Seven weeks ahead of the 95th Academy Awards ceremony, scheduled for March 12 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, the announcements were made on Tuesday Oscar nominations 2023. As widely expected, the two heavyweights of this awards season have reported an excellent result also among the members of the Academy, with a total of reports even higher than expected: we are talking about Everything Everywhere All at Once by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, a sci-fi comedy about a multiverse involving the countless parallel realities of a family of Korean immigrants, and de The spirits of the island by Martin McDonagh, the story of the sudden breakup of a friendship in the suggestive and desolate scenery of the Irish island of Inisherin.
Many confirmations, scrolling through the list of candidates, but also some genuine twists with respect to the indications of the precursors, that is to say the other trophies of the American award season, starting with the very singular case of Andrea Riseborough (which we will discuss in detail later). Among the trends of these nominations, we continue to find a certain openness for cinematography and styles far from the most classic Hollywood conventions: from the considerable attention to independent productions to the space for more sophisticated or ‘unusual’ works when compared to the canonical Oscar titles, like the corrosive Triangle of Sadness by Swedish filmmaker Ruben Ostlund, in the running for best film, direction and screenplay; passing through the coexistence of emerging talents and gigantic names of the seventh art (one above all, Steven Spielberg).
The frontrunners: the multiverse of the Daniels and the spirits of McDonagh
Let’s start precisely from the two most appreciated films by the members of the Academy, at least on paper. Eleven nominations, even more than expected, paid off Everything Everywhere All at Once by the Daniels: a result due both to the novelty effect of this atypical comedy that recovers elements of cinecomics, and to its vast commercial success (seven million viewers in the USA) in a year in which many important films struggled instead to establish themselves at the box office. Everything Everywhere All at Once places four of its interpreters at the starting line: the protagonist Michelle Yeoh, the first Asian interpreter (the second, if we consider the partial exception of Merle Oberon) nominated for best actress, the supporting actor Ke Huy Quan and two supporting actresses, veteran Jamie Lee Curtis (in her first Oscar nomination) and young Stephanie Hsu. Surprisingly, the Daniels’ work was also nominated in the music sector: for the Son Lux soundtrack and for the song This Is a Life.
Nine nominations, also in this case above expectations, were instead attributed to The spirits of the islandthe comeback of the Irishman Martin McDonagh five years after the success of Three posters in Ebbing, Missouri. Nominees for McDonagh’s film include leading man Colin Farrell, his supporting actors Brendan Gleeson and Barry Keoghan and supporting actress Kerry Condon, capping off a frame-worthy edition for Ireland. But nine nominations also went to Edward Berger’s All Quiet on the Western Front, a German production by Netflix and based on the novel by Erich Maria Remarque: among these, best film, best international film and a large number of technical nominations, although the impressive Berger’s war drama about the First World War was left out of the shortlist for best director.
Everything Everywhere All at Once, the review: life, universes and everything
The Magnificent Ten: Women Talking in, Black Panther and The Whale out
In addition to the three films already mentioned, among the other “magnificent ten” included by the Academy in the list of candidates such as best movie we find Baz Luhrmann’s musical biopic Elvis (eight nominations), the coming of age autobiographical by Steven Spielberg The Fabelmans (seven nominations) and a pair of blockbusters that broke one box-office record after another: Top Gun – Maverick by Joseph Kosinski and another sequel, the science fiction blockbuster Avatar by James Cameron, with six and four nominations, respectively. For the rest, sacred space also for a more authorial cinema, to which Triangle of Sadness can be traced back, and with an intimate slant: this is the case of the highly acclaimed Women Talking by Sarah Polley and Warehouse by Todd Field, a superb portrait of a conductor drawn by Cate Blanchett, six nominations in all (including a couple of unexpected nominations for cinematography and editing).
Meanwhile, the Daniels, Todd Field, Martin McDonagh and Ruben Ostlund win their first nomination for the best directora category in which instead the veteran Steven Spielberg returns to compete thanks to The Fabelmans even for the ninth time in his career: Spielberg thus joins Martin Scorsese on the second step of the podium of the most loved directors in the history of the Academy (ahead only William Wyler, with his twelve nominations). In the shortlist of ten candidates for the Oscar for best film, neither Black Panther – Wakanda Forever, which can still boast five nominations (its predecessor had recorded seven nominations and three statuettes), nor The Whale by Darren Aronofsky, which in compensation can celebrate the nominations for the protagonist Brendan Fraser, suddenly back on the crest of the wave, and for the supporting actress Hong Chau.
