Oscar nominations snubs and surprises: Bradley Cooper, Peter Farrelly out; ‘Buster Scruggs’ sneaks in

The Times’ Glenn Whipp and Jen Yamato break down the 2019 Oscar nominations and analyze what the Motion Picture Academy got right... and what they got wrong.


Of course, the morning of the 2019 Oscar nominations had its share of surprise mentions and snubbed contenders. From the mysteriously overlooked documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” to the unexpected recognition for Netflix’s “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs,” here are the top snubs and surprises:

Snub: Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”) and Peter Farrelly (“Green Book”)

The two filmmakers were left out of the directing category, despite nabbing nominations by the Directors Guild of America and the Golden Globes. Still, their films collected eight and four noms, respectively, overall.

Surprise: Paweł Pawlikowski (“Cold War”)

The BAFTA nominee was surprisingly included in the race for directing. Adding in “Roma” helmer Alfonso Cuarón, this is now the second year in Oscar history that two directors have been nominated for foreign language films. (It last happened in 1977.)


Snub: Documentary hits “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” and “Three Identical Strangers”

The two documentaries were among four box office powerhouses this year (with the Mr. Rogers doc “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” ranking as the year’s biggest nonfiction hit), and yet they were unmentioned. Along with fellow box office hits “Free Solo” and “RBG” and Hulu’s “Minding the Gap,” winner of multiple critics prizes, the academy opted to nominate the relatively lower-profile (but critically acclaimed) “Of Fathers and Sons” and “Hale County This Morning, This Evening.”

Snub: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma” (as an editor)

The Netflix drama currently leads the race with 10 nominations (tied with “The Favourite”), but many expected it also to be recognized in the category of editing. Still, Cuarón is included in the competition for cinematography, original screenplay and director.

Surprise: Marina de Tavira, “Roma”

In addition to being recognized in the categories of best picture, foreign-language film, production design, sound editing and sound mixing, “Roma” also nabbed nominations for its lead actress (Yalitza Aparicio) and supporting actress (De Tavira), even though the latter hasn’t receive other major awards recognition thus far.

FULL COVERAGE: Oscar nominations 2019 »

Snub: Timothée Chalamet, “Beautiful Boy”

After landing his first Oscar nomination last year for “Call Me by Your Name,” Chalamet’s acclaimed turn as a heroin addict was left out of the supporting actor Oscar race. Chalamet had made the cut at SAG, BAFTA and the Golden Globes.

Surprise: Willem Dafoe, “At Eternity’s Gate”

The actor, who portrays Vincent van Gogh in the film, sneaked into the lead actor race back at the Golden Globes, as did “BlacKkKlansman” star John David Washington. It was widely expected that, of the two competitors, the latter — who also earned a SAG nomination — would be the one to advance to the Oscars.


Surprise: “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”

The Netflix western popped up in the categories for adapted screenplay (Joel Coen & Ethan Coen), costume design (Mary Zophres) and original song (“When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings,” by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch).

Surprise: Caleb Deschanel, “Never Look Away”

The cinematographer was included alongside those of “A Star Is Born” (Matthew Libatique) and Robbie Ryan (“The Favourite”), as well as Cuarón (“Roma”) and Lukasz Zal (“Cold War”). It’s quite rare for three contenders of this particular category to hail from foreign-language films (“Never Look Away,” “Roma and “Cold War” were submitted by Germany, Mexico and Poland, respectively).

Snub: Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”

The Neil Armstrong drama nabbed four nominations (sound mixing, sound editing, production design and visual effects). Yet it failed to earn recognition for its original score, even though composer Hurwitz (who already has an Oscar for “La La Land”) took home an award in the category at the Golden Globes as well as earning recognition from numerous critics groups.

2019 Oscar nominations: See the full list »

Surprise: Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”

“Taxi Driver” writer Schrader nabbed his first-ever Oscar nomination for his original screenplay (possibly at the expense of fellow A24 release “Eighth Grade,” which was nominated for original screenplay by the Writers Guild of America).

Snub: Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole (“Black Panther”)

Though the Marvel blockbuster was mentioned in seven categories, including best picture (an unprecedented achievement for a superhero movie), Coogler was overlooked when it came to directing, as well as adapted screenplay (written with Cole) — which had been nominated by the Writers Guild.


Snub: “If Beale Street Could Talk”

Barry Jenkins’ adaptation of the James Baldwin novel wasn’t considered a lock for a best picture nomination, but it was the prime contender left off the eight-film list. Still, it nabbed three nominations: adapted screenplay, score, and supporting actress (Regina King).

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