The Biggest 2018 Oscar Snubs And Surprises

The Academy Awards can be a source of great joy and great misery for movie fans. On one hand, it's fun to watch your favorite movies get celebrated by the industry that spawned them, to see incredible artists awarded with golden statuettes. On the other, it's an opportunity to moan and groan because the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just doesn't get it and failed to nominated the truly deserving movies and/or performers. It's a struggle!

The 2018 Academy Award nominations are no different. While many of the categories went exactly as predicted, there were plenty of twists and turns. People who weren't in the conversation are suddenly present. Movies that felt like sure things have been left out in the cold. These are the biggest Oscar snubs and surprises of 2018.

The Shape of Water red band trailer

Surprise: The Shape of Water

It's not surprising that The Shape of Water got a bunch of Oscar nominations and it's not surprising that it led the pack. Everyone saw that coming. The film's mix of drama and genre elements makes it a strong fit for categories across the board. However, the film didn't just lead the pack – it dominated the pack with 13 nods, including surprise nominations for Octavia Spencer and Best Original Screenplay (Dunkirk tailed it with eight nominations). This doesn't instantly make the film the frontrunner for Best Picture, but it certainly doesn't hurt...and it's going to mean a lot more eyes on this enchanting, strange, and remarkable movie.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE OF EBBING, MISSOURI

Snubbed: Martin McDonagh

Before the Oscar nominations were announced, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was looking like the overall frontrunner, the movie to beat. Now that director Martin McDonagh has been snubbed, that's looking a little less likely. To be fair, the film received seven nominations and is still a contender (and McDonagh was nominated for his writing), but it's shocking to see his name left off the list after he's been considered a sure thing for so long.

Tiffany Haddish

Snubbed: Tiffany Haddish

Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish was always going to be a long shot in the Best Supporting Actress category, but there's no denying the fact that she was gathering momentum. Her acceptance speech from the New York Film Critics Circle awards went viral and she became a dark horse in this race. It could have happened! Of course, the Academy has a long history of snubbing strong comedic performances, so this isn't a huge surprise. But still...what if?

darkest hour trailer

Surprise: Darkest Hour

Everyone knew that Darkest Hour was going to snag nominations for Best Actor and Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Gary Oldman has been a frontrunner for months now and the prosthetics that transformed him into Winston Churchill have played a key role in that. But six nominations? Including Best Picture? This film found more support within the Academy than anyone expected. Then again, this is a voting body that loves their slightly stodgy biopics.

Character Actors michael stuhlbarg

Snubbed: Michael Stuhlbarg

Michael Stuhlbarg can officially label himself the Rodney Dangerfield of modern character actors – no respect! No respect for his work in Steven Spielberg's The Post! No respect for his work in The Shape of Water! No respect for his movie-stealing turn in Call Me By Your Name! Quite simply, Stuhlbarg is one of the best actors working today and he played key supporting roles in three of 2017's best movies...and he didn't receive a single nod. One of these days, everyone is going to look back on the lack of awards love for Michael Stuhlbarg and feel downright rotten.

Phantom Thread dressing

Surprise: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread was rolled out so slowly and deliberately that it never seemed to gather much awards momentum, which makes its six nominations all the more surprising. Of course Daniel Day-Lewis was going to snag Best Actor and of course a film about designer dresses was going to snag Costume Design, but Best Picture, Best Director (Paul Thomas Anderson) and Best Supporting Actress (Lesley Manville)? Those are the very definition of "pleasant surprise."

the florida project

Snubbed: The Florida Project

It shouldn't be surprising that The Florida Project was almost entirely shut out of the Academy Awards. It's a small film, a tiny indie with a giant heart and low-key ambitions. This is the kind of film that wins critical accolades, not Oscars. And yet, Sean Baker's film has spent months gaining momentum, riding a wave of love from the festival circuit and into the awards race. This was supposed to be the little movie that could. Instead, it got shut out of the Best Picture race (many will accuse Darkest Hour of taking its spot), leaving Willem Dafoe's Best Supporting Actor nod as the film's sole nomination. At the very least, The Florida Project can take comfort in knowing that it won an even greater award than an Oscar: it was /Film's favorite movie of 2017. Nothing beats that!

Jordan Peele Nazis

Surprise: Jordan Peele

With a field of up to 10 Best Picture nominees and only five slots for Best Director, the latter has become a major category for snubs. How can a film be one of the best movies of the year and the director not be recognized? It's silly! Anyway, someone had to get chopped out of this cutthroat race and many assumed it would be Jordan Peele. After all, Get Out is a horror movie and the director's first film, both excuses that voters could use to leave him out of the running. But here he is, nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards, making him the fifth black filmmaker to receive that honor.

the post top 10

Snubbed: The Post

Geez, wasn't The Post supposed to win everything? It's a socially relevant crowdpleaser from Steven Spielberg starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. This is a movie genetically engineered to sweep the Oscars. And yet, the film was mostly ignored, scoring nods for Best Picture and Best Actress but nothing else. Nothing for Hanks, nothing for its smart screenplay, nothing for that detailed period production design, and nothing for Spielberg, who has won two directing Oscars. Considering the lack of overall love, it's shocking that it even managed that Best Picture nomination (although Streep's nod is the least surprising thing to be announced this morning).

