10 snubs and surprises from this year's Academy Award nominations

Key Points
  • Regina King was left off the best director ballot.
  • LaKeith Stanfield garners a surprise best supporting actor nomination.
  • Netflix's "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" was nominated for best song.

In this article

Delroy Lindo, Norm Lewis, Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr., and Chadwick Boseman star in "Da 5 Bloods."

The 2021 Oscar nominations were revealed Monday.

Among the top contenders for this year's ceremony are "Nomadland," "Mank" and "Trial of the Chicago 7," which compete against five other films for best picture.

As with any other year, there are a number of films and actors that didn't make the cut and some that no one had expected to show up on the ballot at all.

Here are 10 of the most surprising nominations and snubs.

If you haven't had a chance to check out the full list of nominees for this year's Oscars, you can do so here.

Snub: Regina King

Heading into Monday's nominations, King seemed like a shoo-in for a best directing nomination for her work on "One Night in Miami." Her directorial debut had earned her a nomination at the Golden Globes last month.

Emerald Fennell and Chloe Zhao, together with King, made history at the Golden Globes as it was the first time more than one woman had been nominated in the director category in any one year.

Fennell and Zhao received nominations for best director, the first time two women directors had been nominated. At the Globes, Zhao took home the trophy.

Surprise: Thomas Vinterberg

Vinterberg garnered an unexpected Oscar nomination for best director for "Another Round," a Danish film. Vinterberg's nomination in the category is a first for Denmark.

"Another Round," which tells the story of four high school teachers who consume alcohol on a daily basis to see how it affects their social and professional lives, is also up for best international feature.

Vinterberg joins Fennell and Zhao as well as Lee Isaac Chung ("Minari") and David Fincher ("Mank") as contenders for the top directing prize.

Snub: 'Da 5 Bloods'

Heading into the Oscar nominations, Spike Lee's "Da 5 Bloods" had already struck out at the Golden Globes.

While the film had nabbed a number of key critics prizes, including best film from the National Board Review, and was selected as one of the top 10 films of the year by AFI, it was left off the Oscar ballot.

Surprise: 'Sound of Metal'

"Sound of Metal" was largely ignored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association when it came to nominations for this year's Golden Globes. Riz Ahmed was the lone nominee from the film, earning a nod for best actor.

The film picked up six Academy Award nominations: best picture, best actor, best supporting actor, best sound, best film editing and best original screenplay.

Riz Ahmed stars in "The Sound of Metal."
Source: Amazon Prime Video

Snub: 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

Despite securing nominations for best actor, best actress, best production design, best costume design and best hair and makeup, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" was left off the best picture list.

This year the Academy filled only eight of the possible 10 spots for best picture, leading some to wonder why "Ma Rainey's" wasn't included on the ballot.

In 2009, the Academy amended its nomination rules so that up to 10 films could be nominated for best picture. However, the awards ceremony doesn't always utilize all 10 spots.

Since the rule change went into effect, there have always been at least eight nominees in the category.

Surprise: LaKeith Stanfield

Co-star Daniel Kaluuya has been sweeping the awards season for his role in "Judas and the Black Messiah," so it was a bit of a surprise when LaKeith Stanfield garnered a best supporting actor nomination alongside him.

Stanfield's nomination is much deserved, but many had seen his role in the film as the lead, sparking questions about why he was nominated in the supporting category.

After all, Stanfield plays William O'Neal, a man who infiltrates the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to gather intelligence on Chairman Fred Hampton (Kaluuya). Stanfield's O'Neal bookends the film with moments that call back to an interview he gave about his time in the Black Panthers.

What makes this turn of events even more strange is that Warner Bros. actually campaigned for Stanfield as lead actor and Kaluuya as the supporting actor.

Snub: 'One Night in Miami'

Many had expected the Academy to rewrite the wrongs done to "One Night in Miami" at the Golden Globes. However, in addition to snubbing King for director, the Academy left the film off the best picture ballot.

In total, "One Night in Miami" garnered three nominations; one for Leslie Odom Jr. in a best supporting role, one for best song and one for best adapted screenplay.

Surprise: Steven Yeun

Steven Yeun became the first Asian-American actor to ever be recognized in the best actor category. Yeun, who had been snubbed at the Golden Globes, earned his nomination for his work in "Minari."

Yeun and fellow nominee Ahmed are the first actors of Asian decent to be nominated in the category. Ahmed, who is of Pakistani descent, is also the first Muslim to garner a nomination for best actor.

Still from "Minari."

Snub: 'The Mauritanian'

"The Mauritanian" failed to garner a single Oscar nomination despite critical praise and several nods at the Golden Globes. Jodie Foster secured a Globe win as best supporting actress, but didn't get an Oscar mention.

Surprise: 'Eurovision Song Contest' up for best song

When "Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga" debuted in Netflix last June, many viewers were left humming the melody to "Husavik (My Hometown)." Few, if any, would have thought nine months later, it would be nominated for an Oscar.

The half-English, half-Icelandic power ballad is up against songs from "Judas and the Black Messiah," "The Life Ahead," "One Night in Miami" and "The Trial of the Chicago 7."

Correction: An earlier version misspelled the first name of Steven Yeun.

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