Although there are a number of awards ceremonies each year for films, the one that gets everybody talking is the Academy Awards—the gold standard of film awards. And each year, just as many deserving films receive nominations for their achievements, both technical and performance-wise, there are also plenty of surprises and snubs that get online outlets talking and film critics producing articles about what was ignored and how some films got any nominations at all.
This is yet another one of those: here are the 10 most surprising nominations (or lack thereof) and snubs in this year’s Oscar nominations.
1. James Franco wasn’t nominated for Best Actor for The Disaster Artist
From his idiosyncratic body of work that oscillates between good (Pineapple Express, This Is The End) and abysmal (The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying), with his directorial efforts comprising much of the latter, James Franco has become a divisive figure in the entertainment world.
Having built a public reputation for his hyperkinetic activities in the art world and of cultivating a strange public persona, Franco surprisingly delivered a mainstream film this year in the adaptation of Greg Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist, his first-hand account of making the cult film The Room and his relationship with its unfathomably odd director, Tommy Wiseau. Helming the production and playing Wiseau himself, Franco received some of the best reviews of his career and delivered surely his most successful directorial effort.
It seemed as if Franco was a shoe-in for multiple nominations—until a number of allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced. Suddenly, the Oscar buzz around Franco disappeared, replaced by serious discussion of his potential numerous offenses.
Similarly, his film was nominated for only Best Adapted Screenplay (of which he wasn’t involved) and made sure Franco wouldn’t be present at the Awards this year. He was even airbrushed out of Vanity Fair’s Academy Awards cover. Perhaps it’s for personal reasons and not his work, but Franco being left out in the cold over sexual assault allegations still doesn’t address the fact that his performance in The Disaster Artist was one of the best of the year.
2. I, Tonya didn’t get a Best Picture nomination
A film that surprised many for delivering a story they didn’t realize they wanted to see, I, Tonya is a stylish biopic that details the rocky ascension and controversial life of former figure skating champion Tonya Harding. Starring Margot Robbie in a transformative performance as Roberts—and who deservedly received a Bess Actress nomination—I, Tonya is at times funny, harrowing, and ultimately tragic.
Which makes its lack of inclusion in the Best Picture category all the more surprising. A well-written and well-crafted film about a notorious public figure from the 20th century who fought against prejudice in the skating world for her lower-class roots to become a world champion, all while involved in an abusive relationship that ultimately led to associates of her husband to attempt to literally cripple her competition, I, Tonya seems like exactly the kind of film the Academy loves. Instead, it skated away with a handful of nominations for its editing and performances but no nod in the big category.
3. The Florida Project only received one nomination
Universally acclaimed upon release, The Florida Project details living in poverty through the eyes of its six-year-old protagonist, who is too young to realize that living in motels and hand-to-mouth is a precarious existence.
An art house hit and having built early Awards buzz, many in the industry assumed it would be nominated in a variety of categories. But when the nominations were announced, only Willem Defoe received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
4. All The Money In The World was shut out of most categories
Historical dramas usually clean up during Awards season, but All The Money In The World—which details the kidnapping of billionaire John Paul Getty’s grandson—was shut out. Which is unfortunate, considering this Ridley Scott-directed drama is a technically perfect film that features fine performances, particularly from Christopher Plummer as Getty.
But it seems, much like Franco’s situation, All The Money In The World’s chances were scotched due to Kevin Spacey’s involvement with the film. Having initially filmed Spacey as Getty, only to replace him completely with Plummer after sexual misconduct allegations were revealed, its release date was pushed back and the negative press surrounding Spacey dominated the film’s initial release and seemed to affect its Oscar chances. Only Plummer was given a nomination, for Best Supporting Actor, while Ridley Scott’s film was shut out of most categories.
5. Wonder Woman didn’t receive a single nomination for anything
Wonder Woman was a gamechanger for the superhero genre: a female-led action film, Wonder Woman proved that DC could produce a solid action movie that can compete with Marvel Studio’s stellar output. In particular, Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman received stellar reviews.
Many critics and Hollywood insiders predicted the film would receive at least a few nominations. But come announcement day, Wonder Woman came up completely empty. Surprising some for the complete shut-out, it’s also reflective of the Academy being slow to adapt to change in the marketplace and resistance to recognize action films.