Musings on 2021 Oscars Nominations – Snubs + Surprises

I was reading some articles about the Oscars and I just realized that last year’s telecast, which aired on February 9, was one of the earliest dates in the show’s history. Covid-19 wasn’t exactly on most people’s radar at the time yet, at least not in North America… I mean, I was still in a packed DisneyWorld in early March! Who knew that weeks later, practically the entire world was in lockdown mode.

Well, so the 93rd Oscar nominations are now here!

Click here to jump to the full list below. And here are my thoughts on the nominations:

Firstly…

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Finally the Academy seems to be catching up to the call for diversity! About damn time! After the social media hashtag #OscarSoWhite circulating the past couple of years, it’s nice to see a more diverse list of nominees including female directors AND talents of color!

Congrats Emerald Fennell + Chloé Zhao!! Glad to see their names amongst the nominees… and Lee Isaac Chung too! Two filmmakers of Asian-descent in Best Director category is historic… not to mention the fact that Zhao is the first woman of Asian descent to ever pick up a directing nom. I haven’t seen Minari yet, but based on the rapturous response from critics and audiences alike, I have no doubt his nomination is well-deserved!!

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Heck yeah Viola Davis!! I have plenty of films to catch up on but as a longtime fan hers, I’m always thrilled to see her get recognized. I was hoping to see The United States vs. Billie Holiday but didn’t get a chance to, I read everywhere she’s truly the reason to see that film!

The two performances I have seen, McDormand’s and Mulligan’s, are both astounding, so yeah!!

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

The posthumous nomination for Chadwick Boseman is a shoo-in this year and I’m happy for that! Another shoo-in is Anthony Hopkins is absolutely amazing in The Father (which I just reviewed).

Thrilled to see Ahmed got in, I think his performance in Sound of Metal is his best work yet. Jumping for joy seeing Steven Yeun‘s name as well… I mean, as a blogger of Southeast Asian descent, obviously I’m delighted to see an Asian-American actor FINALLY getting some recognition!!

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

In the Supporting Actress/Actor category, I’m soooo happy to see Olivia Colman AND Paul Raci got in!! LOVED both performances, and I was afraid they’d nominate Jodie Foster over Colman and Raci would also be overlooked.

I’m kicking myself that I still haven’t seen Minari yet, but ‘ve been hearing great things about Yuh-Jung Youn’s performance. How awesome it is to see not just one but TWO Asian talents getting nominated for the same film!!

Interesting to see two extremely talented black actors Daniel Kaluuya and LaKeith Stanfield vying for Oscar in the same category AND from the same movie. I’m happy for them as they’re really two of the best actors of this generation, but if they’re both in the supporting category, the biggest question in my mind is…

Just WHO is the lead of Judas and the Black Messiah??

Best Adapted Screenplay

Sacha Baron Cohen and Co-Writers (Borat Subsequent Moviefilm)
Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton (The Father)
Chloe Zhao (Nomadland)
Kemp Powers (One Night in Miami)
Ramin Bahrani (The White Tiger)

What a year for Chloe Zhao!! Not only did she become the first female filmmaker of Asian descent ever shortlisted in the directing, she also picked up a nominated for her screenwriting work!

I’m very impressed with Florian Zeller and Christopher Hampton‘s script in The Father. I know their play won a bunch of awards and considered the most acclaimed new play of the last decade. It’s still rare to see the film version of a play garnering similar acclaim all the way to Oscar glory, but hey I think it’s well-deserved!

Best Original Screenplay

Will Berson, Shaka King, Keith Lucas, and Kenny Lucas (Judas and the Black Messiah)
Lee Isaac Chung (Minari)
Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman)
Derek Cianfrance, Abraham Marder, Darius Marder (Sound of Metal)
Aaron Sorkin (The Trial of the Chicago 7)

So Lee Isaac Chung also picked up another nomination in the Best Screenplay Category!! Man, imagine if him AND Chloe Zhao walk away with Oscars this year… what a sight that would be for so many Asian filmmakers who have been overlooked for way too long!

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Ok, so Disney + Pixar are dominating the Best Animated Feature category… surprise, surprise! But I’m rooting for WOLFWALKERS!!! It’s such a beautiful movie and it’s got a wonderfully-moving story as well, can’t recommend it enough.

