Zac Efron turned in a critically acclaimed, career-best performance—not to mention an astonishing physical transformation—as real-life wrestler Kevin Von Erich, who suffers unimaginable familial tragedy on his rise through the world of professional wrestling. Many fans had their fingers crossed that Efron's work in The Iron Claw would be recognized with a 2024 Academy Award nomination on Tuesday but, like fellow Best Actor hopefuls Leonardo DiCaprio (Killers of the Flower Moon) and Andrew Scott (All of Us Strangers), he was sadly snubbed by the awards body.
It was far from the only Oscars snub to cause a ruckus online—those Barbie slights for director Greta Gerwig and lead actress Margot Robbie had many a fan complaining, including author Stephen King—but it was likely the only one that drew the ire of WWE fans, many of whom took to social media to bemoan the slight against The Greatest Showman star.
One X user, @agneswickfields, affirmed that the actor's acclaimed performance was "so much more" than just his "extreme fitness regimen." (Efron, along with his onscreen Von Erich brothers Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson, reportedly put in a lot of work to make those wresting scenes look and feel authentic.)
Zac Efron, while it can sting to win the wrestling match but not take home the gold, your millions of fans love you. You’re so much more than your extreme fitness regimen.
Poster @ginadesio joked that they will "avenge" Efron and The Iron Claw team following their unfair "erasure from this entire awards season":
The Zac Efron / Iron Claw erasure from this entire awards season is so unfair. I WILL AVENGE YOU!
Another, @NicholasJLevi, acknowledged that though the Best Actor race looks to be between Oppenheimer's Cillian Murphy and The Holdovers' Paul Giamatti, Zac deserved to be "right there with them" at this year's Academy Awards:
I know Cillian & Paul are head to head for best actor but you can’t tell me that Zac Efron ain’t right there with them. He at least deserved a nomination for IRON CLAW
@HotMessBless dubbed The Iron Claw shutout as "the biggest snub" of the year, praising Efron's pro-wrestler performance as "some of the best acting" they'd ever seen:
Iron Claw being shut out of the Oscars is probably the biggest snub for me. The movie was heartbreaking and compelling. It deserves to be recognized, and, if anything, a nomination for Zac Efron. His transformation for that role was some of the best acting I’ve seen. #Oscars2024
Beyond critics and moviegoers, Efron's performance more than earned the approval of the man he portrays onscreen, WWE star Kevin Von Erich, who called the actor "a real star." The performer said that the athlete's praise was "far and away the most important review" to him, telling Variety:
He told me that he did enjoy the movie. I can’t really put into words how that feels. It’s far and away the most important review to me on so many levels. It meant the world, and everything just came full circle.”
You can see for yourself how great Efron's performance is by catching The Iron Claw in theaters. There's still no official release date announced for when the sports drama will hit streaming or home media, but we do know it will be available with a Max subscription, thanks to the service’s exclusive deal with A24.