I want to be blunt: Amy Adams got fucked over by the Academy.
Not overlooked, not snubbed, and certainly not ignored. She was fucked over. The news of her being snubbed came out almost simultaneously with the announcement of the nominees. Why was it news? Every year there are “snubs” but this was different. The Oscars’ official website had her listed as being nominated momentarily after the nominees were announced. This is a screenshot of that:
Clearly there was some internal confusion in the Academy down to the last minute. She was on the list and then she was removed to make room for Ruth Negga. No disrespect to Ruth, she’s a great actress and I hear Loving is top notch. Was the voting so close that it came down to last minute recounts? maybe. Did the guy putting together the graphics get lazy and just assume Amy Adams was getting the nomination? Probably. I don’t believe in the theory that the Academy chose Negga over Adams last minute to make sure a black actress was nominated. That’s way too transparent and insulting to Ruth, she belongs there. I think it has more to do with the Academy not respecting the Science Fiction genre, but that’s neither here nor there. This is a screw job not because of who was left off the list, but because of who was left on.
The difference between complaining and criticizing is the ability to offer a solution. I have not seen Elle, Loving, or Jackie so I can’t speak to the performance of those actresses. Blindly saying Adams is better than them would be irresponsible and ruin the small level of credibility I have (it’s on the rise though). Emma Stone was fantastic in La La Land, no questioning her nomination. But Meryl Streep’s performance if Florence Foster Jenkins was weak. She was good, but not great. More importantly she was clearly in 3rd place behind Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg in terms of performance. Streep is extremely talented but her role was not written to be the heavy lifter. She did her thing which set the stage for the other two to shine. That’s the difference for me.
Amy Adams’ movie Arrival, which collected 8 nominations, was carried on the shoulders of her character. That’s not an overstatement. Amy Adams wasn’t just the lead actress, she was the star who put this movie on her back and carried it into the theaters. This movie is technically a Sci-Fi, but in reality its so much more than that. It’s about the importance of finding the meaning of communication instead of reacting to how things appear. Amy’s character is something you’d think the Academy would go out of their way to praise especially given the current state our world is in now. She’s an intelligent woman who is scared and intimidated but shows incredible internal strength to do her job. She has to take on the impossible task of understanding an alien language while simultaneously keeping the governments of the world at bay with their trigger fingers ready to launch an attack. THAT is a strong, complex character. Adams made it believable and sold the audience on her story…
Meryl Streep’s character yelled at a piano for 2 hours.