Here’s a statement sure to galvanize a certain Updates account: Lil Rel Howery isn’t so sure Ana de Armas deserves an Oscar nomination for Andrew Dominik’s Blonde. In a new conversation with Vulture’s “Into It” podcast, Howery ruminates on this year’s Best Actress nominees, and shares that a certain competitor in the category “doesn’t make sense.”
“Somebody else should have got bumped,” Howery tells podcast host Sam Sanders of the Best Actress field. Who? “I’m not going to say anything,” Howery says, “but it’s a movie nominated as a Razzie. That doesn’t make sense to me.” (As it happens, Blonde leads this year’s Razzie nominations with eight.)
Later on, Howery shows his cards and reveals that the undeserving nominee he’s hinting at is Armas. As he explains, it’s no shade towards her—they’ve been co-stars in the past.
“It’s just... and that’s somebody I did film with,” Howery shares. “I did Deep Water with her, with Ben Affleck. Amazing. I’m just talking about the Academy. What are y’all doing? Come on, fam. For real?”
This year’s stacked Best Actress category has caused some serious contention, especially surrounding Andrea Riseborough’s surprise nomination for To Leslie. Some critics questioned Riseborough’s campaigning tactics, which included a last-minute swell of support from big-name actors like Gwyneth Paltrow and Edward Norton. After conducting a review of the campaign, the Academy ultimately chose to uphold her nomination.
A central criticism around Riseborough’s nom (and Armas’ for that matter) has been the fact that again this year, the Best Actress category won’t include any Black women. In Howery’s eyes, that’s a travesty—he says both Till’s Danielle Deadwyler and The Woman King’s Viola Davis deserved a spot in the field.
“Are we ever going to get that due?” Howery laments. “[Davis] did the work in [The Woman King]. She did the work. Woman King, to me, was one of the best movies I’ve watched.”
The Oscars air Sunday, March 12 at 8 P.M. E.T.