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2024 Oscar nominations snubs, surprises, shockers – why the Oscars remain consistently frustrating

From Barbie's major snubs to The Zone of Interest's surprise, we're breaking it down!

Barbie (2023) directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Margot Robbie as Barbie and  Ryan Gosling as Ken. Barbie suffers a crisis that leads her to question her world and her existence.
Ahad Sanwari
Ahad SanwariSenior WriterNew York
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*sigh* It's Oscars season, and when nominations morning rolls around each year, it's usually quite a predictable affair, given the prestigious ceremony is the last in the awards circuit, giving other competitive shows the option of setting the trend.

When the nods for the 96th Academy Awards were ultimately revealed on the morning of January 23, fans of the movies collectively scratched their heads at several of the films and people nominated for top trophies.

The trend it sets is this – Oscar bait always wins out (hello, Maestro with seven nominations), if you're popular but not necessarily *elite,* you might be in danger (hello, Barbie shut-outs), and just when you expect the Oscars to make history, they don't (hello, Best Director).

VIDEO: The Oscars: Biggest Winners in History

Here's a rundown of some of the biggest shockers from the list of nominations…

The Barbie affair

The major consensus remains that the biggest upset from the nods are Greta Gerwig missing out on a Best Director mention, while Margot Robbie was shut out of Best Actress. It seems like the more popular you are, the less likely you are to get some Oscars love (Oppenheimer was popular, but $500 million less, based on box office, so…).

Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie accepts the award for Cinematic and Box Office Achievement for "Barbie" at the 81st Golden Globe Awards held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 7, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California.© Getty Images
Greta Gerwig missed out on Best Director, while Margot Robbie missed Best Actress

It's a little ironic that a film centered around championing the role of the female in an existential sense got excluded from these top categories. While Best Actress in particular was a tough field, Margot had been picking up every nod she could.

MORE: Where to watch the biggest award winners' movies and TV shows of 2024

America Ferrera did get her nomination for Best Supporting Actress, well deserved but a bit of a surprise given she hadn't been a major factor at many significant televised ceremonies. Ryan Gosling, once the frontrunner in his category, did get his coveted nod (again, the irony of Ken getting his nomination without Barbie…).

Wait, where was [xxx] film?

Paul Rhys, Jacob Elordi, Emerald Fennell, Barry Keoghan, Carey Mulligan and Archie Madekwe attend the Los Angeles Premiere Of MGM's "Saltburn" at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on November 14, 2023 in Los Angeles, California.© Getty Images
Saltburn ended up being one of the biggest films to be shut out of the Oscars completely

Several of the year's biggest films, whether in buzz, box office, or acclaim, were completely excluded from not just the major categories, but also the technical.

To flag some noteworthy ones, this could've been the chance to surprise viewers with some love for The Iron Claw; Ferrari missed out on a partially expected nomination for Penelope Cruz; Saltburn was excluded ALTOGETHER (#JusticeForBarryKeoghan).

Other misses include All Of Us Strangers, Wonka, Priscilla, John Wick: Chapter 4, The Taste of Things, Asteroid City, Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (aka one of the year's most underrated animated movies).

Celine Song attends the 29th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 14, 2024 in Santa Monica, California.© Getty Images
Celine Song was passed over for a Best Director nod for "Past Lives"

For the girls

Academy…academy…oh, academy. This was your year to create a banner year for women by nominating more than two women in the Best Director field, for the first time ever with Anatomy of a Fall's Justine Triet, Past Lives' Celine Song, and Greta.

While the trifecta of Martin Scorsese, Christopher Nolan, and Yorgos Lanthimos was always going to be hard to break, there were vulnerabilities showing (both Martin and Yorgos missed out at the BAFTAs while Justine made it in).

READ: EE BAFTA Film Awards 2024 nominations: see full list from Saltburn to Oppenheimer

However, the French director became the only one to receive a nod, with Jonathan Glazer emerging as a surprise for The Zone of Interest, which has only one other major nomination in the category (at the BAFTAs). On the plus side, this is the first time that three Best Picture nominees (all the ones mentioned) were heralded by women.

May December has been tipped for an Oscar © Getty Images
The cast of "May December" didn't receive a single acting nod

The other big misses

Maestro picked up a Best Original Screenplay nod, despite that being considered its weakest point by most critics for the non-linear storytelling. And in the same category, May December received its only nomination, despite celebrated performances from the likes of Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore, and Charles Melton.

MORE: May December at BFI London Film Fest: Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore shine in dark drama – review

Sterling K. Brown, despite not being a major contender for most of the season, received a Supporting Actor nod for his divisive turn in American Fiction. And Diane Warren, a national treasure, got one as well for her contribution to the Flamin' Hot soundtrack, proving her Academy darling status despite receiving no other major nominations.

lily gladstone afi awards luncheon 2024© Getty Images
Lily Gladstone becomes the first Native American actress to receive a Best Actress nomination

The big wins

That's not to say this year's ceremony didn't provide some welcome contenders. Chief among them, apart from women making history in Best Picture, is Lily Gladstone, who becomes the first Native American to receive a nomination for Best Actress for her stirring Killers of the Flower Moon performance.

MORE: Cara Jade Myers: I am Native American and Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon is 'groundbreaking'

Emily Blunt receives her first Oscar nod EVER (can you believe it?) for Oppenheimer, The Holdovers proves to be a strong contender, while Jodie Foster and Annette Bening continue to slay the season with nominations for Nyad, despite the film being considerably less high-profile than the rest of the contenders.

Stay tuned for what happens the night of March 10!

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