When it comes to the Oscars, snubs and surprises are a relative thing. One person’s snub is another’s surprise, and with so much Oscar punditry going around, it can be hard to genuinely be surprised at anything. That said, there were a few things that shocked us for good and bad on Oscars morning.
SNUB: Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci”
Considered a frontrunner early on, Lady Gaga’s over-the-top performance of Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci” was probably a bit much for Oscar voters. Instead, Kristen Stewart will compete for “Spencer” after it looked like she might miss out.
SURPRISE: “Drive My Car”
We can’t be surprised that the Academy is getting more diverse and international, but whenever a three-hour meditative drama gets nominated for Best Picture, color us surprised. But “Drive My Car” is more than deserving, with director Ryusuke Hamaguchi also getting nominated for Best Director and Best International Feature, something that “Parasite” previously managed before it won Best Picture.
SNUB/SURPRISE: Caitriona Balfe and Judi Dench
The cast of “Belfast” runs deep, and while everyone thought Caitriona Balfe would land a nomination for her meaty role, she was left out in favor of her co-star played by Judi Dench, who was nominated for the eighth time and the third time in this category.
SNUB: “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
Fanboy hearts were broken as the Academy continued to overlook superhero movies in the Best Picture category, even as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” has shattered box-office records — and even with the Oscars’ expanded 10 nominees this year designed to get bigger movies into the race. It did pick up one visual effects nomination. The only MCU film to get nominated for Best Picture was 2018’s “Black Panther.”
SURPRISE: “The Worst Person in the World”
Another international art-house favorite this year, Norway’s and Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” found its way into the Original Screenplay category over a perennial favorite like Aaron Sorkin for his “Being the Ricardos.”
SNUB: “C’mon C’mon”
Though it has touching performances by Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffman and the young discovery Woody Norman, not to mention picturesque black-and-white cinematography, Mike Mills’ “C’mon C’mon” was completely overlooked by Academy voters this awards season. I mean, c’mon.
SURPRISE: “Somehow You Do,” “Four Good Days”
Diane Warren being in the Oscars race is never a surprise. But when she was up against contenders like Billie Eilish, Beyoncé, Ariana Grande and more, landing a nomination this year — her 13th! — for a small film like “Four Good Days” is definitely a pleasant surprise. And it’ll be even more surprising if she finally wins.
SNUB: “A Hero”
Asghar Farhadi previously won twice in Best International Feature, for “A Separation” and “The Salesman,” but his latest drama “A Hero” got left out, with “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” from Bhutan landing a nomination instead.