Tuesday’s Oscar nominations brought many expected jaw-droppers. Some are met with joy, and others with heartbreak.
Social media and awards pundit circles are claiming Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” as the undisputed front-runner for most of the awards season. With a leading 11 nominations, it’s in a great position to win the best picture statue for distributor A24, the same studio that pulled off the memorable “Moonlight” upset over “La La Land” at the 2017 show. A24 led the day with an impressive 18 nominations for studios, with Netflix in second place with 16.
The multiverse flick got the expected names for the cast — Michelle Yeoh, Kay Hui Kwan, Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hu — but bowed out in crafty competitions like costume design, original score and original music. However, holding on to the “one to beat” title could bring out the claws of other studios and strategists who want to come out on top. Notably, in the extended Best Picture era (since 2009), the film with the most Oscar nominations has won only four times – “The Heart Locker” (2009), “The King’s Speech” (2010), “Birdman” (2014) and “The Shape of Water” (2017). But, the race is far from over, with influential industry groups still to weigh in, such as the DGA, BAFTA, PGA and SAG, before “Film Twitter” gets the ball rolling.
We love to see the “statistics” that usually indicate an Oscar winner. Still, there have been many breakthroughs in this era, most recently “CODA” (2021), winning without a name in a directing or technical category, including a miss from the DGA, which no film of the modern era has been able to achieve.
In Tuesday’s nominations, we saw a couple “rules” break.
First-time nominees in the Best Actor race include – Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisharine”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) and Bill Nighy (“Living “). That hasn’t happened since the 1934 three-man lineup of Clark Gable, Frank Morgan and William Powell. As for who will win in this category, Butler, Farrell and Fraser each have a television award, with a BAFTA on the horizon. The British voting bloc appears to favor Martin McDonagh’s Irish black comedy, which could give Pharrell the edge, but SAG will have the final say before the final voting opens.
Aside from Farrell, “Banshees” was a strong showing, the only other film outside of “Everything Everywhere” to win best picture based on “traditional standards” that could go anywhere with advanced makeup. Although Martin McDonagh managed to snub his “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017), it’s hard to find a clear path to Academy success for “Banshees.” The director’s race looks like a battle between Steven Spielberg (“The Fablemans”) and Daniels. The original screenplay race is also up for “Everything Everywhere” (even if it falls short of Best Picture). The same British voting block that received nine nominations for “Banshees” could also split votes with German war drama “All Quiet on the Western Front” and Palme d’Or winner “Triangle of Sorrows.”
“All Quiet,” which is tied with “Banshees” for the second most nominations, becomes the third remake of the former Best Picture winner to be recognized, following “Mutiny on the Bounty” (1962) and “West Side Story” (2021). ) The inclusion of Edward Berger’s strong drama is a sigh of relief for Netflix after showing weakness with other titles struggling on the circuit, such as “Glass Onion” (only able to collect adapted screenplays), “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (unable) to capitalize on additional technical titles. ) and “Bardo” (overcoming mixed reviews for catchy cinematography).
Universal Pictures’ “The Fablemans” had a good morning to keep it as a viable candidate for the top prize, with some flaws (such as cinematography and editing) that suggest the race is still on. Spielberg is now tied with Martin Scorsese for the second-most nominated director ever with nine, his personal drama earning his 13th Best Picture nomination, tying William Wyler as the director with the most film nominations.
For “The Fablemans,” Michelle Williams’ best actress bid managed to cross the finish line. Still, having won no other industry awards until Oscar night, and due to strong showings for her competitors Cate Blanchett (“Tár”) and Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere”), she’s likely a distant third (best).
Speaking of best actress, English star Andrea Riseborough was undoubtedly the shocker of the day for her lottery-winning turn as a Texas single mother in Michael Morris’ drama “To Leslie” from indie distributor Momentum Pictures. The grassroots campaign was kicked into overdrive at the top of the Oscar polls, with prominent members of the acting fraternity such as Amy Adams, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron and Kate Winslet hosting screenings. Riseborough has garnered much respect from the Hollywood community and cinephiles for his roles in past Best Picture winners such as “Birdman” (2014). His inclusion is worthy of celebration and will likely inspire future campaigns from actors whose studios do not have the financial means to promote awards for their performers.
