Oscar Nominations Have Significant Snubs, Lack Diversity

Oscar nominations revealed January 13

Amaka Nwokocha, Staff Writer

The nominations for the 2020 Academy Awards were revealed on Monday, January 13, and there were plenty of surprises and snubs. Overall,  Joker leads with 11 nominations, followed by The Irishman, 1917, and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with ten nominations each. Behind them are Jojo Rabbit, Little Women, Parasite, and Marriage Story, each with six nominations.


In terms of snubs, the most notable ones were in the director race, with Greta Gerwig (Little Women) and Lulu Wong (The Farewell) being completely left out, leaving the field with no women. Wong’s The Farewell was left off the nominations list altogether, not getting nods for best actress (Awkwafina) or best original screenplay. Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women got her a Best Adapted Screenplay nod, as well as Score, Actress, Supporting Actress, Costume Design, and Best Picture nominations.


19 out of 20 of the acting nominations are white actors, with the exception of Cynthia Erivo, who was nominated for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in Harriet. Erivo was also nominated for her original song “Stand Up” from the same film. 



  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)
  • Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory)
  • Joaquin Phoenix (Joker)
  • Adam Driver (Marriage Story)
  • Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes)


In Best Actor, the nominees are Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Antonio Banderas (Pain and Glory), Joaquin Phoenix (Joker), Adam Driver (Marriage Story), and Jonathan Pryce (The Two Popes). Notable omissions include Taron Egerton (Rocketman), who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical only days ago, Christian Bale in Ford v. Ferrari, and Robert De Niro in The Irishman, though those films did well in other categories. 



  • Tom Hanks (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood)
  • Anthony Hopkins (The Two Popes)
  • Al Pacino (The Irishman)
  • Joe Pesci (The Irishman)
  • Brad Pitt (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood)


Best Supporting Actor had no surprises, with the nominees directly mirroring those at the Golden Globes. If the pattern continues, Brad Pitt will take home the final statue for his portrayal of Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.



  • Scarlett Johannson (Marriage Story)
  • Cate Blanchett (Bombshell)
  • Renée Zellwegger (Judy)
  • Saoirse Ronan (Little Women)
  • Cynthia Erivo (Harriet)


Best Actress has no real surprises, but with five solid performances, it’s anybody’s guess for who will end up winning. Notable things include Renée Zellweger’s win in this category at the Golden Globes, and Saoirse Ronan is the second youngest actor with 4 acting nominations (the only person younger was Jennifer Lawrence), and Scarlett Johannson’s first Oscar nomination for her work in Marriage Story



  • Florence Pugh (Little Women)
  • Margot Robbie (Bombshell)
  • Scarlett Johannson (Jojo Rabbit)
  • Laura Dern (Marriage Story)
  • Kathy Bates (Richard Jewell)


This category also has Scarlett Johannson nominated for her performance as the mother in Jojo Rabbit, making her only the 11th person to be a double nominee, the most recent being Cate Blancett in 2007. One notable omission is Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers), who was on many shortlists for this category. Laura Dern (Marriage Story) is a favorite to win in this category, but ScarJo’s surprise nomination just might upset her chances.



  • Little Women (Greta Gerwig)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi)
  • Joker (Todd Phillips and Scott Silver)
  • The Irishman (Steven Zaillian)
  • The Two Popes (Anthony McCarten)


Best Adapted Screenplay sees films that were widely nominated, with a wide array of stories, with settings ranging from Nazi Germany, 1980s Gotham, to 1860s Massachusetts. This category doesn’t match the Writer’s Guild nominations, with the Academy substituting A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood for The Two Popes.



  • Once Upon A Time in Hollywood (Quentin Tarantino)
  • 1917 (Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns)
  • Knives Out (Rian Johnson)
  • Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach)
  • Parasite (Bong Joon Ho and Jin Won Han)


Best Original Screenplay is a packed category, with 4 out of the 5 of the nominees also getting Best Picture nods. The only one that didn’t was Rian Johnson’s Knives Out, which got no other nominations from the Academy. Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood won the best overall screenplay award at the Golden Globes, which ups his chances in this category.


The Academy Award nominations always contain surprises and major snubs, and this year was no exception, with Uncut Gems, Us, The Farewell, and Dolemite is my Name not getting any love from the Academy whatsoever. Other people left out were actors like Jaimie Foxx, Robert De Niro, Eddie Murphy, Lupita Nyong’o, Christian Bale. Overall, there was a multitude of great performances and films in 2019, and it’s not possible for the Academy to honor every single one. At least they recognized some of the very best.


For a full list of nominations, visit oscar.org.com. Look out for more coverage and analysis of the Oscars in the February print issue of Spectrum.