Lakeith Stanfield and Thomas Vinterberg just threw pundits for a loop with their surprise 2021 Oscar nominations.
This year’s Academy Award nominations were unveiled on Monday, and there were several shock omissions, including the absence of One Night in Miami and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Best Picture. But there were some equally surprising inclusions as well, perhaps the most notable in Best Supporting Actor, where Stanfield earned a nod for playing William O’Neal in Judas and the Black Messiah.
Stanfield’s co-star Daniel Kaluuya, who played Fred Hampton, was also nominated in that category, as were Sacha Baron Cohen, Leslie Odom Jr., and Paul Raci. Pundits widely expected these latter four stars to earn nods but thought Da 5 Bloods‘ Chadwick Boseman would likely get in as well. Stanfield’s surprise nomination quickly sparked confusion online as to how, exactly, both he and Kaluuya can be considered supporting actors in their film, as opposed to one of them being the lead.
There was also a major surprise in Best Director, where Another Round‘s Thomas Vinterberg scored a nod. This is despite the fact that his Danish film starring Mads Mikkelsen wasn’t nominated for Best Picture, and its only other nomination was Best International Feature Film.
The other nominations for Best Director went as expected: Lee Isaac Chung for Minari, Emerald Fennell for Promising Young Woman, David Fincher for Mank, and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland. But pundits thought the fifth spot would go to Aaron Sorkin, whose film The Trial of the Chicago 7 did earn a Best Picture nomination, or possibly Regina King for One Night in Miami or Darius Marder for Sound of Metal.
Among the other big surprises included Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The White Tiger getting unexpected screenplay nominations. So could any of these contenders pull off the rare feat of actually winning an Oscar they weren’t even expected to be nominated for at all? We’ll find out on April 25.