It’s Oscar nomination day. We already know which films will compete for golden statuettes at the 95th Oscars in March. It’s a good day for fans of German war movies and the chaos of the multiverse, but bad news for anyone hoping to see Tom Cruise with an Oscar in his hand.
The big winner was Daniels’ multidimensional drama “Everywhere, All at Once”, topping the nominations list with 11 nominations – including a nod in four Big Five categories.
Read more: Here are the full Oscar nominations
Black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin and Netflix war drama All Quiet on the Western Front – fresh from a surprise win at the Baftas – also had a strong day, garnering nine nominations each. There were also nominations for the rock ‘n’ roll Elvis biopic (eight), Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans (seven) and box office giant Top Gun: Maverick (six).
Read more: Everything we know about the Oscars 2023
But let’s look at the surprise winners and shocking snubs as we pick out the 2023 Oscar nominations in detail…
SNUB: Cruise misses out despite loving Top Gun: Maverick
It was a mixed day for Top Gun: Maverick during its Oscar nominations. On the one hand, the film secured a nomination for Best Picture and also won a surprise award for Best Original Screenplay, increasing its chances of winning the big prize. However, one of the major awards the film was set to compete for fell through when Cruise was omitted from the shortlist for Best Actor. He will have to wait a little longer for his first Oscar.
But with four out of five best actor names more or less stitched together, it was interesting to see who got that final spot ahead of Cruise.
SURPRISE: Riseborough and Mescal make the list of leading actors
That fifth place for best actor was considered very much to be won today, but it was low-budget British drama Aftersun that secured it on behalf of leading man Paul Mescal. Mostly unknown until starring in the hit TV hit Normal People, Mescal delivers an outstanding role as a young father on vacation with his daughter in Charlotte Wells’ feature debut. This is commendable for a great movie and a great actor at its heart.
In the Best Actress category, something even weirder happened. After an unorthodox grassroots campaign driven largely by celebrity social media accounts, Andrea Riseborough was nominated for her portrayal of a Texas alcoholic in To Leslie. The film sank without a trace when it was released, but with the support of the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and fellow nominee Cate Blanchett, Riseborough made it all the way to the shortlist.
SNUB: Danielle Deadwyler loses in Best Actress nomination
With the unexpected inclusion of both Riseborough and Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans, the Best Actress category has become something of a minefield for high-profile snubs. One of the biggest contenders for most awards this season was Danielle Deadwyler, who played an intense and thoughtful role as Mamie Till-Mobley – the mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till – in the superb historical drama Till.
Deadwyler’s omission is one of the biggest snubs of the day, and alongside Viola Davis who missed out on her role in The Woman King, it sparked a worrying lack of black women in the category. Performances were certainly this year; they just weren’t nominated.
SURPRISE: Stephanie Hsu becomes a supporting actress
One of the biggest mysteries of this awards season was the decision by almost all major award organizations to nominate Jamie Lee Curtis for her supporting role in Everything, Everywhere, while avoiding Stephanie Hsu. The role of the young star as the daughter of Michelle Yeoh’s character is challenging, emotional and fun.
Fortunately, the Oscars decided to counter this trend by nominating both Hsu and Curtis for Best Supporting Actress, alongside leading Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Kerry Condon for Inisherin Revenants and Hong Chau for The Whale.
SNUB: Avatar is almost out of the race after a failed nomination
The blockbuster cinema always has a bit of a hitch at the Oscars, but it was thought the sequel to James Cameron’s Avatar – which recently surpassed $2bn (£1.6bn) at the box office worldwide – might be an exception. The first film was rejected by The Hurt Locker at a 2010 ceremony, but many felt that the sequel could receive the attention its predecessor had not received.
The Way of Water is theoretically in the race, winning the nod for best film along with plenty of technical accolades. However, James Cameron was snubbed for best director, the script went unrecognized and failed to earn a single nod.
It also failed to be nominated for Best Editing, historically a prerequisite for Best Picture. In the last 40 years of the Academy Awards, only two films have won Best Picture without being nominated for editing. Fortunately for Avatar, last year’s CODA victory was one of them, which went down in history, so maybe the tables turned around.
SURPRISE: Triangle of Sadness lands Photograph and director nod
Ruben Östlund’s satirical comedy Triangle of Sorrow looked like a big contender for the award when it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year. She’s been a bit out of the race for months, and when Dolly De Leon failed to appear in the Best Supporting Actress category today, it looked like awards season might be over.
However, the film was shortlisted for Best Picture and Östlund was nominated for his original screenplay. The biggest shock, however, was that Östlund won one of the five coveted spots for best director, ahead of the likes of Cameron. Could this be a contender for the dark horse of the night?
SNUB: The Woman King and She Said are suffering from a complete shutdown
This year’s Oscar nominations did not bring much success to major films starring women. Two of the biggest victims of this are the historical epic The Woman King and the journalism drama She Said, both of which missed out completely. The Woman King was hotly tipped to win Best Actress for Viola Davis, while She Said could easily nod to both Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan.
However, both films came out empty-handed. Two extremely valuable stories – the story of a female military unit in West Africa and the journalists who overthrew Harvey Weinstein – were not awarded, which is a real shame.
SURPRISE: Henry and Hirsch defeat Eddie Redmayne
This year, a pair of unpredictable supporting categories – albeit with clear favorites in Angela Bassett and Ke Huy Quan – created some surprises. Eddie Redmayne was a constant in this year’s race thanks to his role as mass murderer Charles Cullen in the Netflix true crime drama The Good Nurse. However, he was completely ignored when it came to Oscar nominations.
Instead, the Best Supporting Actor category included Brian Tyree Henry’s work opposite Jennifer Lawrence in the modest drama Causeway and Judd Hirsch’s brief but memorable performance in The Fabelmans. The latter is especially welcome given the burst of energy the star delivers when she appears in the film.
SNUB: Deciding to leave does not create an international feature list
The Best International Film award was full of surprises this year, supporting Irish drama The Quiet Girl against all odds. But the Academy left out a really big hit in South Korea’s selection, Park Chan-wook’s wonderfully seductive crime novel Deciding to Leave.
The story of a detective falling in love with a murder suspect is beautifully told, but will not be present at the Oscars. Presumably this leaves a clear path for All Quiet on the Western Front to win.
SURPRISE: Women’s Talk becomes the best movie
Women Talking Sarah Polley was expected to be the headliner of awards season, focusing on a group of women who come together to discuss what to do about sexual assault among their Mennonite community. However, for the most part, it was completely squeezed out.
It came as a surprise when the film made the shortlist for Best Picture, displacing otherwise acclaimed films such as The Whale and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Polley was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.