That the very first category announced in the 2024 Oscar Nominations was Best Supporting Actor makes me certain that the Academy was trying their hardest to upset me. That the first name announced was Sterling K. Brown for his performance in American Fiction, almost certainly sealing out the possibility of my dream nominee Charles Melton for May December, means the morning of Jan. 23 was a very bad morning for me indeed.

Just a year ago, I was moved to tears by Paul Mescal’s nomination. A year before that, I was over the moon for Kristen Stewart. I look at the nominees this year with more dismay in my heart than ever before. I’m sure it’ll wear off eventually so I can giggle at the truly bonkers choices the Academy made this year, but for now my usual enthusiasm for awards season has dimmed. Let’s get into it.

The Barbie of it all

Barbie picked up a healthy number of nominations – production design, costume, adapted screenplay. You cannot deny ‘I’m Just Ken’ is kind of magical, and also that the Academy is compelled by ancient blood magic to give Billie Eilish awards, landing ‘What Was I Made For’ a nod. And yet. Ryan Gosling for Supporting Actor and America Ferrera for Supporting Actress (cue surprised, delighted cheers), but nothing for Margot Robbie? No Best Director nod for Greta Gerwig? HELLO?! We evidently need more Barbie girls in the Academy.

Some of my girls are missing…

Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla, my personal best picture, paid dust. Greta Lee’s performance in Past Lives, which undoubtedly won the award for most tears shed by me in a cinema is also glaringly missing. I don’t mean to be a debbie downer, this is the last I’ll talk of snubs because there actually were some big slays nominated. Da’Vine Joy Randolph may have made history as the only actor to go from The Idol to Oscar nominee in a single year. That’s the power of a Black woman!

Who…what is a ‘Nyad’

I know the movies that were nominated. I’ve watched many of them, and consider myself interested in the field. And yet this ‘Nyad’ has evaded me. What are you talking about, exactly? Am I going to have to find out? Worse, am I going to have to actually watch it?!

Things to celebrate

I do love the things that are randomly good that sneak in there just to make me smile. Nimona fielded a nod, an animated adventure starring gay knights voiced by Riz Ahmed and Eugene Lee Yang. Screenplay nod for May December – I know that’s right. Everything Anatomy of a Fall picked up is so deserving, and is a win for hot lawyers everywhere. Nothing at all happened for Saltburn, I can finally relax.

Best Picture is not necessarily best cinema

Because in truth yes, some of the films nominated… well, not the best. Pretty crummy actually. American Fiction. Maestro. Sneaks! On the other hand, some spectacular films have fallen outside of the Academy’s tastes. La Chimera, Passages...I will avenge you. The Oscars are really about enjoying beautiful people in beautiful gowns. We’ll try again next year. I can’t wait for heartbreak to feel good again and again.

Thumbnail graphic by Nozizwe Msipa / North by Northwestern