By Liam Grogan
It’s Academy Awards season, and you know what that means: people are confused, upset and angry. And when I say “people,” of course, I am referring to myself.
I went through many stages while reading the 2020 nominations. It began with confusion (How is “Ford v Ferrari” even on here?), then disgust (Joker for Costume Design…really?), followed by anger (When will the Academy grow out of its pretentious, film major-like obsession with Quentin Tarantino?) and finally, acceptance (I guess Adam Sandler for Best Actor was always just a pipe dream).
But there are a few snubs that were so egregious, so offensively insane, that I simply refuse to move on without giving them their due diligence. If the Academy isn’t going to do its job, I’m more than willing to step in to make sure these actors and films get the recognition they oh-so obviously deserve.
Best Original Screenplay: Lulu Wang, “The Farewell”
As far as I’m concerned, director Lulu Wang has been snubbed twice — once by the Academy, and again when nobody seemed to care about “The Farewell’s” absence from the majority of Oscar predictions.
While it was frustratingly unsurprising that she was overlooked for Best Director, being looked over for Best Original Screenplay is even more absurd. “1917,” one of the nominees, was technically impressive, but nothing special in terms of scriptwriting. Similarly, “Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood’s” script was a boring mess that had to be saved by its two spectacular leads: Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
Wang, on the other hand, crafted something truly special that I will revisit for years to come. Please give me justice for her.
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “Us”
Whether you prefer Jordan Peele’s second film “Us,” over his first, “Get Out,” says a lot about who you are as a person. I love both films, but the formerly mentioned takes the cake for me.
Many people seem to have mixed feelings on this film, but the one aspect unanimously agreed on is that Lupita Nyong’o gives an incredible lead performance. No other actress this year even came close to the absolutely spellbinding performance she gave in this thriller.
I honestly assumed she would be a shoo-in for this category, but the Academy had other ideas. Part of me wants to give them the benefit of the doubt; the movie was released in March 2019, and since the Academy has a short attention span, studios release their award contenders in the latter half of the year. But “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” was able to pick up a nomination despite its release in just the month before, so who knows. This is one snub that I simply fail to comprehend.
Best Original Score: John Powell, “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World”
I love the “How to Train Your Dragon” series. Something about them is so endlessly captivating and entertaining, and it’s my favorite movie trilogy of all time. While I could infinitely list the reasons why I love these films, I keep coming back to their incredible scores.
Composer John Powell has worked on all three movies. Each time, he builds upon what he crafted before. Themes remain consistent between the films, but the music matures and grows along with the protagonists. I dare you to listen to song “Once There Were Dragons” from “The Hidden World” and then try to argue it doesn’t belong on this list.
Literally Anything: A24
Production company A24 released multiple films this year, among them “Midsommar,” “The Farewell,” “The Lighthouse” and “Uncut Gems.” Between those movies and the others, A24 only picked up only one nomination for “The Lighthouse” for Best Cinematography.
Any one of these individual snubs would have been noticeable, but to neglect all four is just insulting. I hope that someday we can look back on this as a whole, and realize that we deserve better.