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Oscars Snubs & Surprises: Tom Cruise, Viola Davis, Taylor Swift, David Bowie & Women Directors Spurned

By Dominic Patten,


The nominations for the 95 th Academy Awards were unveiled this morning, and while for some like Everything Everywhere All At Once , All Quiet On The Western Front and The Banshees of Inisherin the race to Oscar glory is on, there are some who never made it off the starting line.

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Announced in the pre-dawn hours in Los Angeles by self-described “over caffeinated” past Oscar winner Riz Ahmed and M3gan star Allison Williams, the nominations covered a lot of ground with the blockbusters, streamer offerings and traditional dramas in the mix this year. However, not every contender made it into that nominations mix in the end.

Take a look at our list of the most noteworthy performers and projects that didn’t get any appreciation from the members of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences Tuesday — plus, some names that were read out that no one really expected. Also, please tell us who you think we and AMPAS overlooked.

For the calendar, the Jimmy Kimmel hosted 2023 Oscars will be presented on ABC on March 12 at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET.


Tom Cruise Top Gun: Maverick took off with a Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations, but the high wattage star that leads the high flying franchise was grounded by the Academy today.

Taylor Swift Just the idea of the superstar performing on the 95th Academy Awards could have brought in millions of potential viewers to the ratings sagging ceremony. Add to the fact that Swift’s “Carolina” tune from Where the Crawdads Sing fell short with AMPAS after already getting noms from the Golden Globes and Critics Choice, you have to wonder if Oscar voters are tone deaf.

The Woman King Nothing. Nothing for star and past Oscar winner Viola Davis . Nothing for director Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood. BTW: Davis picked up well deserved SAG & BAFTA noms, but today, a complete abdication by AMPAS.

Olivia Colman Even the beloved past Oscar winner could not turn on the switch for her Empire of Light performance.

Women Directors – The Sarah Polley helmed Women Talking received a Best Picture nom this morning but Polley was shut out for Best Director. Aftersun director Charlotte Wells, The Woman King ‘s Gina Prince-Bythewood, and Till’ s Chinonye Chukwu were also not allowed into the boy’s club. Look AMPAS, replicating the Golden Globes’ disdain for these talented artists is never a good look, and today’s oversight of this plethora of talent is a serious error of judgment.

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David Bowie Director Brett Morgan snagged an Oscar nomination nearly two decades ago for On The Ropes and his Moonage Daydream documentary homage to the Thin White Duke was a true artistic tour de force about a man who was a true artistic tour de force. Sadly, there was no call from AMPAS Ground Control Tuesday.

Till The harrowing tale of the 1955 murder of 14-year-old Emmet Till by racists and his mother Mamie Till-Mobley fight for justice put a spotlight on a vital piece of our nation’s history. Chinonye Chukwu’s worked behind the camera and Danielle Deadwyler’s riveting performance in front of the camera as Till-Mobley were eye openers. The Academy looked away – and they shouldn’t have.

Paul Dano The Fabelmans co-star Judd Hirsch was rewarded with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for what was essentially an extended cameo, but the often-overlooked Dano didn’t get a seat at the Academy Awards table. Shunned by AMPAS back in 2008 for his There Will Be Blood performance and denied a nom for 2016’s Love & Mercy , Dano’s fatherly turn in Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical coming of age drama should have been his entrée into the Oscars club. Should have been. Wasn’t.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – The global blockbuster sequel scored a slew of nominations this AM, including the big tickets of Supporting Actress nomination for frontrunner Angela Bassett and Rihanna’s “Lift Me Up” for Best Song. Yet, director Ryan Coogler was forsaken and no Best Picture nom for the Disney/Marvel movie.

Baz Luhrmann – Elvis swiveled its feature film hips to a slew of nominations, including Best Actor for Golden Globe winner Austin Butler as the man himself, and Best Picture. Which begs the question, how did the man who redefined the marriage of music and movies with Moulin Rouge! get left out of the Best Director race this year ?

Janelle Monáe Back at the 2020 Oscars the multi-talented multi-medium performer put a floodlight on snubbed films in the ceremony’s opening number. So, let’s just say it cuts deep that Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery star herself was snubbed today.

James Cameron – Proving to be the 2022 dictionary definition of crowd pleaser, long awaited Avatar: The Way of Water swam to a Best Picture nomination and more this morning. Alas, the one-time King of the World and Titanic 1998 Best Director winner did not repeat his 2010 nomination for the original ground-breaking Avatar So, AMPAS, you know he was literally the meticulous hard driving force behind Way of Water , right?

Margot Robbie – Bathed in excess on-screen, the Babylon star was left distinctly outside the walls by AMPAS voters today.

Will Smith – After the 2022 Best Actor winner’s shocking slap of Chris Rock on-stage and before a stunned audience of millions during last year’s ceremony and the excommunicating fallout, no one seriously expected Smith’s Emancipation role to receive recognition today. However, the fact is the King Richard star was the Best Actor winner last year and to be cold shouldered this year by his peers can only be viewed as a further punishment

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Stephanie Hsu Everything Everywhere All At Once was always going to go large with the awards season run that Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan have had, and everyone expected Jamie Lee Curtis to get a nomination. However, even with previous SAG Awards and Critics Choice nods, co-star Hsu was seen as a longshot – not so much now.

Brian Tyree Henry – The past Tony Award nominee raises the stakes and quality of everything he is in, and has already scored an Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Actor nomination for his Causeway role. Yet, if you had taken his name to the betting office before this morning, the odds would not have looked so good — well AMPAS rolled the dice and it came up deservedly sixes for Henry Tuesday.

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