Oscars 2023: The Academy's biggest snubs and surprises

Oscars 2023: The Academy's biggest snubs and surprises

Tom Cruise and James Cameron come up short, Nope comes up empty, and Everything Everywhere All At Once comes up big

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Paul Mescal in Aftersun, the cast of Nope, Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick
Photo: A24, Universal, Paramount

The 2023 Oscar nominations have officially been revealed, and now it’s time to argue about who should’ve been nominated and celebrate our favorites who are officially in the running. Some of the disappointments from this year are all too predictable, such as women being crowded out of the Best Director category. However—as with every year—the Academy had some surprises for us, including a full slate of first-time nominees in the lead actor category and plenty of nominations for Everything Everywhere All At Once. Let’s get into it. Here are our major snubs and surprises.

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2 / 20

Snub: female directors

Snub: female directors

WOMEN TALKING | Official Trailer

Women directors were shut out of the Best Director category, one year after Jane Campion’s win for The Power Of The Dog. Nominations instead went to Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Todd Field (Tár), Ruben Östlund (Triangle Of Sadness). Many hoped Sarah Polley would receive a nomination for Women Talking, or Gina Prince-Bythewood for The Woman King. With Paul Mescal earning his first Oscar nomination for Aftersun, leaving director/writer Charlotte Wells out of the running also feels like a lost opportunity. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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3 / 20

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu AND Jamie Lee Curtis

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu AND Jamie Lee Curtis

Everything Everywhere All At Once | Official Trailer HD | A24

Ahead of the nominations, the discussion around the supporting actress category centered around whether Jamie Lee Curtis would be nominated over her co-star Stephanie Hsu for Everything Everywhere All At Once. However, the Academy decided to give nods to both actors for their performances. Now the two will face off against fellow nominees Angela Bassett, Hong Chau, and Kerry Condon. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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4 / 20

Snub: Nope to Nope

Snub: Nope to Nope

NOPE | Official Trailer

No score? No sound design? No Keke Palmer for Best Supporting Actress? Even though Jordan Peele’s latest was one of the most fun films that came to theaters last year, Nope didn’t garner a single nomination this year. The strength of this year’s field notwithstanding, Peele deserved at least some shine for his innovative take on alien invasion. [Hattie Lindert]

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5 / 20

Surprise: All Quiet On The Western Front sweeps

Surprise: All Quiet On The Western Front sweeps

All Quiet on the Western Front | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Academy loves a war film, so it’s not all that surprising that All Quiet On The Western Front would get some attention. But the Netflix film from Germany quietly became a major contender this awards season, with nine Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture and Best International Film—something that has only happened eight times before. All Quiet tied with Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees Of Inisherin for the second-most nominations this year, behind 11 for Everything Everywhere All At Once. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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6 / 20

Snub: Decision To Leave

Snub: Decision To Leave

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

As one of the most acclaimed international offerings of the past year, Park Chan-Wook’s neo-noir romance Decision To Leave felt like a shoo-in for the International Feature Film category. After making the Oscars short-list last month, and garnering widespread praise for Tang Wei’s lead performance, it’s disappointing to see the film crowded out of all categories. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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7 / 20

Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry

Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry

Causeway — Official Trailer | Apple TV+

The Atlanta star’s performance in Causeway as a mechanic who befriends a veteran (Jennifer Lawrence) struggling with PTSD didn’t dominate a pre-Oscars discourse that predicted well-deserving fellow nominees Ke Huy Quan and Barry Keoghan. But Henry’s quietly affecting turn showcased a different side of his craft and brought depth and nuance to a script that leaned formulaic. [Hattie Lindert]

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8 / 20

Snub: Tom Cruise

Snub: Tom Cruise

Top Gun: Maverick (2022) | Special Announcement From the Set of #MissionImpossible (Tom Cruise)

Write this down, future Oscar campaigners: even lauding your audience for showing up while floating through the air post-skydive doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a Best Actor nomination. Savior of cinema or not, Cruise’s turn in Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t enough to put him in the field despite a strong campaign. Sorry, Jennifer Connelly. [Hattie Lindert]

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9 / 20

Surprise: Women Talking for Best Picture

Surprise: Women Talking for Best Picture

WOMEN TALKING | Official Trailer 2

In addition to a predicted nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, Sarah Polley’s Women Talking also won a surprise spot in the Oscars’ most coveted category, Best Picture. After Polly graciously accepted a snub at the BAFTAs (with her stomach full of scones and sandwiches, thank you very much), it’s a pleasure to see her work recognized on an even more prominent stage. [Hattie Lindert]

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10 / 20

Snub: No Black women nominated for Best Actress

Snub: No Black women nominated for Best Actress

TILL | Official Trailer | MGM Studios

Returning to a particularly antiquated form, the Academy Awards didn’t nominate a single Black woman for Best Actress this year. With standout performances from Danielle Deadwyler (Till) and Viola Davis (The Woman King) notably absent from the nominee list while some, well, positively received outliers with friends in high places were recognized, the snubbery abounds. [Hattie Lindert]

