The Biggest 2018 Oscar Snubs and Surprises

biggest Oscar Snubs 2018

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.


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.

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