Oscar Nominations 2023: The Biggest Snubs and Surprises
The finish line for the awards season is slowly nearing. Just last week, January 24, The Academy announced the nominees for the upcoming 95th Academy Awards, more commonly known as Oscars. It’s no surprise there has been a lot of rigid and interesting campaigns throughout the past few months. Afterall, it’s regarded as the highest honor for films. It also comes to no surprise that some passionate supporters were both surprised and somehow disappointed by the choices of the council for the nominees.
The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once leads the pack with 11 nominations. The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front follow, both with 9. Blockbusters such as Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water also bagged a handful of nods. For the first time in decades, the Best Actor roster are all first-time nominees. Marvel got their first acting nomination with the help of Angela Bassett. Pop stars also crowd in the Original Song category with Lady Gaga and Rihanna both vying for the title. There are a lot of surprising feats for the Oscars this year, but there are also a lot of could have beens.
Before the announcement of winners in March 12, let’s take a look at the surprising nominations and shocking snubs from this year’s roster…
SURPRISE: Triangle of Sadness makes it into Best Picture and Best Director
The Cannes Palme D’or winner shocked everyone when it received a nod for Best Picture last week. Some were not really expecting a satirical dark comedy to appeal well in the Oscars. Maybe things have really changed with the council’s addition of members internationally?
The even bigger shock, perhaps, is that Ruben Östlund also received a nod for Best Director. The Swedish filmmaker bested other veterans like Avatar’s James Cameron and Elvis’ Baz Luhrmann. The race was tight to get into the coveted five-person slot, but it’s a warm surprise that Östlund made it. The film also received a nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
SNUB: Dolly De Leon missed for Best Supporting Actress
Dolly De Leon was the standout character in Östlund’s Triangle of Sadness. Just before the announcement of nominees, everybody was sure that she would make it in for Best Supporting Actress. In fact, everybody was predicting her to be the only nod off the film. Needless to say, it bewildered everyone when the film received a nod for Picture, Director and Screenplay but not Supporting Actress.
The pill is even harder to swallow because Dolly has been the critics’ darling throughout the campaign season. The Filipina won Best Supporting Actress in the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. She also received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.
SURPRISE: Mitski and David Byrne’s This is a Life receives a nod
It’s no surprise that Rihanna and Lady Gaga made it to the Best Original Song list. But for indie alternative artist Mitski, it’s a different case. She and David Byrne had grassroot support during the campaign season, but some never really expected them to make it because of the tight race. This marks Mitski’s first Oscar nomination and Byrne’s second.
If you’ve already seen Everything Everywhere All At Once, I’m sure that This is A Life left a certain feeling over you. The song was a key element to some of the emotional scenes of the film.
SNUB: Taylor Swift’s Carolina shut out of the race
What would it take for Taylor Swift to receive an Oscar nod? After her All Too Well (10 Minute Version) Music Video didn’t make it to the Best Short Film category, the icon was also shut out of the Best Original Song race. Everyone was expecting her to finally get a nomination with Where The Crawdads Sing official song, Carolina. Critics’ Choice Awards, Golden Globes, and Hollywood Music in Media Awards previously nominated the song.
SURPRISE: Andrea Riseborough is in the Best Actress list
To Leslie was a small indie film that barely made a scratch in the mainstream. Film buffs were all shocked and weirded out when its lead actress, Andrea Riseborough, made it to Best Actress. Other actors’ social media postings largely propelled the campaign for the actress. The film may have sank in cinemas, but thanks to support from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and fellow nominee Cate Blanchett, Riseborough has made it all the way to the shortlist.
Due to her shocking inclusion, The Academy recently stated that they would launch a review to see if Riseborough’s campaign broke any rules – including one which bans direct solicitation of votes from members.
SNUB: Decision to Leave left out of Best International Feature
The Academy left out South Korea’s submission for Best International Feature, Decision to Leave. After a buzzy debut in Cannes, everyone was expecting it to maintain the momentum till Oscars. Park Chan-wook won Best Director for the film, in Cannes. The film also bagged a lot of trophies through critics associations like Atlanta Film Critics, Austin Film Critics, Boston Society of Film Critics and Chicago Film Critics.
I guess a beautifully told tale of a detective falling for a murder suspect isn’t The Academy’s cup of tea. Nevertheless, Tang Wei and Park Hae-il’s alluring characters will now be etched in our minds forever.
SURPRISE: Paul Mescal makes it into Best Actor
A big congratulations to Paul Mescal on his BEST ACTOR #AcademyAwards nomination for #Aftersun ☀️ #Oscars95 pic.twitter.com/88rrLsypS2— Aftersun (@aftersunmovie) January 24, 2023
Aftersun is Paul Mescal’s fist lead role in a film, but the odds never ruled out an Oscar for him. Mostly unknown until starring in lockdown series Normal People, Mescal delivers an outstanding performance as a young father on a holiday with his daughter. It was an act that didn’t rely to grand swings and heavy expressions, but to subtle yet sublime demeanor instead. It’s a worthy recognition for a film with big heart and an actor with an amazing control.
SNUB: Charlotte Wells, Sarah Polley and other women directors snubbed out of Best Director
A huge congrats to the cast and crew of #Aftersun on being named one of @NBRFilm’s TOP 10 FILMS OF THE YEAR and to Charlotte Wells on winning BEST DIRECTORIAL DEBUT ☀️ #NBRAwards pic.twitter.com/LHWIZNttXv— Aftersun (@aftersunmovie) December 9, 2022
This year is yet another year without a female nominee in the Best Director category. Women directed two of the biggest and most lauded films of last year: Charlotte Wells for Aftersun and Sarah Polley for Women Talking. Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Women King also gave a striking impression, which could have been an ideal second woman of color to be nominated in the category. Despite all the passionate crafts by these women directors, Oscars opted to go with an all-male roster once again.
It’s disappointing that the the two-year streak of women taking home the award in this category will now be broken. Oscars previously awarded Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog, and gave Chloé Zhao her flowers in 2021 for Nomadland. In the entire history of the Academy Awards, only 7 women were nominated for the category. Only two of those won, as opposed to 71 men.
The final round of voting for the 95th Academy Awards will take place on March 2-7. The awarding night will be on March 12, evening of Sunday. Expect the biggest names in the film industry to grace the red carpet of Oscars.
Xian Oquendo is a free-spirited writer and camera-person from Manila. His passion connects facets of poetry and visuals. Whether inside the cinema or in the groove of the city's streets, he is always in the pursuit of the transcendental.