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5 Surprises and Snubs from the 2024 Oscar Nominations

5 Surprises and Snubs from the 2024 Oscar Nominations
Margot Robbie, Charles Melton. Getty Images(2)

Happy Oscar nominations morning, everybody!

“Happy,” actually, probably doesn’t even begin to describe director Christopher Nolan’s mood at this moment. In a span of just 23 minutes, his acclaimed summer mega-blockbuster Oppenheimer was name-checked no less than 13 times. (Imagine if Billie Eilish had crafted a song for it.) Martin Scorsese is probably ecstatic, too. His latest opus, Killers of the Flower Moon, was honored 10 times … though not for Adapted Screenplay or for Best Actor candidate Leonardo DiCaprio.

Even two-time nominee Bradley Cooper can breathe a sigh of relief that the strange negative buzz surrounding Maestro didn’t seep into the Academy’s minds and hearts. Let’s assume he’ll be OK with sitting in a chair on the big night.

May December’s Charles Melton and The Color Purple’s Fantasia Barrino, meanwhile, probably regret waking up so early.

Barbie and M3gan

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After all, the Oscar nominations perpetually give movie fans reasons to celebrate, yell, gasp and shake their fists at the winter sky before they’ve even had their breakfast. The list for the 96th annual Academy Awards — announced Tuesday, January 23 — proved to be no exception.

Let’s break down five shocks and snubs:

5 Surprises and Snubs from the 2024 Oscar Nominations
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

A Mixed Bag for Barbie

Look, Barbie is already a groundbreaking success. Make that a groundbreaking phenomenon. Director and cowriter Greta Gerwig owns an Oscar and can write her ticket. She just won’t be writing an Oscar speech for Best Director. In a mild surprise, she didn’t get tapped in the category and will have to settle for a Best Adapted screenplay citation. In a positively stacked Best Actress race — seriously, see Sandra Huller in Anatomy of a Fall if you haven’t already — Margot Robbie was also shut out for her ebullient performance in the titular role. Still as a producer, she did get cited for Best Picture. And she’s Margot Robbie. She’ll be fine. And she can root for America Ferrera!

Dua Puts her Dancing Shoes Away

Because of a new-ish Academy rule, only two tracks from one movie can be nominated in the Best Original Song category. (By contrast, songs from those 90s animated Disney films used to dominate it.) This year, three songs from Barbie made the early nomination cut — Dua Lipa’s “Dance the Night,” Eilish’s “What Was I Made For” and Ryan Gosling’s “I’m Just Ken.” But it was Golden Globe nominee “Dance the Night” that ultimately got squeezed out. On the plus, now the door is open for Gosling to perform at the Oscars. Somebody please make this happen.

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No ‘May December’ in March

So much for those early critical awards. For a hot minute — right around its early December release date on Netflix — the dark high-brow comedy May December was the most acclaimed movie in all the land. But come January, the movie only popped up in the Best Original Screenplay category. Sorry, Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore. And double sorry to Melton, who played a sensitive soul still trying to shake a sex scandal and was tipped for a Best Supporting Actor. This is what comes of a film only exploding inside the Film Twitter bubble.

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Sadness for ‘The Color Purple’

On the surface, the musical adaptation of The Color Purple had all the makings of Oscar gold. Worthwhile and inspirational material. A talented cast. Show-stopping numbers. It even cleaned up during the Christmas box office. But then bad news about the production began to drip like a leaky faucet. (What’s that about the cast having to drive themselves to the set?!). As a result, Danielle Brooks — already a Tony nominee in the standout role of Sofia — is the lone Oscar nominee as she represents in the Supporting Actress category. Strange fun fact: the original 1985 film famously received zero awards despite 11 nominations.

5 Surprises and Snubs from the 2024 Oscar Nominations3

‘The Iron Claw’ Moves Off the Mat

Alright Zac Efron fans, this one’s for you. True, the actor showed impressive range playing tortured wrestler Kevin Von Erich in The Iron Claw as he watches all his brothers die tragically and prematurely. Also true that his chiseled abs in the film could sharpen glass. It still wasn’t enough. With its late-in-the-game December release date and lack of sneak-peak fall festival screenings, the film just couldn’t snare the required traction before the ballots were submitted and got shut out entirely. As for Efron? He was competing against a slew of formidable performances. He should take heart that DiCaprio, who usually gets nominated just for exhaling oxygen, was snubbed too.

The 96th Annual Academy Awards will air on ABC Sunday, March 10, at 8 p.m. ET.

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