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10 Snubs, Surprises & New Records in the 89th Oscar Nominations

24 January 2017 | Features, Other Lists | by Ryan Jamison

The nominations are in, and as always there is much to discuss involving fun statistics, shocking omissions and inclusions which nobody saw coming. Before we get to the Top 10, here are some other interesting tidbits about the nominations:

O.J.: Made in America – technically a miniseries – is among the documentaries recognized, making it the longest film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award (running just under eight hours).

While Justin Timberlake became a first-time nominee in the Original Song category, Pharell Williams became an Oscar-nominated producer for Hidden Figures.

Jeff Bridges now ties five other actors for the most Best Supporting Actor nominations in history.

Still yet to win, sound mixer Kevin O’Connell now has 21 Oscar nominations.

Once considered major contenders, Loving, Sully and 20th Century Women only garnered one nomination each and Patriots Day was completely ignored.

Now for the 10 biggest takeaways:


10. Snub: Jackie and Silence in Various Categories

While some of the above-mentioned films seriously under-performed in their nomination counts, these two are especially hard to digest. Despite not being totally surprising given their lack of precursor support, it is mind-boggling how the Oscars didn’t eat them up considering their typical choices.

Jackie did receive three hugely deserved nominations, one of which being in the major category of Best Actress. But how did such a beautifully constructed biographical history drama manage to get such little acknowledgement? The film not only deserved to be recognized in such categories as Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Film Editing among others, but unlike other worthy films it failed to acquire them even with its traditionally awards-friendly genre.

Meanwhile, a 30-year passion project by the legendary Martin Scorsese was given just one technical nomination for Best Cinematography. Despite arguably falling short of the director’s best work, it simply feels odd that his long-awaited epic was almost completely shoved to the side by Oscar voters.


9. Surprise: Academy Award Nominees Suicide Squad & Passengers


With their Rotten Tomatoes scores combined, Suicide Squad and Passengers still wouldn’t even reach 50%. Not that the site is a consistently reliable indicator of quality, but such critically panned films very rarely see the light of day on Oscar nod lists.

While the Producers Guild- and Golden Globe-nominated Deadpool received a goose egg, the hated Suicide Squad took its place in the Best Makeup & Hairstyling category. Passengers achieved even more with nominations in Best Production Design as well as Best Original Score. Nobody thought they would see the words “Academy Award Nominee” anywhere near those titles, but the academy refreshingly took notice of their strengths despite their apparently poor overall quality.


8. New Record: Meryl Streep’s 20th Oscar Nomination

Finally, Meryl Streep has received her long-overdue 20th Oscar nomination. Sarcasm aside, it is almost ridiculous how often the admittedly great actress has been rewarded, even for performances far inferior to other excellent ones in a given year.

Her work in Florence Foster Jenkins is cutely amusing at best, while better choices who were in the race with prior awards support such as Annette Bening (and a certain other actress soon to be mentioned) were sadly left out. Alas, Streep is practically unstoppable and 20 nominations is indeed a commendable accomplishment.


7. Snub: Hugh Grant for Best Supporting Actor

Speaking of Florence Foster Jenkins, on the opposite side of the celebration is Hugh Grant, who was surprisingly omitted from the Best Supporting Actor category. Meanwhile, the 20-year-old newcomer Lucas Hedges managed to crack the lineup for his impressive work in Manchester by the Sea with fewer precursor nods.

Grant’s absence is arguably merited given the quality of others in the lineup, but it is still a big snub considering the fact that Grant had previously received nominations from the Critics’ Choice Awards, BAFTA, the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild among many others. Hitting those four and missing the Oscars is not something that happens often.


6. Surprise: Mel Gibson Officially Forgiven


Even after missing the Directors Guild nomination, the infamous Mel Gibson made his Hollywood comeback with a massive showing at the Oscar nominations including a Best Director nod. His film also received five other nominations including Best Picture, further proving that the man with the persecuted past behavior has been forgiven by the industry.

Given his openness about his mistakes and his seeming betterment of himself in recent years, it is a pleasant surprise to see that his art will still be recognized for the craft behind it.



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  • Michael Stuart

    Disappointed Hunt for the Wilderpeople was snubed.

