Sometimes, those criticisms are justified, and it just seems like the academy is filled with a bunch of out of touch, old white men who either have an agenda against a particular race, a particular genre of films, or whatever the case may be. Then again, there are those times where there are just way too many choices and only a few slots, and some great movies are going to miss out on being nominated. Often, people will complain if their preferences aren't nominated just because they liked that movie better and not because they think it's legitimately one of the best of the year.
All three of those possible reasons to take issue have been exhibited with the 88th Academy Awards, so let's take a look at some of the supposed snubs from the 2016 Oscars and break down just why they might not have been nominated.
More than any other award, the one that gets the most attention is Best Picture, and since everyone has their favorites, that naturally has the most amount of fuss surrounding it.
One of the biggest complaints is that Straight Outta Compton wasn't given enough credit, with a lot of people thinking it should have been in this category. At the moment, there are a lot of movies that I have yet to see, so I can't fully comment on the quality of them, but I do have to admit that Straight Outta Compton looked very interesting and I've heard really positive things about it. The same thing applies to Creed, which has even been met with a better reception (and an average 93.5% score on Rotten Tomatoes—amazing). Those two movies are receiving a lot of heat that they weren't nominated as they're predominantly African American and that there's a bias against those subject matters. I naturally can't speak to the voters themselves to assure everyone that they don't discriminate, but I would suggest people keep things in perspective and remember that Selma was nominated for Best Picture last year and 12 Years a Slave won the previous year and Beasts of the Southern Wild being nominated in 2012. More than the racial divide, I would think the bigger issue as to why these weren't nominated is the subject matter. Creed is a boxing film and the seventh in its franchise while Straight Outta Compton is about rappers. It's a chance the voters felt no real connection to those stories as they aren't as simple as some of the other nominees.
Some are complaining that Star Wars: The Force Awakens should have been nominated for Best Picture as well. As a fan of the movie and an even bigger fan of the franchise as a whole, I have to 100% disagree. It's a great addition to the series and it makes me excited for the future, but it's not Best Picture material. Monetary success is not a direct indicator to how good a movie is, or else we'd see nominations for Transformers: Age of Extinction, which was utter trash.
Inside Out is another that people are up in arms about. First off, I'd have to state that I'm not as big of a fan of that movie as many other people are, but even more than my personal preferences, I'd point out the Best Animated Feature category. This is essentially a cop-out to avoid nominating animated films in the regular Best Picture category (even though it's happened before with Toy Story 3) and it's just as good of an award in the grand scheme of things. At least you're not The Peanuts Movie or Minions which weren't even nominated for Best Animated Feature, right?
The four biggest snubs I'm hearing about are Quentin Tarantino for The Hateful Eight, Ridley Scott for The Martian, Todd Haynes for Carol and Ryan Coogler for Creed.
Carol just strikes me as the type of film that has strong performances and a dramatic enough storyline to get noticed, but not something that requires as much directorial expertise as some of the other nominees. I would give more of a pass to Creed for breathing new life into a dead franchise, but isn't a big bulk of that just the screenplay and the performances as well?
The Martian definitely takes a step up as far as something I could see needing a steady hand at the wheel for director, and after a slew of bad films, Ridley Scott might have needed this vote of confidence. Perhaps the voters looked at this more as Matt Damon's performance holding up the film than anything else.
As far as Tarantino goes, I hate to say it, but I think this might be a vocal minority. The Hateful Eight hasn't been turning heads left and right. Even I, a Tarantino fan who considers Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction to be two of his top 10 favorite movies of all time, am waiting to see it later on.
Best Actor / Actress
Without a doubt, the man who most analysts are predicting will win Best Actor is Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant. Some are leaning more towards Eddie Redmayne for The Danish Girl while others are thinking it's a guarantee Matt Damon wins for The Martian or Michael Fassbender wins for Steve Jobs. Unfortunately for Bryan Cranston, I'm not hearing much buzz about him having a chance for Trumbo.
Cranston stands out as the nominee that most people would replace with another name. Is Johnny Depp the guy who should have gotten that spot with Black Mass? I watched the film, thought it was good enough to receive some nominations, and I would have been okay with Depp being rewarded for doing something different instead of playing another androgynous flamboyant character. I probably wouldn't have expected him to win, but it could have been nice to motivate him to do more films like this.
I can't speak for Michael B. Jordan in Creed (yet), but everything I've heard is that his performance is nowhere near as good as Sylvester Stallone's. That could have overshadowed him enough for voters to ignore him. If you want to talk about people stealing films, there's definitely more of a justification for Charlize Theron being nominated for Best Actress for Mad Max: Fury Road than Tom Hardy, considering how Furiosa was easily the biggest takeaway from the movie in pop culture. If Hardy were to be nominated, Legend would make more sense to me. Playing two characters at once should have given him an edge, right? Then again, it didn't work for Eddie Murphy all these years.
Will Smith is the standout to me for Concussion. That's another case where I've yet to see the film, but even on the trailers alone I felt as though he could have a nomination coming his way. I've heard great things and if those sentiments are correct, then I'm not surprised people think he should have taken Cranston's spot.
Miscellaneous Other Awards
Three people suggested for Best Supporting Actor are nine-year-old Jacob Tremblay (Room), Idris Elba (Beast of No Nation) and Michael Keaton (Spotlight). If Mark Ruffalo was given a nomination for the same film as Keaton, then the voters probably just thought he was better and didn't want to give two to the same film. With Elba, that film received no nominations and could be more out of spite for the Netflix platform than anything else. As far as Tremblay goes, until I see the movie, I can't say for sure, but it's just possible that his performance isn't good enough to put him in the running for an already stacked list.
Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth's song "See You Again" from Furious 7 has a ton of support from people wishing it were nominated for Best Original Song. Admittedly, this one does seem like an odd choice to leave out, especially considering how it's made significantly more impact in pop culture than any other song nominated. I have no idea about this snub...
With the screenplay awards, there's a mixed bag. Some think Amy Schumer should have been nominated for Trainwreck. Those people are ridiculous, I think. That movie is nothing special at all. As mentioned before, Quentin Tarantino's buzz for The Hateful Eight isn't loud enough to make me think a mistake was made in not nominating him. I do, however, think it's odd that Aaron Sorkin wasn't nominated for Steve Jobs, although if you look at the list, three of the five were nominated for Best Picture as well (if you count Inside Out for Best Animated Feature). If Steve Jobs were nominated for that award or Best Director, then I think it would have looked a bit more off.
I'm sure there are a ton of other films and the workers on those films that people feel should have been nominated in one way or another, and if you have any to add to the list, tell us! Should Ex Machina have been in the Best Picture race? Is Sicario being screwed over? Were you really hoping to see more attention given to Joy?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below and stay tuned for results on the 88th Academy Awards here at Fanboys Anonymous!