Oscar Nominations: 17 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

Oscar Nominations Snubs and Suprises
Courtesy of Bleeker Street/Sony/20th Century Fox/Warner Bros

With such a crowded field for this year’s Oscars race, there were bound to be big curveballs from the Academy Awards nominations on Thursday morning.

But the most disappointing outcome is that, for the second consecutive year, all 20 of the acting nominees are white. No Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson for “Creed”? No Idris Elba or Abraham Attah for “Beasts of No Nation”? No Will Smith for “Concussion”? And the cast of “Straight Outta Compton” was also shut out. There’s no doubt that yet another year of an all-white Oscars, which is being widely criticized on Twitter, will be addressed by host Chris Rock at the Feb. 28 telecast.

The Academy also managed to omit “Carol” from this year’s best picture race, marking the first time since 2008 that a movie backed by Harvey Weinstein isn’t competing in the top Oscars category. “The Revenant” led all films with 12 nominations, closely followed by 10 nominations for “Mad Max: Fury Road.” Here are the biggest snubs and surprises.

SNUB: “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
Nominating the most gigantic movie in history (with a domestic box office tally of $820 million and growing) for best picture would have ensured that the Oscars telecast received a big boost in viewership. But the latest installment of “Star Wars” only picked up five nods in the technical categories like sound and editing.

SNUB: Ridley Scott, “The Martian”
Scott was expected to win the best director category this year for his ambitious space epic starring Matt Damon. But like Ben Affleck for “Argo,” the director’s branch of the Academy overlooked him. However, he is nominated for best producer since “The Martian” was recognized in the best picture race.

SNUB: Idris Elba, “Beasts of No Nation”
Elba was expected to be included in the best supporting actor category for portraying the commandant in Cary Fukunaga’s drama set in West Africa. Although “Beasts” received a SAG ensemble nomination, and had strong support from within the Academy’s actors branch, it failed to pick up any Oscar nominations, despite a push from Netflix for its inaugural original feature.

SNUB: Aaron Sorkin, “Steve Jobs”
After a Golden Globe win and a WGA nod, Sorkin seemed a sure thing for a nomination for his “Steve Jobs” screenplay. Instead, he was shut out while “Brooklyn’s” Nick Hornby snuck in.

SNUB: Michael Keaton, “Spotlight”
All the actors in “Spotlight” were placed in the best supporting actor categories — and while that meant good news for Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams, who were both nominated today, Michael Keaton was left out.

SNUB: Johnny Depp, “Black Mass”
Depp was an early favorite in this year’s Oscars race for playing James “Whitey” Bulger in the Warner Bros. gangster drama. But he might have peaked too soon, and his reluctance to campaign made it difficult for Oscar voters to remember the performance.

SNUB: Will Smith, “Concussion”
Smith stretched — and adopted a Nigerian accent — to play Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovered a link between NFL players and permanent brain trauma. Although he hosted many Academy Q&As to support the Sony Pictures release, the lukewarm reviews for the film may have hurt him.

SNUB: Jacob Tremblay, “Room”
“Room” performed surprisingly well — with nominations for best picture, best director (Lenny Abrahamson) and best actress (Brie Larson) — but it’s hard to understand how the Academy failed to recognize the film’s central performance by astonishing newcomer Jacob Tremblay. The decision by A24 to campaign him in best supporting actor, although he appears in almost every scene, may have confused voters. If he had been nominated as best actor, he would have been the youngest actor ever to appear in the category — tying Jackie Cooper (1931’s “Skippy”) — at age 9.

SNUB: Michael B. Jordan, “Creed”
At 28, Michael B. Jordan is one of Hollywood’s most promising young stars. The Academy overlooked his breakthrough role in 2013’s “Fruitvale Station,” and also didn’t give him any love for “Creed,” despite the film’s $105 million box office take and an impressive physical transformation to play a professional boxer in the “Rocky” reboot.

SNUB: Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina”
Don’t get too sad for the breakout Swedish actress, because the Academy nominated her in the best supporting actress race for “The Danish Girl” instead of this sci-fi indie hit.

SNUB: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
The critically acclaimed role from the “Twilight” star made her the first American actress to take home the Cesar Award (the French equivalent of the Oscar), and nabbed her a New York Film Critics Circle prize. But in the end, not enough Oscar voters saw this small drama directed by Olivier Assayas that premiered at Cannes nearly two years ago.

