(Photo by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images)
In the epic, manufactured-for-advertising-purposes showdown that was Barbie versus Oppenheimer, the latter takes top billing when it comes to the 96th Oscars nominations.
Writer-director Christopher Nolan’s biopic leads the 2024 Oscar nominations with 13 entries, including Best Picture and both Best Directing and Best Adapted Screenplay for him. Meanwhile, Barbie director Greta Gerwig and star Margot Robbie were shut out of their categories — although they still have a chance at taking home a golden statue as both are executive producers of the film, which is nominated for Best Picture, while Gerwig and partner Noah Baumbach are nominated in the Adapted Screenplay category for co-writing the film. (Gerwig was also not nominated in 2020 as a director for Little Women, so it’s understandable if she’s slightly miffed right now.)
But the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences did offer some progressive picks in other categories, especially for an organization that has been criticized for being behind the times when it comes to diversity of both talent and storytelling. We’ll have to wait until the Oscars telecast, which airs at 4 p.m. PT/7 p.m. ET on Mar. 10 on ABC, to see how those picks pan out.
Until then, here are more snubs and (oftentimes, happy) surprises.
The Academy’s long history of sidelining female helmers continues this year. In addition to Gerwig, other female directors who didn’t receive nominations for their work include Saltburn’s Emerald Fennell, Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret?’s Kelly Fremon Craig, Polite Society’s Nida Manzoor and Priscilla’s Sofia Coppola.
French filmmaker Justine Triet, who directed Anatomy of a Fall — a story about a woman on trial for her husband’s murder — is the sole woman nominated in this year’s category. (She also won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, the third woman to receive that honor.)
In 2020, director Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite reminded that foreign-language films don’t have to be relegated to just that category when it won Best Picture. There’s a chance of another foreign invasion this year.
In addition to a nomination for director Triet, the multilingual film Anatomy of a Fall is nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay (for Triet and Arthur Harari), Best Actress (Sandra Hüller), and Film Editing (Laurent Sénéchal).
And, although it’s officially submitted as an entry from the United Kingdom, The Zone of Interest is both a film that’s largely in German and is about a subject associated with Deutschland (the Holocaust).
Both Zone and Fall are nominated for Best Picture, with Zone’s other nominations including Best International Film, Directing (Jonathan Glazer), Adapted Screenplay (also Glazer), and Sound Design (Tarn Willers and Johnnie Burn).
Other foreign-language entries in categories beside International Film include Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki’s Japanese-language The Boy and the Heron, which is nominated for Best Animated film, and the Chilean film El Conde, which the Academy spotlighted for Edward Lachman’s cinematography.
While Barbie co-star Ryan Gosling may earn a Best Supporting Actor Mojo Dojo Casa House — er, Oscar — and America Ferrera and her searing monologue about gender double standards received a supporting actress nomination, the star of the subversive feminist comedy was put back in her box.
Director Todd Haynes’ polarizing film about a couple whose relationship started on highly illegal terms (they worked together in a pet shop when he was in middle school and she was a married mother) did receive an Original Screenplay nomination for Samy Burch and Alex Mechanik. However, neither Julianne Moore nor Charles Melton (who played the older versions of the couple) nor Natalie Portman (who played an actresses researching a role based on Moore’s character) were recognized.
It was not a surprise to see Lily Gladstone, who has already won numerous awards for her work in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon, nominated for a Best Actress Oscar as well. In addition, the Academy recognized Flower Moon supporting actor Robert De Niro, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, costume designer Jacqueline West, editor Thelma Schoonmaker, and production designer Jack Fisk and set decorator Adam Willis. The film was also nominated for Best Original Score (Robbie Robertson) and Original Song (“Wahzhazhe (A Song For My People)” by Scott George). However, Leonardo DiCaprio — who is infamous for either being snubbed by the Academy altogether or losing on awards night, despite his Best Actor Oscar in 2016 for The Revenant — was not recognized with a Best Actor nomination.
Unlike Robbie, DiCaprio doesn’t have a chance to make up this loss in the Best Picture category. Although Killers of the Flower Moon is nominated for picture of the year, he is not listed as an executive producer.
If it makes him feel any better, the film was also not included on the list of nominees for Adapted Screenplay (sorry also to screenwriters Eric Roth and Scorsese).
Both Lead Actress nominee Bening and Supporting Actress nominee Foster received raves for their work in Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin’s sports biopic Nyad (the film is Certified Fresh). But, in this crowded movie year, it seemed debatable whether this story about Diana Nyad’s quest to swim the Straits of Florida would sink or swim.
Disney’s 100th birthday celebration was a bust, Universal’s princess seems to be in another castle, and Paramount’s turtles were shelled, as their respective animated films — Wish, The Super Mario Bros. Movie and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem — failed to make the cut for the Best Animated feature film category. Wish didn’t even get a shout-out in the Original Song category. (But hey, at least Disney and Pixar’s Elemental got an Animated Feature film nomination!)
The celebrated entertainer, educator and (for what it’s worth) openly queer Domingo was nominated for a Lead Actor Oscar, the only person to be recognized for director George C. Wolfe’s biopic about the gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin.
Neither Scott nor his co-stars Paul Mescal, Jamie Bell and Claire Foy could get writer-director Andrew Haigh’s romantic fantasy drama about soul searching and repressed memories onto the Oscar ballots.
Perhaps Scott can rectify this snub come Emmy season. He stars in the Netflix miniseries Ripley, which premieres in April and is therefore a contender for those races.
Godzilla versus Hollywood? The Visual Effects Oscar nomination for artists Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi and Tatsuji Nojima marks the first time any of the films about the giant lizard has ever been recognized by the Academy. (Not for nothing, the film is also Certified Fresh at 98% on the Tomatometer).
Although Danielle Brooks did receive a Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her work as Sophia in the filmed musical adaptation of The Color Purple — a part she also played in the 2015 Broadway revival of the musical — the film itself did not receive a Best Picture nomination.
Thumbnail image by Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images