It’s a rare year when most of the Oscar nomination surprises are good ones, but 2020 was also a rare year for moviegoing and awards campaigns. Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise in a year where we watched everything from our couches that Netflix, the most popular streaming service, walked away with the most nominations by far. But there were still some shockers Monday morning.
Here’s our rundown of the snubs and surprises in the 93rd Academy Award nominations.
FEMALE DIRECTORS GET THEIR SHOT
For 92 Academy Awards, only 5 women had ever been nominated for best director and never more than one in the same year. This year there are two: Chloé Zhao for “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell for “Promising Young Woman.” This not surprising because of their quality, but because history has shown that female directors have been grossly overlooked by the academy. And there’s still progress to be made. There has still never been a Black woman nominated for best director (Regina King would have been a worthy first for “One Night in Miami”) and there’s still only one woman who has ever won: Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker” in 2009. Maybe come April 25, that statistic will double.
SOMETIMES FAN FEVER WORKS
And you thought you were the only ones who loved Maria Bakalova and Paul Raci? “Sound of Metal” became a bit of a Cinderella story this year, but no matter how many positive reviews, Oscar pundits and movie fans seemed resigned to the fact that Raci’s breakout performance as a deaf counseler to Riz Ahmed's character would be overlooked come Oscar nominations time. Same with “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm’s” Bakalova, who seemed at first to be an out of the box choice for a supporting nomination. But, hey, Oscar voters have eyes too and, more often than not, taste.
SO WHO IS THE LEAD IN ‘JUDAS’?
Turns out neither Judas nor the Black Messiah was the lead in Warner Bros.’ “Judas and the Black Messiah,” as Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya both walked away with supporting actor nominations. Kaluuya played Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and Stanfield played the FBI informant who infiltrated the organization in the late 60s in the Shaka King film that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.