Oscar snubs happen every year. There are always wonderful performances the Academy either ignores or is forced to leave out of the nominations in favor of other great performances. The 2020 Academy Awards are no different and one of the biggest controversies is the Academy’s rebuff of Adam Sandler.
The Sandman’s performance in Uncut Gems has been almost universally praised, and the movie has set records at the box office. Not only is it Sandler’s most serious role to date, but it also shows that the comedian has some serious acting chops behind his baby talk and bathroom humor. It’s Sandler’s reputation for both of those things that seems to be the reason for the snub.
The New York Post spoke with an anonymous source described as a “longtime character” actor and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The source says, “There are a lot of movies, a lot of performances per year for us to watch. Unfortunately, actors become brands. Sandler’s brand doesn’t scream ‘Oscar,’ but Leo DiCaprio’s and Jonathan Pryce’s do.” It seems Sandler’s brand and its juvenile, yet wildly successful type of comedy doesn’t go over well with the members,
The members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are often accused of taking themselves too seriously, and this may be a stark example of that. In fact, another Academy member told the Post, “There was an arrogance to [Adam]. It’s a lack of respect.” The source was apparently reacting to a joke Sandler made during an appearance on the Howard Stern Show. “If I don’t get [the Oscar],” the comedian jokingly threatened, “I’m going to [expletive] come back and do [a movie] again that is so bad on purpose just to make you all pay.” That was too much for the Academy.
In response to his snub, Sandler has been gracious. “Bad news,” he tweeted, “Sandman gets no love from the Academy. Good news: Sandman can stop wearing suits,” before congratulating his Waterboy co-star Kathy Bates. The actress, whose brand most certainly screams “Oscar,” is nominated for her role in Richard Jewell. In return, Bates tweeted back, “I love you my Bobby Boucher!!! You was robbed!! But Mama loves you!!! I learned a new urban slang word for you! You da GOAT!!”
Bates wasn’t the only one to come Sandler’s defense either. Jenna Fischer responded to the tweet, writing, “I loved Uncut Gems. You and all of the performances, the writing, directing, camera, sound design and sound editing. Loved this movie.” Ben Stiller commented, “Sandman deserves all the love. Brilliant performance.” Lil Nas X, Josh Gad, Miles Teller and a slew of others also responded to Sandler’s tweet supporting the actor. Sandler’s old co-star Jennifer Aniston even gave him a shout-out at the recent Screen Actors Guild Awards, saying, “Adam Sandler, your performance was extraordinary and your magic is real buddy, I love you.” The Academy might not like him, but everyone else does.