Snubbed by the Oscars, These Movies Finally Got Some Awards Love

Every year, both industry pundits and fans alike bemoan all the films tragically overlooked by the Academy Awards. Often, the biggest snubs are smaller independent films or blockbusters in genres the Oscars don’t typically carefully consider. For example, some fans would say Avengers: Endgame was snubbed for several awards.

But in recent years, the criticisms have centered on the lack of diversity in the nominated films. This year, for instance, only 1 of the 20 nominated actors is a person of color. And, once again, zero women received a nod for Best Director, despite several notable — and critically acclaimed female-directed 2019 movies.

Thankfully, the Film Independent Spirit Awards just took some steps toward acknowledging some major movies overlooked by the Oscars.

Lulu Wang at the Film Independent Spirit Awards
Lulu Wang at the Film Independent Spirit Awards | Phillip Faraone/Getty Images

The Oscars overlooked some great movies

This year’s Academy Awards caused quite a stir with the movies and performances that failed to make the nominees. One of the most prominent snubs, of course, was Jennifer Lopez, who many believe was robbed of a Best Supporting Actress nod for Hustlers. With Lopez’s Super Bowl halftime performance just the week before the Oscars, it’s easy to see how the star’s momentum was slightly slowed by the lack of a nomination.

But Lopez was far from the only performer who wasn’t acknowledged by the academy. Awkwafina’s dramatic turn in The Farewell, Lupita Nyong’o’s dual performance in Us, and Taron Egerton’s committed role in Rocketman were all passed over by the Oscars.

The academy even failed to heed the warnings of Adam Sandler. The divisive comedy star garnered critical raves for playing a gambling addict in Uncut Gems. And he previously threatened to spitefully make a terrible movie if he didn’t win an Oscar. While Sandler didn’t receive an Oscar nomination, perhaps the Spirit Awards can assuage his thirst for vengeance.

The Independent Spirit Awards picked up the slack

In a year where so many felt the Academy Awards missed the mark, the Spirit Awards picked up some of the slack. Sandler, for example, walked away with Best Male Lead for Uncut Gems. And the film also won awards for its editing and Best Director for Josh and Benny Safdie. Not too shabby for a movie that landed no Oscar nominations whatsoever.

Likewise, Awkwafina still didn’t win for The Farewell. But director Lulu Wang’s film did win Best Supporting Female for Zhao Shuzhen as well as the top prize, Best Feature. In further support of female directors, the Spirit Awards gave Best First Feature to Olivia Wilde’s Booksmart. The female-led teen comedy earned some of the best reviews of 2019.

Even The Lighthouse — which was only nominated for Best Cinematography at the Oscars — got some additional recognition. The black-and-white horror film from director Robert Eggers (The Witch) claimed the cinematography prize and Best Supporting Male for Willem Dafoe’s impassioned performance.

What will happen at the Academy Awards?

As different as the Spirit Awards are from the Oscars, the two ceremonies could share some of the same winners. Renee Zellweger won the Spirit Award for Best Female Lead for her role in Judy. Because Zellweger has dominated throughout awards season, most industry insiders expect this victory to repeat at the Academy Awards.

Likewise, Noah Baumbach’s domestic drama Marriage Story won the Robert Altman Award for its cast and Best Original Screenplay at the Spirit Awards. Although the movie will likely lose the latter trophy to Parasite on Oscar night, Laura Dern remains the frontrunner for Best Supporting Actress.

Then, of course, there’s Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite. One of the most-talked-about films of the year, it is up for six Oscars and is a lock for Best International Feature, an award it just claimed at the Spirit Awards. Will it go all the way to claim Best Picture as some are hoping? We’ll find out shortly.

The 92nd Academy Awards air on Feb. 9, 2020 on ABC.