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The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

Cinema with Sam: Oscar snubs

Leonardo DiCaprio was expected to receive a Best Lead Actor nod for his work in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” (Photo courtesy of Town and Country Magazine)

It’s awards season! Along with the Golden Globe Awards, the BAFTA Film Awards nominations have been announced, so now it’s time for the holy grail of them all: The Academy Awards. Here are four surprises I noticed when looking over the 2024 nominations.

“Barbie (2023)” 

“Barbie” (2023) was one of the most surprising films of 2023. It worked on so many levels, from being laugh-out-loud funny to an emotional tearjerker. While “Barbie” did receive eight nominations, including Best Supporting Actor for Ryan Gosling as Ken, neither Greta Gerwig nor Margot Robbie were nominated for Best Director and Best Lead Actress, respectively.

Robbie definitely deserved a nomination, as her contribution to the character Barbie allowed the audience to connect deeply with her. Gerwig, on the other hand, upsets me less. Best Director only has five nominations, while Best Picture has 10, meaning five of the year’s best film directors will get snubbed from a nomination.

While Gerwig’s directorial footprint is all over “Barbie” and makes that movie the treasure it is, I think the screenplay for the film is what truly allows it to fire on all cylinders. Gerwig was nominated for the screenplay alongside her husband and co-writer Noah Baumbach.

“Killers of the Flower Moon”

Another noteworthy snub was Leonardo DiCaprio not being nominated for Best Lead Actor in Martin Scorsese’s “Killers of the Flower Moon” (2023). Receiving 10 nominations, “Killers” is a fantastic and horrifying depiction of American greed and corruption, and is a film anchored by not just Lily Gladstone’s tremendous lead performance – for which she was nominated – but also DiCaprio’s nuanced and subtle role as Ernest.

Many roles DiCaprio has done, including “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) and “The Departed” (2006), are more over the top and explosive. Ernest, on the other hand, is a quiet character who is not that smart, but still knows right from wrong. DiCaprio’s acting brilliantly displays this complex character. 

“Anatomy of a Fall”

“Anatomy of a Fall” (2023) was a thoroughly surprising and engaging film. Its courtroom scenes consist of the finest acting and writing I’ve witnessed all year, and use the ideas of perspective and truth in many fun and unique ways. When I saw director Justine Triet’s name under the Best Director nominees, I was so happy.

Triet, for the entire film, hooks the viewer with emotional and morally complex scenes, analyzing how a relationship can have lasting effects on those involved, even after it’s over. Triet’s direction also elevates Hüller’s and Milo Machado Graner’s excellent performance.

Speaking of Graner, another snub was him not being nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Daniel, Hüller’s blind son in the film and sole witness for the trial of his dead father. At just 16 years old, Graner gives a captivating and emotional performance, sinking into the mindset of a young boy traumatized by what’s happening around him.

“Super Mario Bros.”

While this film may not have reached the emotional heights of “The Boy and the Heron” (2023) or “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” (2023), “The Super Mario Bros. Movie” (2023) still successfully adapted a video game series that is known for not having a real story, and created from that a fun, lighthearted and entertaining film that also happened to make $1.36 billion at the worldwide box office.

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About the Contributor
Sam Cohen, Movie Columnist
Sam Cohen (he/him/his) is a junior majoring in Film and Media Studies. He won the Special Grand Jury Prize for his Comedy short film “The Gum Run” at the 2019 Montclair Film Festival Emerging Filmmakers Competition. Sam writes weekly reviews of recent TV Shows and Movies while occasionally reviewing older, forgotten classics. When not reviewing, discussing, or watching films, Sam is also a part of many extracurriculars on campus, including being a co-captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team, a member of the Chi Phi Fraternity, and an officer of the Film Society.

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