SNUB: Helen Mirren, “Trumbo” and “Woman in Gold”
The beloved actress landed Golden Globe and SAG Award nods for “Trumbo” and a SAG nod for “Woman in Gold,” but found herself empty-handed this morning.

SNUB: Todd Haynes, “Carol”
After “Far From Heaven” and this year’s “Carol,” it’s criminal that Haynes has yet to be Oscar nominated in the Oscars best director category. His lack of a nomination from the DGA earlier this week was a bad omen.

SURPRISE: Jennifer Lawrence, “Joy”
Even with her Golden Globes win, many pundits were guessing that Jennifer Lawrence wouldn’t receive a best actress Oscar nomination for playing Miracle Mop inventor Joy Mangano in the David O. Russell comedy, which received mixed reviews. But America’s sweetheart triumphed again. This is Lawrence’s fourth Oscar nomination —at 25, which is a record for the most Oscar nominations for an actor that young. For comparison’s sake: Meryl Streep was 33 when she earned her fourth Oscar nomination for “Sophie’s Choice.”

SURPRISE: Tom Hardy, “The Revenant”
With 12 nominations, the Academy showed its love for the wilderness epic directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu, but Hardy — who failed to land a SAG or Golden Globe nomination — was still a darkhorse in a crowded supporting actor field. This is the British actor’s first Oscar nomination, and it’s well-deserved.

SURPRISE: Lenny Abrahamson, “Room”
After the DGA nominations were announced this week, many thought that if the Academy offered any surprises, it would be the inclusion of Todd Haynes for “Carol.” But instead, the Oscars director’s branch snuck in Lenny Abrahamson for his indie “Room,” over both Haynes and Ridley Scott (“The Martian”).

SURPRISE: Carter Burwell, “Carol”
This is only a surprise because Burwell, one of the best composers working today, who has scored films like “Fargo” and “True Grit,” has never been nominated before.

Jenelle Riley also contributed to this report.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 151

Leave a Reply


Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. I.think.its.hurtful.and.wrong.Kristen.Stewart.got.snub.of.the.the.award.the.person.who’s.getting.it.is.not.a.well.deseveing.actor.the.movie.uses.politics.and.its.wrong

  2. Snub: Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me (documentary); Snub: Unbranded. In a major way. Instead silly ol’ NETFLIX garnered two nominations for worn out subject and a basically UNKNOWN subject. Shameful.

  3. I always thought the Oscars were based on your abilities and not your C O L O R .if there are no black nominations in any catorgory then maybe they should work harder and not cry WOLF .boycotting is disrespect for there peers who did earn it. What about the red and yellow and tan who may not have been nominated Shame on all Blacks who boycott the oscars and should have there cards removed ..(SHOW SOME CLASS)

  4. Rene Ferran says:

    Thank you for at least pointing out some of the acting nominees who you would remove in favor of having more diversity in the acting categories. I really feel so many of the people who are part of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign just want to have more nominees, adding to our “everyone gets a trophy” culture, rather than saying, Will Smith deserved to be nominated over X or Y. Personally, Smith, Jordan, or Elba should have been nominated ahead of Bryan Cranston (overrated is an understatement), and Jason Mitchell in the Supporting Actor category over Mark Rylance.

  5. jimbobogie says:

    IMHO Will Smith’s snub had nothing to do with race. You could have given to role to Hoffman, Pacino or DeNiro and they wouldn’t have been nominated either. Consider the subject…and the organization…

  6. Pretty Bren says:

    Just get over it…either you show up or you don’t….Haters will hate White actors and and performers MATTER TOO!!!!!!

  7. Jake says:

    If you read the reviews for Joy, even the harshest critics felt that Jennifer Lawrence delivered a stellar performance, perhaps the best of her career. Most experts on a number of awards sites thought she would be nominated. To state the opposite, and add that “America’s sweetheart” got an unexpected nomination implies that she was nominated simply because she is well-liked.

    It seems that Variety in recent months has taken it upon itself to undermine Ms. Lawrence’s career. Prior to this article, Variety was the progenitor of the Twitter smear which posted an out-of-context 20-second clip from the Golden Globes, since debunked, that painted her in the worst possible light. Even after this bashing was revealed on many sites to be biased and unfair, Variety still has not corrected its original story or apologized.

    All you have ended up undermining is your integrity.

