Oscars 2021 snubs and surprises: Regina King, Aaron Sorkin and more

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In a year of movies like no other, one thing has happily remained normal: Some folks in Hollywood got an awfully rude awakening Monday when the 2021 Oscar nominations were announced.

While much of the roster was as expected — “Nomadland” for Best Picture, Chadwick Boseman for Best Actor — there were plenty of burns and shockers to go around.

Here are some of the biggest snubs and surprises in the lead-up to the April 25 ceremony, which will air live on ABC.

Regina King

Ever since her directorial debut, “One Night In Miami,” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, Regina King and her acclaimed movie have been an awards season favorite. She was nominated for the Best Director Golden Globe award, but didn’t win.

However, the Oscars left her off the directing list entirely.

Still, “One Night In Miami” managed a Best Supporting Actor nod for Leslie Odom, Jr., Best Adapted Screenplay for Kemp Powers and Best Song for “Speak Now” by Leslie Odom, Jr., and Sam Ashworth.

Aaron Sorkin

The most telling omission of the day, essentially turning the Oscars from a competition into a coronation, is Aaron Sorkin not being included among the directors for “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The one time since 2000 that an eventual Best Picture winner did not receive a Best Director nomination was two years ago, for “Green Book.” Otherwise, the nod is an essential step toward going home the big winner of the night. Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7” was seen as the main competition for “Nomadland.” Now? Not so much.

“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences appreciated many aspects of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom:” the acting (Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis), the production design and the hair and makeup. But that admiration did not go far enough to nab it a Best Picture nomination or Best Director nod for George C. Wolfe.

Spike Lee

Not only was Spike Lee, who finally won his first Oscar in 2019, for writing “BlacKkKlansman,” left off the Best Director and Original Screenplay lists this year — his film “Da 5 Bloods” was almost totally shut out, save for a Best Original Score nod.

Jodie Foster

What a roller coaster month it has been for Jodie Foster. First, she unexpectedly won the Best Actress – Comedy or Musical Golden Globe Award over favorite Maria Bakalova, who wowed the world with her breakthrough performance in “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm.”

Then, Monday morning the actress wasn’t even nominated for her role in “The Mauritanian.” 

Thomas Vinterberg

Who? Thomas Vinterberg is the Danish director who ended the Oscar hopes of Aaron Sorkin and Regina King on Monday. He’s nominated in the Best Director category for the foreign film “Another Round,” which is about a group of friends who experiment with day-drinking to see if it improves their home lives.

“Boys State”

This one stings. Not only was “Boys State” one of the best documentaries of the year, it was one of the best films of the year. But the Oscars gave it the old heave-ho on Monday.

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