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Snubs and Surprises from an Academy Award Ceremony Not Soon to Be Forgotten

In a week, my plan is to present my Year in Advance Oscar predictions. Yes, I’ll already be talking about the next Academy Award ceremony. However, today is one of the final pieces centered on this year’s show. Considering how some of my colleagues opted to present their early predictions today, think of this as an extra little breather (frankly, I’d have been among them, but my hinted at personal issues at the moment have me behind schedule). So, this new piece on the 94th Academy Awards is my annual list of who and what was snubbed, alongside the night’s myriad surprises.

Next up, you’ll see the snubs and surprises from Oscar night, at least in my eyes. Of course, as a reminder, you can see my take on the telecast itself (here), as well as our immediate podcast (here) on the show, the full Awards Radar Podcast episode on the same (here), and yesterday’s highlights/lowlights article (here). Now, on to the latest piece!

Here now are some of the Academy Award snubs and surprises from Sunday night;


Paul Thomas Anderson

The Power of the Dog snubbed below the line – As soon as CODA seemed to be at least on equal ground in the Best Picture race, some focus turned to how Jane Campion‘s film would do in the technical categories. Would The Power of the Dog take home Best Cinematography? What about Best Original Score. It turns out, the most nominated movie was shut out below the line. Considering the craftwork on display, it’s a major snub, even if it lost to very worthy tech competition in Dune.

Paul Thomas Anderson again goes home empty handed – Always a bridesmaid but never a bride. Paul Thomas Anderson has now been nominated for an Academy Award a whopping eleven times. This year, Licorice Pizza was poised to be his best chance at securing an Oscar. Best Original Screenplay seemed ripe for the taking. Alas, some notable precursor losses kept Anderson from the win, which ultimately went to Kenneth Branagh for Belfast. PTA will have his time come, but it wasn’t here, as the Academy snubbed him yet again.

The Worst Person in the World doesn’t pull out a win – Maybe this was wishful thinking, but if not for Drive My Car, it did seem like The Worst Person in the World would hav easily won Best International Feature. It even managed to feel competitive in Original Screenplay. Unfortunately, it wound up unable to translate either of its nominations into wins. Truly, the nominations were its reward, though this still feels like a snub.



The Power of the Dog only wins one Academy Award – As mentioned above, losing all of its below the line categories was a surprise. Factoring in its Best Picture loss, The Power of the Dog only winning in Director for Campion is a major surprise. The surprise is less in that the night went that way, since there were signs, but in the surprising nature of its rapid fall from frontrunner status.

CODA sweeps with only three nominations – An Academy Award nominee with only three citations, none of them below the line, almost never wins Best Picture. To do so, you almost have to sweep, and CODA managed to do just that. Again, it wasn’t surprising to see it happen on Sunday, but it was a surprise that that’s how the season ultimately turned out.

How unlike the Oscars it all seemed – This a point many of us have been hammering home for almost a week. So little of the Academy Award ceremony felt like the show we all love. The Oscar telecast should celebrate the year in film, not almost uniformly mock it. If they don’t show affection, how can anyone else?

What are your picks for the snubs and surprises from the Academy Award ceremony? Let us know!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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