oscars snubs 2020

Oscar Nominations 2020 – Biggest Snubs And Surprises

What were the biggest snubs of Oscar Nominations in 2020? Read on and see who did the Academy mistreat this year.

When it comes to the Oscars, every years brings a bunch of surprises and snubs. That was the case last year too, when a few phenomenal movies were left out in the cold. That’s the reality – big names win big, smaller indies struggle to appear on the list. Oscar Nominations 2020 didn’t change that trend – there are those with an abundance of nods, and these seem to be the big three of 2019.

Joker, The Irishman and 1917 are the big winners of 2019

When I first looked at the nominations announcement, I got the feeling that there were only about 6-7 movies last year.

I mean – movies that “mattered” in the Oscars terms. The Academy has heavily favored Todd Phillips’ Joker (2019), awarding the villain origin story with 11 nominations. The silver medal doubled, and flew to Martin Scorsese’s mob drama The Irishman (2019) and Sam Mendes’ war epic 1917 (2019). Each of these two films embraced ten nominations.

Who also had reasons to cheer?

Bong Joon-ho for sure did. His Parasite (2019) received 6 nominations, just like Jojo Rabbit (2019), Little Women (2019), and Marriage Story (2019). But since just a bunch of films received an astounding amount of 55 nods, someone was obviously snubbed. And here they are.

Note: I didn’t get the chance to watch The Farewell and Uncut Gems yet, but judging from the general outrage out there, Awkwafina and Adam Sandler should have got their nods too.

12 Biggest Snubs For Oscar Nominations 2020

Willem Dafoe as Thomas Wake in “The Lighthouse” by Robert Eggers.

Willem Dafoe – The Lighthouse (2019) – Actor In A Supporting Role

Willem Dafoe was one of the best parts of Robert Eggers’ The Lighthouse (2019). The silverback actor covered all the bases, from nailing an old drunkard’s grimace to the phenomenal nautical jargon that Dafoe spoke without a stutter. There was a fraction of the unhinged, floating around whenever Dafoe was on the screen, and what a great contradiction to Robert Pattinson he was too. Him being left out form the nominations – especially seeing how weak are the actual nominees – is a disgrace. For the delivery of “Ye’re fond a me lobster ain’t ye?!” alone, Dafoe should be nominated for an Oscar.

Octavia Spencer in luce (2019)
Octavia Spencer in Luce (2019).

Octavia Spencer – Luce (2019) – Actress In A Supporting Role

Who now? In what movie? That’s probably what you’re thinking. While Octavia Spencer deserved a Razzie for “starring” in the atrocious Ma (2019), she also should be up there fighting for her second Oscar. We’re talking about Luce (2019), where Spencer crafted a subtle performance of a teacher who is on the warpath with a troubled student (also marvelous performance from Kelvin Harrison Jr.). Spencer consciously remained in the shadow of Harrison, but kept her character both vulnerable and ready to fight, always amping up the tension from the supporting role position. Her role in Luce (2019) was intense as hell and definitely erased the bad taste after Ma (2019).

Midsommar (2019) still from the movie - cultural hater review
Still from “Midsummer” (2019).

Paweł Pogorzelski – Midsommar (2019) – Cinematography

How come this magnificent work was overlooked?! Paweł Pogorzelski made Midsommar (2019) look otherworldly. Almost every scene was a meticulous piece of set design, but also a leading example of cinematography dictating the pace for the narrative. By a skillfully assembled puzzle of long takes, dynamic zooms and overly bright lighting, Pogorzelski conjured up a constantly trippy vibe, that kept Midsommar (2019) afloat even when the story faltered. I honestly can’t grasp it how did this piece of cinematography got overlooked in the awards race.


Jorg Widmer – A Hidden Life (2019) – Cinematography

Widmer’s work on Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life (2019) was – hands down – the best cinematography of the year. I’ve pointed that out in my review as well – Widmer imbued this film with visual style that represented the sheer spirituality of Malick’s story. The DP pulled off every single shot as if it was a renaissance painting. There are monumental canvasses with sunny valleys, glowing green fields, and picturesque villages, as well as cold interiors of Austrian prisons and. There are moments when farmers cut the grass in a synchronized sweep of their scythes, and intimate looks into the troubled protagonist and his family. It was a piece of art, which was vastly underrated.

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) Rosa Salazar

Alita: Battle Angel (2019) – Visual Effects

I’m far from clapping for average films, and Alita: Battle Angel (2019) was quite average as a whole. However, the visual effects were outstanding. The world of androids, heavily influenced by cyberpunk pieces like Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 (2017), was one of few reasons to keep the audience engaged in any way. Visual effects was usually the category where middle-of-the-road movies got their shot at getting a nod, and I could easily trade Alita: Battle Angel (2019) with The Lion King (2019) here.

Terrence Malick

Terrence Malick – A Hidden Life (2019) – Directing

Malick was never a Hollywood director, although his beginnings were actually pointing in that direction. yet the more contemplative his cinema was, the more he steered away from glam and awards. Malick makes cinema the way he sees the world – through a lens of beauty and unprecedented delicacy, with a drop of religious belief that life’s a sacred gift. While his Tree of Life (2011) is still #1 of the most criminally underrated films of this century, A Hidden Life (2019) sadly remains in that league too. It’s a piece of fantastically balanced storytelling that’s charming on both visual and narrative level.

honey boy Shia labeouf

Shia LaBeouf – Honey Boy (2019) – Actor In A Leading Role

The comeback of LaBeouf was inevitable, but I was overblown by his auto-reflection in Honey Boy (2019). Playing his own abusive father was hell of a thing to pull off, and LaBeouf approached this challenge with such great sensitivity. As he disappeared under heavy make-up and manly voice, LaBeouf found an understanding of his father’s sins. It’s not the fact Shia confronted such a risky and provocative role to play, but the class that LaBeouf exhibited in Honey Boy (2019) made this performance unique.

ana de armas knives out

Ana de Armas – Knives Out (2019) – Actress In A Supporting Role

Knives Out (2019) feels like one enormous snub as a whole, but the lack of Ana de Armas among the nominated actresses is simply a crime. De Armas, whose career went from playing a sex-offender psycho in an utterly bad Knock, Knock (2015) to playing in Hollywood blockbusters, was every inch of perfect in Knives Out (2019). Her role was extremely difficult, as she had to fit among multiple stars as a silent housekeeper working in a multimillionaire’s house. But when the heat was on, it was de Armas who fearlessly carried the film – and not any other renown A-list actor from the star-studded ensemble.

