Get us in your inbox


11 Oscar nominations that should happen (but definitely won't)

Joshua Rothkopf

Bright and early this coming Tuesday morning—5:20am Pacific time, to be exact—this year's Oscar nominees will be announced. (If you're a masochist and don't want to wait for our complete list of nominees, you can brew a pot of coffee and watch the live stream right here.) At that point, we'll know every name and title in all 24 categories. Frankly, you already know many of them: Lady Gaga, Black Panther, Rami Malek, The Favourite.

Similarly, barring some kind of major miracle, we can point to several performances and movies that won't be nominated, which is a shame. They've reaped critical praise and mountains of awards bling all season long, but for some reason, they don't quite have the mojo to make the final bracket. That's the Oscars loss. Here are 11 of the most conspicuous omissions—and if we turn out to be wrong, we're happy to stand corrected. 

Best Actress: Toni Collette, Hereditary

Her performance touched the far edge of maternal meltdown and stunned all viewers, but because Hereditary is a horror film—very likely a new classic in an unfairly maligned genre—Collette will not be nominated. 

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Death of Stalin

Inspired by a graphic novel but very much the creation of several comedic geniuses—led by former Veep showrunner Armando Iannucci—the script for The Death of Stalin is pure gold. Too political? Too talky? Come on, Academy voters. 

Best Original Screenplay: Private Life

Writer-director Tamara Jenkins has actually been nominated in this category before, for 2007's The Savages. As fine as that movie is, Private Life is even more heartbreaking, more urbane, more compassionate.

Best Original Score: Thom Yorke, Suspiria

The Radiohead frontman is already on the Best Song shortlist for one track, but his total achievement—a bracing combination of mood and propulsion—was a gorgeous piece of scoring. Suspiria was too weird for AMPAS.

Best Supporting Actress: Elizabeth Debicki, Widows

Why isn't Debicki in the conversation at all? She's been a runner-up for several critics awards and her flinty performance stole the movie. Blame it on Hollywood having no idea what to do with Widows in the first place.

Best Director: Debra Granik, Leave No Trace

No less a giant than The Piano's Jane Campion went to bat for Granik, the indie helmer who launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence with Winter's Bone and topped herself with Leave No Trace. It didn't work.

Best Supporting Actor: Steven Yeun, Burning

The Walking Dead's Yeun has already won a shelf full of awards for his transfixing performance as a cryptic playboy (and possible serial killer) in South Korea's Burning. But reading subtitles? Eww.

Best Actor: Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here

Phoenix has so far earned three Oscar noms, including one for playing Gladiator's cartoonish Commodus. So why not honor his most harrowing and internal piece of work, as an avenging hit man? Though frequently brilliant, the film is a hard sit.

Best Cinematography: Happy as Lazzaro

Netflix's Italian import was that most magical of things, spanning folklore and myth to the hard-luck poetry of the consumer age. Organically captured by shooter Hélène Louvart, the movie will be re-discovered in time. 

Best Documentary: Bisbee ’17

It didn't have Fred Rogers or Ruth Bader Ginsburg in it. In a harsh year, that was a disadvantage. But Robert Greene's documentary—about a town confronting its own racism—was the year's most timely and essential.

Best Picture: The Rider

The what? We already hear your complaint, sheltered Oscar voter. Chloé Zhao's modern-day Western was seen by no one, yet loved by everyone. It's actually made more officially reported box-office than Roma.


    Popular on Time Out

      Latest news

        Read next