“Elvis” performed roughly where experts projected it, picking up multiple technical noms but missing out on Baz Luhrmann. However, the Australian writer is nominated for best picture alongside his wife Catherine Martin as a producer. Martin also has additional nods in Woman of the Year, Production Design and Costume, both of which are within reach of the four-time winner. The biopic of the King of Rock and Roll also recognized cinematographer Mandy Walker, who also received an ASC nom. It comes after Claudio Miranda’s most shocking snub of the day for “Top Gun: Maverick,” which was favored to run away with the award. With Roger Deakins’ “Empire of Light” and Darius Khandzi’s “Bardo” the only nominees for their movies, and Florian Hofmeister (“Tar”) and James Friend (“All Quiet on the Western Front”) absent from the ASC, the category is in flux without an ASC nod. Won for cinematography only twice – “Glory” (1989) and “Pan’s Labyrinth” (2006).
Todd Field’s 16-year return to cinema was widely embraced by the Academy, with “Tár” snagging six huge noms, including two for the makers that many didn’t expect. So naturally, this boosts Blanchett’s reward for winning her third statue. Still, with the disappointing underperformance of women of color as lead actresses, following the snubs of Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) and Danielle Deadwiler (“Period”), Yeh could be moving to the front of a tight race.
Neon’s “Sad Triangle” managed to repeat the same nomination makeup of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza” (2021). It was nominated for Ruben Ostlund’s original screenplay and direction, and for Best Picture (unfortunately without actress Dolly de Leon).
Also reeling in another unique Best Picture nominee, MGM/UAR’s “Woman Talking” led the morning with just two Best Picture noms and Adapted Screenplay for Sarah Polley. In its first year of expansion into the Top 10, the Coen brothers’ “A Serious Man” (2009) brought in just one picture and original screenplay.
While the box office is strong for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which recently crossed $2 billion, it has four nods down from the original’s nine. Another sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick,” opened with six adaptations of the screenplay. But, of course, a preferential ballot could be a movie like “Top Gun’s” best friend — as we know, it’s “most favorite” that wins Best Picture, rather than “most favorite.”
Other notable mentions include Judd Hirsch breaking the record for longest gap between first and second nominations, long held by Henry Fonda. Hirsch’s debut for “Ordinary People” (1980) came 42 years before his second supporting actor bid for “The Fablemans.” Meanwhile, Angela Bassett’s nod for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” comes with another love of the craft and will likely deliver an uninterrupted winning streak at Dolby Theater on March 12.
As for the actual show, the Academy has a gift in the original song race with Lady Gaga (“Hold My Hand” from “Top Gun: Maverick”), Rihanna (“Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”). David Byrne (“This Is A Life” from “Everything Everything All At Once”), Sophia Carson (“Clap” from “Tell It Like A Woman”) and dance sensation NTR Jr. and Ram Charan (“RRR” from “Natu Natu” ) to (hopefully) all perform. The producers should curate the evening around these powerhouses.
For now, we’re moving into an extended second phase.
The first winner prediction is as follows:
“Everything Once Everywhere” (A24)
Steven Spielberg, “The Fablemans” (Universal Pictures)
Brendan Fraser, “The Whale” (A24)
Michelle Yeh, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Ke Hui Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at One” (A24)
Angela Bassett, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Marvel Studios)
“Everything Everything at Once” (A24) – Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert
“Woman Talking” (MGM/UAR) – Sarah Polley
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” (Netflix) – Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Unger and Alex Bulkley
“Elvis” (Warner Bros.) – Kathryn Martin, Karen Murphy, Bev Dunn
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Netflix) – James Friend
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” (Marvel Studios) – Ruth Carter
“Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures) – Eddie Hamilton
Makeup and hairstyling:
“The Batman” (Warner Bros.) – Naomie Dunne, Mike Marino and Mike Fontaine
“Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures) – Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor
“Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures) – Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Brian Litson and Scott R. Fisher
“The Fablemans” (Universal Pictures) – John Williams
“Natu Natu” from “RRR” (Variance Films) – Music by MM Kiravani; Lyricist Chandra Bose
“All That Breaths” (HBO Documentary Films/Sideshow) – Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer
“All Quiet on the Western Front” (Germany)
“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse” (Apple TV+) – Charlie MacKay and Matthew Freud
“The Martha Mitchell Effect” (Netflix) – Ann Alvargue and Beth Levison
Live action short:
“An Irish Goodbye” (Floodlight Pictures) – Tom Barclay and Ross White