Reactions to the 2023 Oscar Nominations

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 95th Oscars on Tuesday. There wasn’t a whole lot to get too mad about. Seven of the 10 Best Picture nominees made my own top 10 list, a first. I still don’t understand voters’ obsession with Elvis, but at least they didn’t nominate Tom Hanks for his baffling turn in it. And before you come for me on Twitter, I haven’t seen Till or The Woman King, so I can’t speak to how much of a travesty it is that neither leading lady was nominated. I also don’t know if To Leslie‘s shocking nomination for Best Actress is honoring a hidden gem or merely succumbing to peer pressure.

Biggest Snubs (in order from most to least egregious)

Decision to Leave – Picture, Directing, Actress, Original Screenplay, International Feature, Cinematography
Park Chan-wook’s thriller was one of the best movies from any country in any language last year. While it faced an uphill battle to break through in the major categories (and Cinematography), I’m absolutely baffled as to how it was shortlisted for International Feature but didn’t make the final five. It’s better than every movie in that category!

Triangle of Sadness – Supporting Actress
Ruben Östlund’s class satire got three deserving nominations. While many voters have clearly seen it and loved it enough to put it in Best Picture, they didn’t nominate Dolly de Leon, easily the best part of the movie.

Nope – Picture, Directing, Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Visual Effects
Jordan Peele struck gold right out the gate with Get Out, picking up nods for Picture and Directing and a win for Best Original Screenplay. But his last two movies have blanked, despite no-brainer nominations like Best Actress for Us and those here for Nope. The lack of technical consideration, when this was one of the most expertly crafted movies of the year, especially hurts.

RRR – Picture, Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Sound
We already knew it wasn’t going to get into the International Feature category, since India submitted Last Film Show instead. But the groundswell of support the film had throughout 2022 only resulted in one (well-deserved) nomination for Original Song.

Top Gun: Maverick – Cinematography
Easily the most head-scratching category of the day. Bardo and Empire of Light picked up their lone nods here. Both are from respected international DPs. I don’t think anyone was predicting Tár, either. But Maverick has shots I’ve been thinking about for years (since those first trailers dropped back in 2020), which is more than I can say for any of these nominees.

Babylon – Picture, Directing
I should have known it was too good to be true. While it got three technical nods, it was absent in all the big categories. That’s OK. Someday history will vindicate us fans.

Moonage Daydream – Documentary Feature, Film Editing, Sound
Once again, a fascinatingly cut doc about a revolutionary musician got shut out in the nonfiction category. Brett Morgen’s audiovisual collage wasn’t the deepest or most urgent of the shortlisted films, but it deserved more consideration.

The Outfit – Costume Design
Graham Moore is still responsible for one of the worst Oscar wins in recent memory, but I still enjoyed his directorial debut about a tailor caught up in a mob turf war. Its bespoke suits seemed, well, tailor-made for this category. But it appears another ’50s-set fashion-centric film got in instead.

White Noise – Adapted Screenplay, Production Design, Original Song
I felt alone on my island in really digging Noah Baumbach’s adaptation of Don Delillo’s ’80s satire. As I wrote last week, I’d hoped it might find some love from the same voters that gave two nods to Inherent Vice a few years ago. Alas, it was completely shut out, which means we won’t get to see LCD Soundsystem up on stage with their “New Body Rhumba.”

Apollo 10½ and Mad God – Animated Feature
I’ve only seen two of the nominees in this category (Marcel and Turning Red) and loved them both. But I would have liked to have seen the animators throw some love to these two wildly different features: Richard Linklater’s all-ages nostalgia-fest Apollo 10½ and Phil Tippett’s adults-only horror show Mad God.

Pleasant Surprises (in no particular order)

The Whale only getting the nominations it deserved
Actor, Supporting Actress and Makeup & Hairstyling? Yes. Picture and Adapted Screenplay? No, thank god.

Brian Tyree Henry for Best Supporting Actor
I still have not seen Causeway, but he’s been one of the very best actors on stage, on TV and in film for many years now. About time he got recognized.

Women Talking in Best Picture and Adapted Screenplay
After missing some key precursors, it felt like Sarah Polley’s harrowing drama might go unnoticed by the Academy. But while it didn’t get any acting nods or attention for Hildur Guðnadóttir’s excellent score, it did show up in two major categories.

The Batman for Makeup & Hairstyling and Sound
I only predicted this latest iteration of the Caped Crusader would be recognized in Visual Effects. But rewatching it this week, it’s a technical powerhouse, with sound that will rattle your house. And that Penguin makeup is pretty great, too.

She Said blanked
I don’t want to be mean. Harvey Weinstein was a monster and I’m glad he was taken down. The brave women who shared their stories deserve to be honored. But this movie simply wasn’t good, with an uninspired script, flat direction and a weirdly self-congratulatory air about it.

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