The Oscar nominations for the best movies of 2023 have been released, and Barbie was not the only major snub this year. In fact, aside from two very specific categories, Barbie did quite well for itself. But there were definitely some surprising omissions when the nominations for the Oscars were announced, and many deserving films and performances were left empty-handed ahead of Hollywood’s biggest night.
To shine a spotlight on the omissions, we’ve put together this list of the ten biggest Oscar snubs for this year’s Academy Award nominations.
Ten years ago, director Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel had nine Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. This year, Asteroid City was completely shut out of the Academy Awards. Perhaps it was a bad decision to drop Anderson’s latest film during the summer, where it failed to find a wide audience. But usually, the Academy gives Anderson’s movies some love for original screenplay. This time, it was like Asteroid City didn’t even exist despite boasting an incredible cast, including Jason Schwartzman, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Jeffrey Wright, and even Margot Robbie.
Perhaps the Academy felt that if you’ve seen one quirky Wes Anderson dramedy, then you’ve seen them all.
Netflix can’t seem to buy an Oscar for Best Picture, but it’s had more luck with acting nominations at the Academy Awards. Yet somehow, May December failed to land any recognition for Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton despite fantastic performances by all three of them in the film.
Moore and Melton played a couple whose relationship mirrored the real-life scandal of Mary Kay Letourneau, who seduced and later married her underage student, Vili Fualaau. Portman portrayed an obsessive actress who was shadowing Moore’s character ahead of a movie based on her life. The unusual dynamic between all three characters carried May December, but only the screenwriters walked away with an Oscar nomination.
Saltburn may have always been destined for cult status, especially when considering some of the very extreme things that Barry Keoghan’s Oliver Quick does when he spends the summer with the wealthy Catton family at their estate in England. Regardless, the film had good critical buzz, especially for Keoghan and his co-star, Rosamund Pike. That buzz apparently didn’t mean much to the Oscar voters.
The original 1985 adaptation of The Color Purple was famously nominated for 11 Oscars without winning a single award. The new adaptation of The Color Purple only landed one nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Danielle Brooks. Fantastia Barrino did not receive the same recognition despite headlining the film as Celie Harris-Johnson, a part that she had previously portrayed on Broadway.
This was Barrino’s first role on the big screen, and she quickly demonstrated that she could carry a movie. She has also come a long way from her American Idol days. Barrino is a true star now; she just hasn’t been recognized for it by the academy. At least, not yet.
Andrew Scott received several nominations for Best Actor for his role as Adam in All of Us Strangers, which is why it was surprising when he didn’t make the cut at the Oscars. Perhaps it’s because All of Us Strangers is an unconventional romantic fantasy between two men that has some literal ghosts in it. But this is like no ghost story that you’ve ever seen before, as Scott’s Adam faces lingering grief and burgeoning love and connection that can ultimately free him from the past. It may not have given Scott an Oscar nomination, but it will likely elevate his status as a leading man.
Willem Dafoe is an actor’s actor, and there’s no role he won’t throw himself into. In Poor Things, Dafoe takes on the part of a mad scientist, Dr. Godwin “God” Baxter, with his usual gusto. As you can see in the photo above, that also involved spending some considerable time in the makeup chair for his facial prosthetics.
Dafoe’s performance was widely praised, but he was shut out of the Oscars while his co-stars, Emma Stone and Mark Ruffalo, were respectively nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor.
Maestro has been Bradley Cooper’s passion project for years, and it represents Netflix’s best chance to win a Best Picture award this year. Cooper wasn’t entirely snubbed by the academy, as he is up for Best Actor for his role as Leonard Bernstein. And yet, despite being up for two of the year’s top awards, Cooper was not nominated for directing Maestro. That’s a snub that Cooper has in common with No. 2 on our list.
Leonard DiCaprio has been up for Best Actor five times and won only one of those Oscars. But we can definitively say that DiCaprio won’t be getting a second win this year since he was shut out of the nominations for Killers of the Flower Moon, which was represented in almost all of the other major categories, including Best Picture and Best Director. Ironically, DiCaprio’s co-star, Lily Gladstone, is an early frontrunner for Best Actress.
This year was a crowded field for directors. As noted above, even Bradley Cooper couldn’t find a place alongside veterans Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and Yorgos Lanthimos, or first-time Oscar nominees like Justine Triet and Jonathan Glazer.
But as many observers have said before, Barbie didn’t direct itself. Greta Gerwig’s film was not only the year’s biggest box office hit, but it was also critically acclaimed and helped spark the Barbenheimer phenomenon. Gerwig wasn’t entirely shut out, and she is up for Best Adapted Screenplay with her husband and co-writer, Noah Baumbach. Yet even that was a bit of a snub because Barbie is not based on any pre-existing story or book. Gerwig and Baumbach came up with their own ideas for the world’s most famous dolls, which should have gotten them into the Best Original Screenplay category.
There were more Oscar snubs than just Barbie, but it all comes back to Barbie in the end. Margot Robbie is the reason why Barbie was such a massive success. There are multiple Barbies throughout the film, but it’s Robbie’s Barbie who carries the heart of the film as she goes on a journey of self-discovery against the pink backdrop of a fantasy comedy.
Robbie delivers every moment she’s on screen, from the emotional scenes to some truly hilarious sequences. In other words, Robbie did exactly what a star is supposed to do in the biggest movie of the year. And instead of honoring Robbie for her achievement, the academy only gave supporting acting nominations to her co-stars, Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera.
There will be other films and other chances for Robbie to take home Oscar gold. That doesn’t mean this wasn’t the biggest Oscar snub of the year.
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