Oscar season overview

Caroline Mehno, Contributing Writer

The king of rock and roll, a sci-fi movie surrounding everything bagels, a talking shell and a lot of movies about movies: 2022 was certainly a year for film. As we make our way into the new year, awards season is officially in full swing, and the 2023 Oscar nominees are a hot topic in the pop-culture world. The list is full of surprises, nominations rightfully earned and some serious snubs. 

Leading the pack is Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Everything Everywhere All At Once” with 11 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay and Best Original Score. Many movie-lovers, including myself, expect the sci-fi film to take home best picture, but it has the hard task of beating out Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans,” which won best picture at the Golden Globes, often an indicator of the awards to come at the Dolby Theater in March.

Mylie Bluhm

The best actress category is stacked with talented performances from Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” to Andrea Riseborough in “To Leslie,” but Cate Blanchett’s performance in “Tár,” playing a spiraling composer at the tipping point of her career, pleased audiences nationally and seems to be a shoo-in for the award. Many were disappointed at the nomination of Ana De Armas in “Blonde” as the Marilyn Monroe biopic was deemed highly exploitative and inaccurate by critics. 

One of the most popular movies of the year, taking theaters and TikTok trends by storm, was Baz Luhrman’s “Elvis,” which received both a nomination for best picture and best actor for Austin Butler’s performance. However, it is unlikely that the film will receive either award, as Butler faces harsh competition from Paul Mescal’s authentic performance in “Aftersun,” Colin Farell’s work in “The Banshees of Inisherin” and the fanfare surrounding Branden Fraser’s comeback in “The Whale.”

A more difficult category to predict is best animated feature, filled with emotional, real and heartwarming films that undoubtedly raised the bar for children’s films. A popular favorite seemed to be “Marcel the Shell with Shoes on,” a heartwarming, yet unique, mockumentary about a lonely shell and his grandmother navigating the world. 

The most difficult part of Oscar season is grappling with the fact that many amazing films are left behind and receive little to no nominations. The omission of “The Batman” from any of the major categories sparked outrage and confusion. Even more shocking is the fact that Jordan Peele’s “Nope,” which made over $170 million at the box office and which critics hailed as one of the best movies of the year, received zero nominations. This snub comes with the criticism that the Oscars often overlook and diminish the horror genre which reflects the rigidity of the academy. 

A surprise to some, and a delight to others, Damien Chazelle’s highly anticipated “Babylon,” a $100 million, three hour ode to old Hollywood packed full of indecency and meaning, was nominated only for minor categories like sound and costuming. Though many reviewed the film as messy and self-indulgent, its lack of a best picture nomination certainly comes as a surprise when considering Chazelle’s prior award-season success with “La La Land” in 2017. 

Overall, the 2023 Oscar Nominations, and lack thereof for some films, show how the year pushed boundaries for film. Surely there will be major upsets and movie magic moments on March 12, and this will remind many viewers why we love and recognize film year after year. 

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