While this year’s Oscar nominations are filled with pleasant surprises, there are still some glaring omissions. It’s hard to complain too vociferously about a list that includes 10 nods apiece for Roma and The Favourite, but here are five names that really should have been on the list.
EMILY BLUNT – A QUIET PLACE Depending on your susceptibility to nostalgia, you might argue that Blunt deserved a nomination for stepping so neatly into Mary Poppins’ perfectly polished shoes. We, on the other hand, think she deserves it more for her turn in her husband’s astonishingly assured directorial debut. The scene where she gives birth without making a sound would be ridiculously unbelievable in anyone else’s hands.
TONI COLLETTE – HEREDITARY As with Blunt, there’s a definite sense that Collette’s performance was ignored solely because of the film’s genre. The Academy is notoriously averse to horror. The films that have been nominated (from Jaws to Get Out) could conceivably be filed under other genres, whereas Hereditary is so utterly terrifying that nobody is going to believe that it’s really a thriller. Collette is one of those actresses whose performance levels never slip below “extraordinary” so the fact that this is possibly her best ever turn sums up how egregious the snub is.
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS – The Academy’s affection for the Coen brothers has dried up in recent years. It’s been 11 years since their Best Picture and Best Director double whammy for No Country For Old Men and eight years since their last nomination in either category (for True Grit). Inside Llewyn Davis was unfairly ignored across the board, and a similar fate has befallen Buster Scruggs, which garnered a sole nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay. The films’ anthology format made acting nods unlikely, but it’s nigh impossible to argue against it deserving a spot for directing and Best Picture.
FIRST MAN – One of the biggest surprises of this awards season is the complete lack of attention given to Damien Chazelle’s First Man. The Academy showered Whiplash and La La Land with love (although famously DIDN’T give it Best Picture), only to mostly ignore his most Oscarly film yet. The film’s dismal performance at the box office definitely won’t have helped its chances, especially in a year where preference was shown to box office giants like Bohemian Rhapsody and Black Panther. In a just world, it would be up for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score and Best Cinematography. Instead, it got four technical nods and not a dickiebird more.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK – While Barry Jenkins’ follow-up to his rightfully adored Moonlight has got three nominations (Script, Score and Supporting Actress for Regina King), it really should have had many more. Stephan James is unforgivably absent from the acting nominees and Barry Jenkins is even more egregiously absent from the Best Director list. What is even more difficult to comprehend though is that the Academy can nominate 10 films for Best Picture. This year, it stopped at eight, meaning that If Beale Street Could Talk wasn’t shunted out to make room for something more deserving; it was never even in the race. That’s hard to justify.