Greta Gerwig, Adam Sandler and More: The Biggest Oscar Snubs of 2020

What were they thinking?

January 13, 2020 3:35 pm
Greta Gerwig attends the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)
Greta Gerwig attends the 25th Annual Critics' Choice Awards at Barker Hangar on January 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)
Getty Images for Critics Choice

The 2020 Oscar nominations are here, and while there’s always a favorite or two that winds up being overlooked, the snubs this year feel especially egregious. For the 87th time in its 92-year history, the Academy has failed to nominate a single woman in its Best Director category, and while Cynthia Erivo and Antonio Banderas both took home acting nods, this year’s nominees are still overwhelmingly white while plenty of deserving actors of color were overlooked.

After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which saw back-to-back all-white acting nominees in 2015 and 2016, the Academy introduced sweeping changes to membership and voting rules in an attempt to diversify, which led to an increase in its members of color from eight percent in 2015 to 16 percent in 2019. Of course, that number still is extremely low, and if the 2020 nominations are any indication, there remains a long way to go.

Jennifer Lopez’s performance in Hustlers, Eddie Murphy’s in Dolemite Is My Name, Lupita Nyong’o in Us and the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems were among the biggest oversights this year, and people do not appear to be pleased.

So, without further ado, these are the Oscars’ most confusing omissions this year. They’re all winners in our eyes.

Greta Gerwig

We saw this one coming, but it doesn’t make it sting any less: Greta Gerwig absolutely deserves to be nominated for Best Director. While Little Women earned several nominations (including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress), it wouldn’t be the same movie without Gerwig’s talented eye. Other female directors overlooked this year: Lulu Wang for The Farewell, Marielle Heller for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Kasi Lemmons for Harriet, Lorene Scafaria for Hustlers, Olivia Wilde for Booksmart and Joanna Hogg for The Souvenir.

Uncut Gems

The Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems was widely believed to be an Oscar vehicle for Adam Sandler, but it looks like the comedian doesn’t have to worry about dressing up for the ceremony this year. The movie was completely shut out of the nominations, despite earning plenty of recognition at the Independent Spirit Awards and the Critics’ Choice Awards. At least Sandler is being a good sport about it.


Awkwafina made history at the Golden Globes last week, becoming the first Asian-American woman to win Best Actress at the awards show, so the fact that she’s not even nominated for an Oscar feels like a glaring oversight. Had she been nominated for her work in The Farewell, she would have become just the second woman of Asian descent in history to be up for a Best Actress Academy Award.

Lupita Nyong’o

Lupita Nyong’o pulled double-duty in Jordan Peele’s Us, and while the Academy has a tendency to not take horror movies seriously, her haunting work as Adelaide and the scissors-wielding Red absolutely deserves to be recognized.

Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy’s performance as Rudy Ray Moore in Dolemite Is My Name earned him a Golden Globe nomination as well as plenty of critical acclaim for work that some dubbed “the best of his career.” That’s high praise, considering he was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at last night’s Critics’ Choice Awards.

Willem Dafoe

Willem Dafoe’s been on a hot streak lately, earning nominations the past two years for At Eternity’s Gate and The Florida Project, and it seemed like he might pull off a third in a row for his work in The Lighthouse. Sadly, his descent into madness in that film will go unrewarded, and The Lighthouse earns just one nomination for Best Cinematography.

Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez earned plenty of Oscar buzz for her performance as Ramona in Hustlers (as well as a Golden Globe nomination), and her snub is sparking conversations about race, gender, class and what types of roles the Academy deems award-worthy.


Beyoncé’s “Spirit,” her contribution to the Lion King soundtrack, lost to Elton John’s “I’m Gonna Love Me Again” from Rocketman at the Golden Globes, and it failed to even earn a nomination this time around. It’s not her first time being snubbed by the Oscars in this category, either: thanks to a rule limiting how many nominees there can be per song, she was left out of the nomination for “Listen” from Dreamgirls, despite being one of its credited writers.

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx’s performance as wrongfully convicted death row inmate Walter McMillian in Just Mercy earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, and he recently told Stephen Colbert he believes it’s “the most important movie I’ve ever done.” Yet that wasn’t enough for the two-time Oscar nominee (who won for his work in Ray) to earn another nod this time.

Robert De Niro

Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman earned its fair share of nominations — including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actor nods for Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. But somehow De Niro, whose Frank Sheeran is at the center of the lengthy mob story, is getting lost in the shuffle. The seven-time nominee and two-time Oscar winner at time plays half his age in the movie, and even with the film’s de-aging technology, that’s no easy feat.

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