  • sailor monsoon

    The handmaiden not being nominated for best foreign film was a legitimate shock.
    I thought that was a shoe in

    • Karl Lanthanimos

      it wasn’t selected by korea for the it couldn’t have been nominated for foreign language. but still, for me it was one of the best movies of the year.

      • sailor monsoon

        Didn’t know that.
        But that’s a shame

    • That’s what I figured, cause I was surprised to not see it nominated then figured S. Korea didn’t put it up. Do you know which flick they selected?
      [I actually thought The Wailing was the best movie out of Korea this year].

      • Karl Lanthanimos

        the age of shadows was korea’s official selection .from the director of i saw the devil.

      • Afrikoka

        Nope. The wailing is a captivating intriguing well-made nonsensical movie. In my opinion of course. I really hope it isn’t the second best movie out of Korea this year. I say second because I only saw two… And handmaiden is my favorite movie of the year… Foreign or not..

  • Miguel Valdez-Lopez

    Great article.

  • Rebecca Hall in “Christine” was the best performance I saw this year. Maybe it wasn’t a true “snub” because there wasn’t much buzz around it leading up to Oscar nominations, but for me this is a snub.

  • Bruno Pardinho

    Hugh Grant? I think the biggest snub was Ralph Fiennes in A Bigger Splash

  • Relf

    ” her long-overdue 20th Oscar nomination” ?!!! They are nominating her just because she is Streep… Most of her nominations are unwarranted

    • Vincenzo Politi

      That was sarcasm.

  • Afrikoka

    So some of the snubs are warranted but weird because of politics (oscar/movie politics)..?

  • Max Blancke

    The problem with quota-based diversity is that it destroys faith in the idea of a merit based system. That means that minorities who are nominated will never escape the suspicion that maybe they did not earn it, which hurts the minorities who actually deserve the nominations, as well as the non minorities who get pushed out of line despite their good work.
    We either get to have a system based on merit, or a system where accepted levels of diversity are carefully monitored and protested over.

    • louis

      So are you claiming that there is a quota in these nominations? And where does widespread systemic bias factor into your analysis? Countless studies have shown that biases, whether explicit or implicit, skew our perceptions of things. Even in a system based on merit, biases cause white men to be unfairly raised above everyone else. For example, the studies where two resumes, exactly the same except the names on them, one “white” sounding and another “Black,” the white one always get more callbacks. Other studies show that both minorities and women are often passed over for promotions even when of equivalent experience and skills. And we see it happening not just in employment, but also in politics, in awards, in science, in pretty much every area of society. Any system that is supposedly based on merit inevitably becomes affirmative action for white men. So we need to counter that unfair bias towards white men somehow, even though it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a quota system.

      • Indira Iman


      • Max Blancke

        I am not making that claim. Only that when there is pressure such as the #oscarssowhite campaign to nominate more diverse candidates or face scorn or boycotts, the integrity of any purely merit based system comes into question. Unconscious bias works in several directions. The nominating members of the academy remember the uproar last year. Pressure to nominate more minority candidates has to have been on their minds during the nomination process. Possibly, these same nominations would have been made regardless. But we’ll never know for sure.

        • louis

          And I’m saying that that there is no such thing as a “purely merit based system,” because unconscious bias has always worked in favor of white men in such systems. Thus a system that is purportedly such would have no integrity. So while you say that doubts for minority nominees might result from #oscarssowhite, I’m saying that it is only a corrective for the bias that white people, particularly white men, enjoy and benefit from. To put it in terms similar to yours, when a white person is nominated or wins in a “purely merit-based system,” they cannot escape the doubt that they were unfairly raised above more deserving individuals because of the systemic biases that have always benefited them.

          • Max Blancke

            If it makes you feel better about yourself to believe that all of your successes or failures can be traced to racial bias instead of competence, then good for you, I suppose.
            A “corrective bias” is just a bias. You are still punishing someone for an advantage that someone different experienced in the past, and rewarding someone for for a disadvantage that they themselves likely did not experience.

