And the nominees are…!

Disappointment. Surprises. Repetition. It seems like no one can ever be satisfied whenever the Oscars announce nominations. They do so at the very last minute (the show is less than a month away), and at a time when so many actors, directors, and other creatives, have already garnered their awards.

For example, Awkwafina made history when she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress for her role in “The Farewell.” Yet, the great Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided not to nominate her. The same went for Jennifer Lopez for her mesmerizing role in “Hustlers.” Granted, I do not believe J. Lo would have won, however I also think there is no denying her good chops, especially considering when the board that nominates the acting categories are actors themselves!

The usual suspects got their nominations: Brad and Leo for playing themselves in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Joaquin for “Joker” (he won last night’s Critics Choice as well as last week’s Golden Globe for the same role). One surprise was Scarlett Johansson for being nominated twice (!) for acting: Best Actress for “Marriage Story,” which was a given; and again for Best Supporting for “Jojo Rabbit,” which was the surprise. Some examples of aggressive snubs were Robert De Niro for “The Irishman” and Adam Sandler for “Uncut Gems.” It’s assumed the actor members of the Academy didn’t find “Uncut Gems” or even “Hustlers” to be highbrow, which is probably why the only actor of color nominated across all four acting categories is Cynthia Erivo for her role as Harriet Tubman. Very on the nose, Academy.

And again, the one category that just never, ever, sits well with anybody is Best Director. Every year we have people of color and women who continuously churn out good films after films. This year was no way an exception. Greta Gerwig did it again with “Little Women,” Alma Har’el won the Special Jury Prize at last year’s Sundance Film Festival for “Honey Boy,” the brilliant Lulu Wang sublimely mended comedy and drama in “The Farewell.” That last one should have been a no brainer. 

There are some positives to take away from this, if you can bear with me. “Parasite” is the first Korean film to be nominated, and twice, for Best Picture and Best International Film (for which it has a strong chance of winning). Director Bong Joon Ho also got a nom for directing. “Joker” is the most nominated comic book film in history, which is upsetting considering that Christopher Nolan made three amazing comic book films. 

Look, every year there are movies and cast and crew that are deserving, and those that are expected. Imagine an Oscars that replaced “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” for “Honey Boy,” or “The Farewell” for “1917” (that’s actually not a bad idea). The Oscars aren’t the end-all be-all for a film or a career (anyone remember Jean Dujardin?). Lulu Wang will make another great film, Greta Gerwig is already working on a rumored musical, so our favorites will remain. Let’s just sit back on February 9 and enjoy the show. 

By Michael Jacobo

Photo: AMPAS