Tár, the review: directing self-destruction
The “first times” of the leading actors and the eighth nomination of Cate Blanchett
In the shortlist for best actor, Brendan Fraser is in the company of the young Austin Butler of Elvisby the Englishman Bill Nighy for Living (remake of To live by Akira Kurosawa), the Irish star Colin Farrell and his young compatriot Paul Mescal, nominated for a magnetic test in subtraction in Aftersun, director Charlotte Wells’ debut. And in a category in which well-established names generally impose themselves, the five candidates are all at their “first time” at the Oscars: a more unique than rare result, since a similar situation had not occurred since the seventh annual Academy Awards, eighty-eight years ago. In general, at the Oscars 2023 no less than sixteen out of twenty performers are competing for the first time: among these the Cuban star Ana de Armas for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Blonde and supporting actor Brian Tyree Henry, a surprise nominee for Causeway.
On the contrary, they are two authentic darlings of the Academy Michelle Williams, in her fifth nomination thanks to The Fabelmansit’s sublime Cate Blanchett of Tár, which has reached eight nominations (a result equaled or surpassed, to date, only by six other actresses). The case of the English Andrea Riseborough deserves a separate discussion, nominated as best actress for a tiny independent production, To Leslie, which went almost unnoticed both among the public and during the awards season. In recent days, however, a viral media tom-tam had been activated for Riseborough which had been given life by her colleagues, who sponsored To Leslie with private screenings and posts on social media, to the point of earning her a nomination which, until a couple of weeks ago, seemed an unattainable goal: could this result open a new chapter in the advertising strategies for the Oscars?
Aftersun, the review: the specific weight of memories and an amazing film
I candidati da record, da Judd Hirsch a John Williams
Also significant is the candidacy for Judd Hirschwhich by virtue of its eight dazzling minutes on stage in The Fabelmans was nominated for best supporting actor: at eighty-seven years old (he will turn eighty-eight on March 15), he is the second-oldest actor ever to be nominated for an Oscar after Christopher Plummer. Furthermore, the forty-two years that separate Judd Hirsch from his previous candidacy (per Common people) set an all-time record among actors and actresses, surpassing Henry Fonda’s forty-one-year wait. Another record is the one established, always for The Fabelmansby the legendary composer John Williams: not only because it is his nomination number 53, but because the ninety-year-old Williams (ninety-one on February 8) is now the oldest person ever nominated for an Oscar, thus overtaking Agnès Varda (nominated for an Oscar at eighty-nine years).
The Fabelmans: inside the new film there is all the Spielberg we love
The surprise excluded, from Viola Davis to Eddie Redmayne
We continue our overview of the Oscar nominations with some illustrious ‘outsiders’ who, in spite of the acclaim gathered among the various precursors they failed to make the Academy’s shortlist. Let’s start from the category for best actress, where the twist by Andrea Riseborough has penalized the Viola Davis Of The Woman King (but action movies have never had it easy at the Oscars), but above all Danielle Deadwyler for the biopic Till, in a role that seemed to have immediately mortgaged the sympathy of the voters. Among the secondary interpreters, however, the so-called category fraud did not play in favor of Eddie Redmayne for The Good Nursenor by Carey Mulligan for Me too: two co-starring roles that had been sponsored among the supporting roles to have a better chance. While she certainly would have deserved a place in the five Dolly de Leon, Filipina interpreter who in Triangle of Sadness steals the show from the entire cast.
Triangle of Sadness, analysis of the ending: a world of servants and captains
EO and The Quiet Girl among the international films, smoked black for Park Chan-wook
Among international films, next to Nothing new on the western front and to the already highly rated Argentina, 1985 e Closethe inclusion of EO for Poland and of The Quiet Girl from Ireland came at the expense of Park Chan-wook: the Korean director seemed very fast towards his first Oscar nomination for Decision to Leave, but evidently his noir-tinged melodrama with Hitchcockian echoes didn’t fully convince the members of the Academy. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, a huge favorite among animated films, finds himself cut out of both musical categories, while the magnificent and underrated Babylon has to settle for three nominations, including one for Justin Hurwitz’s soundtrack, but remains predictably ignored in the categories reserved for best film and performers, with Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt out of their respective fives.
EO, the review: you don’t torture a donkey
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