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The Biggest Surprises and Snubs

Feb 1, 2023


This morning, we saw the nominations announced for this year’s Academy Awards, and while many of the nominees were what was to be expected, with Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans, Elvis, and more doing extremely well, there were also a number of huge surprises and major snubs. As we look back and celebrate the best in film from last year, let’s take a look at some of the biggest shocks and disappointing absences from this year’s awards.

RELATED: Oscar Nominations 2023: Meet the Nominees

Brian Tyree Henry’s Best Supporting Actor Nomination for Causeway

Image via A24

We’ve been saying for a while now that Brian Tyree Henry’s performance in Causeway was certainly awards-worthy, but seeing the actor finally get nominated was a pleasant surprise during the nominations. While many regional awards groups and the Critics Choice Awards nominated Henry, it seemed like he might come against some major competition, with Ben Whishaw for Women Talking and Brad Pitt for Babylon also seemingly competing for the category’s fifth spot. Yet Henry’s beautifully quiet and captivating performance in Lila Neugebauer’s film deserved a spot here—even though it seems like this is Ke Huy Quan’s award to lose.

But Also, No Paul Dano in Best Supporting Actor

Image via Universal

Paul Dano’s role in The Fabelmans also seemed like one of the no-brainer nominations for Best Supporting Actor, yet Burt Fabelman managed to once again receive nothing but disappointment. Instead, Judd Hirsch as Boris Schildkraut in The Fabelmans ended up making the cut, despite only appearing in a few scenes. While it seemed like we might get double the Fabelmans in this category, Dano’s absence was a fairly big surprise, but even more shocking is that Dano still has never been nominated for an Oscar.

Double the Everything Everywhere Love in Best Supporting Actress

Image via A24

One of the big questions going to the awards was how well would Everything Everywhere All at Once do. Sure, it’s one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2022, but it’s also extremely weird. Speaking to that is several awards groups nominated Jamie Lee Curtis and leaving Stephanie Hsu out—a strange choice considering how much more prominent Hsu was in the film. But the Academy decided to go all-in with EEAAO, giving two of the Best Supporting Actress nominations to the Daniels’ film. Considering there was also the possibility we could see double nominations for Women Talking as well, it’s also a bit strange we didn’t even get a single nomination for it here, or in any other acting category. But instead of having to choose between Curtis or Hsu, the Academy decided to say screw it and just nominated both actresses—which was probably the right choice.

Marvel Gets Its First Acting Nomination

Image via Marvel Studios

Marvel has always done fairly decent in technical awards, but up until this year’s nominations, Marvel had never received an Oscar nomination in an acting category—not even nominating Chadwick Boseman for Black Panther. As DC has been nominated and won several acting awards before, Marvel received their first through Angela Bassett’s performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. This marks Bassett’s first Oscar nomination in thirty years for What’s Love Got to Do with It, and it’s a well-deserved nomination. If anyone was going to break Marvel’s acting nominations drought at the Oscars, Bassett is an excellent choice.

Diane Warren Is Once Again Nominated For Writing a Song for a Movie You’ve Never Heard Of

Image via ABC

Another Oscars, another nomination for Diane Warren. This year marks her 14th nomination, and her fifth nomination in as many years, for films like Breakthrough, The Life Ahead, and Four Good Days. Nothing is more consistent at this point than Warren getting nominated with a film that no one has ever heard of, and this year seems especially egregious, considering this nomination meant kicking Taylor Swift and The Weeknd out of the nominees. Last year, Warren finally won an honorary Oscar, and considering her competition this year includes Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, it looks like Warren is probably going to lose for a 14th time.

No Matter How Hard She Tried, Taylor Swift Couldn’t Get an Oscar Nomination

Image via Netflix

It really seemed like Taylor Swift wanted an Oscar this year. First, she campaigned hard to get her extended video for “All Too Well” nominated for Best Live-Action Short Film, but the video missed the shortlist. Swift was also in contention for Best Song with “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing, but instead, Warren snuck in yet again. It’s almost a surprise that the Academy didn’t nominate Swift solely, so they could have her, Gaga, and Rihanna all perform at the ceremony—which couldn’t hurt continually dwindling viewership numbers.

Major Absences in Best International Feature

When the Academy announced the shortlist for the Best International Feature category, it became very clear that some major nominees were going to be left out of the category this year. While films like All Quiet on the Western Front and EO, which seemed like obvious picks, did get nominations, plenty of greats missed out. Most notably, Decision to Leave, one of the best-reviewed films of the last year, not only didn’t receive a nomination here, but didn’t receive any nominations. We also saw films like Saint Omer, Return to Seoul, Holy Spider, Corsage, and Bardo get skipped over here. Some great films were always going to get left behind here, but some of these absences were fairly surprising.

Best Cinematography Is Weird, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Thinking the Academy Wouldn’t Nominate an Iñárritu Film)

Image via Netflix

Maybe one of the most shocking categories compared to predicted nominees was Cinematography, which saw major titles like Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Fabelmans, Babylon, The Batman, and Everything Everywhere All At Once getting passed over for more surprising choices like Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, TÁR, and Empire of Light getting its sole nomination through Roger Deakins. But kudos to the Academy for going with more unconventional picks, even if it does leave some huge films on the table. And also, after not getting nominated in International Feature, we should’ve known Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo would get a nomination somewhere. The Academy loves the guy! They can’t get enough of throwing awards at him!