  8. Lloyd Hanway says:

    A lot of these are only snubs is you mistake quality for popularity and commercial success. Star Wars really guys? Does the shameless rekindling of a franchise really deserve to be rewarded? Perhaps biggest box office success of all time is enough. I was pleasantly surprised that the academy refused to recognize both the most popular movies “the biggest snubs” as well as those that appear to exist for the sole purpose of winning awards ie. Redmayne, Carol, Trumbo etc.

    Idris Alba should have been nominated for best. Mark Ruffalo’s “physical comedy”/overacting in Spotlight is an absurd nomination.

  9. beautyintheeyesofbeholder says:

    Jlaw is a talented actress, but for comparison sake to Meryl Streep the facts are:
    Jlaw started her career early since 15 yo and oscar 4th nomination at 26th,
    while Meryl on screen at 27, 4th nomination at 33.
    both are fantastic actresses, i just wrote the facts because some people/writers tend to pick information to support their argument. love both of them.

  10. zelda says:

    LOL at your excuse for why Kristen Stewart was snubbed. The film had been out for 19 months by the time ballots were due. That’s enough time for anyone in the film industry to have seen it. It played in theaters and it was out on DVD for over six months by Dec. 2015. Anyone who wanted to had already seen it, they didn’t need screeners delivered to their homes.

    Perhaps they didn’t think she did anything award-worthy in the film, seeing as how she just played herself, a 20-something hipster wannabe. There was no acting involved, no stretch, no range, no accent, no character development at all. She’s not going to get an Oscar nomination for that. That Cesar is a joke–Juliette Bincoche told her she didn’t have a chance of winning it (because if it was legitimate, she wouldn’t have won it). When a 50 year old French actress who has won every award tells you that it’s a fluke you were nominated and you’re not going to win, and you win anyway, it stinks to high heaven. The Chanel fix was in, that Cesar is a joke. You notice she was also snubbed by the SAG, Golden Globe and Critics Circle awards — that was no accident.

  11. Nathan Hale says:

    Just because Star Wars made the most money does NOT mean it should be nominated for best picture. Box Office should have NOTHING to do with what gets nominated.

    • @ Nathan Hale

      the oscars are about recognizing and awarding the best achievement in film making

      you have to admit rejuvenating star wars was an achievement especially after those godawful prequels

    • AntBee says:

      I could not agree more, Nathan Hale! If The Oscars go the way of The Grammys, by only nominating the top money makers, then they may as well stop giving them out, as they would not mean anything.

  12. Mr. Setoodeh, I wanted to take a moment to correct you on a comment made in your Star Wars segement. “Star Wars” only picked up five nods in the technical categories like sound and editing.” Sound and editorial are NOT technical categories. They are creative arts and are so categorized by ATAS and the film academy. The technical categories are a very different thing.

  13. Eclair says:

    Jennifer Lawrence broke a record that has lasted for almost 70 years. She is a genius. People will complain, she will inevitably be overexposed, but she was born with a tremendous talent.

  14. Greg Tellis says:

    Brutal snum for “Legend”…best actor Tom Hardy…great supporting cast like Chaz Palminteri and David Thewliss…incredible script…Emily Browning fabulous…most obvious omission of all was not
    acknowledging the Timi Yuro inspired nightclub performances by Duffy AND her original song…would
    have been magical in performance on awards night…the Academy blew it.

  15. Sam says:

    The results may be more diverse if some people would stop mislabeling everyone who is white, male and middle-age a racist.

  16. Gillian Setter says:

    As much as I may agree with many/most of those listed as having been passed over, who, exactly, would you have be tossed from the list of nominees to accomodate the “snubs”? Not sure lists like this serve any purpose other than to call into question the validity of all those who did receive nominations …

  17. Tell It says:

    The Scott snub is shocking. “The Martian” is my favorite movie of the year, and, as Billy Crystal once said, it didn’t direct itself. Hardy has delivered some good performances in recent years, but I had a hard time understanding what he was saying in “Revenant.”

  18. Pablo says:

    What? Are we supposed to lower the standards of acting to include everyone? It’s offensive that the first thing we see is that all whites are nominated. Grow the fuk variety. This is why you will be gone in 5 years. You disgust me!

  19. Txakaz says:

    Blacks Browns Reds & Yellows
    are upset because the Oscar nominations seemed to be only for Pinks.

    Quit going to the movies for the next 5 years.

    A dramatic change will be noticed, no pun intended.