          • louis

            And if you believe that mere competence is always correlative with success, and that racial bias no longer exist/have no effect on an individual’s success or failures, then you are willfully ignoring reality.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            “If you believe that […] racial bias no longer exist/have no effect on an individual’s success or failures, then you are willfully ignoring reality”. The fact is that we are talking about Hollywood movie stars, not about job applications. They are ALL successful, famous and wealthy people already. Stop extending the results of “so many studies” on a context as special and peculiar as Hollywood. “Any system that is supposedly based on merit inevitably becomes affirmative action for white men”: given the context, this claim is absolutely ridiculous. Take Meryl Streep: she has been nominated for the 20th time this year, does it mean that she deserved yet another nomination for a rather forgettable movie? Could it be that Hollywood’s biases are not only favouring men? I think it is just extremely misleading to discuss complex and multi-faceted issues by reducing them to an overly simplistic narrative of “bad old white men suppressing all the other poor souls”. Also, if you think that nominating racial minorities “by default” – that is, if you think that giving the nomination for winning a golden statuette to successful and extremely wealthy people – will help solving any problems with racism and implicit biases, then your way of reasoning is even more simplistic than what I thought.

          • louis

            1. Bias against women and minorities exist at all levels of society, even when the individual is rich and successful.

            2. I don’t think Meryl Streep deserves another nomination. This is a straw man argument.

            3. Biases can work in a myriad of ways, most oftentimes biasing white men. When you take men out of the scenario, as is necessary when in a category for “best actress,” then bias will still skew white.

            4. Facts: White men are only 35% of the US population, but holds 90% of the jobs in Hollywood. 90% of Oscar voters are white and 80% men. White people have gotten 90% of Oscar nominations since 2000 (more if you consider the entirety of its history, but given how much more segregated things get the further back we go, I won’t).
            5. More Facts: Women make up about 51% of the US population. They have a total of 4 Best director nominations. Only 1, Kathryn Bigelow, have won. Again, 80% of Oscar voters are men.

            6. I think it’s extremely misleading to discuss complex and multi-faceted issues by denying that they exist. They exist, even in the Hollywood elites, even if they don’t intersect with issues of poverty.
            7. Yet another straw man is that I never said “bad old white men suppressing all the other poor souls.” I talked about bias, express and implicit. And these biases that benefit white men are held by most of society, without regards to race or gender. Because of society constantly telling us that white men are the best and most deserving, all of us are biased towards elevating the elevated. So at the end of the day, most everyone holds these biases, and they work mostly in favor of white men.
            8. I never said that the only solution to systemic inequality is nominating minorities. This is another straw man argument on your part. I was only arguing against Max Blancke claims about a “purely merit-based system,” which I think can’t exist when we consider implicit bias.

            9. I think, though, that nominating minorities, electing minorities, promoting minorities, and doing the same for women would help with implicit biases and discrimination. Implicit biases are created by the world you see in front of you. When only white men are bosses, when they are the only people in power, when they are the only ones winnings awards based on “merit,” you start believing, whether you are aware or not, that they are the best, and only ones deserving, and that everyone else are lessers. So while nominating minorities for some stupid award won’t do much, at least it would maybe counter that bias a little bit.

            10. You call my way of reasoning simplistic, but you ignore facts and use straw man arguments. While I respect your opinion more than Max Blancke’s, I do believe that it is wrong. I hope that you will at least read up more on the ways that implicit biases insidiously work their ways into all facets of society. Have a nice day.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            And you say that my arguments are straw men??? LOL, man, honestly! Do you understand how bad YOUR arguments are? “White people have gotten 90% of Oscar nominations since 2000”, “Women make up about 51% of the US population. They have a total of 4 Best director nominations. Only 1, Kathryn Bigelow, have won.”: you do realise that, FACT, there are fewer black actors and fewer female directors around? How many female directors do you know and how many of them do you genuinely think would have deserved an Oscar nomination in the last, say, 30 years? I am very curious. Of course, the fact that there are fewer black actors and fewer female directors is part of the problem which is endemic to the Hollywood industry, NOT to the Oscar jury. Giving more nominations to more black actors or to more female directors “just because” they are black or they are women is not going to change the industry and make more black and women work in Hollywood. This is precisely the same argument made last year by Whoopi Goldberg (black woman Oscar winner), who said she was “pissed off” by all the “boycott Oscars” thing. As she rightly pointed out, nominating more black people or more women in categories in which there are very few of them actively working is not “equality”, it’s just lip-service. Things would change if there were more black people starring in central roles, more women directing movies and, also, more PEOPLE going to watch those movies. No one really cares about the career of many black actors or about the latest movies of some female directors, yet when it comes to the Oscar everybody screams in indignation: this is just hypocritical and I’m sorry that you don’t realise that.

