The biggest snubs and surprises from the 2023 Oscar nominations

The 95th Academy Awards race is getting spicier by the minute. This morning, Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed finally handed out the season’s long-rumored Oscar nominations via live stream, exciting some…a nomination for Stephanie Hsu! Women Speak for Best Film!– and confuse others –another year of all-male Best Director contenders? In 2023? The final line-up is an intriguing mix of mainstream hits, prestige favorites, crowd-overlooked gems and indie darlings, but such a slick mix won’t make up for glaring errors and omissions. This year, the Academy all but ignored some of the best performances of the year, although that meant a few standouts got their time in the sun.

Below, let’s dig into the snubs and surprises that caught our attention (and ire) in the 2023 Oscars slate.

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

Hsu has largely been left out of the supporting cast race as she has been overshadowed by Everything everywhere at once costs Jamie Lee Curtis. But to let her performance go unnoticed would be criminal. She showed her range in two roles: Joy, a young queer woman who has lost touch with her mother, and Jobu Tupaki, the multiverse’s jumpsuit-wearing, confetti-spraying, bagel-making villain. Fortunately, the academy saw enough room for both her and Curtis in the category.—Erica Gonzales, Senior Culture Editor

Snub: Dolly De Leon doesn’t get a Best Supporting Actress nod.

Granted, the supporting actress race category is already stacked, and Angela Bassett is more than favored to win. But with Triangle of Triangles appears in major categories like Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Picture, and it’s puzzling that the Academy didn’t nominate the best part of the film: Dolly De Leon. The veteran Filipina actress delivered a poignant performance as housekeeper Abigail and has been garnering praise ever since Triangle premiered in Cannes. The film’s plot-twist third act would be nothing without her.-E.G

Surprise: Hong Chau gets a shot at Best Supporting Actress.

Brendan Fraser, who is enjoying a satisfying comeback tour with The whale, has received most of the public praise for Darren Aronofsky’s latest film. (He also got a lead actor nod today.) But buzz surrounding his return has outshone the talented Hong Chau, who turns in a terrific role as his friend and caretaker Liz. She has so far received minor recognition nominations from film critics, but her Oscar nomination is very much deserved.—E.G

Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry wins a Best Supporting Actor nomination.

Henry is a welcome surprise as a first-time Oscar nominee. Both a former Tony and Emmy nominee, the Atlanta star is warm and grounded as James opposite Jennifer Lawrence’s Lynsey in Causeway, a film from Lila Neugebauer that explores loss, healing and friendship. It bowed relatively quietly on Apple TV+ compared to the bigger contenders for this year’s Academy Awards, but it’s nice to see that Henry was able to break through and get his flowers.—E.G

Snub: Taylor Swift fails to secure a shot at Best Original Song.

While Swifts Too good short film was not in the running, her and Aaron Dessner’s “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing ended on the original song shortlist. But Folklore won her a Grammy for Album of the Year, this Folklore-like number didn’t enchant voters enough for an Oscar nomination. With her ambitions as a director made clear, this likely won’t be Swift’s last chance to be considered for a prestigious film award.—E.G

Surprise: Paul Mescal grabs the best male opportunity he so deserves.

The emotional father-daughter character study Aftersun has enjoyed almost exclusively rave reviews from critics since its debut in October 2022, but there were still fears that lead actor Paul Mescal might be overlooked in favor of flashy performances. His performance as young father Calum, who treats his preteen daughter to a week-long holiday in Turkey, is tender and thoughtful, crushing in its impact even when Mescal’s choices are so subtle they almost seem opaque. Kudos to the Academy for taking notice of Mescal, who has become one of Hollywood’s strongest up-and-coming actors in the years since Hulu’s Normal people thrust him into the limelight.-Lauren Puckett-Pope, Associate Editor

Snub: AddDanielle Deadwyler is denied a Best Actress nomination.

There are few snubs on this list as frustrating as Danielle Deadwyler’s absence from the Best Actress list. She is amazing in the biography Add, in which she plays Mamie Till-Mobley, mother of Emmett Till, with a pitch-perfect blend of iron fortitude and explosive sadness. The movie simply wouldn’t work without her, and seeing Deadwyler consistently overlooked – she’s just as good in the HBO series Station eleven-is a confusing shame.-LPP

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough gets a spot for Best Actress.

One we didn’t see coming: Andrea Riseborough (Birdman, Possess), indie star It’s Leslie, landed in the Best Actress race even though the film lacked the mainstream awards campaign of its competitors. The Michael Morris-directed drama premiered at SXSW last March before its under-the-radar theatrical and VOD release in October. It stars Riseborough as a single mother in Texas struggling to make ends meet after her lottery winnings run out. Despite its low-key debut, the film garnered a handful of celebrities after the film cosignsRiseborough is going to the Oscars.—E.G

Snub: Several outstanding films are overlooked in the Best International Film category.

