge movie

Hollywood Has Forgiven Mel Gibson, Apparently

Remember when Mel Gibson was pulled over for driving under the influence and spouted a bunch of anti-Semitic and sexist garbage? Remember when he was caught on an audio recording shouting racial slurs? It wasn't that long ago. His career was over. Done. Kaput. And now, he has a fresh Oscar nomination for directing Hacksaw Ridge, a film that received five nominations overall. It seems that time and a war movie is all some people need to forgive and forget.

The Lobster

The Most Original Screenplay of 2016 Actually Got Nominated

Hey, would you look at that: the most original screenplay for any 2016 release was actually nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category. Yorgos Lanthimos and Efthymis Filippou's The Lobster only won a single nomination, but a film this bizarre and singular getting any Oscar love is extraordinary. Look, a movie about an alternate reality where single people are forced to find a partner or get turned into animals isn't going to stop the La La Land train, but it's just happy to be here.

Science of Arrival

They Liked Arrival That Much?!

It's only taken most of a century, but the Academy is finally starting to warm up to genre films. Following in the footsteps of Avatar, District 9 and Mad Max: Fury Road, Denis Villeneuve's Arrival tied Moonlight for the second most nominations with eight nods, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Cinematography. That's a huge for any movie, but for a science fiction movie about aliens arriving on Earth? That's extraordinary. I was fully prepared to open this article with "But what about Arrival?", but I'll give credit where credit is due: the Academy got this one right.

top 10 movies of 2016 arrival

Where the Hell Were Amy Adams and Annette Benning?

However, we now have to furrow our brows and wonder why Arrival doesn't have nine nominations, because Amy Adams was inexplicably left out of the Best Actress category. The film works because every other element comes together, but Adams' work is the heart and soul of the film, the warm emotional body that the hard sci-fi ideas can orbit around. And while we're talking about lauded performances being snubbed in the Best Actress category, can we pause for a moment and wonder why Annette Benning wasn't nominated for 20th Century Women? Does Meryl Streep really need another Oscar nomination (for Florence Foster Jenkins, of all things) when you have a perfectly amazing Annette Benning standing right over there?

20th Century Women

Nocturnal Animals and 20th Century Women Stay in the Dark

And then the Academy had to go rub salt in Amy Adams' wounds by also not nominating her for Nocturnal Animals, which was positioned as a surefire awards contender just a few months ago. However, the film simply didn't catch on with critics or audiences and now all it has in the Oscar race is a Best Supporting Actor nod for Michael Shannon. Granted, anything involving Michael Shannon can't be all bad, but still. Even more egregious is the almost complete shut-out of 20th Century Women, which received a nod for writer/director Mike Mills' screenplay but nothing more.

the handmaiden review

No Love For The Handmaiden

Remember when I wrote about the elite club of fascinating, powerful, and vital cinema that were complete ignored by the Oscars? Welcome to that club, The Handmaiden.

top 10 movies of 2016 sing street

Trolls Got Nominated Over Sing Street For Best Original Song

I'm never going to understand why Trolls (a perfectly decent children's movie that I don't hate as much as I don't dwell upon) received a nomination for Best Original Song when Sing Street was shut out. Granted, more people saw Trolls and it actually had a proper awards campaign while Sing Street was left to die in the street despite having a soundtrack jam-packed with incredible music that I listen to all the time because it's a key part of what makes the movie great. Hrumph. While we're here, the fact that Moana only nabbed a single song nomination (for the wonderful "How Far I'll Go") suggests that the La La Land train (with its two song nominations) will block Lin-Manuel Miranda from EGOT-ing this year. And let's be honest: Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping should have been here, too.

top 10 movies of 2016 oj made in america

The Academy Makes it Official: O.J.: Made in America is a Movie

Film critics have spent the past few months arguing over whether or not Ezra Edelman's eight-hour epic O.J.: Made in America is a film that aired on television or a television miniseries. Now that the Academy has nominated it for Best Documentary, it feels like we have an answer. As the lines between TV and cinema continue to blur into a fuzzy mess where traditional categorization fails to get the job done, big statements like this will help give our conversations/debates/arguments a little bit of structure.


