2023 Oscar nominations: The biggest snubs and surprises

Nominees for the 95th Academy Awards were just announced, category by category, here are the official contenders for Oscar season as it truly begins.


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The 95th Academy Awards show is scheduled for March 12.

On Jan. 24, hosts Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams revealed the nominees for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 95th running of the Oscars. The weeks leading up to this announcement were filled with uncertainty as nominations from the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Directors Guild of America (DGA), British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), and the Golden Globe Awards made it increasingly cloudy how the Oscar nominees would shake out. With less than two months to go until the fateful telecast, the lineup boasts several huge upsets that will pave the way for an unpredictable path to the ceremony’s stage.

Best Supporting Actress

The nominees: Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), Hong Chau (“The Whale”), Kerry Condon (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Jamie Lee Curtis (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

From the get-go, “Everything Everywhere” already planted itself firmly as the frontrunner this awards season, bagging two nominations in the category. Supporting Actress had many names coming and going, but once things had settled out in the days before the nominations, it became a fairly easy category to predict. Angela Bassett’s win at the Globes plus her nominations across the board peg her as the current frontrunner, replacing Kerry Condon, and nominee hopeful Dolly De Leon (“Triangle of Sadness”) didn’t make the cut as Stephanie Hsu’s highly-praised turn in “Everything Everywhere” nabbed her the fifth slot.

Best Costume Design

The nominees: “Babylon,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris”

The “Everything Everywhere All at Once” sweep continued as it stole “The Woman King’s” spot on the Costume Design roster. Maybe unlike the Oscars to go for a more extravagant pick (check out anything worn in the film by Stephanie Hsu) as opposed to the rich-colored tribal outfits of a historical epic, but it speaks to the love for “Everything Everywhere” from all branches of the Academy. “Black Panther” is the current frontrunner, Ruth Carter hoping to take home the gold as she did in 2019 for the original, though “Elvis” also has a compelling case.

Best Sound

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “The Batman,” “Elvis,” “Top Gun: Maverick”

Since the Academy combined the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing awards for their 2020 ceremony, Best Sound has become more of a staple for the technical categories. “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “Top Gun: Maverick” are the two tech giants this year, and both getting Sound were further indications of that. “The Batman” also made a surprise appearance, knocking “Everything Everywhere” out of the bunch. Nothing is ever certain at the Oscars, but as an educated guess, “Top Gun” should run away with this one.

Best Original Score

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Babylon,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans”

Several things of note here. Neither “All Quiet” nor “Everything Everywhere” were expected to get a nod for Score, but considering both movies were favorites among the Academy voters, they each made surprise appearances. Predicted in their places were “Pinocchio” and “Women Talking,” the former hoping to go beyond an Animated Feature nomination and the latter a Best Picture hopeful that desperately needed techs with acting nods looking unlikely. Justin Hurwitz is the frontrunner for his contribution to “Babylon” and John Williams took his 53rd Oscar nomination for “The Fabelmans,” the most-nominated person in Oscar history currently alive.

Best Adapted Screenplay

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery,” “Living,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Women Talking”

One of the most surprising categories of the announcement. “The Whale,” which in recent weeks had climbed the ladder up to strong Best Picture contender and been one of two films locked in for a nomination here, completely dropped the ball. “She Said” was also a major Screenplay contender but even after a solid showing at the BAFTA nominations, it too, missed the mark. “Top Gun” was a huge surprise, Picture and Actor the only above-the-line awards it looked promising in. Also, for all the struggle it’s had to break into the major categories, Sarah Polley’s script for “Women Talking” remains the frontrunner.

Best Original Screenplay

The nominees: “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “TÁR,” “Triangle of Sadness”

Increasing the Oscar whiplash, Ahmed and Williams went from announcing one of the most shocking lineups to arguably the most predictable of the morning. The “Original Screenplay Five” had been solid for weeks, even before BAFTA and guild nominations came in to shake things up. There had been talk of upsets in the form of “Aftersun” or “Babylon,” but they were mainly theories just to stir the conversation in a category that was becoming increasingly obvious. Winners at various award shows might change the odds, but right now, it’s a showdown between “Banshees” and “Everything Everywhere.”

Best Supporting Actor

The nominees: Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”), Judd Hirsch (“The Fabelmans”), Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

One of the shakier categories heading into the nominations proved the uncertainty was warranted, with several unexpected twists in the Supporting Actor lineup. SAG and BAFTA nominations for Eddie Redmayne’s performance in “The Good Nurse” shot him up to the top five late in the game but that ultimately came to nothing. Paul Dano also didn’t get nominated for “The Fabelmans,” a surefire bet who was instead replaced by fellow cast member Judd Hirsch. Despite having a much more prevalent role in the film, it wasn’t enough for Dano, and the presence Hirsch had in his only scene clearly resonated with voters more.

