Reacting to the 2021 Oscars Nominations

Story posted March 20, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment by CommRadio Arts & Entertainment Staff.

As the 2021 Oscar nominations were revealed last week, several histories have been made. The staff of CommRadio Arts & Entertainment take a look at some of the snubs and surprises from the Oscars.

Best Actor:

Riz Ahmed - Sound of Metal

Chadwick Boseman - Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Anthony Hopkins - The Father

Gary Oldman - Mank

Steven Yeun - Minari

Snubs: The biggest snub for this year is actor Delroy Lindo who delivered a career-defining performance in “Da 5 Bloods”. He was a front runner in the beginning of the awards season, however he lost momentum.

However, with his Critics Choice nomination, some believed that Lindo had a chance to make the list. Lindo’s performance was phenomenal and he absolutely deserved the recognition.

Surprises: There weren’t many shocks, however this year marked the first time an Asian American or Pakistani man was nominated for the award. As well as the fact that Chadwick Boseman is the 7th person to be posthumously nominated for an Oscar.

Overall: With his performance in “Minari,” Steven Yuen made history as the first Asian American actor to be nominated in the lead actor category. The contenders this year are very strong, with Chadwick Boseman, Anthony Hopkins, and Gary Oldman all giving career-best performances.

Best Actress:

Viola Davis - Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Andra Day - The United States Vs. Billie Holiday

Vanessa Kirby - Pieces of a Woman

Frances McDormand - Nomadland

Carey Mulligan - Promising Young Woman

Snubs: Both Sophia Loren (“The Life Ahead”) and Zendaya (“Malcom and Marie”) gave noteworthy performances this year, and both of them had a respectable amount of nominations for other ceremonies going into the Oscar nomination announcement. In the beginning of the awards season, many believed that Sophia Loren would go on to win the award for this year, however her hype faded and she sadly wasn’t even able to secure a nomination.

Surprises: Although Andra Day won the Golden Globe for best actress this year, many still were not convinced she would get the nomination, especially because she was not nominated at the Screen Actors Guild Awards this year.

Overall: Viola Davis is now the most nominated black actress ever with four nominations in the Best Lead Actress category, breaking the record set by her long time friend, Octavia Spencer. The Best Actress has always been a tough category to predict, all the actresses above have received universal acclaim for their respective roles.

Best Supporting Actor:

Sacha Baron Cohen - The Trial of the Chicago 7

Daniel Kaluuya - Judas and the Black Messiah

Leslie Odom Jr. - One Night in Miami

Paul Raci - Sound of Metal

Lakeith Stanfield - Judas and the Black Messiah

Snubs: Chadwick Boseman was predicted to be nominated for two oscars this year. However, the academy did not nominate him for his performance in “Da 5 Bloods”. Alan Kim, the young boy in “Minari” was also getting a particularly large amount of hype in the final weeks going into the nominations.

Both actors got a variety of nominations, and Kim even won an award at the Critics Choice Award for best performance by a child actor. Many believed this could give him the edge, however both actors seemed to fall short of getting the nomination.

Surprises: Lakeith Stanfield shocked the world when he was nominated for his performance in “Judas and the Black Messiah”. No one was even considering him, since he was being campaigned in the lead actor category.

Stanfield got no nominations going into the announcement and many prediction sites didn't even know he was eligible for the supporting actor nomination.

Overall: It is certainly great to see more diversity this year in each category, three black actors are nominated in Best Supporting Actor. Leslie Odom Jr. is the first actor ever to receive nominations in both acting and songwriting categories, with his song “Speak Now” nominated for Best Original Song.

Best Supporting Actress:

Maria Bakalova - Borat Subsequent Movie Film

Glenn Close - Hillbilly Elegy

Olivia Colman - The Father

Amanda Seyfried - Mank

Yuh-Jung Youn - Minari

Snubs: Many were surprised that Jodie Foster (“The Mauritanian”) was not nominated for this award since she won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress. She had a ton of buzz going into the nomination ceremony and many were shocked to not hear her name announced in this category.

