Giving two award-worthy performances in one year is no guarantee that you will make it to the Academy Awards for either of them. Proving that to be the case this year is Emily Blunt, who starred in "Mary Poppins Returns" and "A Quiet Place," both of which earned her Screen Actors Guild nods, and neither of which were among the performances mentioned at this morning's announcement of nominations for the 91st annual Academy Awards.
(And it wasn't the first time; despite six career Golden Globe nominations and wins, Blunt has yet to be nominated for an Oscar.)
While there were some pleasant surprises among the nominees – "," for example, was the rare superhero film to get any respect from the Academy, let alone a nomination for Best Picture – there were also some notable omissions, not least of which was Michael B. Jordan, so memorable as the villain Killmonger in "Black Panther." And while the film earned well-deserved nominations for production design, music, and especially costumes, it was stiffed in the area of makeup and hair, which is crazy.
With the abundance of impressive performances among both actors and actresses this year, it is hard to carp that someone was left out, but carp we will, because the Best Actor category is missing John David Washington ("BlacKkKlansman"), Joaquin Phoenix ("You Were Never Really Here"), Ben Foster ("Leave No Trace"), Ethan Hawke ("First Reformed"), Ryan Gosling ("First Man"), Robert Redford ("The Old Man and the Gun") and Lucas Hedges ("Boy Erased").
The Best Actress category was even more competitive this year, which means that beyond the five women nominated there was no room to recognize Toni Collette ("Hereditary"), Joanna Kulig ("Cold War"), Carey Mulligan ("Wildlife"), Regina Hall ("Support the Girls"), Viola Davis ("Widows"), Nicole Kidman ("Destroyer"), Saoirse Ronan ("Mary Queen of Scots"), Elsie Fisher ("Eighth Grade"), Natalie Portman ("Annihilation"), Chloe Grace Moretz ("The Miseducation of Cameron Post"), Rachel Weisz ("Disobedience"), and Helena Howard ("Madeline's Madeline").
The slate of Supporting Actor and Actress nominees somewhat matched earlier lists from the Golden Globes and SAG Awards, yet Margot Robbie ("Mary Queen of Scots") is missing, as is Timothée Chalamet ("Beautiful Boy"). Also missing: among the ladies, Zoe Kazan ("The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"), Thomasin McKenzie ("Leave No Trace"), Rachel McAdams ("Disobedience"), Claire Foy ("First Man"), Nicole Kidman ("Boy Erased"), Michelle Yeoh ("Crazy Rich Asians"), and Jennifer Jason Leigh ("Annihilation"); and among the men: Steve Buscemi and Simon Russell Beale ("The Death of Stalin"), Jonathan Pryce ("The Wife"), Hugh Grant ("Paddington 2"), Steven Yeun ("Burning"), Jake Gyllenhaal ("Wildlife"), Tim Blake Nelson and Tom Waits ("The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"), and Raul Castillo ("We the Animals").
The Best Picture nominee lineup ("Black Panther," "BlacKKKlansman," "Bohemian Rhapsody," "The Favourite," "Green Book," "Roma," "A Star Is Born" and "Vice") is decent, but missed out on honoring "The Death of Stalin," "Leave No Trace," "Cold War," "You Were Never Really Here," "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," "At Eternity's Gate," "Crazy Rich Asians," "First Man," "First Reformed," "If Beale Street Could Talk," "Mary Poppins Returns," "The Rider," or "Sorry to Bother You."
The Best Director category is always slightly odd, as there is only room for five nominees while this year there are eight Best Picture nominees. A happy surprise was the inclusion of "Cold War" director Pawel Pawlikowski. Yet missing from the lineup were Best Picture-nominated directors Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born"), Peter Farrelly ("Green Book") and Ryan Coogler ("Black Panther"), as well as Armando Iannucci ("The Death of Stalin"), Debra Granik ("Leave No Trace"), Lynne Ramsay ("You Were Never Really Here"), Bo Burnham ("Eighth Grade"), Alex Garland ("Annihilation"), Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk"), Joel and Ethan Coen ("The Ballad of Buster Scruggs"), Chloe Zhao ("The Rider"), and Boots Riley ("Sorry to Bother You").
The greatest omission from the screenplay categories is "The Death of Stalin," the funniest film of the year.
In the technical categories, it was great to see cinematographer Lukasz Zal nominated for the Polish film "Cold War" (one of three foreign language films recognized, and one of two shot in black-and-white). But missing was Ashley Connor for "Madeline's Madeline," Benoît Delhomme for "At Eternity's Gate," Joshua James Richards for "The Rider," Bruno Delbonnel for "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," Newton Thomas Sigel for "Bohemian Rhapsody," and James Laxton for "If Beale Street Could Talk."
And in the documentary feature category, where the heck are the Mister Rogers doc "Won't You Be My Neighbor" and "Shirkers"?
Finally, a shout-out to the work of Tatiana Lisovskaya, who composed a dissonant and gut-wrenchingly beautiful piano and violin score for the Vincent Van Gogh biopic "At Eternity's Gate," which wasn't even included in the Academy's shortlist for Best Original Score, which proved short-sighted.
The 91st Academy Awards will be presented Sunday, Feb. 24.
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