How did the Academy overlook one of the year's most powerful movies? Especially at a time when many of the big contenders -- I, Tonya; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Lady Bird -- also showcased working-class heroes. There was technically room to nominate a 10th Best Picture best picture. It didn't happen.
The snub might have something to do with the Academy's preferential ballot voting system, which involves a potential winner ranking and a complicated tallying system. Or the fact that The Florida Project never enjoyed the same commercial success as its competitors, earning only $5.5 million domestically (though that's pretty good for a tiny indie). Or the fact that, aside from Dafoe, it had zero big names.
But when the movie came out, it was called a must-see by many. A "near-perfect film" by Vulture. A re-examination of "modern America in the most electrifying way imaginable," per our own critic. Alas, as much as the awards season race has begun to change, it's still largely built up to the kind of finale where the nominated shoo-ins have been the flashy movies like Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, and The Post, with broader battle-against-good-and-evil drama, and the ones at risk of getting snubbed are the ones like Call Me by Your Name, Get Out, and The Florida Project, films that offer more nuance.