Ellen Burstyn (“Pieces of a Woman”) is another notable absence since in the beginning of awards season, she was slated to win this award come Oscars night.

Surprises: Although there are not many insane surprises in this category, it is rare for the Academy to recognize comedic performances, which is why it is impressive that Maria Bakalova was nominated. Also, Yuh-Jong Youn got a well deserved nomination, that many did not expect since Zhao Shuzen (“The Farewell”) was not nominated for playing a very similar role, especially since they had a similar amount of hype going into the nomination announcement.

Overall: Yuh-Jong Youn became the first South Korean Actress to be nominated for an Oscar since last year’s “Parasite” did not receive any acting noms. Ironically, Glenn Close received an Oscar nom shortly after she was also nominated for an Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actress of the same performance.

Best Director:

Thomas Vinterberg - Another Round

David Fincher - Mank

Lee Isaac Chung - Minari

Chloé Zhao - Nomadland

Emerald Fennell - Promising Young Woman

Snubs: Regina King (“One Night in Miami”) and Aaron Sorkin (“The Trial of the Chicago 7”) were both major snubs in this category. Both were nominated at the Golden Globes and at many other prestigious ceremonies.

This was King’s film directorial debut and this was Sorkin’s second film, so it would have been very impressive if either got nominated, but they both are very talented and will surely be nominated one year.

Surprises: Thomas Vinterberg shocked viewers when he was announced as one of the nominees this year. “Another Round” is a foreign film which is likely going to win the Oscar this year for best foreign film.

Although this is a very shocking nomination, a similar thing happened in 2019 when Pawel Pawilikowski was nominated for his foreing film “Cold War”. Still, this was absolutely one of the biggest shocks during the announcement.

Overall: Chloé Zhao has been breaking records with “Nomadland.” Already the most awarded filmmaker in a single award season, she is now the first Asian woman to be nominated for Best Director. It is also the first time more than one female director is nominated for the category, Emerald Fennell earned her first Oscar nom with her debut film, “Promising Young Woman.”

Best Picture:

The Father

Judas and the Black Messiah




Promising Young Woman

Sound of Metal

The Trial of the Chicago 7

Snubs: Both “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” and “One Night in Miami” were big snubs in this category. Both films had gotten countless nominations for previous award shows and the two films also got a number of nominations at the Oscars.

However, since “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” missed in both screenplay and director, it didn’t have enough nominations to make the best picture category. Similarly, “One Night in Miami” missed director and other important awards like cinematography and editing, therefore also missing the best picture list.

Surprises: Many were not expecting both “The Father” and “Sound of Metal” to be nominated. Some predictors predicted one of the films making it, however no one thought it would be possible for both films to be nominated.

Both films were highly acclaimed and both got a large amount of nominations (both earning 6). This gave both films the momentum to shock the people and get nominated for the top honor.

Overall: It is worth noting that “Judas and the Black Messiah” is the first film with an all-Black producing team to be nominated for Best Picture. This year also proves that streaming services have been dominating the movie industry.

Netflix received 35 nominations in total, with “Mank” leading with 10 noms. Disney and Amazon Studios scored 15 and 12 nominations.

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu is a senior majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jfl5603@psu.edu

Jack Freiser is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, email jef5614@psu.edu.

About the Contributors

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu's photo

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu

Senior / Telecommunications

Jimmy (Chien-Hsing) Lu is a senior from Taiwan majoring in telecommunications at Penn State. He is a contributing writer for the CommRadio arts & entertainment department. If you’d like to contact him, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Jack Freiser's photo

Jack Freiser

Third-Year / Telecommunications

Jack Freiser is a third-year student in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University studying telecommunications. He is very passionate about both music and film. He aspires to impact the music business as a successful A+R by signing artists who will be culturally relevant and will leave an impact on the world, and through keeping a strong relationship with the artist and their team. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).