Lady Bird Featurette - Greta Gerwig

Surprise: Greta Gerwig

Like with Jordan Peele, many pundits predicted that Lady Bird director Greta Gerwig would fall by the wayside as filmmakers behind more bombastic projects filled up the Best Director slots. This is another Academy trend: directors of smaller, more personal movies are sometimes left out in the cold in favor of directors who made more "difficult" films...forgetting that coaxing brilliant performances out of actors and telling a meaningful story is, you know, difficult. With her nomination, Gerwig is the fifth woman to be recognized by the Academy in this category. That's a win for women and for smaller, more intimate films.

Molly's Game Featurette

Snubbed: Jessica Chastain

It was clear early on that Molly's Game wasn't going to be a major Oscar contender, but just about everyone assumed that Jessica Chastain was going to get nominated for Best Actress. Because that's what Chastain does: she gets nominated for Oscars. Because she's really, really good at acting. Unfortunately, Molly's Game only received a single nomination (for Best Adapted Screenplay), leaving Chastain out of the race. The only consolation here is that Best Actress this year is stacked. Breaking into that category in 2018 is a major undertaking.

Mudbound streaming

Surprise: Rachel Morrison

Would Mudbound have landed Best Picture and Best Director nominations if Netflix was more open to giving its movies extended theatrical runs? That's a question movie fans can ponder after they celebrate the film's well-deserved four nominations, including a nod for Rachel Morrison's cinematography. It's not surprising that Morrison's work was nominated – it's nothing short of beautiful – but what is surprising is that she is the first woman to be recognized in this category. Ever. Hopefully, this is the start of a trend.

Call me by your name clip

Snubbed: Luca Guadagnino and Armie Hammer

Call Me By Your Name fared well in this year's nominations, earning nods for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song. However, the acclaimed drama found itself shut out of a few major categories, albeit crowded ones. Director Luca Guadagnino was snubbed in the Best Director category and Armie Hammer was snubbed in Best Supporting Actor. This is another case where both categories are jam-packed with talented folks worthy of awards recognition, but these snubs seemingly represent the Academy simply not being as taken with this film as critics.

Logan Film Genre Video Essay

Surprise: Logan

Superhero movies have been nominated for Oscars before, but almost always in technical categories like Best Visual Effects and Best Sound Mixing. But now, Logan joins The Dark Knight as the rare comic book film to stray outside of those categories with its nod for Best Adapted Screenplay. The final Wolverine movie is a beautifully crafted piece of work that plays with the X-Men mythology in thoughtful, soulful, and hard-hitting ways, but it's still a superhero movie and many voters probably had a hard time seeing past that. But this year, enough of them could. This is one of the most pleasant surprises of them all.

Tommy Wiseau disaster artist review

Snubbed: James Franco

Was James Franco snubbed because the Academy doesn't like The Disaster Artist very much (it received only one nomination, for Best Adapted Screenplay) or because of recent allegations of sexual misconduct against the leading man derailed what sounded like a sure thing? It's impossible to tell, especially since most prognosticators thought that the allegations arrived too late in awards season to hinder his momentum. There's no denying that Franco is terrific in The Disaster Artist, but it's also a weird performance, a gonzo portrayal of a total oddball, and that may have rubbed people the wrong way. Or everyone voted with their conscience.

Wonder Woman 2

Snubbed: Wonder Woman

Well, so much for Warner Bros.' much-publicized campaign to get Wonder Woman a Best Picture nomination. Look, everyone could have predicted that Patty Jenkins' superhero movie wasn't going to get any of the major nominations, but to get completely shut out of every single technical category? That stings just a bit, especially for a movie that was so beloved by critics and audiences and left a permanent fingerprint on the pop culture landscape.

Roman J Israel Esq trailer

Surprise: Denzel Washington

The Academy loves Denzel Washington – they've given him two Oscars and nominated him for eight more. But they apparently love him more than anyone suspected, because he received a nod for Roman J. Israel, Esq., a drama that limped into the race after being shrugged off the festival circuit. Even Washington's performance has proven divisive amongst critics, with some labeling it as downright bad. So while Denzel Washington getting nominated for an Oscar is not surprising, Denzel Washington getting nominated for an Oscar for this movie is a huge surprise.

holly hunter the big sick

Snubbed: Holly Hunter

While The Big Sick landed a well-deserved nomination for Best Original Screenplay, the hilarious and heartfelt romantic comedy was shut out of every other category, including the one that felt like a sure thing. Holly Hunter is remarkable in the movie and she's been a favorite to receive a nod ever since the film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival a year ago. Her absence from this category feels like another example of the Academy generally giving the cold shoulder to comedies.

Ferdinand Trailer

Surprise: Ferdinand

2017 was strangely lacking in the quality animated feature film department, so the Best Animated Feature category is more about "what movies will fill up the rest of the slots around Coco before Coco just wins by default?" That's how The Boss Baby becomes an Oscar nominee. But even more surprising is the nomination for Ferdinand, which came and went late last year without leaving an impression on just about anyone. At least people talked about The Boss Baby, which went on to make a ton of money. Ferdinand getting this nomination feels downright weird.

the lego batman movie

Snubbed: The LEGO Batman Movie

Here's the movie that everyone suspected would get that Ferdinand slot. While not as well-liked or as successful as The LEGO Movie, The LEGO Batman Movie is a charming, funny, witty, and all-around clever movie. It's certainly better than most of 2017's mainstream animated movies. But let's not forget that the Academy also snubbed the first LEGO Movie, so maybe this snub shouldn't be that surprising. Is it possible that many voters wrote this one off as a silly toy commercial without actually seeing it?