As I catch up on thing I’ve wanted to write about, including some Best Of 2022 lists, as well as a ton of reviews hopefully this weekend, I figure I can’t go too much longer without an official Oscar article. This is why YouTube is so convenient, because it takes 5 minutes to record a reaction video, and upload my thoughts right away, but just a lot more time to actually put pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard?
I wasn’t so incredibly surprised by some of the snubs or surprises. In some cases, the person or film i had projected essentially in the 6th place spot actually snuck in. but then, there are those decisions everyone is talking about, and the ones I’m still angry over, as are many others.
But, first, the Oscars are a celebration. So, let’s celebrate the many well deserved nominees here. In the acting categories, out of the twenty nominated, 17 of the twenty nominees are there for the first time. While we can have a lot of conversations about various forms of diversity, this is brilliant. The only return nominees are Cate Blanchett, Michelle Williams, and Angela Bassett. The latter of whom hasn’t been nominated in the entire lifecycle of Stephanie Szu, who is only 25. It’s been so long since Bassett’s last nomination, that basically the entire career of Michelle Williams has happened since. Bassett’s last nomination pre-dates that of the careers of many of this years nominees, from Michelle Williams and Colin Farrell, to more obvious choices like Ana de Armas and Brian Tyree Henry. So to say that a return for her has been long overdue is an understatement.
But while we celebrate the return of Bassett, we also must acknowledge that she is the only black female in either category, and she and Brian Tyree Henry are the only two black actors nominated in a year that produced lauded roles from Danielle Detweiler, Viola Davis, Jeremy Pope, Gabrielle Union, Naomi Aoki, Will Smith, and Janelle Monae just to name a few.
However, the Asian American representation was on full display with the three Everything Everywhere co-stars, and hong Chou. The latter of whom was predicted to get a nomination in this category a few years back for Downsizing, so it was nice to see her here, even if I did predict Triangle Of Sadness’s Dolly Deleon over her.
I’m fairly happy wiht my 85/120 correct predictions. There are some I knew were risks, but the Oscars frequently have some big WTF moments. Sometimes, they come in the form of what is there, but often they come in the form of what is not. In the actress race, Andrea Riseborough’s self funded campaign for her film To Leslie showed that if your production company or studio won’t run your Oscar campaign, you can just buy one yourself. And it likely cost either Viola Davis or Danielle Detweiler their spot. But Riseborough has never been nominated, and while I could go on about Hollywood’s love of only this particular actress who has “been around for a while”, and how no one stepped up for Dale Dickey in a rare but lovely leading turn in A Love Song… I won’t.
Snubs also happened outside the major categories though. She Said had been long considered a safe bet for at least an Adapted Screenplay nomination, but lost even that, meaning that a rather great Oscar-bait film somehow managed zero nominations. That fifth spot in the Animated Feature category could have gone anywhere, and i was pleasantly surprised enough people had actually seen The Sea Beast to pick it.
But not all was well, as Cinematography front runner Top Gun Maverick somehow bafflingly lost out on its nomination, when most assumed it would be winning. Apparently, shooting actors flying in actual jets isn’t worthy of note. Also failing to get a nomination was Decision To Leave, by far one of the more high profile foreign language films this year, but it was saddled with an awful distributor that was incapable of mounting a campaign. Note to self about future campaigns: don’t bet on Mubi.
Taylor Swift missed out on her Oscar nomination, so we could make sure that Diane Warren got another nomination she won’t win for from a film no one has seen. Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio was shut out of every category it was thought it could expand to, but most unfortunate was the sleight in the Original Score category.
The documentary branch loves to piss people off, so of course they jettisoned the highest grossing documentary of the year, Moon Age Daydream from their nominee list. In Documentary Short, they missed the boat there by failing to nominate 38 At the Garden, which along with their lack of nomination for Bad axe, almost feels like they are sending a very specific message on a very important topic.
The big winners here were Everything Everywhere All At Once, which led all nominees with eleven. Last year, The Power Of The Dog was the leader, and it didn’t win Best Picture. It’s not always an indicator of who wins. Right behind it are both All Quiet on The Western Front and The Banshees Of inisherin at 9 nominees each.
For studios, A24 was well represented not just with Everything Everywhere All At Once, but also films like The Whale, Afterson, and Marcel The Shell With Shoes on. Netflix struck gold with All Quiet, but still got nominations for Pinocchio, Blonde, The Glass Onion, and the Documentary Shorts The Elephant Whisperers and The MArtha Mitchell Effect. Disney, through it’s many subsidiaries, scored big with Avatar and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, but also The Banshees of inisherin is a Fox Searchlight release, and you can’t forget Turning Red.
Who will win? Ask me that later. For right now, I’m still lighting candles for Danielle Detweiler, this years most egregious snub. In an effort for Michelle Williams to make some statement about how mothers are leading characters, and pushing her performance into the lead category, she likely removed a film centered around a real life mother grieving the loss of her son, and her determination to make sure his life was not forgotten. By trying to find one representation, she likely silenced another.