The 2024 Oscar nominations were a mixed bag, to say the least, with no shortage of jaw-dropping surprises and heartbreaking snubs. Below, we round up the 11 biggest talking points.
Surprise: Justine Triet and Sandra Hüller for Anatomy of a Fall
Despite the highly competitive nature of this year’s best actress race, many believed that Sandra Hüller would be able to squeeze into the line-up with her beguiling performance in Anatomy of a Fall, but it was a real thrill to see her Palme d’Or-winning director, Justine Triet, make the best director shortlist too. (Sadly, though, she is the only woman in contention alongside Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, Yorgos Lanthimos, and Jonathan Glazer.) Anatomy of a Fall was also nominated for best picture, best original screenplay, and best editing. Meanwhile, France’s decision to submit the critically acclaimed The Taste of Things as its international feature contender instead of Anatomy of a Fall (following Triet’s criticisms of the French government) backfired spectacularly—it was snubbed entirely.
Snub: Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie for Barbie
She made the most successful movie of 2023, and yet Greta Gerwig was still not recognised in the best director category. Her leading lady, Margot Robbie, another presumed shoo-in for best actress, also missed out. Their splashy crowdpleaser did, however, secure nods for best picture, Ryan Gosling’s supporting turn, adapted screenplay, production design, costume design, and two original songs, “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For?”—but it didn’t do quite as well as expected. “There is no Ken without Barbie,” Gosling said in a statement in response to the nominations. “And there is no Barbie movie without Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, the two people most responsible for this history-making, globally celebrated film. No recognition would be possible for anyone on the film without their talent, grit, and genius. To say that I’m disappointed that they are not nominated in their respective categories would be an understatement.” Much of the internet echoed his outrage, pointing out the irony of the two women at the forefront of Barbie being overlooked in favor of the film’s most prominent male character.
Surprise: America Ferrera for Barbie
One piece of good news for Barbie fans, though? The inclusion of industry stalwart America Ferrera in best supporting actress for her scene-stealing secondary role.
Snub: Dua Lipa for Barbie
We’re grateful that both Ryan Gosling and Billie Eilish will likely get their moment on the Oscar stage, performing “I’m Just Ken” and “What Was I Made For?” respectively, but spare a thought for Dua Lipa whose toe-tapping hit, “Dance The Night”—arguably the catchiest song in the entire movie—missed out. Also snubbed? Olivia Rodrigo, who could very well have made the shortlist with “Can’t Catch Me Now” from The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes. The Oscars just got a little less starry.
Snub: Greta Lee and Celine Song for Past Lives
The other Greta that ought to have been in contention—Greta Lee—was overlooked, too, for her wonderfully delicate performance in Past Lives, as was the film’s helmer, Celine Song, in best director. Thankfully, though, the indie darling was at least nominated for best picture and best original screenplay.
Snub: Charles Melton, Natalie Portman, and Julianne Moore for May December
Whatever happened to May December? Todd Haynes’s pitch-black comedy, which remains one of my favorite films of 2023, proved to be just too polarizing for the actors’ branch in the end (it certainly isn’t especially kind in its view of actors or the profession), with its three leads, Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton, all shut out of best actress, best supporting actress, and best supporting actor. It didn’t show up in best picture, either—its sole nomination was for Samy Burch’s exemplary original screenplay. Ouch.
Snub: Leonardo DiCaprio for Killers of the Flower Moon
Perhaps the previous Oscar winner’s omission from the best actor line-up wasn’t a total surprise—after all, he’s spent much of awards season so far campaigning solely for his co-star, Lily Gladstone—but many still expected him to show up on the shortlist regardless. Gladstone made it, of course, as did Robert De Niro for best supporting actor, Martin Scorsese in best director, and the film itself in best picture, but it didn’t get every single nomination we thought it would. One of the head-scratchers? The fact that Scorsese and Eric Roth’s adapted screenplay didn’t get a look-in.
Surprise: Sterling K. Brown for American Fiction
Perhaps Sterling K. Brown’s best supporting actor SAG nomination for his barnstorming role in American Fiction should have told us that the same would happen at the Oscars but many, myself included, wondered if Charles Melton or Poor Things’s Willem Dafoe might sneak in here instead. Still, it’s a delight to see him included, and to see the film nominated for best picture, best adapted screenplay, original score, and best actor for Jeffrey Wright, too.
Snub: The Color Purple
Once a strong best picture contender, Blitz Bazawule’s exuberant musical The Color Purple ended up walking away with just one nomination—for Danielle Brooks in best supporting actress—and nothing at all for awards hopefuls Fantasia Barrino and Taraji P. Henson, nor any of its original songs.
Snub: Pedro Almodóvar
The live action short film category looked poised to be the battle of the auteurs this year, with Wes Anderson’s The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar going head to head with Pedro Almodóvar’s Ethan Hawke and Pedro Pascal-led romantic western Strange Way of Life. Except it was not to be, with the Spanish Oscar winner missing from proceedings.
Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, a film which henceforth, laughably, will have the phrase “Oscar nominated” forever attached to it, showed up not just in visual effects but also in best costume design and best production design. Oh, and don’t even get me started on best make-up and hairstyling nominee Golda. Baffling.
This story was originally published on Vogue.com.