What are the biggest Oscars snubs this year? Every year, try as they might, the Academy Awards invariably disappoint thousands around the world. Your favourite film, performance, writer, director wasn’t nominated, and you take to the streets of Film Twitter to bemoan the awards season ad infinitum, until the cycle begins anew when the next nominations roll around.
This year is no different with countless films left nomination-less, so here are five Oscars snubs that have drawn the most attention in recent weeks. Before you ask, no, Spider-Man: No Way Home wasn’t snubbed.
The French Dispatch – Best Production Design
With the modern swathe of increased usage of visual effects, the impact of high-quality production design cannot be understated. Actors, directors, and lighting artists feel far more at home with a set in which to work, and the best production design becomes a character of its own.
In fairness, this year’s category is overflowing with talent courtesy of the otherworldly efforts of Dune and The Tragedy of Macbeth, but in a year that contained a Wes Anderson film, the category certainly feels incomplete.
The French Dispatch is as exquisite as you expect from the renowned auteur, with its bright coloured exteriors of the newspaper house, multi-layered prison interiors, and a beautifully labyrinthine police HQ for Jeffrey Wright to melancholically explore (to name but a few). To say a film this meticulously crafted should not be nominated for its production feels borderline criminal, and a massive oversight from the Academy.
Petite Maman – Best International Feature
This category is frequently home to some of the more creative, inspiring films of the year, as 2019’s historic Parasite victory proved. Language should not be a barrier to tell incredible stories, and this year sees efforts like The Worst Person in the World, Flee, and Drive My Car break out of the International Feature category and earn nominations elsewhere too. Sometimes, though, we need to go smaller and look for the little gems lurking in the magical forest behind your grandma’s house.
Petite Maman is as moving a film as you could ever wish for. It’s a sweet story with a fantastical element that faces heady themes like death, grief, and fear of the future with a real tenderness. Courtesy of French director Céline Sciamma and her two twin child stars, Joséphine and Gabrielle Sanz, Petite Maman brings genuine emotion to the table, and offers a comforting embrace that tells you everything is going to be okay, even when it feels like it’s not. Petite Maman is an absolute diamond and deserved far more love than it received.
Mike Faist – Best Supporting Actor
The acting categories feel slightly disconnected from the other films nominated this year, as the following two Oscars snubs can attest. JK Simmons, as fine an actor as he is, doesn’t do anything particularly exciting in Being The Ricardos (which bizarrely received three acting nominations and nothing else). Simmons is a reliable talent and is invariably good in every role he commits to, but to receive an Oscar nomination, the performance should offer something that leaves an impression. Enter Mike Faist.
If you’ve been following the recent burst of support for West Side Story following its release on Disney+, there’s no doubt you’re aware of the love earned by Mike Faist’s Riff and Ariana DeBose’s Anita. DeBose justifiably earned her nomination and highly anticipated win, but the omission of Mike Faist from DeBose’s partner category left a bad taste in the mouth. Faist’s performance was incredibly well received upon its release and his Riff proved to be a total scene-stealer.
He outperformed the lead actor in West Side Story, proved himself as not only a brilliant actor but a terrific all-round performer as he dominates his musical numbers, and breathed so much life into the leader of the Jets that even the way Riff held himself in the background made you seek him out from the crowd. History should have repeated itself and earned Faist a nomination just like it did for Russ Tamblyn all those years ago. Personally, not only should Faist have been nominated, but he should’ve taken home the statue.
Alana Haim – Best Actress
In one of the weirder trends of this year’s Oscars, none of the Best Actress nominations are featured in any of the Best Picture nominations. This isn’t a slight against those nominated; Olivia Colman and Kristen Stewart are wholly deserving of their nominations after such emotional, brilliant performances in The Lost Daughter and Spencer respectively. It does feel, though, that Jessica Chastain and Nicole Kidman were nominated for most acting rather than best acting. There is a case to be made that Rachel Zegler, the Latinx heart of the brilliantly diverse cast of West Side Story, was cruelly left out, but despite my feelings on the film itself, I’ve found it impossible to understand how Alana Haim was overlooked for her performance in Licorice Pizza.
It’s not often you watch such an accomplished performance from someone who, until this point, was known for something other than acting. Alana Haim’s transition from her band, Haim, to the lead role in the latest from highly acclaimed writer-director, Paul Thomas Anderson, was a delight to watch. Her interaction with her co-star, Cooper Hoffman, felt as natural as you could hope for from two young actors. Alana (yes, her character was also called Alana) oozed genuine charm and allure that felt authentic and believable resulting in the kind of performance that earned the actress nominations at the BAFTAs, Critics’ Choice Awards, and Golden Globes, among many others. How The Academy missed this one is truly beyond me.
The Last Duel – EVERYTHING!
No, I’m not getting over this one.
2021 saw two Ridley Scott films released into cinemas, both of which are deserving of potential awards on paper, and both starring one of the hottest prospects around at the moment, Adam Driver. The Last Duel and House of Gucci were both highly anticipated, but The Last Duel was left largely to fight its own corner, while House of Gucci was marketed within an inch of its life and started an Oscar campaign. The result of its campaign is a single nomination for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling. The Last Duel was left with nothing in one of the more infuriating Oscars snubs of the year.
Infuriatingly, The Last Duel is the immeasurably better film. For one, it’s home to a pair of the best performances of the year by Jodie Comer and Adam Driver. Driver is fantastic playing three different versions of his villainous Jacques Le Gris, the subtleties of his performance accentuated with every repeat viewing of scenes from different perspectives. His cocksure nature is replaced with a gentlemanly interpretation in Jacques’ own segment, something that only adds to the evil of his horrific assault on Marguerite.
Jodie Comer, meanwhile, gives a towering performance as the victim of the piece, relegated to the background in the first two-thirds due to Jacques and Jean (Matt Damon) seeing themselves as the heroes of their stories. Marguerite waits patiently in the wings before she is unleashed in the third act. Comer’s emotional, heart-wrenching performance is astonishing, as effective in her grand moments of catharsis by the films’ conclusion as she is in the quiet, knowing glances from one man to another. Comer’s performance is another of the more egregious omissions of the year, but it will be remembered as one of the greatest lead performances in recent memory.
Not only is The Last Duel so impressively acted, but it’s also home to some of Ridley Scott’s most impressive direction in years. Scott tends to be hit or miss (as House of Gucci proved), but The Last Duel is one of the biggest hits of his career. He guides the camera effortlessly through scenes, the shifts in perspective allowing Scott to be creative with which moments to focus on to draw out the performances even further.
To compliment all of this is its brilliantly tense, Rashomon-esque screenplay from Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Nicole Holofcener. It’s a script that had to be incredibly careful given its subject matter, but Affleck and Damon recruited Holofcener to assist with the third, all-important act. Together, they delivered a stellar screenplay that is reflective of its 14th century setting as it of the 21st.
The Last Duel was one of the very best films of the year, and to ignore it entirely is the biggest injustice of this year’s chaotic awards season. Put simply, Disney backed the wrong horse. I’m serious when I say I will never let this most criminal of Oscars snubs go.
So, there you have it, those are the biggest Oscars snubs of this year’s selection of nominations. For more Oscars related content, check out our guide to the top 5 Best Picture winners of all time, or if you want to keep the 2022 ceremony in your mind, see why we think Nightmare Alley should win Best Picture this year.