Almost immediately after the BAFTA Film Award nominations were announced earlier this afternoon, one name began trending on social media: Lily Gladstone.


Film fans were reacting with bemusement to the Killers of the Flower Moon star's absolutely baffling omission from the Leading Actress shortlist – a category in which she had been seen as not only a lock for a nomination but a potential frontrunner for the win.

And fans were quite right to voice their shock and disappointment: the decision not to give her a nod must go down as one of the most egregious awards snubs in recent memory. Gladstone turns in a sublime performance as Mollie Burkhart in Martin Scorsese's riveting epic, a nuanced, powerful, and endlessly compelling portrayal of a woman going through a horrifyingly tragic ordeal. She's brilliant in ways both subtle and overt – and one haunting scene that shows her devastating, grief-stricken reaction to the news her sister's house has been blown up is practically worthy of a nomination on its own.

Now, all this is not to decry any of the actresses that did get nominated. Carey Mulligan, for example, provides an extremely moving performance as Felicia Montealegre in Bradley Cooper's Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro, while Anatomy of a Fall star Sandra Hüller – who was also nominated in the Supporting Actress category for her role in The Zone of Interest – is exemplary in a complex, multilingual role.

Meanwhile, it's also refreshing to see a surprise nod for Vivian Oparah, who was such a magnetic presence in Raine Allen Miller's immensely likeable rom-com Rye Lane – itself a notable omission in the Best British Debut category. (Although perhaps it's worth wondering if Oparah might have been a better fit for the EE Rising Star Award category, in favour of one of the more established stars who found themselves nominated for that prize.)

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But despite the merits of the other performers, Gladstone can feel extremely aggrieved not to make the list, and it begs the question of what this might mean for her chances of picking up an Oscar.

Up until now, the Best Actress category at the Academy Awards has been pretty much looked at as a two-horse race between Gladstone and Emma Stone, whose electrifying and unique performance as Bella Baxter in Poor Things has rightly won her plentiful plaudits.

For what it's worth, if pushed, I would find it almost impossible to separate those two perceived frontrunners – they are such wildly contrasting performances in such vastly different films, and both of them more or less flawlessly achieve what they set out to do. But Gladstone's snub here must surely make Stone the clear favourite to pick up her second golden statuette in March – seven years after her previous Oscar win for La La Land.

Emma Stone as Bella Baxter in Poor Things sitting on a lounger holding a book
Emma Stone as Bella Baxter in Poor Things. Searchlight Pictures

That said, Gladstone can take heart from the fact that although it's rare for the eventual Oscar winner to not even pick up a nomination at the BAFTAs, it's by no means without precedent – indeed, you need only go back two years to find the last example of that very thing happening, when Jessica Chastain was honoured by the Academy for her leading role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. (Before then, you'd have to go back to Sandra Bullock's 2009 win for The Blind Side, and before then to 2004 when Hillary Swank was awarded for Million Dollar Baby).

So, while this undoubtedly harms her chances of the Oscar win, it by no means removes her from the conversation, especially when we consider she already has the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama to her name.

It's also worth noting that Gladstone's omission was symptomatic of a disappointing afternoon for Killers of the Flower Moon more generally. Indeed, even though it managed nine nominations – the joint third-highest total – there are several other categories where its absence is conspicuous. Perhaps most notably, Scorsese somehow failed to secure a nod in the Best Director category, with the likes of Bradley Cooper and Alexander Payne surprisingly chosen ahead of him.

Meanwhile, having already been left off the SAG Award nominations, Leonardo DiCaprio again failed to pick up a nod here, while the film was also overlooked in the Adapted Screenplay category. It did make its way into the five-strong Best Film category, but its absence in these other shortlists will, no doubt, hamper its chances of beating the likes of Oppenheimer to the big prize.

There are other puzzling omissions too. For example, Todd Haynes's superb drama May December was, once again, completely ignored, while Andrew Scott failed to secure a nod for his leading turn in All Of Us Strangers, despite the film being selected in six other categories. And although Wes Anderson's delightful but divisive Asteroid City hasn't exactly been viewed as a major player this awards season, the fact that it couldn't even make the cut in the Production Design category seems, to me, a major error.

It's Gladstone, however, who is by some margin the most outrageous omission – and it's hard to look at her snub as anything other than complete madness.

The BAFTA Film Awards will air on BBC One and iPlayer on Sunday 18th February. Check out more of our Film coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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