Brian Tyree Henry’s subtle and grounded performance in “Causeway” garnered lots of acclaim upon release, but he quickly began falling out of Oscar conversation as the competition looked too stiff for him to overcome. Instead, he made the cut, along with both eligible candidates from “The Banshees of Inisherin.” Despite the doubling up, however, Ke Huy Quan is the frontrunner by miles. Quan has swept the awards circuit so far and his win in Supporting Actor is arguably the most certain of the night as it stands right now.

Best Original Song

The nominees: “Applause” (“Tell It Like a Woman”), “Hold My Hand” (“Top Gun: Maverick”), “Lift Me Up” (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”), “Naatu Naatu” (“RRR”), “This Is a Life” (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

Yet another category where the immense love for “Everything Everywhere” got it an unexpected nomination. Mitski and David Byrne’s collaboration on “This Is a Life” managed to knock out “Ciao Papa” from “Pinnocchio,” sending the film home with nothing but Animated Feature in an underwhelming turnout for the Netflix movie.

Even though Rihanna and Lady Gaga make for substantial hurdles, Original Song is where “RRR” can expect to have its moment. “Naatu Naatu” won the Golden Globe, is a standout moment in a film that features human-on-tiger wrestling and trapeze stunts over a burning bridge (there’s a reason India thought it was too wild to submit for International feature), and if the live performance at the ceremony is anything like the musical sequence in the movie, it may be the most exciting part of Oscar night.

Best International Feature Film

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Argentina, 1985,” “Close,” “EO,” “The Quiet Girl”

Perhaps it wasn’t viewed as a major snub since it wasn’t much of a contender in other categories, but “Decision to Leave” not making the cut for International Feature was a devastating shock to many. It was Korean movie “Parasite” that made history as the first foreign film to win Best Picture, so to have the country’s submission this year (which had been a lock with “All Quiet” since the beginning of nominee predictions) not even make the top five was completely unexpected. Ireland submission “The Quiet Girl” had recently been rising through the ranks and Polish film “EO” would likely have missed out if there were no snubs. “All Quiet” is practically locked in for the win.

Best Animated Feature Film

The nominees: “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” “Pinocchio,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “The Sea Beast,” “Turning Red”

Animated Feature shook out similar to Original Screenplay this year, a category with locks across the board. “The Sea Beast” ultimately won the battle for slot five, defeating hopefuls “Wendell and Wild” and “My Father’s Dragon,” but barely has a shot at the actual prize. While it might look hard to contend with the critical acclaim of “Marcel the Shell” and “Puss in Boots” or anything released by Pixar, “Pinocchio” is one of the most confident picks one can make. Other categories didn’t take well to it, but reception has still been incredibly positive and it was the only one on the list even contending in other categories.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “The Batman,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Elvis,” “The Whale”

Another Academy branch that voted exactly as expected. “Babylon” had been a major contender at one point, but after missing multiple precursor awards and falling out of the mix, these five became the five. Use of prosthetics on Colin Farrell for “The Batman” and both Austin Butler and Tom Hanks in “Elvis” are worth mentioning, but as it was able to craft an emotionally resonant story around a character wearing 300 pounds of them, the crown will likely go to “The Whale.”

Best Production Design

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Babylon,” “Elvis,” “The Fabelmans”

No huge upsets in Production Design. While “Black Panther” didn’t get the fifth slot as odds had predicted, “All Quiet” had already been crushing the technical categories and was bound to steal another movie’s nomination somewhere. “Babylon” remains the frontrunner despite the little love it got in many other categories.

Best Film Editing

The nominees: “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “TÁR,” “Top Gun: Maverick”

More noteworthy categories like Picture, Director, and Acting are where the snubs and surprises are sure to feel the most shocking, but Editing is not to be overlooked. Other than last year, which saw Best Picture winner “CODA” win in a huge upset at the last minute, the Best Picture winner has been nominated for Editing every year since 2015. Not only did “All Quiet” miss out on this major technical nomination, but “The Fabelmans” was completely snubbed. Both were expected to make the cut, and both now look far less likely to go the distance and take home the year’s biggest award.

In their places are “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “TÁR,” the latter of which was never pegged as even having a shot here. This nod specifically can be a really good indicator of a movie’s chance at Picture, and the future is looking brighter for both. The race for the actual award here is between “Everything Everywhere” and “Top Gun,” and at this point it’s too early to call. “Everything Everywhere” not getting a Sound nomination might hurt its chances slightly, but the showdown will remain fierce until precursor awards can be used as better indicators.

Best Cinematography

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Bardo,” “Elvis,” “Empire of Light,” “TÁR”

One of the more wild results of nomination morning, as only two of the top five actually made the roster. “Avatar,” “Fabelmans,” and strong hopefuls like “Babylon” and “The Batman” were shunned to make way for “TÁR,” which was barely contending here, and “Bardo,” a film featuring some of the year’s most impressive camerawork but that looked impossible in this category due to its lack of nominations anywhere else. Roger Deakins also took his 16th Cinematography nod for “Empire of Light.”

