UNITED STATES—I already wrote a column earlier in the week about the 2023 Oscar nominations that had plenty of people buzzing. There is so much talk about actors, directors, writers and actresses who have been snubbed. Look, snubs happen year after year and it should not be a shock to people in the entertainment region. I mean, I can list a ton of snubs that happened in the Academy’s history.
How about Donald Sutherland being overlooked for Best Actor for his terrific turn in “Ordinary People?” How about Tom Hanks being overlooked for Best Actor for “Captain Phillips?” How about Stanley Kubrick not winning for Best Director for “A Clockwork Orange?” Anthony Perkins overlooked for Best Actor for “Psycho” people; baffles the mind. I still cannot wrap my mind how Rod Steiger got nominated for Best Actor but Sidney Poitier didn’t for 1967’s “In the Heat of the Night.”
When it comes to actresses, I thought Viola Davis should have been a contender for Best Actress instead of Supporting Actress when she was nominated and won for “Fences.” Rosalind Russell being overlooked for Best Actress for the 1940 flick “His Girl Friday” she was fantastic in that movie. Um, “The Dark Knight” not being nominated for Best Picture in 2009 is the reason we have all the nominees in that category now that I absolutely hate. We already know 75 percent of the flicks nominated have no chance, yet the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences do it to appease to the base.
Look, Academy Award members have always been elitist to a degree. This has never changed in the 95 years of its existence. Just look at all the films nominated in previous years for Best Picture and ask any ordinary American if they saw the movie that won Best Picture. You’re likely going to get an answer that says: “NO!” This dichotomy of arthouse cinema versus box-office success has always and will always be a battle. It is never going to change, so with this push for more diversity and younger members hoping to change things, stop wishing, just stop. Hell, it’s like Ben Affleck being snubbed for Best Director for “Argo,” only later to win Best Picture because everyone was upset he got snubbed even though that movie was not the greatest people.
Do you realize for each category in the Academy Awards, ONLY MEMBERS OF THAT BRANCH NOMINATE! So that means if you have a branch like Directing that is composed of mainly Old White males, what are the chances that a woman gets a nomination for Directing? Exactly. The year 2023 proved it yet again, as no women got nominated in the category in 2023 and it is just beyond baffling and frustrating at this point because you cannot say there were no films directed by women that were not critical or financial successes. I mean “Women Talking,” “The Woman King,” both critically loved movies that got virtually no love when it came to Oscar nominations.
“Women Talking” earning a Best Picture nomination, but nothing in Best Director baffles me. Best Picture and Best Director tend to go hand and hand. Very rarely do the AMPAS split those two races. In recent years, it has happened a bit because I see it as the Academy’s way of giving a little bit to everyone. Just look at 2022, Best Picture winner was “CODA,” however, Best Director went to Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog.” Recent years have seen more splitting, but I secretly know Academy members seethe when that happens because how can you win Best Director for a movie, but not Best Picture?
It doesn’t make sense when you think about it. Only 3 women have won Best Director in the Academy’s 95 years! Yeah, think about that people it’s a shame. Only 32 people of color have won acting Oscars in 95 years, only 1 woman of color has won Best Actress, Halle Berry for 2002’s “Monster’s Ball” in 95 years people. Think about those statistics. Shocking, without a doubt considering there have been amazing performances by women of color in the past 9 decades people.
I still cannot believe the 1985 flick “The Color of Purple” which led all nominees that year at the Oscars didn’t win a single Academy Award. Shocking, not really when you think about it. This is not a race issue because the Academy has always had issues with nominations because it is preferential. People are going to nominate who they want and who they know and who they’re friends with. There is no such thing as a fair awards show because how people rank or determine caliber is going to be different for all people. I couldn’t believe Michelle Yeoh was the first Asian-American woman to be nominated for Best Actress this year for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It was a treat seeing her co-stars nominated for Best Supporting Actor, Ke Huy Quan (will almost certainly win) and his co-star Stephanie Hsu having a good chance in the Best Supporting Actress race, but that prize is likely Angela’s Bassett’s to lose considering she was overlooked for her portrayal of Tina Turner in 1993, nearly 30 years to date people. And we all know the Academy loves to hand an Oscar to people who are OVERDUE. Um, Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and so many others, that I know won an Oscar for films that were not necessarily their best work, but they were overlooked in the past when they should have won.
I’ve come to the conclusion to stop caring about who was snubbed, who got overlooked, who should have won, who should have lost in specific categories, because guess what: people are voting. When people vote they get to pick and choose on their personal preference. Now, things are a bit different once nominations are unleashed because ANYONE WHO IS A MEMBER CAN VOTE IN ALL THE CATEGORIES so you can see surprises come March 12 once the Oscars are handed out. I like surprises, but we need to stop getting uproar when we do not see the results we want.