See more of the story

Who got snubbed by the Academy Awards this year? "Barbie."

The comedy came away with eight nominations, including the biggie: best picture. But two nominations that seemed like locks did not come through. Two-time acting nominee Margot Robbie missed out on best actress (in, it's worth noting, an unusually strong field that also overlooked Natalie Portman for "May December" and Greta Lee for "Past Lives").

Even more egregiously, so did director Greta Gerwig, who cracked the code on how to realize the long-in-the-works concept of a Barbie movie. Although the directors' branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has given its directing trophy to both Chloë Zao and Jane Campion in recent years (and did nominate Justine Triet this year, for "Anatomy of a Fall"), it has been slower than other branches to recognize women's achievements. Celine Song, whose "Past Lives" is a best picture and screenplay contender, also missed out on a directing nod.

Best actor contender Leonardo DiCaprio is the biggest name overlooked, possibly because fellow members of the acting branch of the Academy were put off by the way his performance refused to commit to whether he was playing a bad guy in "Killers of the Flower Moon" (in the nomination phase of the Oscars, individual branches choose the contenders — so, actors nominate actors, directors nominate directors, etc.). That also may be why "Killers" was a surprise omission from the screenplay adaptation category, where previous winners Eric Roth and Martin Scorsese seemed like shoo-ins.

This year's acting nominees are a diverse bunch, with Lily Gladstone a favorite to become the first Native American winner of best actress for "Killers," but the best picture field? Not so much. Although "The Color Purple" earned a supporting actress nomination for Danielle Brooks, that's it, meaning lead performer Fantasia Barrino missed out on a nomination (despite closing the movie with the kind of powerhouse vocal solo that often wins awards), as did supporting actress candidate Taraji P. Henson.

In the best picture race, "Purple" seems to have been edged out by the "The Zone of Interest," the German-language film that also is a nominee for best international feature and for British director Jonathan Glazer. Along with "Anatomy of a Fall" — which, like "Zone," totaled five nominations — it's one of two non-English language best picture contenders ("Anatomy" is in German, French and English). Both "Zone" and "Anatomy" maintained their momentum since last May's Cannes Film Festival, where they won major prizes.

One Cannes film that couldn't maintain momentum was "May December," which had three actors in the Oscar hunt — Portman, supporting actress Julianne Moore and supporting actor Charles Melton — but none on the final list.

A few artists with Minnesota ties made the cut, though. Twin Cities native Dan Wilson, singer of band Semisonic and a songwriting collaborator with, among others, Adele, is nominated in the best song category for "It Never Went Away," from documentary "American Symphony." Wilson, who now lives in California, wrote the song with Jon Batiste.

Sterling K. Brown, an alum of the Guthrie Theater's graduate training program who also starred in the theater's "Intimate Apparel," is a supporting actor nominee for "American Fiction." And "Nyad" acting contenders Annette Bening and Jodie Foster were directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, a Mankato native.

One nice surprise for producers of the Oscar show, which will air at 6 p.m. March 10, is that many movies Oscar voters liked also were the movie audiences liked. Both "Barbie," with eight nominations, and "Oppenheimer," with 13, were among the top five box office hits of 2023. So was "Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse," a nominee for best animated feature, and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3," nominated for visual effects.