Monos (2019) still - Cultural Hater New Horizons Film Festival

Monos (2019) – International Feature Film

Monos (2019), a gorgeously filmed drama about child soldiers, who abduct and keep hostage a woman in some deep jungle in Colombia, went smoothly to land a spot on the Oscars shortlist. But it’s a shame that Alejandro Landes’ movie didn’t make the cut among the nominees. It’s a poetic romance with Apocalypse Now (1979), as well as films directed by Ciro Guerra. At times disturbing, Monos (2019) hypnotized with its offbeat narrative style, and thanks to the sharp cinematography and ominous soundtrack by Micah Levi, it surely deserved a mention.

Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe in “The Lighthouse”.

Robert Pattinson – The Lighthouse (2019) – Actor In A Leading Role

Robert Pattinson is still ahead of his first Oscar nomination, but it gets more and more frustrating every year. Considering this man’s talent, he was already robbed of a nod back when Good Time (2017) didn’t make the cut in the Oscar race. But in The Lighthouse (2019), Pattinson did show his true colors. A role, which starts off as with a humble, silent man, eventually blossoms into a full-blown, blood-craving maniac. While Dafoe owned The Lighthouse (2019), the two gentlemen coexisted in an (im)perfect harmony – one couldn’t be without the other. Pattinson’s performance was his career-best, maybe on par with the one in Good Time (2017), however most certainly deserving an Oscar nomination.

Nicholas Brittel

Nicholas Brittel – The King (2019) – Music (Original Score)

The King (2019) was among my favorite movies of the year, but I never viewed it as an Oscar contender. However, Nicholas Brittel’s soundtrack was a harrowing work to accompany The King (2019), and it was a definite standout among other scores last year. If one spot was wasted on the lackluster Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2019) score, then the Academy could really opt for Brittel’s eminent work.

ingvar sigurdsson in a white white day - cultural hater
“A White, White Day” (2019). Source: Hlynur Palmason’s official website.

A White, White Day (2019) – International Feature Film

This Icelandic drama was a revenge tale that didn’t go the usual way. Instead, director Hlynur Palmason scavenged the genre’s most unpredictable pieces and moulded a film that was captivating in its irregularities. Palmason operated within fear and unease, but also drama and a Greek-like tragedy even, with fate dictating the events surrounding his protagonist. It’s a piece of cinema for the intelligent, and one that should be promoted through many more awards.

5 Surprises Among Oscar Nominations 2020

The mysterious light in “The Lighthouse”.

Cinematography for The Lighthouse (2019)

It feels unreal that this nod for cinematography is the only that – in the eyes of the AcademyThe Lighthouse (2019) deserved. However, it is still some sort of reconciliation, which beams a fading light in the dark tunnel. The Lighthouse (2019) was a cinephile’s dream coming true. It was shot on and with vintage equipment sets, and Eggers went as far as to colorize the movie in the same way as films were in the 30s. The dedication to mimicking this vintage aesthetic is priceless and it surely deserved this nomination.

bombshell movie poster

Much Love for Bombshell (2019)

I didn’t get the chance to watch Bombshell (2019) yet, but the reviewers wenre’t merciful for the film. Most criticized its chaotic structure and muddled storytelling, however a vast majority pointed out that it’s an acting cavalry there. Therefore, it’s cool to see Charlize Theron getting back in the Oscars race, along with a surprising nod for Margot Robbie too.

Florence Pugh in Midsommar (2019) - cultural hater review
Florence Pugh in Ari Aster’s visionary horror “Midsommar” (2019).

Florence Pugh made the cut (for the wrong movie though)

Florence was the bomb in Midsommar (2019) by Ari Aster. Her leading performance had me shaken to my very core, as this role combined some of own fears too. Pugh resonated with a deep understanding of what the character was going through and how she could radiate with that sadness and anger. I’m happy that she received her nomination either way, but there’s no comparison between the supporting role she had in Greta Gerwig’s Little Women (2019) and Aster’s horror.

Still from Joon Ho Bong's Parasite (2019)

Six nominations for Parasite (2019)

Finally, the reason to be happy. Parasite (2019) was my top choice of the last year, and I was over the moon to see it receiving six nominations. It’s entertaining, it’s hazardously good, and effortlessly combines fun with deep-thought analysis of South Korea’s societal issues. There’s hardly a chance for it winning anywhere else aside from Best International Feature, but six nominations is still a groundbreaking record for a non-English movie.

netflix logo dark background

Netflix sweeping the Oscars

Netflix owns 2019. As a whole squad, Netflix productions got 20 nominations in total, and it’s quite a hegemony. There’s no doubt that history was made in 2019, and the cinematic landscape is rapidly changing. A few years back, none of the movies receiving any nomination were made by a streaming service, and that’s clearly a mark of our times. However, if Netflix manages to invest in high quality films like The Irishman (2019) and Marriage Story (2019), sign me up.

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