The surprises and snubs of the 95th Oscar nominations


Illustration by Allie Hall

Jennifer Sadler, Reporter

On Jan. 24, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominees for the 95th Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars.

The Oscars are widely considered one of the most important, if not the most important, awards ceremony for film in any given year. Despite their significance, the Oscars nominee list seems to be lacking this year.

I have always loved going to the movies — from “Moonlight” to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Parasite,” I have enjoyed the atmosphere of the theater, the buttered popcorn and anxiously anticipating what my favorite actors and directors would do next. But this year feels quite different to me.

Although popular movies like “Avatar: Way of Water,” “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Elvis” all received nominations, as well as Oscar shoo-ins such as “The Fabelmans” and “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” I found myself in a unique position I had seldom been in before while looking at the nominee list: I had never heard of many of the films.

I may have fallen off the movie train and out of excitement for the Oscars over the past year, but I feel as though I alone am not to blame for the lack of awareness surrounding the nominees this year.

Films like “The Banshees of Inisherin,” a story about fixing a damaged friendship, and “Tar,” a psychological drama following the life and career of a fictional music composer-conductor, both were films I was completely unaware of until their nomination.

In fact, these films aren’t playing anywhere near Lexington, and if they are, their playing times are few and far between. With the exception of The Kentucky Theatre, which can only show many of these critically acclaimed movies for a short period of time, regional exposure to Oscar nominated films can be difficult to come across.

This is a problem that has plagued the Oscars for many years. Many of the nominated films and performances are more “underground” or “indie” films that often reflect film critics’ tastes more than the general public. 

This year, fan favorites like “Top Gun: Maverick” broke that trend by ending up on the Best Pictures list, though it is unclear whether this was a choice due to its popularity or the relative lack of “good” movies released this past year. 

Either way, some of the nominees could celebrate these victories while they last.

Others, however, are not content with the list released by the Academy. Many Marvel fans are discontent with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” being snubbed from the Best Picture category, despite Angela Bassett’s Best Actress in a Supporting Role nomination for that film. 

Some are also unhappy with the lack of female nominees for Best Director. In its 95 year history, the Oscars have only ever nominated seven women in the category. For this reason, the omission of Gina Prince Bythewood, director of “The Woman King,” was surprising.

Popular movies and artists were also thought to be snubbed by fans, but these snubs were no surprise to critics and movie gurus. Taylor Swift fans were upset that her original song, “Carolina,” for the movie adaptation of “Where The Crawdads Sing” didn’t make the cut for the Best Original Song category.

Cult followers of “Don’t Worry Darling” were shocked that, at the very least, Florence Pugh didn’t earn a Best Actress nomination also.

Despite its surprises and shortcomings, the Oscars have proved themselves to be a drama filled and highly anticipated event that keeps audiences around the globe entertained. 

As the event draws near, scheduled to air live on ABC on Sunday, Mar. 12, we can only take our best guesses as to which nominees the Academy will deem the best of the year.