The Peanuts Movie trailer

The Peanuts Movie

On one level, the Best Animated Feature category is a delight. Pixar’s Inside Out is the only truly major film nominated, with smaller family outings like Shaun the Sheep, adult-oriented masterpieces like Anomalisa, and out-of-nowhere dark horses like Boy and the World and When Marnie Was There filling out the rest of the slots. However, this means that the well-received and surprisingly good The Peanuts Movie didn’t received a nomination, which felt like a sure thing as of two days ago. On one hand, it’s nice to see a major animated movie not get into this category by default (also note the absence of The Good Dinosaur). On the other hand, it’s a shame this point had to be made on the shoulders of such a nice movie.

aaronsorkin-quentintarantino

Quentin Tarantino and Aaron Sorkin

And this is where things get really weird. Aaron Sorkin and Quentin Tarantino, both previous Oscar winners renowned for their unique scripts and specific voices, were both shut out of their respective screenplay categories. Although Steve Jobs hasn’t had much awards momentum since it died a quick (and undeserved) death at the box office, another nomination for Sorkin felt like a sure thing. After all, the Academy does like him – they gave him an Oscar a few years ago for The Social Network. However, Steve Jobs only received nods for Best Actor (Michael Fassbender) and Best Supporting Actress (Kate Winslet), which is the final nail in the awards coffin for a film that sounded like a serious frontrunner a year ago.

The same level of confusion applies to Tarantino, who has won two screenwriting Oscars in the past. The extreme and divided reaction to The Hateful Eight made it clear that his bloody western wasn’t going to be a major player at this year’s awards, but the absence of a Tarantino nomination still feels like a lock. While the film was nominated for three awards (Best Supporting Actress for Jennifer Jason Leigh, Best Score, and Best Cinematography), the snubbing of Tarantino can’t help but feel almost deliberate. The surprise nomination for Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff’s Straight Outta Compton screenplay seems to have pushed him to the side.

Were the Academy voters trying to send a message to Sorkin and Tarantino? Or was this some kind of stroke of cosmic fate? In either case, it’s bummer – they wrote two of 2015’s best screenplays.

Creed trailer

Creed (and Anyone Who’s Not White)

Creed received a single Oscar nomination and, to be fair, it’s a well-deserved one: Best Supporting Actor for Sylvester Stallone. However, it’s hard to believe that this critically beloved crowdpleaser was shut out everywhere else. Considering just how downright caucasian this year’s nominees are, it speaks to a larger problem. It’s a bummer that Creed didn’t get a nod for Best Picture, but it somehow hurts more to see Michael B. Jordan shut out in Best Actor and Ryan Coogler not nominated for Best Director. Perhaps this would sting less if Idris Elba hadn’t also been ignored for Beasts of No NationSamuel L. Jackson hadn’t been snubbed for The Hateful Eight, or if anyone involved in Straight Outta Compton (aside from the white screenwriters) received a nomination.

In a year filled with tremendous acting and filmmaking from people of color, this Oscar line-up is filled almost entirely with white people. The only minority artist nominated for anything in a major category is The Revenant director Alejandro González Iñárritu. You could say that it’s not the Academy Awards’ job to spread diversity, but it would also be downright foolish to say that the only performances worthy of recognition came from white people. That’s patently untrue and represents a narrow worldview from a voting body who has always been more than a little old fashioned. Let’s just go ahead and say what we’re all thinking: this is kind of fucked up.

What are some of the other 2016 Oscar snubs that really got under your skin?

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