2021 Oscar Nomination Surprises and Snubs

Oscar morning left us with a ton of surprises, but also had us longing for more with some snubs. My initial overall thoughts, after one of the most difficult years, not just in film, but life in general, I feel like these are some insanely strong nominees. I have probably the least amount of gripes that I have had in years, and most of these categories have 3-5 nominees I wouldn’t mind winning. Here were my biggest surprises and snubs of this season.


  • Lakeith Stanfield, JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH: Supporting Actor
    This was the first major shock of the morning, and probably the biggest shock of the entire announcement. Lakeith is an incredible actor and deserved to be nominated for this performance but in Supporting Actor? It is weird to me that he was pushed as a Lead, but somehow found enough backing in the Supporting category, and raises the question of if he could split votes with co-star Daniel Kaluuya.
  • Paul Raci, Sound of Metal: Supporting Actor
    This was one that should have felt like a lock but scared me to the last second. Paul Raci is so good in this film, and his nomination solidifies that.
    Judas and the Black Messiah was the film to overperform picking up 6 nominations, including a surprise Cinematography and Screenplay nomination. I was worried that News of the World might be the overperformer, and am not upset in the slightest that it was Judas instead.
  • Thomas Vinterberg, ANOTHER ROUND: Director
    This was such a late-breaker to the Director race (literally heard nothing about Vinterberg getting in until this past week), but we should have seen it coming. The Directors Branch has liked to go international for at least one of the nominations over the past few years, and while Cuaron and Joon-ho’s nominations, and wins, were predetermined, this nomination reminds me of Pawel Pawlikowski’s from a few years ago. Still, it is surprising that he and star Mads Mikkelsen weren’t a package deal, but it’s a well-deserved nomination nonetheless.
  • Aaron Sorkin, THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7: Director (Miss)
    This is one that I don’t think was a snub, but I am surprised he missed. After picking up all of the major precursors he was left off for Thomas Vinterberg. Again, not upset by this miss, but this was a real shock.
  • “Husavik”, EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: Original Song


  • Delroy Lindo, DA 5 BLOODS: Lead Actor
    Saw this one coming, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt. Da 5 Bloods only managed to receive one nomination (Best Original Score), and Delroy’s snub is one of the worst snubs of the past 20 years.
  • DICK JOHNSON IS DEAD: Documentary
    Dick Johnson is Dead is one of the BEST documentaries of last year. It is hard for me to believe that the voters watched this film, saw how good it was, understood the subject matter, and just didn’t nominate it.
    These two films felt as locked as I could have believed. So much so that when they missed the Best Picture nomination I didn’t even realize it until after I had let everything settle in.
    Warner Brothers did this film so dirty, and I hate it for the entire cast and crew. Birds of Prey should have been in for Costumes and Makeup/Hairstyling at the very least
  • Mads Mikkelsen, ANOTHER ROUND: Lead Actor
    This is a snub I wouldn’t have talked about if not for director Thomas Vinterberg getting in. Seemed as though the two would be a package deal, and with Vinterberg’s, well deserved, nomination, Mikkelsen’s snub hits that much harder.

Jacob is a Graduate of Western Kentucky University where he earned a History/Film Studies Degree. He is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is also a member of the North American Film Critics Association and the Music City Film Critics’ Association. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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