The snub of all snubs, though, is “Top Gun” missing out here. Not only was it projected to earn a spot among the five, but it was the category’s most likely winner. Having done very well in other techs, the fact that it didn’t make the list stands out as one of the Academy’s weirdest decisions this year. With the frontrunner out of the race, “All Quiet” should take the Oscar with little struggle.

Best Visual Effects

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar : The Way of Water,” “The Batman,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Top Gun: Maverick”

The last below-the-line award to be announced, this is the first time in seven years that the lineup for Best Visual Effects was made up of more than two Best Picture nominees. This category was fairly easy to predict, the only uncertainty being whether or not a Marvel movie would be nominated after various controversies surrounding the studio’s overworking and underpaying of VFX artists. “Wakanda Forever” squeaked by though, leaving hopefuls “Nope” and “Thirteen Lives” going home empty-handed. For its groundbreaking development and use of new technology, “Avatar” can firmly be locked in for the win.

Best Actor

The nominees: Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”), Bill Nighy (“Living”)

While the award itself is up in the air, the nominations for Best Actor didn’t subvert expectations much. Tom Cruise lost his spot for “Maverick” to “Aftersun’s” Paul Mescal, giving the critically acclaimed indie flick its only nomination. Butler, Fraser, and Farrell have been locked in a three-horse race for several months, and that will only continue to heat up as Oscar night gets closer. Fraser remains the narrow frontrunner, but given that “Elvis” and “Banshees” walked away with 17 collective nominations and the Academy was much less favorable toward “The Whale,” it’s far too early to be confident with any one pick.

Best Actress

The nominees: Cate Blanchett (“TÁR”), Ana de Armas (“Blonde”), Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”), Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”)

After almost 20 categories of unexpected twists and turns, the next five nominees practically set fire to the stage. Michelle Yeoh made history as the first Asian woman to be nominated for Best Actress, and frontrunner Cate Blanchett joined her in the category, making for some serious competition. While Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) were expected to show up, both were ultimately snubbed, Ana de Armas making a surprise appearance for “Blonde” following her success at the Golden Globes and BAFTA nominations.

The most noteworthy name on the list, though, and arguably the biggest surprise in any category is Andrea Riseborough for “To Leslie.” The film made a measly $27,000 in a limited theatrical run and her performance had no Oscar buzz to speak of, but by relying on her connections in Hollywood and the platforms that various A-list celebrities could provide, she was able to generate enough word-of-mouth to secure a spot. Riseborough’s nomination opens the floodgates to a new kind of Oscar campaign, one where commercial success and prior awards recognition may become obsolete in the face of any actor who’s well-established in the industry. Time will tell.

Best Director

The nominees: Martin McDonagh (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Daniels (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), Steven Spielberg (“The Fabelmans”), Todd Field (“TÁR”), Ruben Östlund (“Triangle of Sadness”)

In a category where the fifth slot was the only one truly up for grabs, Ruben Östlund came from way behind to take it. “All Quiet’s” Edward Berger and “Avatar’s” James Cameron seemed to be neck and neck, but “Triangle of Sadness” appeared to resonate strongly for several important awards, giving Östlund the edge. The title of frontrunner has gone back and forth between Spielberg for “Fabelmans” and the Daniels duo for “Everything Everywhere.” While the Daniels have been performing better in other awards circles, the margin is thin.

Best Picture

The nominees: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Avatar : The Way of Water,” “The Banshees of Inisherin,” “Elvis,” “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans,” “TÁR,” “Top Gun : Maverick,” “Triangle of Sadness,” “Women Talking”

Finally, the biggest award in the Academy’s arsenal. For a morning so jam-packed with the unexpected, it was almost tame to have but a few minor snubs in Picture. “Babylon” had the tenth slot going into nominations but after failing to nab any major categories (and slightly underperforming in techs), there was little surprise when it wasn’t mentioned. Maybe more shocking is the absence of “The Whale,” which had a remarkably strong couple weeks leading up to the announcement and say for its Adapted Screenplay snub, looked incredibly promising.

Instead, “Triangle of Sadness” and “Women Talking” secured the final two spots. While it didn’t get Supporting Actress, “Triangle” had a very strong haul with sudden Director and Picture mentions. “Women Talking” is an interesting case, having only one nomination outside of Picture, but it was enough in the end. The love for “Everything Everywhere” cements it as the movie to beat, the only film to cross into double digits for nomination count and the current frontrunner for Best Picture.

In conclusion

The chaotic lead-up to the nominations culminated in the expected amount of chaos, paving the way for even more disruption in the weeks that follow. “Everything Everywhere All at Once” leads the charge with 11 total nominations, “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “All Quiet on the Western Front” close behind with nine each. The 95th Academy Awards are slated for March 12, so be sure to check back for more thorough predictions as the fateful night gets closer.