Whenever the Academy Awards nominations are announced, one thing is for sure: Folks are going to complain about who was left off. While this year’s list of Oscar nominations has some terrific names listed, it’s inevitable others aren’t recognized. True, a few are long-shot nominees, and it’s a sad truth that some great movies just aren’t recognized in their time.
Yet it’s still amazing how an actor, writer, or director can be recognized by several of the precursor awards only to fail to score an Oscar nomination. There are quite a few names that land in this category for the year, as these have to rank as the ten most shocking Oscar snubs of 2024 and show once more how it’s tricky to win over the Academy.
1. Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie, Barbie
This was probably the biggest surprise to many. Yes, Barbie scored nicely with Best Picture and nods for Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera among others. So it’s baffling that the two women most involved in making this blockbuster hit were ignored.
Most expected Margot Robbie to be a lock for Best Actress for her turn, especially with her star power and nominations for the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and SAG. It’s a head-scratcher how Barbie herself couldn’t score a nomination for this movie when so many others did. Bigger was Greta Gerwig once more missing a Best Director nod despite how her unique style is what made this movie work.
2. Penelope Cruz, Ferrari
Michael Mann’s biography of the famed car creator was getting buzz early on but that faded. Yet Penelope Cruz was cited as a favorite for a Supporting Actress nod as Ferrari’s wife. She was hailed for her fiery performance and her SAG nomination showed she had support. Instead, she’s been left out of the mix. True, Cruz already has an Oscar and a few nominations in the past, but it's still a surprise to many that she wasn’t recognized for her amazing turn in this film.
3. The May December actors
While May December got a nod for Best Original Screenplay, the high-powered cast was surprisingly absent. Despite amazing reviews for career-best performances, neither Natalie Portman nor Julianne Moore got nominations for their turns in this drama.
The bigger surprise is Charles Melton, who had been cited as a favorite for his turn as a young man caught in a strange family drama. The actors got Globe nominations, although they missed the SAGs, yet the complete omission of all three from the Oscar race is jarring.
4. Fantasia Barrino, The Color Purple
The musical version of The Color Purple earned a well-deserved nod for Danielle Brooks. Sadly, her co-star, Fantasia Barrino, couldn’t do the same. Her role is far meatier with better songs and played well for her feature film debut. It may be that the Best Actress race was just too crowded for Fantasia to get in, and the lack of other nominations for the film showed the movie had little support. Still, it’s disappointing for her to miss a nod.
5. Alexander Payne, The Holdovers
The dramedy, The Holdovers, has scored nicely with nominations for Best Picture and Screenplay; Paul Giamatti and Da’Vine Joy Randolph are favorites in their acting races. So, how Alexander Payne couldn’t score a Best Director nod is astounding. It’s his vision of making this feel like a movie from the 1970s that gives the story its flavor and makes it so special. It’s another case of a movie scoring several nods yet missing the director who managed to make it the great film it truly is.
6. Leonardo DiCaprio, Killers of the Flower Moon
Martin Scorsese scored another Best Director nod, the film is up for Best Picture, and Lily Gladstone is a favorite for Best Actress. But Leonardo DiCaprio, who was critical in getting this movie made in the first place, was passed over for a Best Actor nod. He’s central to the entire film, driving the story and some meaty scenes, but it wasn’t enough for a nomination. The Academy does seem to have a weird love-hate relationship with Leo (he never got a nod for Titanic) and this year, ignored another of his best turns.
7. Celine Song and Greta Lee, Past Lives
The acclaimed drama got nods for Best Picture and Original Screenplay and won wide praise for its tale of a childhood romance in modern times. Sadly, Greta Lee couldn’t get a Best Actress nomination for Past Lives. Most would agree her performance anchored the entire movie, and arguably, co-star Tee Yoo deserved a nod as well (he was nominated for the BAFTA), yet Lee delivered some amazing moments.
It shows just how crowded the Best Actress field was that Lee couldn’t score a nomination for her amazing breakout turn. That’s without mentioning Celine Song’s own snub in the Best Director race, a shame the driving force of this powerful film couldn’t be recognized.
Emerald Fennell’s dark drama has been gaining huge buzz for some time, from its unique style to its shocking moments. Sadly, that couldn’t translate to any love from the Academy. None of the cast of Saltburn--Barry Keoghan, Carey Mulligan, Jacob Elordi, and especially Rosamund Pike--could get nominated. There wasn’t even anything for its art direction or screenplay. While this movie retained a great cult following, it may have just been too shocking for the Academy to get behind.
9. Asteroid City
Granted, Wes Anderson’s latest movie, Asteroid City, is divisive because of how it’s so incredibly quirky (even by his standards). So, nods for Best Picture or its cast were always going to be a long shot. However, no one can deny the film isn’t beautiful to look at, so the total lack of nominations for production design, cinematography, or costumes is unexpected. Anderson is often an acquired taste for Academy voters, so the movie’s mixed reaction may be why it missed nods for its unique style.
10. Zac Efron, The Iron Claw
After years of being dismissed as a fun actor and reduced to his good looks, Zac Efron stunned critics with his turn in this pro wrestling drama. As Kevin Von Erich, who has to watch his brothers fall to sad fates, Efron anchors the movie with his moving performance. He's totally believable as a wrestler, but it’s the dramatic scenes that stunned folks with his depth. Efron won the best reviews of his career, which should have led to an Oscar nod, but he couldn’t wrestle that title from Academy voters.