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Tuesday morning marked the return of Hollywood’s most hallowed tradition: waking up hours before the sun rises on the west coast and screaming into a pillow following the announcement of the Academy Awards nominations.
Yet as we assembled our reaction to this year’s list, we came away with the biggest surprise of all: All things considered, the nominees aren’t that bad! That’s a statement made with dozens of caveats, of course. (They’re not bad in the context of the seemingly arbitrary crop of movies and performers who had been deemed serious contenders. Believe me, there are plenty of personal favorites that I wish were here instead.)
That said, there were a slew of unexpected nominees from smaller films—Brian Tyree Henry for Causeway!—and strong showings by deserving hopefuls that some pundits worried would get the shaft, like Women Talking and Triangle of Sadness.