There’s probably a lot of other factors that went into the unfortunate snub of “Nope,” but most importantly, it was likely shut out from the Oscars because the film spoke important truths about the industry that Hollywood is still not ready to confront. If all those love letters to cinema are affectionate portraits of cinema’s enduring power, “Nope” is a parable about how that power is wielded irresponsibly. It’s a movie that rightfully understands the value of creation of art and filmmaking whilst condemning the unfortunate reality of the entertainment industry’s sticky relationship with capitalism.
Jordan Peele’s third feature is one that uses the language of a modern blockbuster to ostensibly create what is essentially an anti-Hollywood film. It continues where “Get Out” and “Us” started, raising provocative questions about American culture.
It’s no wonder that the Academy, an institution that is still so incredibly resistant to growth, would be against a film that argues for the industry to self-reflect and create material change. Even if not intentional, the systems that make up its implicit bias have created an environment where a radical genre film like “Nope” cannot thrive.
But perhaps it’s for the best. Sure, validation from awards bodies can be nice. We all like to have our tastes validated and to see deserving artists get the recognition they deserve — but the process of awards season is deeply political. Sometimes, even the most important pieces of art will go unrecognized in their time.
“Nope” will live on as an accomplished blockbuster that managed to interrogate human nature and our desires for filmic spectacle. The Academy has, and will continue to be known as an out of touch institution that is stuck in the past.