2023 Oscar nominations we want to see

2023 Oscar nominations we want to see

Why Top Gun: Maverick, Brendan Fraser, Janelle Monae, Michelle Yeoh, and more need to be called when nominations for the Academy Awards are announced tomorrow

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Clockwise from left: Everything Everywhere All At Once, RRR, The Woman King, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Clockwise from left: Everything Everywhere All At Once, RRR, The Woman King, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Image: Courtesy A24, DVV Entertainment, Sony Pictures, Netflix

With nominations for the 95th Academy Awards just a day away—contenders for the 2023 Oscars will be announced on January 24 at 8:30 a.m. ET/5:30 a.m. PT—predictions abound for the films, shows, directors, and others that are likely to be called. But at The A.V. Club, we decided to play our movie fan card, at least for the time being. So, we’ve pulled together our wish list of the projects and people who we think really should be nominated tomorrow. Some are already heavily favored (for good reason), while some are sentimental picks, and others are in the mix here just for fun. Because every once in a while, we like to wear our hearts on our sleeves.

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Best Supporting Actress: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actress: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Everything Everywhere All At Once - The bagel

Everything Everywhere All At Once required every cast member to show their range as they embodied different versions of their characters across multiple universes, but perhaps the biggest transformation was between Stephanie Hsu’s meek Joy and her unhinged counterpart, Jobu. Despite being shut out of the supporting actress category at the Golden Globes (co-star Jamie Lee Curtis got a nod, but ultimately lost to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’s Angela Bassett), Hsu has been steadily accumulating nominations and awards from several other organizations and critics associations. Hopefully, the Academy is paying attention.

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Best Supporting Actress: Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Supporting Actress: Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

A New Gambit: Janelle Monae Reaches Career Heights in Glass Onion

It’s difficult to explain why exactly Janelle Monáe deserves a supporting actress nomination for her performance in Rian Johnson’s latest murder mystery without spoiling some of the film’s big reveals. So we’ll just say she absolutely does and you’ll have to trust us on this. If you’ve seen Glass Onion, you know what we mean. Monáe is captivating from the moment we meet her character until the final, artistically composed frame. It’s a role of many nuances, and Monáe captures them all brilliantly.

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Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once

This isn’t exactly an outside-the-box pick, as Ke Huy Quan’s chances for a supporting actor Oscar nomination have been steadily improving with each honor he receives this awards season (and he’s already won a lot). But that doesn’t make him any less deserving. He nailed every aspect of his multiple roles in Everything Everywhere All At Once, his comeback story is heartwarming, and he seems to genuinely appreciate every moment in the spotlight after being rejected by Hollywood for two and a half decades. Academy recognition is long overdue.

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Best Supporting Actor: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

Best Supporting Actor: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans | Official Trailer [HD]

Just because Judd Hirsch didn’t have much screen time as Uncle Boris in Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical memoir The Fabelmans doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be acknowledged for the emotional impact he delivers during those crucial moments. Supporting actors have been nominated, and even won, for less (the current record is held by Beatrice Straight, who won Best Supporting Actress for Network in 1977, despite only being on screen for 5 minutes and 40 seconds). Hirsch has a bit more to do in his few scenes, and nearly steals the film out from under its young protagonist.

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Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Woman King

Best Actress: Viola Davis, The Woman King

THE WOMAN KING clip - Warning

All the heat in the best actress category this season has been understandably focused on Cate Blanchett, and odds are she’s going to walk away with the award at the Oscars. There’s still room in this category for other great performances from last year, though. Viola Davis gave her all in The Woman King, an underrated film that not enough people saw in theaters. Whatever her chances of winning, her performance as the fierce General Nanisca was one of the best we saw last year.

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Best Actress: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Actress: Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once

If there’s one performer in the best actress category this year that could give Blanchett a run for her money, it’s Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Her role as multiverse-hopper Evelyn allowed Yeoh to showcase everything that makes her a remarkable actress, one who’s equally proficient in emotional drama, physical comedy, and ass-kicking. The film has earned her more nominations and awards (including a Golden Globe) than anything she’s done in her long and noteworthy career so far. She’s a treasure and we can’t wait to see what she’ll do next.

