Beautiful Boy snubbed from Oscars

Why has Beautiful Boy not received an Oscar Nomination?

I have a bad habit of reading film reviews before going to the cinema: I like to be prepared – I like to predict my opinion of the film before I have even seen it. But most importantly, I just like to make sure I am going to see a good film. Therefore, whilst eagerly anticipating the 18th of January and the release of Beautiful Boy, I read review after review, after review.

4 stars – The Independent: “It has a lyricism, raw emotion and a sense of mystery that you simply won’t find in any other movie about drug abuse recovery plans.”

4 stars – Rolling Stone: “Chalamet’s withdrawal scene alone should put the Call Me by Your Name Oscar-nominee back in the awards race. And Carell lets us feel the pain of a parent driven to the point of giving up. It’s a tough, achingly tender film that refuses to trade in false hopes or cheap sentiment. That truth is what makes Beautiful Boy hard to take and impossible to forget.”

5 stars – The Times: “Never mind Rami Malek’s ‘Stars in Their Eyes’ turn as Freddie Mercury or Bradley Cooper hamming it up in A Star is Born. This is the pre-eminent performance of the past 12 months.” (Speaking about 23-year-old Timothée Chalamet)

Unsurprisingly, these glowing reviews fuelled my ‘Timothée Chalamet for the Best Actor Academy Award’ fire.

Ever since his breakout performance in Call Me by Your Name, Chalamet has been on everyone’s radar as his generation’s best actor, especially mine. So, naturally, playing a crystal-meth addicted 18 year old opposite the legendary Steve Carrell garnered a lot of Oscar buzz. But, to no avail. Beautiful Boy did not gain a single nomination for the 2019 Academy Awards, and I feel like I am the only person who is wildly devastated. I thought that there would be uproar, and outrage when the nominations were announced, but the only people that have commented on this travesty are the online world of Chalamaniacs who would back him for any performance (quite rightly).

This snub is reminiscent of another lauded Hollywood actor who championed the silver screen for nearly 15 years and made almost 30 films without winning an Academy Award, but who is still one of the biggest household names from the industry: Leonardo DiCaprio. First nominated for an Oscar in 1993 for his often overlooked performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, Leo was subsequently nominated five times before finally grasping his hands on the golden trophy in 2016. This similarity of his early career gives me hope for the longevity and success of Timothee’s. As his Call Me by Your Name co-star Armie Hammer rightly said, “The fact that people are even talking about a snub is testament to the kind of work he is turning out…Because he didn’t get nominated, does that mean the work is any less? Absolutely not.”

As well as this snub, there are many other films and performers who I feel have been left out of this year’s Academy Awards: Claire Foy? Crazy Rich Asians? Paddington 2? As Women in Hollywood founder Melissa Silverstein rightly pointed out, we can still count the number of female Best Director nominations on one hand. This is a travesty in itself, but begs the question, will we ever be happy with the nominations that we are presented with? With only five nominations per category, should we (I) get over the fact that some actors cannot be recognised for every single performance that they offer, and appreciate that there is perhaps just too much excellent #content nowadays? Perhaps for Timothée, it is a blessing in disguise. Freed from societal pressure to produce Oscar-esque work in every film, he can now take on unique and interesting projects that will allow him to grow, and better shape his future. A token nomination just because it’s Timothée Chalamet would surely be worse than no nomination at all.

In spite of this, I will still be rooting for Timothée in his next film Dune, and probably all of those that follow, in the hope that one day he will receive that longed-for accolade of excellence. In the meantime, I’ll be watching the 91st Academy Awards on the 24th of February, and celebrating the astonishing films that were acknowledged.


Words by: Tori Sharp