The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2023 Oscar Nominations

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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.

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.

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

Director Sarah Polley on the set of 'Women Talking'Michael Gibson— Orion Releasing

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
Stephanie Hsu in 'Everything Everywhere All at Once'Allyson Riggs

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.

Snub: Nope

Daniel Kaluuya, Keke Palmer, and Brandon Perea in NopeCourtesy of Universal Pictures

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

Andrea Riseborough in To LeslieMomentum Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection

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!

Snub: Danielle Deadwyler

Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till Mobley in TILL, directed by Chinonye Chukwu, dressed in a black dress and glasses, speaking into a microphone.
Danielle Deadwyler as Mamie Till Mobley in TILL, directed by Chinonye Chukwu.Lynsey Weatherspoon—Orion Pictures

Danielle Deadwyler was considered a best actress nominee lock by many for her deeply moving performance as Mamie Till-Mobley in Till. Two characters—and historical figures—share their last name with the title of the film: Mamie and her son, Emmett Till, who was brutally murdered by white supremacists in 1955 at age 14. “Chinonye Chukwu’s Till is partly a dramatization of that tragedy, though its chief focus is Emmett’s mother, Mamie Till-Mobley,” writes TIME film critic Stephanie Zacharek, “played, superbly, by Danielle Deadwyler—who channeled her intense grief into activism that has profound repercussions to this day.” Some speculated that the surprise nomination of Andrea Riseborough for her performance in To Leslie—backed by a guerilla celebrity campaign—may have pushed out Deadwyler.

Records: Michelle Yeoh and Angela Bassett

Michelle Yeoh in 'Everything Everywhere All At Once'A24

One of the biggest front-runners of the Oscars campaign this year is Michelle Yeoh, an industry veteran who finally secured her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress in a Lead Role as Evelyn Wang in Everything Everywhere All at Once. She became the second-ever Asian woman to receive the nomination after Merle Oberon first got recognition in 1936 for her role in The Dark Angel. Some contest this achievement as Oberon hid her mother’s Sri Lankan ancestry.

When it was time for the cast to finally return to Wakanda for the second Black Panther movie, all eyes were on the cast to see how they addressed the death of their main star and battled grief. Angela Bassett, who plays Queen Ramonda, stole the show in the trailer alone with her heart-wrenching delivery of “I am Queen of the most powerful nation in the world, and my entire family is gone. Have I not given everything?” Her performance in the movie wowed critics, and she made history today when she received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She made Marvel history as the first woman, first actor from a Marvel Studios production to be nominated for their performance, as well as the first person of color.

One of the biggest and most welcome surprises is “Naatu Naatu” from RRR, receiving a nomination for Best Original Song, making it the first song from an Indian film to land in the category. The song nabbed the prize at this year’s Golden Globes ceremony, beating out Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Taylor Swift—where the song is up against Gaga and Rihanna once again.

Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry

Brian Tyree Henry in 'Causeway'Courtesy of Apple TV+

Last year, Apple TV+ became the first streaming service to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, taking home the night’s top prize for CODA, the first film to star a predominantly deaf cast to win the award. This year, they scored another nomination with Brian Tyree Henry getting a Best Supporting Actor nod for his role in the Causeway, where he stars opposite Jennifer Lawrence. Henry has bounced between film and television after his breakout role as Alfred “Paper Boi” Miles in the critically-acclaimed series Atlanta, starring in movies like Widows, If Beale Street Could Talk, Marvel’s Eternals, and Bullet Train. While the film made some noise amongst the critic circles, it did not manage to get any nominations outside of the critic awards—where Henry accumulated 17 noms for his supporting role, making his Oscar nomination a welcome surprise.

Surprise: Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio in 'Aftersun'Courtesy of A24

Paul Mescal has been stealing hearts ever since appearing in Hulu’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s book, Normal People in 2020 and in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter. In 2022, Mescal held two starring roles. One in Aftersun, a movie where he plays the troubled father to a young girl, and God’s Creatures, a film about a man accused of sexual assault; both movies first premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Mescal’s performance in Aftersun has been heralded by dozens of critics, helping him secure nominations for 35 awards, which now includes the Academy Award nod—his first.

Snub: The Woman King

The Woman King, a star-studded historical action epic, seemed like perhaps the perfect awards season vehicle—especially for Viola Davis, who stars as the uncompromising General Nanisca. But Davis was shut out of the best actress race, as was her co-star, Lashana Lynch, for the best supporting actress category. Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Woman King’s director, missed out on a best director nomination, and the film itself fell short of a best picture nod. As film critic Robert Daniels rightfully pointed out, after this year’s nominations, “Halle Berry is still the only Black woman who’s won Best Actress. Selma is still the only film directed by a Black woman to be nominated for Best Picture. A Black director has never won best director; and a Black woman has never been nominated.”


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