February 5, 2023


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Five burning questions about the 2023 Oscar nominations

3 min read

The universe is bigger than you realize, and so are the Oscar-nome possibilities. The nomination period for AMPAS members runs from 12-17 January, which means voters will cast ballots before nominations from key guilds such as the BAFTAs and WGAs are released. That raises some troubling questions about how Academy voters will approach this year’s crop.

Will the box office dictate the Oscars?

The three highest-grossing films of 2022 — “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Top Gun: Maverick” — are potentially in the running for best picture nods. Since modern box office tracking began in 1977, the Oscars have never nominated three top-grossing films of the year. Only twice have they graced the top two: “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “On Golden Pond” in 1981, and “ET the Extra-Terrestrial” and “Tootsie” in 1982.

That said, five of the highest-grossing films have won Best Picture: “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Rain Man” (1988), “Forrest Gump” (1994), “Titanic” (1997) and “The Lord of the Rings.” Rings: The Return of the King” (2003).

Will AMPAS embrace re-emerging directors after a long hiatus?

Several helmers returned to the director’s chair more than a decade later, notably with Todd Field in “Tar” (16 years), James Cameron in “The Way of Water” (13 years) and Sarah Polley in “Woman Talking” (10 years). year). All have earned critical acclaim and shown strength with the Pioneer Award, placing them firmly in the conversation for nods from their directing peers. Will voters think it was worth the wait?

Aftersun, from left: Frankie Corio, Paul Mescal, 2022. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
Courtesy Everett Collection

Will the Oscars’ best-picture lineup mirror the BAFTAs’ best-picture shortlist?

This year, BAFTA changed its voting process, shortlisting 10 films instead of 15 and narrowing that list down to five for final approval. That means the British Academy selections, which include surprises like A24’s “Aftersun” and Sony Pictures Classics’ “Living,” could be more influential than ever. The significant overlap between BAFTA and AMPAS members could be good news for entrants, which were troubling for films like Neon’s “Triangle of Sorrow” and 20th Century Studios’ “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which were left out.

Will Tom Cruise get his first nod in 24 years?

Starting with “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989) and continuing with “Jerry Maguire” (1996) and “Magnolia” (1999), Tom Cruise seemed destined to win an Oscar. However, despite the star’s acclaimed turns in films such as “The Last Samurai” (2003) and “Tropic Thunder” (2008), the Academy has not shown much interest in recognizing his wider roles. Due to a weaker actor field compared to other years, his comeback in the “Top Gun” sequel is on the bubble for consideration after earning him a critical acclaim. And the film has two shots at the Hollywood fixture’s recognition as a producer. Will the actors’ wing, the academy’s largest, be impressed by high-altitude eye movements and voice-overs behind oxygen masks?

Everything at once, from left: co-director Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, on set, 2022. ph: Alison Riggs /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
Courtesy Everett Collection

Is it going to be an all-white lineup?

Women won the best director award two years in a row. And notable strides have been made with highlighting directors of color like Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) and Lee Isaac Chung (“Minary”). However, the chances of diversification in this category this year seem slim, based on previous notifications so far.

Pundits agree that two-time winner Steven Spielberg (“The Fablemans”) is locked in for another nod. Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Todd Field (“Tár”) and Baz Luhrmann (“Elvis”) are also likely shoo-ins.

With only one place left, hope is relying on “Everything Everywhere All at One” directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert to stop the #DirectorsSoWhite screams.

Meanwhile, Sarah Polley (“Woman Talking”) and Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King”) are the only female directors to cross the nomination threshold. But it doesn’t have to be one or the other. AMPAS can vote for both.

AMPAS nomination voting is open and closes Tuesday, January 17 at 5 pm PT.

Check out the latest movie predictions in one place, across all 23 categories of diversity Oscar Collective. To see ranked predictions for each individual category, see of diversity Oscar Hub.

see 2022-2023 Awards Season Calendar For all key dates and timelines.

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