          • louis

            Another intentional misinterpretation of what I wrote. You are arguing a straw man. Again. The facts are to show that white male bias accounts for why white males dominate Hollywood. They win more awards because there are more of them in Hollywood because the industry is biased towards them and hire them more. And they make up a majority of the Oscar voters and oscar pool, because of the bias towards them. Nothing you say negates anything I said. And even ignoring that, plain statistics and probability based on the already skewed numbers would dictate that women and minorities would have more awards and nominations than they actually do because last I check, women are not .001 percent of Hollywood.

            So if you can’t be civil, can’t do math, can’t use simple logic, and can’t understand basic sociological concepts, you should really refrain from talking. Because the more you write, the worse you look. Toxic and now particularly illogical. Bye.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            My friend, you really make me smile. You have basically said everything I said and you keep on accusing me of straw-manning. “They win more awards because there are more of them in Hollywood because the industry is biased towards them and hire them more.” Exactly. So, nominating more black people is not going to change the fact that the industry is dominated by white males. The problem with quota-based diversity in the Oscar nominations (which is the problem we were discussing at the beginning, remember?) is that it tries to alleviate the symptoms without caring for the causes. Enjoy your second-year community college required readings: give me a shout when you feel ready to argue at a more sophisticated level.

          • louis

            I am not your friend, and you obviously have no reading comprehension. I never advocated a quota system (“we need to counter that unfair bias towards white men somehow, even
            though it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a quota
            system.”) And no, that is not what WE have been talking about. Max Blancke and I were talking about the quota system. WE were talking about your denial of racial and gender discrimination in Hollywood and the fact that you’ve been arguing a straw man this entire time. Seriously, go back up there and look. Your first post literally denies discrimination exists in Hollywood, then implies that it actually exists, but FOR women and minorities, then you start putting words in my mouth. In one post, you contradict yourself and started attacking a straw man.

            You are the one who are a hypocrite, the one who is arguing a straw man, and the one who is saying what I am saying, at times contradicting yourself. Max Blancke may be racist, but you are pathetic. I may be doing “second-year community college reading” according to you, but you need to learn to read and learn to use logic/reasoning. You obviously don’t even know what a straw man is, based on your defenses. Man, I actually feel bad now, since I may have been arguing with a third grader this entire time, regurgitating what others say without understanding or context. There is no way you have a university education.

            Or are you a troll? Because you have been so nonsensical thus far that there is really no other explanation. It’s like you’re living in your own alternative reality where you’re actually arguing someone else. Just my luck, first arguing with racists, and then trolls butts in. Wasted my time.

          • Vincenzo Politi

            When people need to offend the person they arguing with, it means they don’t have any argument really. Read again my comments, if you wish, because I think that the one with reading comprehension problems here is you. Also, presuming that you are right and those who disagree with you are idiots is itself a bias. Never talk to me anymore, please, as I cannot waste my time with arrogant children. Good bye.

          • louis

            Literally everything you said applies to you, and I don’t understand how you can not see that. You are the one who insulted me from the beginning. You never negated anything I said, and contradicted yourself over and over again. You rewrite the history of our discussion when the evidence is literally right there for anyone to see. You called me “simplistic,” insulted my intelligence expressly and implicitly multiple times from your very first post. And given all this, you expect me to still civil when you attack me from the getgo? So again, you are living in an alternative reality, and, again, who’s the hypocrite? Either you are truly that oblivious and can’t remember/read, or you are a troll.. Good bye and good riddance. I am done talking to toxic hypocrites.

  • Special_One

    “Dev Patel’s Best Supporting Actor nomination for Lion makes him the first person of Indian descent to be Oscar-nominated in any acting category”

    What? Ben Kingsley has been nominated several times and even won for Gandhi.