- The nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced by John Cho and Issa Rae on Monday morning in Los Angeles.
- Films like “Joker” and “1917” received numerous nominations, as well as Martin Scorsese’s Netflix epic “The Irishman.”
- But the nominations for these films, while not entirely undeserving, often eclipsed other projects that were more relevant and featured more diverse perspectives, like “Uncut Gems” and “The Farewell.”
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The nominations for the 2020 Oscars were announced by John Cho and Issa Rae in Los Angeles on Monday morning.
Unsurprisingly, films like “Joker” and “1917” led with the most nominations, as did Martin Scorsese’s film “The Irishman,” starring Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci.
“Jojo Rabbit” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” also received several nods from the Academy, but the nominations for these films, while not entirely undeserving, often eclipsed other projects that were more relevant and featured more diverse perspectives, like “Uncut Gems” and “Hustlers.”
And the numerous nominations received by movies like “Joker” also meant that talented actors, as well as directors like Greta Gerwig, were overlooked. While films like “Joker” and “1917” definitely deserved a nomination, other, lesser-known films did too.
Here are six films that didn’t deserve their Oscar nominations – sorry.
Critics loved “Joker,” but the film’s nominations came at the expense of talented actors like Adam Sandler and “Parasite” star Kang-Ho Song.
“Joker” tells the story of a mentally-ill comedian and clown named Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, who goes on a murderous rampage and inadvertently incites city-wide riots. The film was a hit when it was released in 2019, although some critics worried that Phoenix’s character could be seen as glorifying violence as a means of coping with mental illness.
But while “Joker” is, indisputably, a good movie, it doesn’t really seem worthy of the 11 nominations it scored from the Academy this year.
The focus on “Joker” meant that equally-deserving actors were passed over for nominations, including Adam Sandler for his unforgettable performance in “Uncut Gems.” There’s also the fact that Phoenix, a white man, is already well represented in the Oscars race. Instead, the Academy could have also recognised standout “Parasite” actors Choi Woo-shik or Kang-Ho Song.
“The Irishman” garnered numerous nominations for stars who’ve already made a name for themselves in Hollywood, instead of recognising up-and-coming actors.
Scorsese and “The Irishman” stars Robert de Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci are Hollywood icons, and the film itself is a slow-burning epic that sees the “Goodfellas” director do what he does best. But Scorsese, as well as Pacino and Pesci, have had more than their fair share of time in the spotlight.
They’re Hollywood royalty for a reason, sure, and “The Irishman” was a good film, but since Pacino and Pesci aren’t the only talented actors currently working in Hollywood right now – Timothée Chalamet and Roman Griffin Davis gave Oscar-worthy performances in “Little Women” and “Jojo Rabbit,” respectively – the nominations would have done well to reflect that.
Sam Mendes was nominated for best director for “1917,” but equally-deserving female directors were snubbed.
The film, which recounts a story of two soldiers as they attempt to deliver an important letter during an intense battle, has been called “superficial” and an “empty spectacle” by some critics, and yet “1917” still managed to nab nominations for best film and best director at the 2020 Oscars.
This wouldn’t be as infuriating if the nominations for best director reflected the array of memorable films directed by women that were released in 2019.
While “1917” managed to garner a nomination for Mendes, directors Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”), Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood”), Olivia Wilde (“Booksmart”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell), and of course, Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) were all snubbed, even though their movies were arguably better than Mendes’ overblown war epic.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” received numerous Oscar nominations, despite the fact that there were other memorable period films released last year.
Despite standout performances by Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has become overrated since it was released in 2019 – especially given the fact that the majority of the film follows an ageing, white male actor as he comes to terms with his career.
Conversely, there were several other notable period films released in 2019 that also deserved an Oscar nomination or two. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” which focuses on a LGBTQ romance in 18th-century France, was one of the best-reviewed films of last year, and “Little Women,” of course, deserved nominations for Chalamet and Gerwig, who carefully crafted a rich and engaging portrait of sisterhood and radical femininity.
Scarlett Johansson didn’t need two actor nominations for both “Marriage Story” and “Jojo Rabbit.”
It’s not that Johansson didn’t give a memorable performance in “Marriage Story” – she did get a chance to really flex her acting skills – but rather that Nyong’o and Awkwafina, two women of colour, also had standout roles in films last year, and still weren’t recognised by the Academy for their stellar performances in “The Farewell” and “Us,” respectively.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that Johansson is also nominated for best supporting actress for her role in “Jojo Rabbit,” a move that seems a bit excessive given the Oscars’ history of nominating primarily white actors (and the best supporting actress category this year containing no women of colour.)
At the very least, if the Academy felt so strongly about Johansson’s nomination for best lead actress, they could have nominated another woman for best supporting actress instead of her – namely, Jennifer Lopez, who gave one of the best performances from 2019 in “Hustlers.”
While Johansson is a talented actress, the Academy should have recognised Lopez, Nyong’o, or Awkwafina instead.
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