This is the problem when international films are relegated to only one category: a host of great projects are left to the wayside. That includes last year’s busy releases like Alice Diops Saint Omer from France, Marie Kreutzer’s Corsage from Austria and Park Chan-wook’s Decision to leave from South Korea. While the final elections, such as Belgium’s Close and Poland’s EOfeel deserved, it is also worth noting that the nominees are mainly from European countries (except Argentina, 1985). Davy Chou’s Back to Seoul from Cambodia, Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Bardo, false chronicle of a handful of truths from Mexico, and Saim Sadiq’s Joyland from Pakistan are among the shortlisted who were drawn. And movies like Alcarràs and RRR didn’t even make the shortlist.—E.G

Snub: RRR receives some love from the Academy.

RRR deserved more than a single nomination for Best Original Song. (Though “Naatu Naatu” is a certified bop — and it makes history as the first Telugu-language nominee.) The eye-popping maximalist saga that mixes comedy, action, drama and more was snubbed in categories like Best Visual Effects, Best Production Design , Best Sound, Best Costume Design, and even Best Picture.—E.G

Snub: Neither Aftersunnor do its director, Charlotte Wells, get the recognition they deserve.

Mescal gets prices for Aftersunfortunately, but that doesn’t make up for the otherwise tepid price recognition, which is tilted in the direction of the A24 vehicle. Aftersun didn’t get a Best Picture nomination this year, and director Charlotte Wells didn’t get a Best Director nod either. Both are serious omissions, but Wells’ absence from the Best Directors list is especially frustrating, given how expertise Aftersun is designed. Equal parts found footage, long, lopsided shots and atmospheric immersion, the film plays with perspective in a way that is not only creative; it is effective.-LPP

Snub: There are no female directors nominated for Best Director this year. Again.

In nearly a century of Oscar history, only three female directors have won the Best Director category. Only seven women have ever been nominated. That alarming statistic will not change this year, as the academy once again overlooked several candidates – where is Wells? Gina Prince-Bythewood? Sarah Polley?—in favor of an all-male slate.—LPP

Surprise: Women speak gets its flowers in the Best Picture category.

Now here’s a pleasant shock. Women speak, one of the quieter Oscars contenders this year, was honored not only in the adapted screenplay category, but in the biggest category of the night: Best Picture. There is no doubt that the film will struggle to compete with heavy-hitters like Everything everywhere at once, but the nod does much more than pay lip service to Polley and her stacked, almost all-female cast. Hopefully it will spur new interest in one of them most nuanced, affecting films of the season.-LPP

Snub: Nix is shut out of the Oscar conversation.

To see the Keke Palmer-led, Jordan Peele-directed Nix ignored in not just a few but all of the Oscar categories this year is a huge disappointment, not to mention a nasty sign that Hollywood awards circles are still haunted by horror. Nix may not be a prestige entry, but neither is it Avatar: The Way of Waterand definitely not Top Gun: Maverick-both nominated for best film. (Batman didn’t get much in the way of Oscar appreciation this year either, but at least it wasn’t completely erased like that Nix.) Still, given the considerable talent of both Palmer and Peele, this season’s denial is a mistake that the Academy should absolutely correct in the years to come.—LPP

Snub: Oscar favorite Viola Davis doesn’t get a best actress nod.

Viola Davis is a four-time nominee and secured a trophy for her supporting role in Fencebut to see her left out for her work in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The female king still stings. She put her whole body into that film, literally: Portraying the formidable General Nanisca was both physically and emotionally demanding, and as a skilled performer, Davis did it with aplomb. —E.G

Surprise: Completely quiet on the west front garners numerous nominations.

The World War drama directed by the German Edward Berger swept with nine nominations and finished in second place with Banshees of Inisherin. (Everything everywhere at once came in first place with 11.) Based on the true story of WWI author Erich Maria Remarque, the film’s recognition by the Academy is expected, but the scale of its nominations comes as a surprise: along with international feature, it also got nods. for adapted screenplay and best picture. The Academy loves a sweeping drama, and this one, which premiered in Toronto last September and began streaming on Netflix in October, has got its attention.—E.G

The 95th Academy Awards will airs live on Sunday, March 12 on ABC.

Main photo by Lauren Puckett-Pope

Associate Editor

Lauren Puckett-Pope is an associate editor at ELLE, where she covers film, television, books and fashion.

Main photo by Erica Gonzales

Erica Gonzales is Senior Culture Editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage on TV, film, music, books and more. She was previously an editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com. There’s a 75 percent chance she’s listening to Lorde right now.

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