A Crowded Documentary Category

While while the nomination of O.J.: Made in America is probably the biggest surprise in the Best Documentary category, this whole corner of the awards was stacked. While the Academy has often and infamously snubbed challenging and political documentaries, the nominations for 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, and Fire at Sea feel appropriate considering the events of the past year. The inclusion of the more warm-hearted Life, Animated feels like the exception, not the rule. While this category was stronger than usual, the snubbing of Cameraperson and Weiner still stings.

Jeff Bridges - Hell or High Water

They Liked Hell or High Water That Much?!

Hell or High Water was a critical success and people liked it and it made money. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it dresses the wheel up with new shades of dust and blood. Just about everyone seems to agree that it's a solid movie featuring strong actors doing good work. But a Best Picture nomination? That wasn't supposed to happen! It's not going to win a damn thing, but those four nods are are nice blast of the unexpected in a year where everything fell mostly where we thought it 10 movies of 2016 kubo and the two strings

Kubo and the Two Strings Got a Visual Effects Nod

It's great that Kubo and the Two Strings was nominated for Best Animated Feature because it is the best animated feature released in 2016. It's probably going to lose to Zootopia, but I've made my peace with that. What is pleasantly surprising and deeply weird is that it was also nominated for Best Visual Effects. Because Laika makes stop-motion movies that utilize physical puppets and practical sets, the film's large number of digital effects shots apparently qualify it for a category where you typically never see animated movies. This was a very, very cool nomination.

Rogue One - K-2SO, Cassian Andor and Jyn Erso

Rogue One Doesn't Replicate The Force Awakens

Last year, Star Wars: The Force Awakens did better at the Oscars than your average blockbuster, scooping up five nominations. This year, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story only picked up two nominations (for Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing). It's honestly not that surprising and it's pretty much Business As Usual, but it proves that the awards attention lavished on The Force Awakens was probably an anomaly.

Lion - Dev Patel

They Liked Lion That Much?!

Look, Garth Davis' Lion has been steadily gaining momentum over the past several weeks, but six nominations is "spit out your coffee" strong for a film that was barely in the conversation a few months ago. It's hard to imagine it winning against the larger, more powerful horses in this race, but this is quite the surprise.

Finding Dory

Pixar Got Shut Out of the Big Race

There was a time where every single Best Animated Feature statuette was Pixar's to lose. The snubbing of Finding Dory can't help but feel like a statement, especially when Disney Animation ate up two of the available spots with Zootopia and Moana. Look at it this way: the sequel to Pixar's first Oscar-winning feature was denied a nomination by the uber-depressing (but beautiful!) The Red Turtle and My Life as Zucchini, a French-Swiss stop-motion animated film. Pixar can't just waltz into the Oscar race and win these days, even when its top contender has made over $1 billion worldwide. However, they can take some consolation in the delightful Piper getting nominated in the Best Animated Short category.

2016 summer movie recap

Passengers, 13 Hours, and Suicide Squad Are Oscar Nominees

Every year, there is at least one truly bad movie to get nominated for an Oscar on the strength of its technical excellence in at least one category. We like to call this The Norbit Hall of Fame. This year brought us three (three!) new inductees: Passengers, 13 Hours, and Suicide Squad. Because the Oscars are about saying nice things about movies, let's dwell on this for a second. Yes, Passengers does have pretty slick production design and its score gets the job done! Yes, the sound mixing in 13 Hours sure is loud! And yeah, the practical make-up on Killer Croc in Suicide Squad is pretty impressive stuff.

Everything Wrong With Deadpool

Deadpool Got Nothin'

Hey, remember when we thought Deadpool could surprise us for a hot second? Yeah. Weird times.