It’s Oscar nominations day. We now know which movies will be competing for golden statuettes at the 95th Academy Awards 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 hands.
It was the Daniels’ madcap multiversal drama Everything Everywhere All at Once which emerged as the big winner, topping the nomination charts with 11 — including nods in four of the Big Five categories.
Read more: Here are those Oscar nominations in full
Black comedy The Banshees of Inisherin and Netflix war drama All Quiet on the Western Front — fresh from its surprise haul at the Baftas — also had a good day, securing nine nominations each. There were also big nomination counts for rock n roll biopic Elvis (eight), Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans (seven) and box office juggernaut Top Gun: Maverick (six).
Read more: Everything we know about the 2023 Oscars
But let’s take a look at the surprise winners and the shocking snubs as we pick over the 2023 Oscar nominations in detail…
SNUB: Cruise misses out despite Top Gun: Maverick love
It was a mixed bag of a day for Top Gun: Maverick at the Oscar nominations. On the one hand, the film secured a Best Picture nod and managed a surprise Best Original Screenplay slot too, bolstering its chances at the big prize. However, one of the major awards the film was hoping to compete for fell by the wayside when Cruise was missed out of the Best Actor shortlist. He’ll have to wait a bit longer for that first Oscar.
But, with four of the five Best Actor names more or less sewn up, it was interesting to see who got that final slot ahead of Cruise.
SURPRISE: Riseborough and Mescal make leading actor lists
That fifth Best Actor slot was considered very much up for grabs going into today, but it was the low-budget British drama Aftersun that secured it on behalf of leading man Paul Mescal. Mostly unknown until starring in lockdown telly hit Normal People, Mescal delivers an outstanding performance as a young father on a holiday with his daughter in the debut feature from Charlotte Wells. It’s worthy recognition for a great film and the terrific actor at its heart.
Over in Best Actress, something even weirder happened. After an unorthodox grassroots campaign propelled in large part by famous people’s social media accounts, Andrea Riseborough has been nominated for her performance as a Texan alcoholic in To Leslie. The film sank without a trace when it was released but, thanks to support from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Edward Norton and fellow nominee Cate Blanchett, Riseborough has made it all the way to the shortlist.
SNUB: Danielle Deadwyler lost out on Best Actress no
With the surprise inclusion of both Riseborough and Michelle Williams for The Fablemans, the Best Actress category became something of a minefield for high-profile snubs. One of the big contenders for most of this season’s awards has been Danielle Deadwyler, who delivers an intense and thoughtful performance as Mamie Till-Mobley — mother of lynched teenager Emmett Till — in the terrific historical drama Till.
Deadwyler’s omission was one of the biggest snubs of the day and, putting alongside Viola Davis missing out for her role in The Woman King, it has provoked a worrying absence of Black women in the category. The performances were certainly there this year; they just weren’t nominated.
SURPRISE: Stephanie Hsu lands Supporting Actress slot
One of the great enigmas of this season awards has been the decision by almost every major awards body to nominate Jamie Lee Curtis for her supporting role in Everything Everywhere All at Once, while avoiding Stephanie Hsu. The young star’s performance as the daughter of Michelle Yeoh’s character is challenging, emotionally potent and a tonne of fun.
Thankfully, the Oscars chose to buck this trend by nominating both Hsu and Curtis in the Best Supporting Actress category, alongside frontrunner Angela Bassett for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Kerry Condon for The Banshees of Inisherin and Hong Chau for The Whale.
SNUB: Avatar all but out of the race after key nomination misses
Blockbusters always had a bit of a tricky time at the Oscars, but it was thought that James Cameron’s Avatar sequel — which recently passed $2bn (£1.6bn) at the global box office — could be an outlier. The first film was pipped by The Hurt Locker at the 2010 ceremony, but many believe that the sequel could receive the acclaim not given to its predecessor.
The Way of Water is theoretically in the race, winning a Best Picture nod alongside a raft of technical recognition. However, James Cameron was snubbed for Best Director, the screenplay went unrecognized and it failed to secure a single acting nod.
It also failed to get a nomination for Best Editing, which has historically been a Best Picture prerequisite. In the last 40 years of Oscar ceremonies, only two films have won Best Picture without a nomination for editing. Luckily for Avatar, one of those was last year’s history-making win for CODA, so maybe the tide has turned.
SURPRISE: Triangle of Sadness lands Picture and Director nods
Ruben Östlund’s satirical comedy Triangle of Sadness looked like a huge award contender when it won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last year. It has somewhat fallen out of the race in months and, when Dolly De Leon did not appear in Best Supporting Actress today, it looks as if its awards season might be over.
However, the film made it on to the Best Picture shortlist and Östlund was nominated for his original screenplay. The biggest shock, however, was to see Östlund land one of the five coveted Best Director slots ahead of the likes of Cameron. Could this be a dark horse contender on the night?
SNUB: The Woman King and She Said suffers total shut-outs
This year’s Oscar nominations didn’t yield much success for major, female-led films. Two of the biggest casualties of this were the historical epic The Woman King and the journalism drama She Said, both of which were missed out entirely. The Woman King was hotly tipped to secure a Best Actress prize for Viola Davis, while She Said could easily have provided acting nods to both Zoe Kazan and Carey Mulligan.
However, both films left empty-handed. Two hugely worthy stories — the tale of an all-female military unit in West Africa and the journalists who brought down Harvey Weinstein — have gone unrewarded, which is a real shame.
SURPRISE: Henry and Hirsch edge out Eddie Redmayne
A pair of unpredictable supporting categories this year — albeit with clear frontrunners in Angela Bassett and Ke Huy Quan — created some surprises. Eddie Redmayne has been a constant presence in this year’s race thanks to his performance as the mass murderer Charles Cullen in the Netflix true crime drama The Good Nurse. However, he was entirely ignored when he came to Oscar nominations.
Instead, the Best Supporting Actor category found room for Brian Tyree Henry’s work alongside Jennifer Lawrence in the low-key drama Causeway and Judd Hirsch’s brief but memorable appearance in The Fablemans. The latter is a particularly welcome inclusion, given the burst of energy the star provides when he shows up in the film.
SNUB: Decision to Leave fails to make International Feature list
The award for Best International Feature was packed with surprises this year, giving support to the Irish drama The Quiet Girl against all odds. However, the Academy left out a real big hitter in the shape of South Korea’s selection — Park Chan-wook’s deliciously seductive crime tale Decision to Leave.
The tale of a detective falling for a murder suspect is beautifully told, but won’t have a presence at the Oscars. Presumably, this leaves the way clear for All Quiet on the Western Front to win.
SURPRISE: Women Talking makes it into Best Picture
Sarah Polley’s Women Talking was expected to be a major awards season player, focusing on a group of women who meet to discuss what to do about sexual assaults among their Mennonite community. However, it has mostly been squeezed out entirely.
It was a surprise then to see the film find a spot on the Best Picture shortlist, ousting otherwise recognized movies like The Whale and Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. Polley was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay.