Oscar has spoken, doling out its golden-ticket nominations this morning, not ignoring the Barbenheimer phenom that ignited the box office, though skimping on the "Barbie" side of the equation.
"Barbie" garnered eight nominations to a field-leading 13 for "Oppenheimer."
Once again giving the short end of the stick to comedy.
But, hey, snubs and surprises are always the big story on Oscar nomination day, and there are plenty of shockers to go around.
SNUB: Margot Robbie ("Barbie")
This one hurts. Robbie made the impossible look easy by imbuing a plastic doll with intimations of humanity and burgeoning feminism. Also serving as the film's producer, she was instrumental in the hiring of Greta Gerwig to make sure "Barbie" could never be mistaken for an empty fantasy. Together they crafted a movie -- and the highest grossing film of 2023 -- that does women proud.
SURPRISE: Sandra Hüller ("Anatomy of a Fall")
For a while it looked like the Academy was in danger of overlooking the German actress who gave the performance of the year as a wife and mother accused of pushing her husband to his death from a chalet window. Speaking French, English and a smattering of German, Hüller proves that language is no barrier to artistic achievement. Watch out Lily Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon") and Emma Stone ("Poor Things"), here's your real competition.
SNUB: Leonardo DiCaprio ("Killers of the Flower Moon")
I've heard a lot of silly excuses for why this reliably audacious actor (and movie star) didn't make the cut: How could his character be in love with the Native-American wife (Lily Gladstone) he is quietly poisoning? DiCaprio makes it all mesmerizing and movingly clear. Leo, you were robbed.
SURPRISE: Bradley Cooper ("Maestro")
It's not a shock that Cooper is in the running for his heart-full-to-bursting tour de force as maestro Leonard Bernstein. What's astounding (in a bad way) is that he's not the frontrunner in a category the oddsmakers claim is a draw between Paul Giamatti ("The Holdovers") and Cillian Murphy ("Oppenheimer"). A win for Cooper is a surprise I could really get behind.
SNUB: "The Color Purple"
Even with 10 slots in this category, the Academy could not find room to honor the film version of the Broadway musical that had audiences cheering and tearing up. Only Danielle Brooks snagged a nod as best supporting actress, a far cry from the 10 nominations that greeted Steven Spielberg's 1985 take on the Alice Walker novel.
SURPRISE: Non-English-language films breaking into top category
More than one non-English-language film made its way into the top category, and make no mistake, "Anatomy of a Fall," "The Zone of Interest" and "Past Lives" earned their place on the honor roll. It took the notoriously slow Academy over 90 years to finally award a non-English-language film -- South Korea's "Parasite" -- the best picture Oscar. New voters from the international community are finally having an effect. It's about time.
And if you like to bet on longshots, don't discount "Poor Things," with a wowza 11 nominations, as a dark-horse winner.
SNUB: Greta Gerwig ("Barbie")
Get a grip, Academy. How could you ignore the extraordinary talent who gives "Barbie" its searching mind and heart? You did it before in 2020 by slighting Gerwig's directing chops in "Little Women." Considering you nominated "Barbie" for best picture, did you think this movie directed itself? Dumb move.
SURPRISE: Justine Triet ("Anatomy of a Fall")
It's gratifying to see Triet in the mix with Christopher Nolan ("Oppenheimer") and Martin Scorsese ("Killers of the Flower Moon") for her powerhouse French courtroom drama, especially since the Academy turned the directing category into a boys club last year.
Sure, I could have asked for more -- a nomination for Celine Song for directing the achingly romantic "Past Lives," but Triet, Song and Gerwig are in it for the long game and we're all the better for it.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
SNUB: Rosamund Pike ("Saltburn")
Look, no one is going to prevail over Da'Vine Joy Randolph in "The Holdovers" -- you can bet the farm on this category. But how can you ignore the wicked wit that Pike (a former best actress nominee for "Gone Girl") invests as the mother from hell in "Saltburn," unless her film is just too shocking for delicate tastes? Pike never fails to rivet attention.
SURPRISE: America Ferrera ("Barbie")
The word was that Ferrera would never make the Top 5 because her performance came down to just one scene in which she details the agonies of a working mother that go unnoticed in a modern world. Nonsense. Watch "Barbie" again and you'll find that her work goes deeper and has a lasting effect that cannot be denied.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
SNUB: Tie between Charles Melton ("May December") and Dominic Sessa ("The Holdovers")
\What's with Oscar's sudden allergy to young folks? Melton has already won critics awards for nailing the arrested development of a manchild who marries the woman who had sex with him when he was 13 years old.
And newcomer Sessa, 21, should have been right up there with co-stars Paul Giamatti and Da'Vine Joy Randolph in the three-hander that is "The Holdovers."
SURPRISE: Mark Ruffalo ("Poor Things")
Why Ruffalo and not his "Poor Things" costar Willem Dafoe? Was it a coin flip or did the nominators know this hotly contested category would come down to another Barbenheimer duel: Robert Downey Jr ("Oppenheimer") and Ryan Gosling ("Barbie")? Place your bets.
Check out the full list of 2024 Oscar nominations here.