On the eve of Oscar nominations, nothing is certain. Year after year, we are stunned, surprised, and often disappointed by what gets left out. Let’s take a look at the top five most shocking snubs that could occur Tuesday morning throughout the major categories.
1. Octavia Spencer (“Hidden Figures”) misses Best Supporting Actress
No film has had a better late-breaking sprint than “Hidden Figures,” which has enjoyed strong box office and critical reception since opening wide this month. Octavia Spencer, who won this category in 2011 for “The Help,” looks safe to receive her second Best Supporting Actress nomination, especially following SAG and Golden Globe mentions. But is the ground she’s standing on really that steady? She could very well get knocked out by her costar Janelle Monae, the new kid on the block who between this film and “Moonlight” has had one hell of a good year (She even received a Critics’ Choice nom over Spencer). As well, the two could split the vote with each other, allowing for an out-of-nowhere inclusion.
2. Hugh Grant (“Florence Foster Jenkins”) misses Best Supporting Actor
“Florence Foster Jenkins” has been quietly gaining momentum in the Oscar race, and Hugh Grant looks poised to reap his first Oscar bid. Yet although SAG and BAFTA nominated him in Supporting, the Globes placed him in Lead, which could cause category confusion within the Academy. Usually voters will put you wherever you’ve been campaigning, but not always: remember in 2008, when Kate Winslet planned on going Supporting for “The Reader” to avoid competition with her other film that year, “Revolutionary Road,” and the actors branch refused to buy that bit of category fraud? Granted, she ended up winning Best Actress, but not everyone can be so lucky.
3. Natalie Portman (“Jackie”) misses Best Actress
Generally speaking, a nomination for an Oscar-winning actress playing a real life person wouldn’t even be a question, and for a while, Natalie Portman looked like the front-runner to win her second Academy Award for “Jackie.” But the film, which on paper looked like a bonafide Best Picture player, has underperformed, and Portman, who should’ve won the Golden Globe for Best Drama Actress in a walk, lost to Isabelle Huppert in “Elle.” Add to that the fact that this is the most fiercely competitive Best Actress race in decades, with at least 10 ladies duking it out for five spots, and you’re faced with the very real possibility that a sure thing could easily miss out.
4. Ryan Gosling (“La La Land”) misses Best Actor
Despite snagging the Golden Globe, “La La Land” leading man Ryan Gosling may fall victim to the Academy’s bias against musical men. Sure, Rex Harrison won Best Actor for “My Fair Lady,” but the Oscars have shown a reluctance to reward guys who sing-and-dance, despite rewarding their female counterparts (rest easy, Emma Stone). Just ask Richard Gere, who won the Globe for “Chicago” (2002) but ended up being the only actor from that movie to be omitted by the Academy. Or Ewan McGregor for “Moulin Rouge” (2001). And don’t even get started on poor Fred Astaire, whose lone nomination came for the very non-melodic “The Towering Inferno” (1974). Like Sally Field, Gosling is hoping voters really, really like him.
5. “Fences” misses Best Picture
Denzel Washington‘s big screen adaptation of August Wilson‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning play has Oscar Best Picture nomination written all over it. And if it were just actors voting, it would be a slam dunk. But does it have enough below-the-line support to get in? Yes, it competes at the Art Directors Guild for its period designs, but that’s it as far as craft citations go. It may sound silly, but you’ve always got to ask yourself: what does Joe the Sound Guy think of this movie? While “Fences” does have the support of PGA, SAG, and WGA behind it, Washington missed at DGA, which may indicate that many view it more as a triumph of acting and writing, not filmmaking.
HURRY! Be sure to make your final Oscar predictions before nominations are announced on January 24 at 5:00 am PT/8:00 am ET. Be sure to read our contest rules. And join in the fierce debate over the Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.