While many prognosticators try and do their best to predict who will be nominated for an Academy Award, there are always some shocks — both good and bad — when the names are finally announced. This year’s nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards saw their fair share of shocks. Actors such as Andrea Riseborough, Brian Tyree Henry and Paul Mescal received their first nominations against stiff competition. Then there were notable omissions, such as the lack of female directors who saw both Chloe Zhao and Jane Campion take home the award in the last two years.
here, diversity Breaks down the biggest snubs and surprises from the 2023 Oscar nominations
SNUB: Viola Davis, “The Woman King”
Davis seemed certain to land her fourth acting nomination (and possibly her first as a producer) for her stunning work in “The Woman King,” which not only garnered critical acclaim but also box office success. But her omission from the Best Actress list was the biggest shock of the day.
SNUB: Daniel Deadwiler, “Teal”
A breakout storyline of the season of Deadwyler for playing Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of murdered teenager Emmett Till. She earned SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations and even won a Gotham Award against some stiff competition like Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett. But the actor failed to land one of the coveted Best Actress slots.
Surprise: Andrea Riseborough, “To Leslie”
The British actor earned raves for playing an addict wanting to reconnect with his son, but came up empty in the front-row nods, barring a Spirit Award nomination. But a grassroots campaign during the voting period found big-name supporters: actors like Kate Winslet and Amy Adams hosted Q&As with Riseborough, and Cate Blanchett gave him a shout-out in her Critics’ Choice award acceptance speech. Riseborough landed a spot in an incredibly competitive line-up, reflecting word of mouth.
Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry, “Causeway”
Henry had a brief, sensitive turn as a man wracked with guilt in Indy opposite Jennifer Lawrence. But the actor snubbed both the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards — though he did earn Gotham, Spirit and Critics’ Choice Award noms. But in the end, the Academy recognized the work of some of the most exciting actors working today.
Surprise: Paul Mescal, “Aftersun”
Charlotte Wells’ “Aftersun” has quietly worked its way through awards season, garnering numerous accolades from critics, organizations and media groups; diversity Welles has been named one of his 2023 directors to watch his distantly remembered but deeply felt father-daughter vacation portrait. While Frankie Corio’s turn as the young Sophie reveals her father’s emerging awareness of adult pain, it’s Mescal’s turn as Calum that catalyzes his increasingly clear vision, and gives the audience reason to empathize with what he’s going through. Seeing him recognized not only highlights a great performance but also heralds him as a top actor to watch in the years to come.
SNUB: Black Actor in a Major Category
There were several notable performances by black actors throughout the year, especially in the leading actress category. Viola Davis seemed a lock for “The Woman King,” garnering nominations at all the major Pioneer Awards. Daniel Deadwiler’s role in “Teal” was one of the most talked about successes of the year. But neither actor received an Oscar nomination this morning. Likewise, there were no black performers nominated in the lead actor category.
SNUB: Eddie Redmayne, “The Good Nurse”
Redmayne was cast opposite Jessica Chastain opposite real-life serial killer Charlie Cullen and hasn’t missed a beat on the circuit, receiving nominations from the BAFTA, Golden Globes and SAG Awards for her performance. But the supporting actor field proved too crowded for Redmayne, who previously won an Oscar for leading actor in “The Theory of Everything.”
Surprise: Ruben Ostlund, Best Director
On the one hand, the darkly satirical “Sad Triangle” was a hit with voters and certainly showcased Östlund’s distinctive voice. But the filmmakers missed out on the DGAs, and the lineup was incredibly competitive. But Östlund came away with an original screenplay nomination, not just as director – and the film was in the Best Picture race.
SNUB: “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Best Picture
The original “Black Panther” became the first Marvel movie to receive a Best Picture nomination, and its follow-up was not only well-received but also only received a Producers Guild nomination, usually a strong precursor. Although it failed to make the Best Picture line-up, “Wakanda Forever” made history with a nomination for supporting actress Angela Bassett — a first for an actor in a Marvel film.
SNUB: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” Best Edit
The German-language adaptation of the iconic Erich Maria Remarque novel had an impressive showing, earning nine nominations, including one for Best Picture. So it was somewhat surprising to see it miss out on film editing, which is often closely associated with Best Picture nominations.
SNUB: Female Filmmaker, Best Director
After women directors took home the Best Director statue two years in a row, this year’s line-up is all male. That meant directors like Gina Prince-Bythewood (“The Woman King,”) Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”) and Sarah Polley (“Woman Talking”) were shut out, among others.
