×

Oscar Nominations: 12 Biggest Snubs and Surprises

The biggest curveball from Tuesday morning’s Oscars announcement arguably wasn’t the nominees — it was how the Academy decided to unveil them. Rather than a live press conference at the crack of dawn in Los Angeles, ABC aired a protracted infomercial, starring second-tier Oscar winners like Marcia Gay Harden and Dustin Lance Black.

“La La Land” beat out all other films, with a record-tying 14 nominations (on par with “Titanic” and “All About Eve”). “Arrival” and “Moonlight” followed up with eight each. And in other good news: After two years of #OscarsSoWhite, 35 percent of this year’s acting nominees are people of color, including previous winners Denzel Washington (“Fences”) and Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”).

Here are the 12 most glaring snubs and surprises.

SNUB: “Deadpool
In the end, Oscar voters got cold feet when it came to recognizing the 20th Century Fox mega-hit starring Ryan Reynolds as a disfigured mercenary with the power to heal himself. If it had made the cut, “Deadpool” would have been the first comic book movie to crash the best picture race. But sadly, “Deadpool” got shut out of the Oscars race completely, ending up with fewer nominations than “Suicide Squad” (best makeup) and “Doctor Strange” (visual effects).

SNUB: Amy Adams, “Arrival”
The five-time Oscar nominee was left out of the best actress category, even though “Arrival” scored eight nominations overall, including best picture, director (Denis Villeneuve) and adapted screenplay. It’s possible that Adams, who also had a lead role in “Nocturnal Animals,” divided her own vote, allowing for Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”) and Ruth Negga (“Loving”) to zoom past her.

SNUB: Annette Bening, “20th Century Women”
It wasn’t a great year for the Beatty-Bening household. Warren’s “Rules Don’t Apply” wilted at the box office, and Bening, who was thought to be a lock in the best actress race early in the season, got pushed out of this year’s unusually competitive category for her portrait of an eccentric single mom.

SNUB: Tom Hanks, “Sully”
It’s one of the strange mysteries of the Oscars that Hanks, who has two wins but hasn’t been nominated in 16 years (since “Cast Away”), wasn’t included among the acting nominees for playing “Miracle on the Hudson” hero Sully Sullenberger. The movie was a box-office hit, and director Clint Eastwood is usually an Academy Awards darling.

SNUB: Hugh Grant, “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Many predicted that Grant would earn his first Oscar nomination ever for playing the husband of a terrible opera warbler. But the Paramount comedy was less of an Oscar movie than a showcase for Meryl Streep.

SNUB: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, “Nocturnal Animals”
Winning the Golden Globe for best supporting actor for playing a rogue bad guy gave Taylor-Johnson a boost just as ballots were being filled out. Yet Oscar voters preferred his co-star Michael Shannon, who portrays a no-nonsense sheriff in the Tom Ford thriller.

SNUB: Martin Scorsese, “Silence”
Scorsese has been nominated for best director eight times, but Oscar voters were indifferent to “Silence.” The drama about Jesuit priests in Japan  received only a lone nod for best cinematography.

SNUB: “Finding Dory”
In 2004, “Finding Nemo” became the first Pixar movie to win an Oscar for best animated feature. Its sequel, “Finding Dory,” was overlooked in favor of other Disney favorites (“Zootopia” and “Moana”).

SNUB: “Weiner”
The Sundance documentary about Anthony Weiner’s failed New York mayoral race was a favorite all year long. Then came the election. Weiner’s role in possibly spoiling the presidency for Hillary Clinton may have alienated voters from celebrating a movie about his downfall.

SURPRISE: Ruth Negga, “Loving”
At last year’s Cannes Film Festival, Negga was crowned an instant Oscar contender, for her nuanced performance as half of an interracial couple behind an influential 1967 Supreme Court Case. But the competitiveness of the best actress category — with the likes of Annette Bening and Amy Adams — made her more of a longshot on pundits’ list as the season progressed.

SURPRISE: Michael Shannon, “Nocturnal Animals”
After a strong reception at Toronto, “Nocturnal Animals” faded from the awards conversation. But when the movie re-emerged at the Golden Globes, it was in the form of a win for Aaron Taylor-Johnson. So that Shannon ended up squeaking into the best-supporting actor race is a surprise. This marks his second Oscar nomination, after 2008’s “Revolutionary Road.”

SURPRISE: Mel Gibson, “Hacksaw Ridge”
Gibson’s comeback story is now official, given that the “Braveheart” winner is back in the best director race for his World War II drama.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Great Outdoor documentary series about

    Farm to Picture: Documentary Series 'The Great Outdoor' Chronicles a Life Gone to Pot

    Cannabis cultivation in the Emerald Triangle, the area in Northern California that has long been a go-to for growers, has a starring role in a new documentary series called “The Great Outdoor.” Funded by Flow Kana, one of the state’s leading cannabis flower brands, filmed by David Zlutnick, and executive-produced by Flow Kana co-founder Flavia [...]

  • 1982 El Gouna Festival

    Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival Puts Arab Helmers at Center Stage

    The upbeat state of Arab cinema will be on the screen and in the balmy air at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (Sept. 19-27), which is steadily gaining traction in its stated ambition to become a key platform and solid driver for Middle-East producers. “This year was one the best for Arab cinema,” says Intishal [...]

  • Star Skipper Paramount Animation

    Meet Star Skipper, Paramount Animation's Magical New Trademark Logo Character

    Studio logos are powerful signals to audiences.  Multiple generations of moviegoers flipping through channels or scanning streaming titles have frozen at the sight of a desk lamp hopping across the screen, because it means a Pixar movie is about to play. Likewise, when a young boy lounging inside a crescent moon casts his fishing line into [...]

  • Sybil

    Cannes Competition Movie 'Sibyl' Finds North American Home With Music Box (EXCLUSIVE)

    Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Justine Triet’s darkly comic drama “Sibyl,” which competed at Cannes and had its North American premiere at Toronto in the Special Presentation section. Represented in international markets by mk2, the film follows the ambiguous relationship between Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist (Virginie Efira, “An Impossible [...]

  • Kent Jones Directs 'Diane'

    Kent Jones to Exit New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a surprise move, New York Film Festival’s director and selection committee chair of seven years Kent Jones will step down following this year’s 57th edition, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. The departure comes as Jones’ feature filmmaking career is taking off. Issues of potential conflicts of interest have arisen as his work has moved [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content