Vaila’s View: 2020 Oscar nominations are full of snubs and lacking diversity

Illustration by Karly Andersen

Vaila DeYoung, Contributing Writer

The time has come for the 92nd Academy Award list of nominees to be released to the public, and every year comes with new controversy and of course, more nomination snubs. 

2019 was a spectacular year for film, and we probably won’t see this much talent crammed into a single year again anytime soon. 

Because this year was so jam-packed with monumental movies, everyone will certainly have differing opinions about what/who should or shouldn’t be up for an Oscar nomination. 

Here’s a list of some of the top categories featured with commentary about each category and who has fallen victim to the dreaded award season snub. 

Disclaimer: I didn’t manage to see every film that is nominated (or maybe should have been nominated). My commentary is based off of what I have personally seen, as I don’t form opinions of a film that I have yet to see for myself. 


Best Picture

“Ford v Ferrari” 

“The Irishman” 

“Jojo Rabbit” 


“Little Women” 

“Marriage Story” 


“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” 



This category, one of the most prestigious titles a film can earn, represents all-around top-notch filmmaking, and the longest list of nominations. I’m not really surprised at this year’s list, being somewhat familiar with the tendencies of the Academy. However, I personally wish “The Farewell,” “The Lighthouse,” and “Uncut Gems” were included this year.


Best Director

Martin Scorsese, “The Irishman”

Todd Phillips, “Joker”

Sam Mendes, “1917”

Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Bong Joon-Ho, “Parasite”


I was disappointed but not surprised to see that even in 2020, the best director category is still dominated by white males. (Excluding Bong Joon-Ho, I really hope he wins this one.) Not only was 2019 an extraordinary year for filmmaking, but a year that outstanding female filmmakers made their unique voices heard. I can safely say that almost every film directed by a woman was snubbed for this category. 

Others that I would have included: Greta Gerwig, “Little Women,” Lulu Wang, “The Farewell,” Claire Denis, “High Life.”


Best Actor 

Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”

Leonardo DiCaprio, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”

Adam Driver, “Marriage Story”

Joaquin Phoenix, “Joker”

Jonathan Pryce, “The Two Popes”


I’m not personally upset over this category. I’m really hoping for Adam Driver on this one. He deserves it not only for his performance in “Marriage Story”, but also for his work in all the other films he starred in last year, such as “The Report” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”

I’m also not trying to avoid controversy surrounding “Joker,” as a whole; some people loved it, some people hated it, some people are in the middle about it. I personally have yet to see the film, so I can’t determine my stance on Joaquin Phoenix’s performance yet. However, I dislike the way that Phoenix has recently carried himself in interviews, and in the media in general. For that reason, I’d rather the Oscar go to someone else.

Instead, I might have included Song Kang-ho, “Parasite,” Robert Pattinson, “The Lighthouse,” Willem Dafoe, “The Lighthouse,” and Adam Sandler, “Uncut Gems.”


Best Actress

Cynthia Erivo, “Harriet”

Scarlett Johansson, “Marriage Story”

Saoirse Ronan, “Little Women”

Charlize Theron, “Bombshell”

Renee Zellweger, “Judy”


Out of the films in this list, I’ve only seen “Marriage Story” and “Little Women,” so as of now I’m rooting for Saoirse Ronan. 

Others that I would have included: Lupita Nyong’o, “Us,” Awkwafina, “The Farewell,” and Florence Pugh, “Midsommar.”


Supporting Actor

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”


For this category, I’d be happy with any of the nominees winning the Oscar, but my favorite performance out of this list probably has to go to Brad Pitt in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” 

Others that I would have included: Choi Woo-shik, “Parasite,” Lakeith Stanfield, “Uncut Gems,” and Jesse Plemons, “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie.”


Supporting Actress

Kathy Bates, “Richard Jewell”

Laura Dern, “Marriage Story”

Scarlett Johansson, “Jojo Rabbit”

Florence Pugh, “Little Women”

Margot Robbie, “Bombshell”


There are definitely quite a few snubs in this category. I don’t intend to minimize the talent that has already been nominated, however, there were so many great performances from people of color this year, and for the Academy to continually favor white actors is extremely disappointing. 

It’s been past due for the Academy to diversify the nominees in all categories, especially when the talent is right there in front of them. 

Others that should have been included for best supporting actress are Park So-dam, “Parasite,” Zhao Shuzhen, “The Farewell” and Cho Yeo-jeong, “Parasite.”


Best Cinematography 

“The Irishman”


“The Lighthouse”


“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood”


This is probably my favorite category of the Academy Awards every year, and it’s one of my biggest dreams to one day have a movie of mine nominated for best cinematography. However, I was very surprised to see that the Academy would recognize “The Lighthouse” for at least one category, and I would really love to see a horror drama film such as this to win the Oscar. 

Some of my favorite cinematography picks that I would’ve included this year are “The King,” “Little Women,” “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie,” “Parasite,” “The Farewell,” and “Midsommar.”


The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will broadcast Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. on ABC.


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