2021 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Jodie Foster

2021 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Jodie Foster

2021 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Jodie Foster

2021 Oscars Nominations: Snubs and Surprises for Daniel Kaluuya, Lakeith Stanfield and Jodie Foster

Plenty of history was made when the Academy Award nominations were announced Monday morning, but it just wouldn’t be the Oscars without a few swerves and head-scratching omissions. Below, the Projectionist surveys the biggest surprises and most high-profile snubs.

When two men or two women colead an Oscar contender, you can bet that savvy strategists will position one as a lead and one as a supporting role in a bid to spread the wealth and get them both nominated. That was the original plan for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” where Lakeith Stanfield was deemed the lead, mostly so he could get out of the way of Daniel Kaluuya, who’s been racking up supporting-actor wins all seasons. But in a big surprise, Stanfield picked up more votes in the supporting-actor category, so both men earned their nominations there. It does raise the question, though: If Stanfield and Kaluuya are both supporting actors, then who exactly is this movie supposed to be about?

Though “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is one of the most nominated Oscar contenders and Aaron Sorkin picked up a nomination for his screenplay, he was left out of the best-director lineup entirely as “Another Round” director Thomas Vinterberg nabbed the spot most expected would go to Sorkin. Still, plenty of history was made in that category: The “Nomadland” director Chloé Zhao became the first Chinese woman and first woman of color to be nominated for best director, and alongside “Promising Young Woman” filmmaker Emerald Fennell, this is the first time in Oscar history that two women were nominated in the best-director category at the same time.

At the Screen Actors Guild, a majority of the group’s nominations for the top ensemble award went to Black-led dramas. In the end, though, none of those three SAG nominees — “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami” — made Oscar’s best-picture cut, and only the late-breaking contender “Judas and the Black Messiah” earned a nomination. And while the acting races were filled with diverse nominees — six of the 20 acting slots went to Black performers, a record — the critics’ favorite Delroy Lindo from “Da 5 Bloods” still landed outside the best-actor final five.

When Jodie Foster was announced as the winner of the supporting-actress Golden Globe for her role as a tough lawyer in “The Mauritanian,” the actress appeared utterly shocked, since she hailed from a much lower-profile contender than her fellow nominees. The win certainly coaxed more Oscar voters to check out her film than normally would have, but in the end, it wasn’t enough: Foster became the rare supporting-actress contender whose Golden Globe win couldn’t even earn her an Oscar nomination.

One of the most rapturously reviewed contenders of the year ran no longer than a half-hour: Pedro Almodóvar made his English-language debut with “The Human Voice,” a live-action short starring Tilda Swinton. Most pundits assumed it was the front-runner in its category, but the insular shorts branch snubbed it entirely, perhaps resenting that some big-name stars could swamp a category that’s usually filled by up-and-comers.

Few documentaries had the buzz of “Boys State,” Apple’s well-received movie about teenage boys navigating political campaigns over the course of a long weekend. But the documentary branch often bristles when it comes to high-profile contenders: Hotly tipped movies like “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” “Apollo 11,” and “Three Identical Strangers” were all snubbed in years past, and now “Boys State” can join their spurned ranks. (At least the movie itself imparts several lessons on how to bounce back from a politically motivated defeat.)


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