Now, on to the snubs + surprises…

It wouldn’t be the Oscars morning after without reading the word ‘snub’ all over social media and film sites. I’m generally pretty cool with this year’s nominations, but still I think a few people were overlooked.

  • Wow, no love for Spike Lee’s Da 5 Bloods? I saw the #JusticeForDelroyLindo hashtag the past few days, surely lots of people are going to be upset about that. I know my pal Ted rated Delroy Lindo‘s performance highly in his review.
  • I was also expecting to see Regina King‘s name in Best Director list… I’d think at the very least, One Night In Miami… would be shortlisted in the Best Picture category.
  • I’m surprised to see Thomas Vinterberg amongst the Directors nominee, but then again last year Pawel Pawlikowski was nominated for Cold War and the film was nominated in Best Foreign Language category. I haven’t seen Another Round yet but Vinterberg has made some great films with Mads Mikkelsen before, i.e. The Hunt.Speaking of Mads, some people might say he’s overlooked for Best Actor in Another Round.
  • Ok so I’m really not that interested in seeing The Hillbilly Elegy, it just doesn’t appeal to me and based on the reception, it’s best to avoid that one. So I’m surprised to see Glenn Close making the cut, but no Amy Adams? I feel like Adams is overdue for an Oscar, but surely there’ll be better roles for her in the future!
    Given their wardrobe epitomizes the cozy, work-from-home attire we’re all sporting, shouldn’t they be nominated for Best Costume Design? 🤣
  • I know many people did not like Close making the cut, I personally would’ve loved to see Sophia Loren in the Best Actress category. It was quite a comeback for her in a beautiful performance in The Life Ahead. I wish the uplifting drama got more love but I don’t think many people have even seen that one.
  • No love for News of the World? Yes I know it’s more conventional and not as edgy as some films that got nominated, but it’s a terrific film with wonderful performances by Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel.
  • Now, in the Best Actor category, I think one of the biggest snubs is Tahar Rahim in The Mauritanian. Rahim’s sensitive performance never descends to over-sentimentality and is genuinely moving, he truly gave the film its best moments. Oh well, glad the BAFTA did recognize Rahim’s performance as well as Mads Mikkelsen’s!
  • Lastly, I know TENET didn’t exactly wow critics nor audiences alike, I was kind of lukewarm about the film too, but what I did like is the synth score by Ludwig Göransson. The song called The Plan by Travis Scott is sooo good!! Probably one of my faves of the year! Too bad neither made the cut this year 😦


Full List of Oscar Nominees

In case you missed the live telecast of the nominees announced by Priyanka Chopra + Nick Jonas (it’s too early for me to wake up for, ahah), here’s the video:

Best Picture

The Father
Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
Minari
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Director

Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
David Fincher, Mank
Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round

Best Actor

Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Anthony Hopkins, The Father
Gary Oldman, Mank
Steven Yeun, Minari

Best Actress

Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
Frances McDormand, Nomadland
Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman

Best Supporting Actor

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah

Best Supporting Actress

Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
Olivia Colman, The Father
Amanda Seyfried, Mank
Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari

Best Original Song

“Husavik (My Hometown),” Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga
“Fight for You,” Judas and the Black Messiah
“Io Se (Seen),” The Life Ahead
“Speak Now,” One Night in Miami…
“Hear My Voice,” The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score

Da 5 Bloods
Mank
Minari
News of the World
Soul

Best Cinematography

Judas and the Black Messiah
Mank
News of the World
Nomadland
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Adapted Screenplay

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
The Father
Nomadland
One Night in Miami…
The White Tiger

Best Original Screenplay

Judas and the Black Messiah
Minari
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Animated Feature

Onward
Over the Moon
A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon
Soul
Wolfwalkers

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette
A Concerto is a Conversation
Do Not Split
Hunger Ward
A Love Song For Latasha

Best Documentary Feature

Collective
Crip Camp
The Mole Agent
My Octopus Teacher
Time

Best International Feature

Another Round
Better Days
Collective
The Man Who Sold His Skin
Quo Vadis, Aida?

