Tuesday’s Academy Awards announcement got so much right. Fourteen nominations for “La La Land.” Absolutely. Eight for “Moonlight” and “Arrival.” Loved them. So much diversity in the acting categories. But, as Oscar does every year, there was so much disappointment as well. Here are the five biggest snubs of this year’s nominations:
In recent days it seemed a few performers who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., could have been contenders. But all were shut out.
Singer-turned-actress Janelle Monáe, a graduate of Schlagle High School, was on many lists to nab a supporting actress nomination for “Hidden Figures,” the feel-good story about the unsung heroines of the early NASA space program. (Her co-star Taraji P. Henson was ignored as well.) Octavia Spencer did earn a nomination, as expected, and the film is up for best picture.
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Sumner High alum Stephen McKinley Henderson had a shot at a best supporting actor nomination for the 1950s drama “Fences.” He plays Bono, best friend to Denzel Washington’s prickly Troy. “Fences” has four nominations, including best picture, actor (Washington) and supporting actress (Viola Davis).
And Piper High grad Eric Stonestreet might have been a contender for voicing the shaggy dog Duke in “The Secret Life of Pets,” but that animated film was ignored as well.
Maybe “The Secret Life of Pets” didn’t really have a shot at an animation Oscar, but “Finding Dory”? Not only was this Pixar blockbuster the No. 2 film of 2016 with $486 million, but it’s a critical darling as well, with a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The underwater adventure, featuring the voice of Ellen DeGeneres, seemed like a shoo-in for an animation nomination and a strong contender to win. What might have sunk it is Oscar’s frequent disdain for sequels (this was a follow-up to Oscar winner “Finding Nemo”). At least the adorable “Piper” that accompanied “Dory” is up for best animated short.
Oscar doesn’t really like science fiction, yet the alien adventure “Arrival” received eight nominations, including best picture and director. What sets it above others in its genre? It has heart. And what gives it heart? Its luminous star, Amy Adams, who with just a teary eye or a touch of her hand gave the movie its power. Yet Adams, a five-time nominee, was left out of the best actress category.
This drama about 17th century missionaries in Japan was on many best picture lists. After all, it was directed by perennial Oscar nominee Martin Scorsese. Maybe Oscar figured that its star, Andrew Garfield, deserved more recognition for his other big film, “Hacksaw Ridge,” which received six nominations, including best picture, director and actor — for Garfield. Or maybe it was the abysmal box office: just $5 million. Or maybe Oscar listened to film critics; “Silence” has a middling 83 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Oscar has never shown much love for superhero flicks. But this whirlwind of irreverence and action, starring an irrepressible Ryan Reynolds, seemed to have a chance at big awards. It was nominated for best picture not only by the Golden Globes but by the more esteemed Producers Guild of America. How dare this movie show any ambition. Oscar shut it down with not a single nomination.
The Academy Awards will be presented Feb. 26.