Jennifer Lopez and ‘Frozen 2’ are among the biggest snubs and surprises


Sure, outrage culture is alive and well in 2020. But so is institutional bias, sexism and racism — all of which were on display when the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominations on Monday morning.

Because among those largely snubbed by the academy? Women and people of color. Not one woman was recognized as a top director. If it hadn’t been for “Harriet’s” Cynthia Erivo in the leading actress category, the organization would be facing #OscarsSoWhite all over again. Even Jennifer Lopez — doing the damn thing on a stripper pole — couldn’t get a nod.

Snub: Jennifer Lopez, “Hustlers” (supporting actress)

It looked like it might be the year of J.Lo. Heading into 2020, Jennifer Lopez had already earned Golden Globe and SAG nominations for her role as a scheming stripper in “Hustlers.” She had also been announced as the Super Bowl halftime performer at the big NFL game next month. But after months of campaigning, Lopez was snubbed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Monday. Her supporting turn was overlooked by the organization, which instead chose to honor Kathy Bates, Laura Dern, Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh and Margot Robbie.


Snub: Awkwafina, “The Farewell,” and Lupita Nyong’o, “Us” (actress)

In shades of #OscarsSoWhite, Lupita Nyong’o and Awkwafina were left out of a lead actress category with just one person of color nominated. Nyong’o, who played dual roles in the horror flick “Us,” received a SAG nomination earlier this month. Awkwafina, meanwhile, just took home a prize at the Golden Globes last week, representing the Chinese American family drama “The Farewell.” Lulu Wang’s critically acclaimed film was not a favorite among academy members, apparently, as the movie did not earn a single nod.

Snub: Christian Bale, “Ford v Ferrari”; Robert De Niro, “The Irishman”; Taron Egerton, “Rocketman”; Eddie Murphy, “Dolemite Is My Name” (lead actor)

These were some of the highest-profile contenders left out of one of the most highly competitive best actor races in recent memory. In another year, any or all of them might have made the cut. Egerton recently won a Golden Globe and also earned a SAG nomination. Bale was also nominated by both of those groups, and Murphy was nominated by the Globes. De Niro’s snub might seem even more dramatic if the Globes, SAG and BAFTA hadn’t all left him out of their best actor races first.

Snub: “Spirit” from “The Lion King,” Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Timothy McKenzie and Ilya Salmanzadeh (original song)

Another reason there won’t be as much star power at the Oscars next month: Beyoncé was left off the original song list. Her “Lion King” tune, “Spirit” — which she co-wrote with Timothy McKenzie and Ilya Salmanzadeh — did not get nominated. At least Elton John will be at the Dolby Theatre, since his new “Rocketman” song — “(I’m Gonna) Love Me Again,” with lyrics from longtime collaborator Bernie Taupin — got a nod.

Director Lulu Wang
Women filmmakers, including writer-director Lulu Wang of”The Farewell,” were once again neglected by the Academy’s directing branch.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Snub: Any woman, including Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”) (director)

After no female directors were recognized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. at the Golden Globes, many feared the academy would make similar choices. And, as expected, no women — including “Little Women’s” Greta Gerwig and “The Farewell’s” Lulu Wang — will have a shot at Oscar glory in the filmmaking category this year.

Snub: Jamie Foxx, “Just Mercy” (supporting actor)

The onetime best actor winner was overlooked despite a SAG nomination for his work as a wrongly convicted death row inmate. Anthony Hopkins scored a nod for “The Two Popes,” as did Tom Hanks in “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” and Al Pacino and Joe Pesci from “The Irishman.”

Snub: “Atlantics” (international feature)

The celebrated French-Senegalese production “Atlantics” was not nominated in the international feature (formerly foreign language film) category. The film, which had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and is directed by Mati Diop, is the tale of a woman left behind when her lover goes in search of work elsewhere and how she seems to be haunted by his ghost after he is lost at sea.

Snub: “Apollo 11” (documentary)

Last year, the academy overlooked the top-grossing box office documentary performer, the Mister Rogers bio “Won’t You Be My Neighbor.” That happened again Monday when the moon-landing doc “Apollo 11” was left off the list; the movie has grossed over $12 million at the multiplex — a robust sum for a nonfiction film. Fellow successful docs “The Biggest Little Farm” and “Maiden” were also left out. Instead, the Netflix flick “The Edge of Democracy” landed a slot, as did “American Factory” and two films about the plight of the Syrian war, “For Sama” and “The Cave.” “Honeyland,” about Macedonian beekeepers, landed a nomination in the doc category and the international feature roundup.

Snub: “Frozen 2” (animated feature)
Surprise: “Klaus” (animated feature)

Another box office smash that was ignored was “Frozen 2,” which, according to Disney, is the highest-grossing animated film of all time. Instead, the academy chose to honor “Klaus,” the first original animated feature ever produced by Netflix. Other nominees included “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” “I Lost My Body,” “Missing Link” and “Toy Story 4.”


Surprise: Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell” (supporting actress)

Bates, who won the best actress prize in 1991 for “Misery,” has been nominated in the supporting category twice before. Her third nomination comes for playing the mother of a wrongly accused Olympic security guard in “Richard Jewell.” She earned a Golden Globe nomination but was left out of the SAG award contenders, perhaps in part because Clint Eastwood’s film was a late entry into this year’s race.