On Tuesday morning, actors Andy Serkis and Tiffany Haddish woke up very, very early to announce the nominees for the 90th Academy Awards. As they’re the stars of two of 2017's biggest movies (War for the Planet of the Apes and Girls Trip), it makes sense in the abstract that they would represent the year in film. But the fact that they would be announcing the nominations suggested there was little hope for either to receive one of their own. And—big surprise—they didn’t.
While Serkis did win this year’s San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor, no one was expecting him to say his own name Tuesday morning. The Academy still doesn’t know what to do with CGI performances, and the many other awards Serkis received for his motion-capture role as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy never translated into an Oscar nomination.
But Haddish is a little different. Though the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Screen Actors Guild failed to acknowledge Girls Trip at this year’s Golden Globes and SAGs, her big win at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards this month—not to mention that instantly iconic acceptance speech—was enough to inject a little last-minute hope for a surprise nomination.
In his predictions post on Decider, Oscars expert Joe Reid wrote that the field was particularly “muddled” this year, and that it wasn’t out of the question for Haddish to join frontrunners Allison Janney (I, Tonya), Laurie Metcalf (Lady Bird), and Mary J. Blige (Mudbound). Both she and Lesley Manville (Phantom Thread) had just won a major precursor award this season, he noted. But only Manville received a nomination.
That the Academy would choose to put Haddish up there Tuesday morning felt like a preemptive apology or consolation prize. And while I would never complain about watching her read a phone book, let alone a list of Oscar nominees, they didn’t really deserve her infinite charms (“I gotta see this Dunkirk, it seems like a lot of people like it”) after ignoring what will likely go down as the most memorable and consequential performance by an actor all year.
But oh well. It’s just an Oscar, right? Haddish’s career is going nowhere but up, she’s getting high-profile endorsement deals, and Girls Trip—ahh, Girls Trip—will be a comedy people revisit and treasure for decades. Here’s a reminder of just how great she was in it. There are few better written/delivered lines about the complexities of long-term friendship than, “I hate y’all! I hate you, but I love you, bitch.”