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It Seems The Oscars Has A Problem, But Is There An Easy Fix?

 Table of statues at the Oscars in 2022.
Table of statues at the Oscars in 2022.

With Awards Season in full swing, the moment many movie fans have been waiting for finally arrived: 2024's Academy Award nomination day. It’s a time to celebrate for fans, critics, and Hollywood as a whole. However, this year things got a bit more controversial than they have in the past regarding who was and was not nominated, which has me wondering if there's a way to fix this.

On the positive side, the Oscars made history with its diverse selection of nominees. Lily Gladstone has become the first Native American to be nominated in an acting category for her role in Killers of the Flower Moon. Three of the ten Best Picture nominees were directed by women. It’s the first time two LGBTQ+ actors (Jodie Foster and Colman Domingo) have been nominated for playing LGBTQ roles, and several of the acting categories featured talented actors of color.

Despite all those gains, all anyone seemed to want to talk about though was who got “snubbed” this year. While it’s true that every year boasts a conversation about deserving talent who was not recognized, this year seemed to be more volatile than ever before. This has led many to believe that the Oscars have a nomination problem, but is there an easy fix?

The Oscars Might Have A Nomination Problem

This year's Academy Awards were the most diverse in history, and yet most of the conversation after the announcement centered around the surprising fact that neither Margot Robbie nor Greta Gerwig got nominated for their major roles in bringing Barbie to life. However, it should be noted that they weren’t left off the Oscar nominee list altogether, Gerwig was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and as a producer, Robbie will be up for the golden statue in the Best Picture category.

The snub led many to take to social media to voice their anger, and several Barbie co-stars even spoke out on the issue — including Ryan Gosling and America Ferrera, who both received supporting actor nominations. While it’s understandable that the public would be upset over this snub given Barbie was the biggest movie of 2023, many failed to realize that several other talented filmmakers were snubbed this year too.

Past Lives earned a Best Picture and Original Screenplay nomination but neither Ceiline Song nor Greta Lee were nominated for direction and acting, respectively. The Zac Efron-led The Iron Claw was left out despite high praise from critics, and Mark Ruffalo was chosen over Willem Dafoe as the supporting actor in Poor Things. 

With so many amazing, talented and phenomenal movies being made, it seems like the Academy’s job of choosing the five nominees has become harder and harder. Adding to this is the general public’s confusion over how a movie can get nominated for Best Picture but not get represented in some of the other categories like Best Actor/Actress or Best Director. All of this begs the question: Is there anything the Oscars can do to fix this?

Can The Acedemy Fix This Easily?

There’s always an easy fix, but it doesn’t mean it’s the right fix.

Of course, the Academy Awards could take a page out of the Golden Globes rulebook and expand the nominees from five to six. This would allow for one more movie or filmmaker to join the prestigious categories. However, some might say that it makes the award less prestigious.

Even with an added nomination slot in each of the major categories, the conversation over who has been “snubbed” would still exist. After all, it still happens when Golden Globe nominations. It might even be worse since the snub would feel more personal after an additional space was added.

Check Out 2024's Best Picture Nominees

The stars of Barbie, The Holdovers and Anatomy of a Fall.
The stars of Barbie, The Holdovers and Anatomy of a Fall.

I Watched Every 2024 Best Picture Nominee -- And I Have A Clear Favorite

As for the confusion over the categories and why something can get nominated for Best Picture and not get represented in other categories, well, that’s a bit more complex. Seeing as it’s more of a fan issue than an industry issue, it seems like it’s up to the individual watchers to do their research and understand what each category means. The Spark Notes version is this: the Best Picture award goes to the producer(s) of the movie who helped get it made and sets out to honor the tremendous work of the movie as a whole. The other categories are skill-specific.

More obvious though is the fact that Best Picture has more nominee slots than the other categories -- as it can nominate up to 10 films rather than being capped at five. Neither is contingent on the other, which is a good thing as it keeps from one movie sweeping the entire award show.

At the end of the day, the Academy Awards pride themselves on being prestigious and exclusive, meaning it’s unlikely that they’ll increase the nominee cap. Besides, filmmakers, actors, and everyone involved in the movie-making process don’t go into the industry to earn awards, they do it because they love to create art.

The incredibly talented filmmakers who were snubbed this year might end up winning next year and that’s the beauty of the Academy Awards. No one is ever fully in or out of the race as long as they keep creating movies that move audiences.

The 96th Academy Awards will air on ABC on Sunday, March 10, and you definitely won’t want to miss it. In the meantime, consider catching up on this year's nominations by learning how you can stream them, or maybe, get a head start on next year's potential nominees by checking out the 2024 movie schedule.