SNUB: Nominated for Best Picture, Best Cinematography
With 10 Best Picture nominees for the Academy’s top honor, cinematography immediately became a hotly contested category. Having already won two Oscars and received five other nominations for his work with Steven Spielberg, Janusz Kaminski was expected to appear at least for “The Fablemans,” and fellow Oscar winner Claudio Miranda was recognized more than ten times by critics groups. Conversely, though, Larkin Siple of “Everything Everywhere All at One” didn’t take home a major award all season. Given the complexity of Daniels Cowan and Scheinert’s multiverse building — not to mention the 11 names their film received — his absence felt significant.
SNUB: Paul Dano, “The Fablemans”
The conversation surrounding “The Fablemans” in the acting category has largely focused on Michelle Williams’ brilliant performance as Mitzi Schildkraut-Fableman — and, in particular, her seemingly inevitable nomination in which category to read, lead or support. Meanwhile, Dano quietly received Critics’ Choice and SAG Award nominations for his role as Bart, young Sammy Fabelman’s innocent, pragmatic father. But the Academy ultimately leaves him unrecognized for some powerful, if understated, work.
SNUB: Joseph Kosinski, “Top Gun: Maverick”
With more than a billion dollars worldwide, “Top Gun: Maverick” is credited not only with reviving the theatrical exhibition after two years of pandemic-related industry struggles, but also with reminding moviegoers what a true blockbuster viewing experience is like. But with death-defying movie star Tom Cruise once again in the pilot’s seat as Pete “Maverick” Mitchell, surely he didn’t do it all by himself? Since “Tron: Legacy,” director Joseph Kosinski has consistently married precision and beauty, and his second outing with Cruise (after “Oblivion”) takes that skill to a new peak — one that audiences recognize, but apparently not Academy voters.
SNUB: “RRR,” Best Picture
No film was more entertaining in 2022 than “RRR”, SS Rajamouli’s large-scale dramatization of the lives of two real-life Indian revolutionaries. Its ambition, its scale, its sheer audacity make it the most underdog story of the year, part of the biggest spectacle this side of Michael Bay. Although the film won a nomination for its show-stopper musical number “Natu Natu”, a sequence so thrilling that it literally inspired the audience to dance in the aisles of the theater where it played, the Academy did not win a Best Picture nod in its second year. The fact that a full ten films were nominated in history is a disappointing oversight, especially given the tremendous love it’s received throughout the season so far.
Surprise: Judd Hirsch, “The Fablemans”
Sharper than Paul Dano’s performance but not as emotional as Michelle Williams – or perhaps not as emotional – Hirsch faces the challenge of making the thesis statement of “The Fablemans:” more or less clear: making art is a powerful, and painful, way of processing the world, but the artist’s It’s always worth it if not their audience. When the performance debuted, many worried that this one-and-done scene was too short for Academy voters. But Hirsch eventually found himself cutting it, earning his first nomination since 1980’s “Ordinary People.”
SNUB: Tom Cruise, “Top Gun: Maverick”
Tom Cruise rekindled the thrill of going to the movies, and became his progeny, literally risking his life to entertain audiences. Given the film’s strong showing today, an acting nomination was earned, but it’s also well-deserved given the journey he took on Pete Mitchell in “Top Gun: Maverick,” as he took on one of the most recognizable icons of the 1980s and brought him back then. He is a new dimension to those who loved him as well as those who are now discovering him. Still, Cruise can take solace in being nominated as one of the film’s producers.
SNUB: “Decision to Abandon”
In a year with historic pan-Asian representation, the decision to drop the “decision to leave” altogether is a particularly puzzling one. Not only is Park Chan-wook’s film brilliantly written, directed and acted, it already enjoys the precedent of winning the Palme d’Or and Best Director at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
SNUB: Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, “Pinocchio,” Best Song
Before Diane Warren received an honorary award from the Academy in 2022, she was nominated for best song 13 times — and never won; org seems to really love him but keeps him at arm’s length. Even so, this year’s nomination in a crowded field was completely unexpected, given the heavy hitters she took: Taylor Swift, whose song “Carolina” punctuates Olivia Newman’s adaptation of the haunting, beautiful bestseller “Where the Crowds Sing” by Delia Owens; and “My Mind and Me,” the title song of Selena Gomez’s revealing documentary about her career and mental health struggles. Perhaps less obvious is “Ciao Papa,” which Guillermo del Toro wrote with Roeban Katz for his “Pinocchio” adaptation, but after the tune received a Golden Globe nomination, its absence from the nominees seems conspicuous.