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Shake Off Those Hollywood Awards-Season Snubs with These 5 Reads

by  | February 7

By the time we learn which of the most high-profile films and performers of the past year have been nominated (or not) for Hollywood’s most prestigious awards, we’re invested. We have opinions, and strong ones, at that. When our faves get recognized as nominees with the chance to take home a golden statue, we’re ecstatic and content in the knowledge that the voters have tastes as refined as ours. On the other hand, when our personal picks don’t get “the nod,” that oversight can stick in our craws and inspire snarky Twitter commentary. But while complaining is fun, it’s nowhere near as cathartic as reading through our feelings. With that in mind, here are a few of the films, performers, and filmmakers whose awards-season snubs we felt deeply, along with the books we’ve chosen to help us shake off those slights.

The Thirteenth Tale

The Thirteenth Tale

by Diane Setterfield

Nicole’s Pick #1:

Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o for Us

Hollywood has a long history of ignoring horror performances when it comes to awards season, but after watching Lupita Nyong’o’s unparalleled performances (yes, that’s performance-s, PLURAL) in Jordan Peele’s Us, I had hoped that trend would come to an end. Unfortunately, it didn’t. Lupita plays Adelaide Wilson as well as her Tether, known as “Red.” Through these performances, Lupita embodies the film’s main themes of American privilege, duality of self, and the idea that we are our own worst enemies. It’s haunting and at times uncomfortable to watch—and that’s what makes the acting so great. If you loved Lupita’s performances and want to read something that also involves doppelgängers, check out The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Author Vida Winter has spent six decades writing a series of alternate lives for herself, but as she approaches old age, she decides to share those parts of herself in her own true story with the help of a biographer named Margaret Lea. As the two work together, each confronts the ghosts that has haunted them in their lives while becoming, finally, themselves transformed by the truth.

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Crazy Rich Asians (Media Tie-In Edition)

Crazy Rich Asians (Media Tie-In Edition)

by Kevin Kwan

Nicole’s Pick #2:

Best Actress: Awkwafina for The Farewell

Awkwafina is KILLING it right now, y’all! She just premiered a new show, Nora from Queens; she’s in the new Jumanji movie; and she’s been making the awards-show rounds for The Farewell. The first time I saw her was in her hilarious performance as Peik Lin Goh in the film adaptation of Crazy Rich Asians. Most of us know Awkwafina for her raw comedic talent, but she made major waves this year in her slightly more serious role in The Farewell. So many waves, in fact, that she won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. Which is why it came as such a surprise when she was snubbed for an Oscar nomination this year for that role. I plan to celebrate Awkwafina on Hollywood’s biggest night by reading Crazy Rich Asians, the book that led to my discovery of this incredibly talented and versatile actress.

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Bad Girls

Bad Girls

by Alex de Campi

Molly’s Pick:

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lopez for Hustlers

J Lo. Jenny from the Block. Jennifer Lynn Lopez. An icon. A legend. A queen.

I am a die-hard Jennifer Lopez fan. I honestly think she can do it all, and she’s proven as much as a singer, dancer, actor, producer, and businesswoman. She has not only sustained a successful career for 20+ years, but has flourished and grown in her abilities as she’s gotten older. That’s quite the feat for a 50-year-old woman in Hollywood. But the one thing I admire about J. Lo more than anything else—more than her talent, drive, or open-heartedness—is that she lets you see just how hard she works, how hard she hustles for her success.

In her show-stopping role in Hustlers, J. Lo plays Ramona, a stripper who devises a system in which she and her co-workers drug their wealthy clients and steal money from them. Ramona is a complex character: ambitious, morally ambiguous, and ultimately empowering—she turns the system on its head and makes it work for her. If you were as entranced with J. Lo’s performance as I was and want more stories about badass women, read Bad Girls, a graphic novel by Alex de Campi and Victor Santos. It’s a fast-paced noir thriller about three women in 1958 who have one night to escape Cuba with six million dollars of stolen cash. The vivid writing and illustrations will keep you riveted, and you’ll be rooting for the so-called “bad girls” to succeed.

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My Friend Anna

My Friend Anna

by Rachel DeLoache Williams

Sara’s Pick:

Best Actors: Choi Woo Shik and Park So Dam for Parasite

Bong Joon Ho's Parasite is a fascinating character study of a poor family using their wits, unlikely skill sets, and bond with one another to trick a rich family into hiring them all to work for them. It’s a con so intricate and delicately balanced, you almost can't believe that it works…’til it falls apart spectacularly. I’m surprised that none of the cast was nominated for best acting awards, especially Choi Woo Shik as Kim Ki-woo, the son who gets the family involved in the con, and Park So Dam as Kim Ki-jung, who plays the daughter masquerading as an art teacher. So if you're looking to watch another young person using charisma and wit to get what they want (and not pay a cent for it), you need to read the real-life story My Friend Anna. The book's author, Rachel DeLoache Williams, met Anna, a seemingly high-class young woman in New York City who often paid for luxurious outings. However, their friendship takes a turn for the sinister when Anna ends up pinning an entire (expensive) trip to Marrakech on Rachel, and promptly disappearing. Rachel soon finds out that she wasn't the only one conned, and the escapades and eventual arrest of Anna in this high interest–crime tale are too thrilling to miss. Best (or worst) of all, this headline-making story reminds us that movies like Parasite are closer to reality than we might want to believe.

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A Study In Scarlet Women

A Study In Scarlet Women

by Sherry Thomas

Heather’s Pick:

Best Director: Greta Gerwig for Little Women

Little Women has been well represented at awards ceremonies so far this year, so I don’t have a lot of room to complain, but no Best Director nod for Greta Gerwig? Seriously?! That’s just not right. I mean, she’s the whole reason the film’s up for a host of other statues, including Best Picture. The way she plays with the narrative’s timeline is genius, and that creative choice puts a new emphasis on the plotlines and March sisters who don’t normally get as much time and attention. (By which I mean: Gerwig’s a big part of why so many of us love Amy and the Amy-Laurie relationship this time around!) You know what, though? This snub has inspired me to pick up Sherry Thomas’s A Study in Scarlet Women, a Sherlock Holmes retelling in which the famous detective is a woman, Charlotte Holmes, turning another classic tale on its head. This first book in the ongoing Victorian-era Lady Sherlock mystery series sets the stage for a fresh take on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s enduring stories. It all starts when members of Charlotte’s family are suspected of murders they definitely did not commit—and she tasks herself with identifying the real killer.

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Photo Credit // AlexanderLipko/iStock

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