Paul Mescal Makes His Way Into Best Actor

One of the bigger questions going into the nominations was how well Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun might do, considering it’s been steadily receiving praise for months now. Aftersun seemed like it could sneak into the Best Original Screenplay category, or, Paul Mescal might knock Tom Cruise out of Best Actor. Well, it turns out the latter is how the Academy decided to award Wells’ remarkable film, giving Mescal his first nomination, and pitting him against major competition like Brendan Fraser, Colin Farrell, and Austin Butler. Mescal is without a doubt a dark horse in this category, but this is a well-deserved nomination.

What Is Going on in Best Actress??

Image Via Momentum Pictures

Best Actress this year is about half expected nominees, and half “what the hell just happened?” This category has always been about Cate Blanchett versus Michelle Yeoh, and it’s no surprise that Michelle Williams made it in the nominees, despite her performance maybe being a bit more on the supporting side. But Best Actress came with back-to-back shockers: Ana de Armas in Blonde and Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie. Blonde was one of the most divisive films of last year, which made it seem like Blonde might walk away with no nominations, and yet even people that hate the film tend to at least admire the performance of de Armas—but still. And after a very late-in-the-game groundswell of support for Riseborough in To Leslie, it actually worked, getting Riseborough her first nomination.

But what makes this category one of the strangest ones this year are the performances that were left out here. The big disappointment is Danielle Deadwyler in Till, who gave arguably the best performance of 2022. And while it seemed less and less likely Viola Davis would get a nomination for The Woman King as excitement over that film started to fizzle, still, it’s Viola Davis. While this category was both a bit disappointing and certainly astounding at times, at the very least, it’s a category full of unexpected choices, which is far too rare at the Oscars.

No Female Directors Nominated After Two Years of Wins

Image Via United Artists Releasing

After Jane Campion’s win for The Power of the Dog last year, and Chloé Zhao’s Nomadland win the year before that, 2023’s nominations include zero nominations for women in the director category. While it didn’t seem likely that this category would be anything but a guy’s club, it’s just a shame considering some of the best films of last year came from women. The most egregious absences here are Sarah Polley for Women Talking, who delivered her best film in an already impressive filmography, and Charlotte Wells for the tremendously beautiful Aftersun. And while other filmmakers like Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), Alice Diop (Saint Omer), Maria Schrader (She Said), and Chinonye Chukwu (Till) haven’t really been in the conversation pre-nominations, it’s hard to imagine this category wouldn’t have been a bit more interesting with at least one of these women included—especially considering the streak the Academy had going for the last few years.

James Cameron Out, Ruben Östlund In

Image via 20th Century Studios

Beyond no female nominees in Best Director, this category seemed like it would obviously give nominations to Martin McDonagh, the Daniels, Steven Spielberg, and Todd Field, but that fifth spot seemed like it could be anyone’s game. James Cameron seemed like a likely possibility, given the awe-inspiring nature of Avatar: The Way of Water, or even Baz Luhrmann for the gaudy insanity that was Elvis. Even Edward Berger made a lot of sense for All Quiet on the Western Front, given just how many nominations that film received. But instead, the Academy nominated Ruben Östlund for Triangle of Sadness, which only received nominations in some of the biggest categories.

The Academy Apparently REALLY Liked Triangle of Sadness

Image via NEON

Triangle of Sadness had absolutely been predicted in some categories going into the awards, but it always seemed (to me, at least) that this was a lot of talk, with no real possibility of major awards. However, not only did Östlund get nominated for Best Director, but Triangle of Sadness also received a Best Original Screenplay nomination and a Best Picture nomination, knocking out other possible nominees like Babylon, The Whale, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Story, and far too many others. It doesn’t seem like Triangle of Sadness will make it out a winner in any of these categories, but even just getting nominated in these three categories is a major surprise.

All Quiet on the Western Front Becomes One of the Day’s Big Winners

Image via Netflix

In recent months, All Quiet on the Western Front had really picked up steam as a major competitor, but it was still a bit unexpected to hear this remake to get quite as many nominations as it did. In fact, All Quiet on the Western Front ended up getting the second-most nominations with nine. All Quiet, however, received most of its nominations in technical categories, and without any acting nominations, or a nomination for director Edward Berger, it seems unlikely All Quiet has much of a chance in Best Picture. Yet it’s still great to see a film like All Quiet on the Western Front steadily build in popularity to Oscar success this year.

We Needed More RRR

Image via Variance Films and Sarigama Cinemas

Once the 2023 Academy Awards take place, RRR will likely walk away with an Oscar for its sole nomination in the Best Original Song category for “Naatu Naatu,” and it’s truly great that it was nominated. But c’mon, we could’ve used more RRR. The love for this one has grown consistently throughout 2022, and it seemed like at least an outside chance that we could get more than just a song nomination. Alas, RRR only received the one nomination, and while at the very least, RRR wasn’t entirely snubbed, it’s a shame it couldn’t have received more recognition.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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