My Favorite Season is a monthly column by CBC Arts producer Peter Knegt, which covers the six-month “season” that is both his favorite and his Chez Moira Rose. It explores all the awards in view of the big one: the Oscars, which will take place on March 12, 2023.
For better or worse, the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards are in, and they didn’t quite go to plan. There were a lot of big surprises this morning, some welcome and some…not so much (especially if you were one of the expected nominees excluded as a result).
Here are some of the most notable winners and losers from the big announcement. (And speaking of winners, you can check out our predictions for who will win this year’s Oscars here.)
Winner: Everything everywhere all at once
Hopes were very high for Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert Everything everywhere all at once to have a good morning, but few expected him to be nominated for almost literally everything, everywhere.
Its 11 nominations led all of the films in the running, and they include the entire quartet at the heart of its cast (Michelle Yeoh, Ke Huy Quan, Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, the latter also only the second actor to openly queer to ever be nominated for playing a queer role, after Ian McKellen for gods and monsters). Other surprising but deserved nods include costume design (for Shirley Kurata), score (experimental music trio Son Lux), and song (for Ryan Lott and David Byrne’s “This is a Life”).
Except for Mr. Byrne (who was nominated – and won – in 1987 for his score to the last emperor), each of the film’s nominations went to Oscar debutants. The big question now is… how much can he earn?
Losers: Avatar: The Way of the Water and The Whale
One of my big hopes for the nominations was that the two The whale and the Avatar sequel would miss out on best picture nominations (mostly just because I didn’t care that much either). This didn’t quite happen (The way of the water came in), but both films performed far below what people expected overall. The way of the water missed director, song, editing and cinematography (all nominations earned by its predecessor), while The whale was snubbed for best picture (blessed) and, in a big surprise, was dropped from the adapted screenplay in favor of… Top Gun: Maverick.
Winner: Andrea Riseborough!
The out-of-the-box, seemingly coordinated effort by half of Hollywood’s elite to get actress Andrea Riseborough nominated for her performance in the little-known (so far) indie film To Leslie was one of the craziest things to happen to an awards season in quite some time. Even wilder? It worked.
One of the most shocking things to happen in an acting category in quite some time, this nomination suggests that next year every actor in the running will be asking their publicist “the To Leslie.”
Loser: Best Actress category
Unfortunately, the inclusion of Riseborough did not come without repercussions. Many expected that if she walked in, it would knock out Michelle Williams (The Fabelmans) or Ana de Armas (Blond). Instead, Williams and de Armas also entered, leaving Viola Davis (The female king) and Danielle Deadwyler (Up to) to be snubbed for performances that most believe are far more deserving than Riseborough, Williams or of weapons.
It also meant no black women were nominated in a category that has only been awarded once in 95 years (Halle Berry over 20 years ago). Not a great look.
Winners: First-Time Nominated Actors (and Judd Hirsch)
For the first time in 88 years, the five nominees for Best Actor (Austin Butler, Colin Farrell, Brendan Fraser, Billy Nighy and Paul Mescal) received their very first mention on the morning of the Oscar nomination. And what’s more, nearly all of their supporting counterparts were in the same boat: Ke Huy Quan, Barry Keoghan, Brendan Gleeson and Brian Tyree Henry all got their first nods, alongside someone who actually got this pleasure once… 42 years ago.
In a welcome surprise, Judd Hirsch ended up entering for his 10-minute turn as Steven Spielberg’s version of great-uncle (and former circus lion tamer!) in The Fabelmans. In doing so, he breaks the record of 41 years held by Henry Fonda, who waited 40 years between nods for 1941 Grapes of Wrath and 1981 On the golden pond. Hirsch’s previous nomination was for the 1980s Ordinary people, when he lost to his then 20-year-old co-star Timothy Hutton (21 at the time, Hutton remains the youngest Best Supporting Actor winner of all time). So obviously another big winner this morning was the Oscar nerds.
Loser: Taylor Swift
Many other notable people became Oscar nominees for the first time this morning, including Rihanna, Nan Goldin, Kazuo Ishiguro and Jamie Lee Curtis. But one person the Academy has once again decided not to invite to their club is none other than Taylor Swift. Despite an active campaign, she did not get any nominations for her song Where the Crawdads sing (“Carolina”) or for directing a live action short (the extended music video for “All Too Well”).
Swift can take comfort in having achieved just about everything else, but for now, the Oscar will remain elusive.
Yet another fun stat from this morning? 25% of all interim nominees were Irish!
After SunPaul Mescal joined the quartet of Banshees of Inisherin for that to happen, which was only part of the luck the Irish had this morning. Martin McDonagh got 3 nominations for writing, directing and producing Bansheeswhile the country itself was nominated for the first ever international feature thanks to Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language film The quiet girl.
To top it all off, Tom Berekely and Ross White’s “An Irish Goodbye” was nominated for Best Live Action Film. Comhghairdeas, Ireland!
Although we didn’t have a good day as Irish people, Canada also had a lot to celebrate. We had two Canadian-directed films nominated for Best Picture (James Cameron Avatar: The Way of the Water and that of Sarah Polley women who talk), which has only happened once before (when the original Avatar was nominated alongside Jason Reitman In the air). Polley was also nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay (a first for a Canadian), while Canadians Domee Shi and Daniel Roher saw their films turn red and Navalny nominated for Animated Feature and Documentary Feature, respectively.
fire of love Producer Ina Fichman also earned a nomination in the documentary category, while the National Film Board of Canada earned a nod thanks to Canuck animation duo Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis’ short “The Flying Sailors”. And then there was Brendan Fraser, a dual citizen born in Indiana but raised by part-Canadian parents in Toronto, whose Best Actor nomination for The whale makes him the first Canadian nominated in the category since Ryan Gosling in La La Land.
Check out all the nominees and our predictions for who could win at the 95th Academy Awards here.