    IF NO DEMONSTRABLE Change after 5 years, extend for another 5 years.

  20. 1/14/16 8:09p Variety Ramin Setoodeh More Noms
    We Need More.
    So many Snubs we could add more to the List.
    More the Merrier.

  21. Kyle Lauren says:

    The Jews may not have the White House yet, but they certainly have Hollywood. Did you also notice that Star Wars did not have a single blonde actor anywhere in it? That every shot of the First Order was tinted with Nazi symbolism? And that the only black character in the whole film just happens to portray the bad seed who decided he doesn’t want to be a bad seed anymore?

    They own our entertainment, and our childhood nostalgia. They know exactly what they’re doing, and no one is slowing them down.

    Why are people afraid of speaking honestly? Even Sirius in NYC won’t let anyone in the building without a Hebrew check. How is a religion with so few members worldwide get to own so much of America? They’re really bad at being fair with others once they acquire ANY kind of power. Everyone ultimately is, which is why diversity is so important.

    The Jews don’t want it. The southerners don’t want it. At this point, we’re lucky blacks even WANT to mix with us. We’re headed towards a 3-way civil war. Whites will eliminate black first, then Jews and Christians will fight for the crown. Then whoever’s in power (regardless who it is) will start taking from the poor.

    History is a never-ending cycle of stupidity.

  22. Susan says:

    There are only five nominees in each acting category. Not everybody is going to get one.

  23. razor1369 says:

    SNUB: Legend
    SNUB: Tom Hardy for Legend

  24. Carterjay says:

    What about the fantastic Youth? The little song was nominated, but nothing for Caine, Keitel, Fonda, Dano, or Weiss? Wow!

  25. TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

    Snubs coincide with throwaway movies of consistently depressing subject matter that no one cares to see. Bring back Peter Bart from winter hiatus to out dreck entertainment of showbiz Generation Suck.

  26. Nima Nabavi says:

    Streep received her 4th nomination for her role in Sophie’s Choice.

  27. Nima Nabavi says:

    Deer Hunter was filmed in 1978 and Streep received her 1st nomination in the role.

  28. dave B says:

    Paul Dano gave possibly the year’s best performance in “Love & Mercy”… that is a snub and a surprise!

  29. khrish67 says:

    Does this committee even watch these films? Last year’s awards films sucked.

    • Dex says:

      No, they don’t. And that’s reason enough to skip the Oscars–again.
      If these bland, monolithic blokes–otherwise known as the Academy–don’t bother taking nominations seriously, why should anyone else?

  30. LAGuy says:

    I can’t believe they nominated Matt Damon over Johnny Depp. Damon was likable and charming but the role wasn’t much of a stretch and he’s done better work elsewhere. Depp completely disappeared inside the character and gave an Oscar-worthy performance.

    • TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

      Depp is unable to disappear anymore in his kabuki shtick. And clown makeup does not make good black hats.

      • James says:

        Have you actually seen his outstanding performance in Black Mass? I bet you haven’t even seen his other recent films either. He always disappears into his roles. And he was horribly robbed this year.

  31. Daniela says:

    Southpaw and straight outta Compton :(

  32. Kate H says:

    I suspect Leo will win for ‘The Revenant’ but the Academy needs to atone for rewarding the astonishingly terrible ‘Birdman’ last year, so I suspect the film won’t win any other major gongs.

  33. bdtrooper says:

    Star Wars: A Force Awakens should have nabbed a Best Picture nom. It had spectacle, emotion and everything. And while The Hateful Eight received 3 noms, I’m surprised it’s not getting more recognition from the critics and at the box office-it’s among his best work. In addition to JJL, Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson and Walton Goggins could all have been nominated, as well as Quentin for screenplay. And as for Russell, he was also terrific in Bone Tomahawk, which should have gotten a screenplay nod and Supp. Actor for Richard Jenkins. But it’s good to see genre pics like Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Ex Machina receive so much well deserved acclaim. It’s those kind of films that stand the test of time. No one will remember Carol or The Danish Girl in a couple of years, or months.

    • TheBigBangof20thCenturyPopCulture says:

      With regard to Star Wars rip off remake 4, the Academy realizes the error of its ways and promises in the future to consider nominating a Toys R Us action figure commercial in the short subject category.

  34. mateasel says:

    Two of Ramin’s stubs are because of box office success? Star Wars and Michael B. Jordan are worthy of nominations, but not because they raked in the money.

