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Sunday, April 14, 2024
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Oscar Statues

Who got nominated for an Oscar? Refresh your memory before the Academy Awards this weekend

American University community members weigh in on online discussions about snubs, surprises and representation milestones

As the 2024 Oscars approach, here’s another look at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominations.

Notable faces missing from the nominations list and groundbreaking nomination firsts have renewed intense dialogue on social media about the Academy and how they choose the nominees for the film industry’s highest honor.

Coming in at a whopping 13 nominations, Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” leads the pack, followed closely by Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” with 11 and Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” with 10. 

Scorsese is now the most Oscar-nominated living director.

“Oppenheimer” is expected to sweep the competition this year and has already earned eight Critics Choice awards and five Golden Globes. Its release date counterpart, “Barbie,” is the fourth-highest nominated movie of the year with eight nominations. “Barbie” has won six Critics Choice awards and two Golden Globes this awards season.

This Oscars season has also included some firsts, with Lily Gladstone’s chilling performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon” earning her a nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Gladstone is the first Native American to be nominated for the Best Actress category. 

If Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who was nominated in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category for her performance in “The Holdovers,” takes the gold as currently expected, she will be the 11th Black woman to ever win an Oscar. 

Justine Triet will be the fourth woman to ever win Best Director if she takes the prize for her breakout film “Anatomy of a Fall.” This is also the first Oscars season to require that Best Picture nominees meet at least two out of four of the Academy’s new representation and inclusion standards.

Pop Culture Club president Maddie Wauters and vice president Tommy Sear, both sophomores in the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education, offered insight into nomination-firsts and surprises.

“Personally, I was really happy that Sterling K. Brown got a nomination for Best Supporting Actor. He was great in ‘American Fiction.’ I feel like not enough people have seen that movie because it was only playing in certain areas, and that [nomination] wasn’t going to be a given,” said Wauters. “I’m glad he’s getting recognized, especially for a role in such a good and important movie.”

If he takes home the prize for Best Supporting Actor, Brown will be the seventh Black man ever to take home an Oscar for this category.

“[This] was the first year that we had two international movies nominated for Best Picture, ‘The Zone of Interest’ and ‘Anatomy of a Fall,’ which I think is a really big deal,” said Sear. “Overall, I’m not one to usually praise the Academy, but I actually think that the movies that they picked this year were pretty high-quality.”

Despite the excitement surrounding these nominees, social media has been abuzz with discourse surrounding actors, directors and films that missed out on nominations, as well as the nominations that made history — and what both mean for the future of Hollywood.

Instagram posts, TikTok users and various publications immediately pointed out Margot Robbie and Greta Gerwig’s lack of nominations for “Barbie.” 

“How did voters justify giving ‘Barbie,’ with its very clear message that women have to dance backward in heels to get half the validation their male peers get, a best picture nom while ignoring the two women who made that picture possible?” wrote Mary McNamara in her recent Los Angeles Times column about the nominations.

Cinema Studies professor Paul Fileri weighed in on this discussion.

“I like the Barbie film, it’s good and it should be taken seriously, and if anything I felt like Margot Robbie’s performance is more important to it than the part that America Ferrara’s role plays in it,” Fileri said. “I wouldn’t have minded seeing [Gerwig] get a directing nomination, but it’s always like, who would that have pushed out?” 

“The Oscars have a problem with fully recognizing things that don’t fit in the particular kind of social prestige drama or personality-based history kind of film. [At the same time,] Gerwig has gotten an immense amount of recognition at a young age, early in her career, so in part it’s just like, she’ll do fine,” he said.

Sear also reflected on the “Barbie” discourse. 

“I like ‘Barbie’ a lot, so obviously I was disappointed to see Margot [Robbie] and Greta Gerwig not make it. I think a lot of people really didn’t give enough credit to how well ‘Barbie’ did though, because it still did get eight other nominations,” said Sear. “...it was unfortunate Greta Gerwig didn’t make it, but I think we also should be praising Justine Triet, who directed ‘Anatomy of a Fall,’ for her achievement in that.”

Other publications and commenters quickly pivoted to ask why the “snub” discourse surrounded Gerwig and Robbie, and not other notable actors and directors of color. 

Celine Song, director of “Past Lives,” and Ava DuVernay, director of “Origin,” did not receive nominations for the Best Director category. Song was given nods in the Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture categories, and DuVernay’s film received no Oscar nominations. Charles Melton was also not nominated for “May December,” despite winning a Gotham Award last year for his performance.

“Charles Melton’s performance, Julianne Moore’s, Natalie Portman’s, all of them, it’s like a reflection on acting and performance too, maybe a little bit too acrid or uncomfortable for enough of a consensus of people in the Academy to recognize,” said Fileri about why “May December,” a film he enjoyed, might not have been nominated.

Some commenters thought nominations for America Ferrera, Gladstone and Randolph, among others, weren’t celebrated enough.

“Who tf care[s] about this? Let’s focus on the fact that Lily Gladstone is not only nominated, but she is also the first [I]ndigenous woman nominated. Let’s focus on history here people, not something stupid like this,” commented Instagram user @ciaran.flynn07 under a Buzzfeed story preview about the “Barbie” snub discourse.

“My biggest thing with the discourse online is a lot of people are trying to tear down America Ferrara just because Margot Robbie didn’t get a nomination and Greta Gerwig didn’t, but America Ferrara did. I don’t think that’s fair in any right,” said Wauters. “Why are we tearing down her nomination? We can celebrate these big nominations while also being upset and calling out maybe that Margot and Greta should have gotten their nominations.”

Other online commenters raised questions about why McNamara included what was interpreted as a slight at Gladstone in her column. 

“If only Barbie had …barely survived becoming the next victim in a mass murder plot,” wrote McNamara, in a comment which many felt was insensitive to the real experiences of violence against Indigenous people depicted in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

Commenters under the column preview called McNamara’s insinuation into question. “[W]hat’s with the weird dig at indigenous mass genocide?” wrote Instagram user @oliverr_t.

These discussions surrounding snubs and surprises have once again elicited a question asked yearly during award season: who makes up the Academy, and has that demographic makeup changed? The Academy went through a period of diversification after the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite scandal, but the Academy of today is still 81 percent white and 67 percent male, fueling dialogue about whose stories and what genres are nominated and why.

“Usually I think it’s like, not the most daring films or vital work is going to get recognized; it’s the exception rather than the rule and a nice surprise when things like ‘Moonlight’ or ‘Parasite’ or something get the award, and then [the Academy] can ride on that just enough for people not to dismiss the awards entirely when something like ‘Crash’ won in 2004,” said Fileri regarding patterns in nominations and winners past.

Wauters and Sear commented on what they’re looking for in movies of the year from a film-goer's perspective.

“I look for stuff that makes you feel good, has a lasting impact on you, and something that feels very grounded and very human,” said Sear. “I tend to like more indie dramas that feel a little more down to earth, a little more relatable, rather than these big Oscar-bait techno-features and stuff like that. So I guess I just look for more personal, human stories that really stick with you.”

“I am someone that does fall for Oscar-bait very easily. But I think it’s great, I mean, it’s what reaches an audience,” said Wauters. “I think if the movie can change your perspective on something in some way, even if it’s the smallest thing, I think that also shows how powerful it is, because you’re there for an hour and a half, two hours.”

The 96th Academy Awards will air live on ABC on Sunday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

This article was edited by Bailey Hobbs, Sara Winick and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Julia Patton and Sydney Kornmeyer.

movies@theeagleonline.com


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