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Best Actor: Colin Farrell, The Banshees Of Inisherin

Best Actor: Colin Farrell, The Banshees Of Inisherin

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN | “I Just Don’t Like Ya No More” Clip | Searchlight Pictures

It’s reassuring to see nice guys win, and Colin Farrell is giving off every indication that he’s a genuinely nice guy. Did you catch him jumping out of his chair at the Golden Globes to help people up the steps to the podium? It’s sure a nice change from … You know what? Nevermind, we’re not going there. Let’s just say we loved his performance as the simple, bewildered Pádraic in The Banshees Of Inisherin and we’d be thrilled to see him in contention for a best actor Oscar this year.

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Best Actor: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Best Actor: Brendan Fraser, The Whale

The Whale | Official Trailer HD | A24

Every comeback story is different, and we love them all for different reasons. Ever since audiences started to see The Whale on the film festival circuit in 2022, the main takeaway has been that Brendan Fraser is back, baby. In truth, he didn’t really go anywhere, he just hasn’t had a breakout project with this level of prestige in a while. After everything he’s been through, a best actor Oscar nomination for his moving portrayal of an obese father hoping to reconnect with his daughter before it’s too late would be the pinnacle of an extraordinary awards season for Fraser. We hope it launches him into the next phase of his career.

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Best Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King

Best Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King

THE WOMAN KING – Official Trailer (HD)

After back-to-back Oscar wins for women in the directing category (Jane Campion for The Power Of The Dog in 2021 and Chloé Zhao for Nomadland in 2020), organizations like the Golden Globes and the Director’s Guild have reversed field this year and nominated slates full of men. It’s up to the Oscars to change that trend, and Gina Prince-Bythewood’s work on The Woman King is a good reason to do it. The distinctive visual language she created based on the real history that inspired the film should earn her a place among the nominees for direction.

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Best Director: S.S. Rajamouli, RRR

Best Director: S.S. Rajamouli, RRR

RRR | Tiger Fight Scene - Jr NTR Entry | Netflix

The surprise breakout hit of 2022 was RRR, thanks in no small part to the wild imagination of director S.S. Rajamouli. He may be the highest-paid director in India, but until RRR, he was relatively unknown in the U.S. As more and more viewers discovered the event film on Netflix and recommended it to their friends, it became a viral sensation. Even without knowing any of the historical references, you can’t deny the fun of the big dance numbers, outrageous fight scenes, and spectacular CGI. Rajamouli can do it all, with a budget roughly a third the size of your average studio blockbuster. If he doesn’t get nominated we’re going to assume it’s because Hollywood is jealous.

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Best Adapted Screenplay: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, written by Rian Johnson

Best Adapted Screenplay: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, written by Rian Johnson

Although it’s a completely new story, Glass Onion is up for consideration in the best adapted screenplay category because it’s based on existing IP (predecessor Knives Out was nominated in the category of best original screenplay). Seems weird, but those are the Academy’s rules. Although a best picture nomination is not out of the realm of possibility for Glass Onion, it’s more likely we’ll see it pop up in the best adapted screenplay category. At least, we hope it will.

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Best Original Screenplay: Everything Everywhere All At Once, written by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Best Original Screenplay: Everything Everywhere All At Once, written by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert

Everything Everywhere All At Once | Meet the Filmmakers | Official Featurette HD | A24

If the Academy judged films like the Olympics and took into account the level of difficulty when evaluating the competitors, the screenplay for Everything Everywhere All At Once would be hard to beat. It pulls off the cinematic equivalent of a triple-double with a reverse somersault twist (we’re probably mixing up sports here, but you get the idea) by keeping multiple storylines, characters, and worlds spinning around the axis of an emotionally rich story about an immigrant family coming to terms with itself. We can’t think of another film that did so much so well this past year.

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Best Original Song: “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

Best Original Song: “Naatu Naatu” from RRR

Naacho Naacho (Full Video) RRR - NTR, Ram Charan | M M Kreem | SS Rajamouli | Vishal Mishra & Rahul

Usually, this category goes to a Disney musical or an established artist, but we love the idea of honoring the RRR song that gave us one of the best musical numbers in any film last year. After the song won a Golden Globe, we were even more excited by the possibility that it might also be nominated for an Oscar. Win or lose, if they have a chance to perform the song live at the ceremony, it’s sure to bring the house down.