  35. Jack Monte says:

    Star Wars certainly didn’t deserve an acting or directing nom and the ones they did get were more of the same effects that have been done before, so those noms are not for anything truly groundbreaking. Mikey Jordan wasn’t nominated because the academy sees what anyone that knows good acting sees, that he isn’t a good actor. Carol deserved it’s snub, not as amazing as its been touted all year, unless critics saw a different cut than the one at AFI. Surprised by Depp’s snub, great work in that film.

  36. CTmoviefan says:

    Despite critical acclaim and the huge number of BAFTA nominations, Carol is not nominated for best picture. And Todd Haynes is shut out again. Truly sad. If you haven’t seen the movie, go. Read the review in Variety. Just shocked.

  37. Steve McKay says:

    The same people who think we need to have more diversification voted for Obama not because he was qualified but because he was black. Its about talent people. There is no affirmative action in Hollywood and you can’t squeak in because someone thinks you need a little boost because youre black. Its insulting to minorities to think that way anyway. Wake up. Its about talent.

  38. David S says:

    Will Smith is a mediocre actor, who has spent his entire career playing 2 or 3 characters. Concussion sucked, he was totally generic in it, and it was obviously him trying to do a “serious” movie just for an Oscar. You can’t call it a snub when he doesn’t deserve any awards.

  39. Jim Ponsoldt says:

    i’m happy for both jennifer jason leigh and rooney mara, both very deserving.

  40. Daryle says:

    Johnny Depp should have had a nomination….and he SHOULDN’T have had to campaign for it (nor should anyone else).. It’s too bad the Oscars are just a popularity contest, with popularity clearly being bought and paid for.

  41. jim says:

    Can’t believe Ridley was not nominated and what the hell is all this love for the worst james bond theme. Listen to that after live and let die. Junk tune.

  42. The biggest snub for me was Paul Dano for Love and Mercy-one of my favorite performances of the year.

  43. Natalie says:

    Always amused by Hollywood’s inflated sense of importance. The Academy Awards are industry prizes given out by people in the industry to people in the industry. Outside of LA, most people tune into the show to see the women and their dresses. The awards have little, if anything, to do with matters of substance.

  44. SJ Plaxo says:

    How come nobody gripes about the lack of Asian actors? Or the lack of Hispanic nominees? Or Indians?

  45. Edith says:

    Deer hunter wasn’t in 1983

  46. Movie Man says:

    People of color?!! What racist thinking. White is a color. Sorry but are we going to base people just on skin color? That in itself is racist. Sorry that the best actors all happen to be Caucasian. Deal with it racists! Chris Rock and Samuel L Jackson will no doubt be voicing their obnoxious racism . Ugh!

    • Marcus says:

      The best actors aren’t Caucasian. Just stop man you are making a fool of yourself with this post. And if anyone is showing obnoxious racism right now it’s you. You are showing your true ‘colors’. How can Rock and Jackson voice their obnoxious racism when they have no power to change anything. That isn’t racism to voice your opinion. Just shutup already, man. You don’t know what you are talking about.

  47. Robbie says:

    Oh SHUT UP ALREADY with your race baiting garbage. Why would Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson rate an Oscar nomination when, A- They haven’t gotten any real pre-Oscar attention and B- They didn’t really do anything award-worthy (especially Thompson, who was basically “The Girl”). Why don’t you idiots go back to debating if the little red haired girl in Peanuts should be a person of color. Morons.

    • Marcus says:

      Wow look at the white priviledge coming out for this Robbie guy and Movie Man. White is a color? Really? LOL.

      • Mike says:

        And what about the lack of white diversity in the NBA? Why is no one complaining about this? Obviously blacks are more talented basketball players and whites are more talented actors. So, deal with it, all you reverse racists.

  48. Adam says:

    The Deer Hunter was Meryl’s first nomination. Sophie’s Choice was her fourth.

    • Robbie says:

      They really need to fire the current Variety staff. Was Ramin Setoodeh an intern promoted solely because of diversity? My guess is yes. The guy makes blunder after blunder in his pieces and is a fairly terrible writer, to boot.

  49. survivor3306 says:

    Tarentino got robbed by not being nominated for writing or directing.

  50. Guedt says:

    Maybe next year outlets like this one and the Hollywood reporter can give exposure to actors of color instead of say, Jennifer Lawrence

More Film News from Variety