New year, same problem: Oscars snub deserving candidates

By Bella Whitmore | Intern

In the wise words of my film and English professor, Dr. Greg Garrett, “The Oscars are our Super Bowl.”

Every year, I anticipate watching the Oscars, getting excited to see all the speeches, outfits and well-deserved celebrations. And every year, I leave the couch feeling a little disappointed.

This year was no exception.

Let’s start out strong with arguably the biggest upset of the night: the best actress category. The best actress category had no shortage of talented nominees who displayed incredible performances, including Carey Mulligan in the ambitious biopic “Maestro” and Lily Gladstone with her heartbreaking and versatile performance in “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

However, the Oscar went to Emma Stone for her portrayal of Bella Baxter in the whimsical and fever-dream-like “Poor Things.” The decision shocked millions of people watching, including me. Emma Stone herself appeared surprised and even gave a special nod to Gladstone in her acceptance speech.

It is not that Stone did not deserve the Oscar or give an outstanding performance in her movie — quite the opposite, actually. Stone was amazing and gave possibly the best, most dynamic performance of her career. However, there is no doubt in my mind that Gladstone deserved it more.

The tragic character and story of Mollie Burkhart was brought to life in Gladstone’s subtle yet powerful portrayal. In the film, Burkhart loses her entire family and is poisoned and manipulated by her husband constantly, and Gladstone delivers such a memorable performance that it’s almost hard to watch at times. Not to mention, this was Gladstone’s breakout performance, and it earned so much as an Oscar nomination. While Stone’s performance was deserving of recognition, Gladstone’s remarkable acting in “Killers of the Flower Moon” stole the show and should have earned her the Oscar.

Now, if there was one category I thought “Barbie” had in the bag, it was set design.

Yet, the Oscar for best production and set design went to Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Poor Things” as well, beginning a mini sweep for the movie at the award show. Again, the set of “Poor Things” was nothing short of amazing with its dream-like and imaginative European-style buildings. However, the creativity and planning behind the set of “Barbie” should have snagged it the Oscar.

Watching “Barbie” for the first time and seeing her dreamhouse, I was immediately transported back to my childhood, along with millions of other women. The big pink house, the outfits, the props and the pastel hand-painted mountains in the background — it was all literally perfect. The amount of planning and research that had to be conducted on how the house changed throughout history must have been significant in order to get everything perfect.

Moreover, the sheer creativity of the set should be noted, with the open-concept house mirroring the real-life Barbie houses that had easy access to every room for play. “Barbie” was undoubtedly snubbed at the Oscars, but this might have been the biggest snub of them all.

There will always be decisions I disagree with when it comes to the Oscars, especially the ones that favor quirky and experimental films over the more mainstream or so-called “basic” movies in order to appear more cultured. Just because a certain nominee seems obvious doesn’t mean you should choose a different one. It is the favorite for a reason, which is hopefully something the Academy improves on going forward.