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The surprises and snobs of the 2023 Oscar nominations

The morning of the Oscar nominations is always a mixed bag. It constantly brings news to be happy or angry about, with plenty of both emotions hot on Tuesday morning.

For starters, yes, 11 nominations for “Everything everywhere at once”, the weird little multiverse movie that could! Yay for great actors like Brian Tyree Henry and Hong Chau finally stepping in! boo la zero women nominated for best director because, come on, there are no excuses in the year 2023. Hurray for one of the best cinematic experiences of the year, “The Woman King,” completely out of the question.

Here are some of the surprises and twists from this year’s Oscar nominations.

surprise

Brian Tyree Henry for Best Supporting Actor

Brian Tyree Henry was one of those actors who deserved an Oscar nomination forever, especially the year he was in “Widows”, “If Beale Street Could Talk” And “Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.” Whenever something comes up, you know it’s going to be good. In “Causeway,” his portrayal of an auto mechanic dealing with the repercussions of past trauma elevates what is otherwise a fairly standard drama. Quite often, the Academy finally recognizes an actor who has been deserving of a nomination for a long time, and that actor’s nomination is not necessarily for their best or most memorable performance. The nomination or win is more for their entire body of work. We’ll take it even if it causes mixed emotions because it’s a testament to that actor’s consistency. This is certainly true of Henry. It’s great to finally call him an Oscar nominee.

Hong Chau for Best Supporting Actress

Like Henry, Hong Chau is one of those actors who has been around for a while and is always outstanding. Again, I have mixed emotions about this nomination, though for slightly different reasons. There is much controversy about “The Whale”, with Brendan Fraser as an obese writing teacher, especially if the film perpetuates fat-phobic tropes. But aside from that, there’s no doubt that Chau, who plays Fraser’s character’s best friend and caretaker, is outstanding and long overdue for Academy recognition.

Stephanie Hsu for Best Supporting Actress

I put this as a surprise because many people were worried that Stephanie Hsu would be left out of her much more well-known post.Everything everywhere at onceco-star Jamie Lee Curtis. Instead, both women, pleasingly, were nominated. Hsu has to carry some of the wildest scenes in that movie with him. He has to play two characters at the same time: Joy, the daughter of the protagonist Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) and Joy’s alter ego, Jobu Tupaki, the villain of the film. A star of stage and screen, Hsu is undoubtedly on the rise, and it’s great that this Oscar nomination adds to her burgeoning career.

Paul Mescal for Best Actor

From his television debut in Hulu’s adaptation of “Normal People” (and giving audiences the excitement they needed in those dark days of 2020) to his Oscar nomination in just three years, Paul Mescal has had a meteoric rise in “Aftersun,” directed by Charlotte Wells, he gives a tender and introspective performance as a young father struggling with his mental health while taking his daughter (Frankie Corio) on vacation. It’s the kind of performance that isn’t exactly spectacular, and therefore not the kind that the Academy often rewards. So it’s nice to see recognition for him.

Andrea Riseborough for Best Actress

In perhaps one of the biggest headaches of the morning, British actor Andrea Riseborough has been nominated for the little-seen independent film To Leslie, thanks to a partly self-funded awards campaign and the support of famous industry peers. They ran a coordinated campaign on Twitter and hosted awards screenings and panels moderated by big names like Kate Winslet, Gwyneth Paltrow and Charlize Theron. (The eagle has a more detailed explanation here.) It’s an interesting tactic. However, it’s also worth noting that while Riseborough has undoubtedly had a respected career, consistently working on acclaimed independent films, only certain types of people tend to have the connections, resources and industry-wide support for these types of nominations. . .

Ana de Armas for Best Actress

“Blonde” was one of the most divisive films of 2022 for a number of reasons (one of them: its anti-abortion scenes, which didn’t sit well, especially at this particular moment in American politics). But most people agreed that regardless of how they felt about the film, Ana de Armas did A LOT by taking on a challenging and possibly impossible role as Marilyn Monroe. Also with starring roles in ‘Knives Out’, ‘No Time to Die’ and ‘Deep Water’, he had a few notable years.

“Top Gun: Maverick” for Best Adapted Screenplay

The Academy certainly loved “Top Gun: Maverick,” nominating it for Best Picture, which was somewhat expected given its huge box office returns (it was a common refrain to joke that Tom Cruise saved movies in 2022). But a screenplay nomination? That’s good, I guess? Action movies aren’t exactly known for their writing. But when the Academy loves a movie, they make it really I like it and tend to mention it everywhere.

SNUBS

No female nominees for Best Director

Was it directed by “Women Who Talk”? Haven’t the Academy members seen ‘The Woman King’? (See below for much, much more on that.) Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sarah Polley—and all the women directing acclaimed films this year—deserve much better.

“The Woman King” was completely closed

As my colleague Candice Frederick pointed out, this is the kind of film the Oscars usually go for: a rousing historical epic with big, technically daring action sequences. (Case in point: the new German adaptation of the World War I epic “All Quiet on the Western Front” received nine nominations Tuesday morning.) In addition, “The Woman King” became a big box office hit in a year of transition for the theater. publication.

But wait, it was directed by a black woman and has an incredible cast of black women (including Lashana Lynch, notably, who deserved way more awards than she got). So yeah, that explains it. So deeply demoralizing that this happens again and again.

Viola Davis for Best Actress

See above. Although Davis has been nominated four times and previously won an Academy Award—and has certainly always proven what a legend she is—the Academy continues to ignore leading roles for black women.

Case in point: On Tuesday morning, Angela Bassett was the only black woman nominated for an acting award for her supporting role in the “Black Panther” sequel “Wakanda Forever.” It came 30 years after her first (and so far only) Oscar nomination as Tina Turner in “What’s This Got to Do With Love.” And if you need a reminder of the Academy’s abysmal history, in the 95 years since the Oscars, only one black woman has ever won best actress: Halle Berry for “Monster’s Ball” more than 20 years ago for years.

Danielle Deadwyler for Best Actress

See above. The best guess is that the surprise nominations of Riseborough and de Armas pushed Davis and Deadwyler. The latter gave an outstanding and truly inspiring performance as Mamie Till-Mobley in Chinonye Chukwu’s ‘Till’. Depicting Till-Mobley’s journey into civil rights activism after the brutal death of her son, the film received mixed reviews and was little seen, in part due to its harsh subject matter. But Deadwyler’s work was undeniably outstanding, and once again, it’s chilling to see no black women nominated for leading roles.

“The Decision to Leave” for Best International Film

Widely considered an international favorite for best picture, South Korea’s “Decision to Leave” is the latest film from director Park Chan-wook (“The Handmaiden,” “Oldboy”). It’s a twisted, Hitchcock-inspired mystery about a detective, Hae-jun (Park Hae-il), who investigates a man’s murder…and then begins to fall in love with the man’s widow, Seo-rae (Tang Wei). she is too. a suspect in the case. It’s a beautifully shot thriller with nods to classic film noir and crime films. As a highly entertaining and dramatic film, it’s an odd omission for the Academy, which has really embraced a wider range of international films in recent years.


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