Every year, Oscars nominations morning teaches us that we should never be too sure.
As a crowdpleaser "The Woman King" is projected to be a frontrunner for the 95th Academy Award, while Oscar nominee Viola Davis is left out of the race.
Academy members paid little attention to films directed by women in 2023. Was it at the expense of recognizing more international talent, such as the German-language film "All Quiet on the Western Front," which received nine nominations?
Several surprises were predictable: We knew there were a few straggling, unpredictable slots, but we didn't know who would fill them. "Aftersun," according to voters, drew enough interest for actor Paul Mescal to win a Best Actor award over Tom Cruise ("Top Gun: Maverick") and Tom Hanks ("A Man Called Otto")
IndieWire delves into those nods and more, following the most notable snubs and surprises from this year's Oscar nominations below.
The 95th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12.
Gina Prince-Bythewood's historical epic received zero Oscar nominations, from prejudice against action films in Best Picture to Andrea Riseborough's last-minute grassroots campaign, which might have pushed out perennial nominee Viola Davis. Films by Black or women directors are overlooked on two fronts.
Everything from "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever" to "Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery" to "RRR" made it to the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards, but ultimately, the 2022 Palme D'Or winner that had a spot high up on early Best Picture expectations carried it through until the end — even receiving a Best Director nomination for Ruben stlund.
The "Avatar" filmmaker was urged to never bet against him, but Cameron, his epic sequel, did not make the cut. He still has three more sequels to go, so maybe the 2029 Oscars will be his greatest accomplishment.
The only significant nomination for the "Aftersun" star by a televised awards show was the Critics Choice Awards, which does not overlap with Academy voters. Mescal defeated both Adam Sandler ("Hustle") and Hugh Jackman ("The Son"), which was a big one for the 26-year-old.
Despite the effort and care Deadwyler and director Chinonye Chukwu put into ensuring that the "Till" standout would be considered, she may be unable to win a Best Actress award due to voters' disinclination to see a film about the Emmett Till tragedy.
Welp, the viral campaign paid off. Though her role in the small independent film has always been well-known, the push on social media to get her nominated right as voting was underway may be the new play for actors in little-known work.
Dano was left out of the Best Supporting Actor race, while his co-stars Michelle Williams and Judd Hirsch made it into the nomination. Voters did not respond to his character's refusal to his son becoming a filmmaker, and supported Steven Spielberg's fictionalized version of his family.
The Academy is showing the character actor some well-deserved love after scene-stealing roles in films like "If Beale Street Could Talk" and "Widows."
Although most people anticipated this outcome by now, Sarah Polley's drama about a group of Mennonite women deciding to escape or fight their male terrorizers came up short in the Best Supporting Actress category. However, the competition was fierce, and with that many amazing performances, the women of "Women Talking" may have canceled each other out.
The director of photography for 'Top Gun: Maverick' would not only be a frontrunner in the Best Cinematography nomination, but also be a nominee for 'Avatar: The Way of Water,' according to this segment of voters.
Todd Field's epic portrait of a musical genius in decline was not on many people's radar for the Best Cinematography category, but it is certainly a thoughtful decision. Take one look at Film Twitter, and you'll see just about every scene of the two and a half hour film rendered as a work of art.
Even though she was critical in bringing the new world of Talokan to life, the first Black woman to be nominated and win Best Production Design did not make it this time around. One look at the nominations though shows that voters were much more interested in documenting a period in history rather than constructing a whole new world.
Although the film was expected to be a nominee for the Oscars since it won the People's Choice Award at TIFF, production designer Rick Carter and set designer Karen O'Hara were far from a guarantee for a Best Production Design nomination (the film just does not have the same impressive setpieces as its competitors). Yet, it is remarkable how the pair brought to life three drastically different scenes from the 1950s and 1960s, from an east coast cinema palace to a California teen beach party.
The first solo female composer to win the Best Score this year had issues with the Academy every step of the way. First, she was told her work on "TR" did not qualify, but she still made the Best Original Score shortlist for her work on "Women Talking." Though she appeared to be on a downward slope, it is still surprising that scoring two Best Picture nominees did not lead to her own nomination.
Son Lux has been more a musical experiment than a go-to soundtrack artist for films like "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby," which received no Oscar nominations, but their love for A24's "Everything Everywhere All at Once" helped them break new ground.
Desplat in particular is another major snub in the Best Original Score, but it seems like the Academy was just not attracted to the musicality of "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" in general. While "Ciao Papa" was expected to entice voters, "Everything All at Once" was dismissed.
It's a mistake to leave out the legendary David Byrne, for a song from a film that was evidently a Best Picture contender before, but was just not recognized by the same standards as other songs. Mitski, an indie music sensation, gets her first Oscar nomination.
"Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" seemed like a given, given his ability to exceed Oscar nominees expectations with every project, and how this Netflix film is the magnum opus of his animation work, but the streaming service also getting in for "The Sea Beast" was a surprise, since previous big Netflix animation films such as "Wendell and Wild" or "My Father's Dragon" would outperform it.
The Academy of Motion Picture and Director has begun to embrace East Asian cinema in a way it has never seen before. "Drive My Car" was a clear winner in 2003's Oscar nomination for Best Picture, but it has yet to recognize Park Chan-wook, a filmmaker who has never made anything quite accessible enough for him in his home country of South Korea.
Consider Ireland's nomination for Best International Feature Film to be the greatest surprise story to emerge from December's Academy shortlists. The drama directed by Colm Bairéad never made the same impact as international film festival premieres like "Bardo" (Mexico) and "Saint Omer" (France), but caught the attention of curious viewers when it was included on the International category's shortlist in the appropriate spot.