Best Film Editing

The Father
Nomadland
Promising Young Woman
Sound of Metal
The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Costume Design

Emma
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
Mulan
Pinocchio

Best Hair and Makeup

Emma
Hillbilly Elegy 
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom 
Mank
Pinocchio 

Best Production Design

The Father
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
Mank
News of the World
Tenet 

Best Visual Effects

Love and Monsters
The Midnight Sky
Mulan
The One and Only Ivan
Tenet

Best Sound

Greyhound
Mank
News of the World
Soul
Sound of Metal

Best Animated Short Film

“Burrow”
“Genius Loci”
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“Opera”
“Yes People”

Best Live Action Short Film

“Feeling Through”
“The Letter Room”
“The Present”
“Two Distant Strangers”
“White Eye”


Well, 2021 Oscars ceremony was originally scheduled for February 28, but it’s been pushed to April 25. 


Well, what are YOUR thoughts about the Oscars noms + snubs this year?

14 thoughts on “Musings on 2021 Oscars Nominations – Snubs + Surprises

  1. Agree with your views as well as I too have no interest in Hillbilly Elegy as that just looks like bad Oscar-bait bullshit and if Glenn Close wins the Oscar for playing something so vain that reeks of desperation. Then it is a disservice to everyone else who had been trying to get the Oscar and all of the hard work they’ve been doing to deliver a performance that means something.

    1. It’s crazy that Close is also nominated for a Razzie for the same role? I’m not sure I want to see that movie. It’s true that for every film/person nominated, there are a slew perhaps more deserving ones that get overlooked.

      1. I don’t hate Glenn Close as I do think she’s a great actress but lately, it seems like she’s becoming desperate to win that Oscar to the point that she is willing to aim for the lowest common denominator.

        1. Yeah I don’t hate her either, she’s definitely a great actress but that’s too bad that she became so obsessed with winning like that. I think she’s been nominated several times before right?

  2. Ted Saydalavong

    Just like every year, I had no idea the Oscar nominations were announced until I got on Twitter. Lol! Glad to see more diversity in this year’s competition but I hate to sound so cynical but I think this is gonna be just this year. We’ll see more the of same in the next few years with not much nominations for non white talents. BUT if Hollywood really wants to be more inclusive, they’ll finance films that include more people of color in their prestigious projects.

    Yeah, I’m surprised that Lindo didn’t even get a nomination and Da 5 Bloods pretty much got ignored. Scratching my head as to why both of the lead actors in Judas and The Black Messiah got nominated for supporting category.

    1. I hear ya Ted, but last year a Korean film and filmmaker won big, so I’m hopeful (I think that’s the word) that they’d continue to recognize people of color. But you are right, the diversity effort should start in the production level with POC in front AND behind the camera.

      I wonder if there’s something with Spike Lee that Da 5 Bloods got ignored like that. And yeah, even Lakeith himself was confused he was nominated for SUPPORTING role, his reaction on Insta was hilarious!!

  3. I’m happy for all the “firsts” this year but they are far overdue.

    You should see Another Round! It was one of my favorites from last year. Most days, I think it *is* my favorite.

    1. You’re so right all the ‘firsts’ are way overdue! I’m still baffled though by the two SUPPORTING noms for Judas and the Black Messiah [SMH]

      I’ve put Another Round on my watch-list for this weekend! Glad it’s on Hulu!

  4. There are still movies I need to see but I’m pretty happy with the nominations this year!
    I really feel like the only person in the world who enjoyed The Hillbilly Elegy – it’s not a ‘fun’ movie by any means but I was hooked.
    I think you would love Minari though – I’d love to read your thoughts if you watched it ❤

    1. Don’t worry Allie, I still haven’t watched a ton of them either, including MINARI. That’s cool that you have seen it and I have a feeling I’ll love it!

      Generally I’m happy with this year’s noms too. We’ll see if I want to see The Hillbilly Elegy, I just wasn’t intrigued by the subject matter.

  5. I completely agree, Ruth – it is great see a more diverse list of nominees. I haven’t seen every film nominated this year but from what I’ve read, thankfully it doesn’t sound like they’re ‘token’ nominations either.

    I’m very disappointed at just the one nomination for Da 5 Bloods. It didn’t fare much better in the BAFTA nominations either 😦

    1. You’re so right that these don’t sound like ‘token’ nominations. I haven’t seen MINARI but sounds like that film is so universally loved, glad to see the filmmakers/cast are getting recognition.

      I sense something amiss with Spike Lee’s Da 5 Blood being overlooked, esp. Delroy Lindo’s performance that seem to have won universal acclaim.

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