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11 / 20

Surprise: Paul Mescal for Best Actor

Surprise: Paul Mescal for Best Actor

Aftersun | Official Trailer HD | A24

Amidst a field of all first-time Best Actor nominees, Paul Mescal’s nomination for the gut-punch drama Aftersun appropriately honors one of best performances by a leading male this year. As a young, single father struggling to connect with his preteen daughter during a vacation, Mescal proved he can conjure a vast breadth of human emotion even through the reflection of a VCR. This nomination surely only marks the beginning for the actor. [Hattie Lindert]

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12 / 20

Snub: James Cameron for Best Director

Snub: James Cameron for Best Director

Avatar: The Way of Water | Official Trailer

The Sky People just don’t get it. Avatar: The Way Of Water received four nods—including one for Best Picture—but James Cameron himself didn’t see his name on the all-male list of Best Director nominations. Since 2009’s Avatar won him a Best Director nod (plus eight other awards), the lack of Na’vi representation among the categories stands out. [Hattie Lindert]

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13 / 20

Surprise: Ana de Armas for Blonde

Surprise: Ana de Armas for Blonde

BLONDE | Official Trailer | Netflix

After being spared from the Razzie Awards yesterday, Ana de Armas has earned her first Oscar nomination for her role as Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s overall disastrous Blonde. With her nomination, she not only came out unscathed, but was awarded for a film that left a bad taste in many viewers’ mouths. Blonde earned zero nominations across the other categories, as deserved. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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14 / 20

Snub: Everything Everywhere All At Once for Visual Effects

Snub: Everything Everywhere All At Once for Visual Effects

How a 5-Person Team Made Blockbuster-Level Movie Effects | WIRED

The Daniels’ Everything Everywhere All At Once leads this year’s Oscar field with 11 nomination, but it could have been 12 with a nod for the film’s visual effects. Crafted using After Effects with little dependence on CGI, it’s startling what the filmmakers were able to achieve, fully bringing us across dozens of multiverses. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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15 / 20

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough

To Leslie Trailer #1 (2022)

Andrea Riseborough’s grassroots lead actress campaign for To Leslie kicked off over the last two weeks, garnering last-minute support from the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Paulson, Charlize Theron, Susan Sarandon, Helen Hunt, Zooey Deschanel, Melanie Lynskey, Mira Sorvino, Constance Zimmer, Rosie O’Donnell, Minnie Driver, and Alan Cumming. After quietly debuting on March 12, the movie made few waves until the dam broke at the beginning of 2023. [Gabrielle Sanchez]

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16 / 20

Snub: Paul Dano for The Fabelmans

Snub: Paul Dano for The Fabelmans

The Fabelmans | Official Trailer [HD]

While Judd Hirsch represented The Fabelmans in the Best Supporting Actor category, Paul Dano didn’t garner a nomination for his portrayal of patriarch Burt, a character based on Steven Spielberg’s real father. A nomination would’ve given Dano his first Academy Award nod, but alas—at least The Fabelmans’ Best Picture nomination opens the door for Dano’s attendance at the March ceremony. [Hattie Lindert]

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17 / 20

Snub: RRR

Snub: RRR

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

Although the Telugu epic RRR wasn’t submitted by India for the Oscars’ international category, the film became a runaway fan-favorite for Best Picture over the course of a strong campaign. In a competitive year with big-name entries like TÁR and Avatar: The Way Of Water vying for the trophy, RRR was never a sure thing—but it’s hard not to wish for a few more nominations than a merited Best Original Song nod. [Hattie Lindert]

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18 / 20

Surprise: The Sea Beast

Surprise: The Sea Beast

The Sea Beast | Official Trailer | Netflix

The Sea Beast didn’t make a lot of prediction lists from Oscar experts, but the Netflix title still managed to secure a place in the for Best Animated Film category on nomination day. Although the thoughtful feature, (which earned a B+ review from The A.V. Club) may not have been a frontrunner, Netflix viewers sung their own kind of praise for the film—The Sea Beast is the platform’s most-watched original animated feature to date. Naturally, a sequel is already in the works. [Hattie Lindert]

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19 / 20

Snub: Taylor Swift’s “Carolina”

Snub: Taylor Swift’s “Carolina”

Taylor Swift - Carolina (From The Motion Picture “Where The Crawdads Sing” / Audio)

Despite receiving nominations from the Critics Choice, Golden Globes, and Hollywood Music in Media Awards this year, Taylor Swift’s original song from Where The Crawdads Sing won’t get the same shine from the Academy. Given that Doja Cat’s Elvis highlight “Vegas” wasn’t eligible for an award, it’s safe to say Swift had reason to expect a nod for “Carolina” this year (although we imagine she was even more hopeful about a long-shot Best Short Film nomination for All Too Well: The Short Film). [Hattie Lindert]

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