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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2023 Oscar Nominations

With 11 nods, the sci-fi action adventure Everything Everywhere All at Once leads nominations for the 95th Annual Academy Awards, announced Tuesday morning by Riz Ahmed (Sound of Metal) and Allison Williams (M3GAN). The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front followed closely behind with nine nominations each.

In a year that attempted to herald the return of cinema and the theater-going experience (helped along by Top Gun: Maverick, which single-handedly accounted for 23% of the domestic summer movie line-up), Everything Everywhere All at Once may seem like an unusual pick—Hollywood often veers toward rewarding hard-hitting dramas and movies about movie making. But the A24 fan favorite was buoyed by remarkable editing, sheer heart, and beloved performers: Ke Huy Quan, Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Stephanie Hsu—all of whom received nominations.
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Hong Chau also garnered a nod for best performance by an actress in a supporting role in The Whale, marking a banner year for Asian and Asian American Oscar nominations. Overall, however, the box office sagged for many of the nominated films—with the surprise exception of Everything Everywhere All at Once and the less surprising Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, and Avatar: The Way of Water.

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The Oscar ceremony itself will take place on March 12, hosted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel. Here are the main takeaways from the nominations.

Snub: Any woman director

WOMEN TALKING
Michael Gibson— Orion ReleasingDirector Sarah Polley on the set of ‘Women Talking’

Last year, New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion won the Academy Award for best director for her work on The Power of the Dog. The year before that, Chinese filmmaker Chloé Zhao won the best director award for Nomadland. And this year? Not a single woman was nominated in the best director category. (The nominees were: Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans, Todd Field for Tár, and Ruben Östlund for Triangle of Sadness.)

Left out of the conversation were Sarah Polley for Women Talking (which got a best picture nod), Charlotte Wells for Aftersun (which scored a best actor nomination for Paul Mescal), Gina Prince-Bythewood for The Woman King (which was notably absent from the nominations), and Maria Schrader for She Said (which also received no noms). While all of these women—and their work—are more than deserving, most entertainment industry pundits didn’t expect a woman to be nominated in the category this year. Each year, films directed by women struggle to break through in the awards campaigns. This year, then, is just a disappointing moment after a couple of years of what felt like real progress—let’s hope it’s an outlier.

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu

Everything Everywhere All at Once
Allyson RiggsStephanie Hsu in ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’

Stephanie Hsu has done Broadway (Be More Chill and The Spongebob Musical), television (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and the forthcoming Poker Face), and movies from Shang Chi to a Kung Fu Panda sequel to Randall Park’s directorial debut premiering at this year’s Sundance, Shortcomings. She has stolen many a scene, but her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once launched her into a new stratosphere of international attention and acclaim. At this morning’s Oscar nominations announcements, Hsu was the last actress to be announced in the category for Best Actress in a Supporting Role as Joy/Jobu Tupaki. At the mention of her name, there was an audible ‘Yelp!’ from the audience. During this year’s award season, she’s received 38 nominations from awards that are voted on by critics and film journalists for her supporting role in the movie. Hsu’s nod accounts for one of the 11 nominations that the Daniels’ film was nominated for at this year’s Oscars.

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Snub: Nope

NOPE
Courtesy of Universal PicturesDaniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea in Nope

Get Out, Jordan Peele’s 2017 directorial debut, was a revelatory achievement in filmmaking that secured multiple Oscar nominations, including for Best Picture, Best Director, and ultimately winning for Best Original Screenplay. In 2022, Peele’s Nope marked his highly-anticipated directorial return to the big screen since 2019’s Us. The movie, which received praise from audiences and critics alike, particularly for Peele’s directing, Keke Palmer, and Daniel Kaluuya’s outstanding performances, along with the original story, was expected to walk away with at least a few nominations but received none, getting shut out of the 2023 Oscars conversation altogether.

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough

It’s hard for Leslie Rowlands (Andrea Riseborough) to hit rock bottom—because she’s already done it again and again.

She squanders the $190,000 she wins in the lottery on liquor, and loses her housing in the process. She crashes on the couch of her estranged son (Owen Teague), whom she hasn’t seen in six years, just to steal from him to fund her habit. She gets kicked out of her last resort—the house of her oldest friend (Allison Janney)—for drinking. Enter: Sweeney (Marc Maron), a washed-up motel owner, who sees something in Andrea that perhaps others haven’t.

This indie drama, To Leslie, is raw and haunting and visceral. And it barely made more than $27 thousand at the box office. Yet in the weeks prior to Oscar voting, actors from Gwyneth Paltrow to Kate Winslet to Cate Blanchett have emerged out of the woodwork to champion the film—and specifically Riseborough’s performance in it. Also throwing their weight behind Riseborough’s performance: Jennifer Aniston, Charlize Theron, Sarah Paulson, Edward Norton, and Courteney Cox, to name a few. We just weren’t expecting a nom for her so late in the awards season game!

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