The Academy did the right thing. Unlike the Golden Globes, the Oscars directing category wasn’t mostly white and male, as Greta Gerwig was recognized for “Lady Bird,” Jordan Peele for “Get Out,” and Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water.” Gerwig becomes the fifth woman ever nominated, and the first since Kathryn Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) made history by winning in 2010. The other nominees for director included Christopher Nolan (“Dunkirk”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (“Phantom Thread”).
The rest of the lineup for the 90th Oscar nominations went mostly as expected. “The Shape of Water” led all films with 13, officially becoming this year’s awards frontrunner. Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” got eight. And “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” earned seven Oscar nominations, including three for its actors.
Yet there were still some snubs and surprises on Tuesday morning. Here are the 12 biggest curveballs from the Academy.
SNUB: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Franco was thought to be a lock for his gonzo performance as cult film director Tommy Wiseau in “The Disaster Artist.” However, a report published by the Los Angeles Times near the end of Oscars voting, detailing inappropriate sexual conduct by the actor, could have derailed his chances. After years of nominating men like Woody Allen and Roman Polanski, who were both accused of sexual abuse, the Academy has drawn a line in the sand. #TimesUp.
SNUB: Armie Hammer, “Call Me by Your Name”
Although he campaigned hard, Hammer wasn’t included in this year’s best supporting actor race for his performance in “Call Me by Your Name.” It might be that his substantial screen time as an American in Italy made voters feel like he was one of the film’s leads and he split his vote with Michael Stuhlbarg, who delivers a tour-de-force monologue at the end of the film.
SNUB: “Wonder Woman” gets shut out
Despite celebrating strong female leads in “Lady Bird” and “Three Billboards,” the Academy didn’t embrace the DC Comics box office juggernaut. “Wonder Woman” couldn’t muster a single Oscar nomination. Not for best picture or director Patty Jenkins, and it even missed out in the technical categories.
SNUB: “Mudbound” for best picture
Netflix was hoping that Dee Ree’s critically acclaimed drama, set in the 1950s Mississippi Delta, would be the streaming service’s first best picture nominee at the Oscars. But the movie missed out of the top contest. However, it did pick up four nods, including best supporting actress Mary J. Blige (the first time an actor from a Netflix movie received Oscars recognition) and best cinematography (making Rachel Morrison the first woman ever nominated in the category).
SNUB: “The Big Sick” for best picture
Amazon also didn’t crack the best picture category in 2018, with its hit box office comedy starring Kumail Nanjiani. It was, however, nominated for original screenplay. That means the only streaming movie to ever be nominated for best picture is last year’s “Manchester by the Sea,” which Amazon released.
SNUB: Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
After receiving a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nomination, Chau missed out in the best supporting actress race for playing a Vietnamese refugee in Alexander Payne’s drama. The film’s lukewarm reception made her lose out to Blige, Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”), Lesley Manville (“Phantom Thread”), Laurie Metcalf (“Lady Bird”), and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”).
SNUB: Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”
Haddish was a good sport to wake up at the crack of dawn to announce this year’s Oscar contenders. After picking up an award from the New York Film Critics Circle, she should have been nominated for her star-is-born supporting turn in “Girls Trip.”
SNUB: Holly Hunter, “The Big Sick”
The Academy loves Hunter, who has been nominated for four Oscars and won for 1994’s “The Piano.” But her nuanced portrait of a mom dealing with her daughter’s mysterious illness wasn’t among the nominees for best supporting actress.
SNUB: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
The Fox Searchlight dark comedy got a big boost over the weekend, winning best ensemble, best actress (Frances McDormand), and best supporting actor (Sam Rockwell) at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Many thought that McDonagh, who picked up a Director Guild of America nod, would land in this year’s best director race. It’s rare for a movie to win best picture without a directing nod, although “Argo” pulled off that feat in 2013.
SNUB: Steven Spielberg, “The Post”
The drama about the Washington Post publishing the Pentagon Papers wasn’t the Oscars heavyweight many thought it would be. It only earned two nominations: for best picture and best actress Meryl Streep, who plays famed publisher Katharine Graham.
SURPRISE: “Phantom Thread” surges
The Focus Features release about a demanding 1950s fashion designer opened late in the Oscar season. But never underestimate director Paul Thomas Anderson, who is an Academy darling. The movie picked up a surprising six nominations, including best picture, best director, best actor (Daniel Day-Lewis), and best supporting actress (Lesley Manville).
SURPRISE: Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq”
Another Academy favorite, Denzel Washington, landed his eighth acting nomination. Although “Roman J. Israel, Esq” received mixed reviews, Washington got in the best actor race over Franco, Tom Hanks (“The Post”), and Jake Gyllenhaal (“Stronger”).