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Best Original Song: “Apartment For Sale” from Tár

Best Original Song: “Apartment For Sale” from Tár

My favourite scene from Tár 2022 “apartment for sale” song

We don’t actually expect this horrible, spontaneous accordion dirge from Tár to get a nomination for best original song, but it’s technically eligible, and wouldn’t it be funny if it did? Even Blanchett couldn’t keep it together when performing it in the film. More important than the song itself is what it says about the crumbling mental state of her character, who loses her cool when the greedy, callous relatives of her deceased neighbor start showing the apartment to potential buyers. It’s one of the few moments of emotional abandon Lydia shows in the film, and it’s almost cathartic when she breaks out into song. An instant classic.

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Best Original Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tár, and/or Women Talking

Best Original Score: Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tár, and/or Women Talking

Speak Up (From “Women Talking” Soundtrack)

Icelandic musician and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir delivered not one but two amazing original scores this year, so we can only hope she doesn’t split her own votes. She might even get nominated for both, and we’d be fine with that. For Tár, Guðnadóttir created a subtle ambiance to complement the classical pieces in the film and also wrote the original piece Blanchett’s character is working on. Her score for Women Talking is more folk-inspired, to match the rustic barn loft where much of the film takes place. One of the most interesting and thoughtful cinematic composers on the scene right now, Guðnadóttir never stops surprising us.

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Best Original Score: Justin Hurwitz, Babylon

Best Original Score: Justin Hurwitz, Babylon

Voodoo Mama (Music from the Motion Picture “Babylon”)

Even the critics who hated Babylon had to admit that the brisk, jazzy score by Justin Hurwitz was the best thing about the film. The Oscar hopes for Damien Chazelle’s balls-to-the-wall epic about the early days of Hollywood have been falling as quickly as its box-office numbers, so it’s starting to look like a Hurwitz nomination for best original score might be the film’s best hope for an award in any of the major categories. His score is the beating heart that drives the film, and now that he’s got a Golden Globe with his name on it, his chances to at least secure an Oscar nomination are even better.

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Best Animated Feature: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

Best Animated Feature: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On

One of the most charming animated films of the summer, Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, kind of came and went without much fuss. It’s starting to pick up steam in the best animated feature category, though, thanks to a number of accolades in the past few months. Based on a series of shorts, the film tells a delightful and quirky story about the title character’s journey to find his long-lost friends and family through stop-motion animation. Few films, animated or not, manage to be this playful and poignant at the same time. Perhaps a nomination will encourage more people to seek it out.

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Best International Feature Film: South Korea, Decision to Leave

Best International Feature Film: South Korea, Decision to Leave

DECISION TO LEAVE | Official Clip | In Theaters Now & Streaming on MUBI

Best international feature is an especially tough category this year, with films like Belgium’s Close, Germany’s All Quiet On The Western Front, and Golden Globe winner Argentina, 1985 from (you guessed it) Argentina, on the Oscars shortlist. All of those would be great nominees, but we’d really like to see director Park Chan-wook back in the Oscar conversation with his intricate and profound detective mystery Decision To Leave. This is his first film in seven years, and he’s only grown as an artist in that time.

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Best Picture: RRR

Best Picture: RRR

RRR Trailer (Telugu) - NTR, Ram Charan, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt | SS Rajamouli | 25th March 2022

In case you’re wondering, RRR is not eligible in the race for best international film at this year’s Oscars, as India submitted another contender—Last Film Show—as its national entry (each country is only allowed one submission). That doesn’t mean it can’t be nominated for Best Picture, though, and we think it should be. If the Academy is looking to honor the best that cinema has to offer in 2022, they shouldn’t overlook this ambitious and energetic offering that pushed boundaries in all the best ways.

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Best Picture: Top Gun: Maverick

Best Picture: Top Gun: Maverick

Top Gun: Maverick | NEW Official Trailer (2022 Movie) - Tom Cruise

When it comes to singling out populist films or artistic ones, the Academy often leans into the latter. Top Gun: Maverick is a movie for the masses, and undoubtedly last year’s big winner when you take into account both critical and financial success. Is that enough to consider it a candidate for Best Picture? With 10 slots to fill, it just might be. Nominating Maverick might also help boost the broadcast ratings a bit, since a lot of viewers won’t have seen many of the other films in contention. If nothing else, it would be a sign that the Academy Awards are still relevant to the filmgoing audience at large.

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