This year’s unusually smooth Oscar race means there are more than a few pleasantly surprised nominees and surely a few disappointed snubs sulking Hollywood this morning. For this year Nominations for the 95th Annual Academy Awards counting actors like Brian Tyree Henry, Paul Mescal and Andrea Riseborough among the former, and, sadly, Danielle Deadwyler for Up to and Viola Davis for The female king among the latest.
Here are the biggest snubs and surprises from this year’s Oscar nominations:
Snub: Danielle Deadwyler, Up to
Though she’s been working for years, Deadwyler got her start as a lead in Up to as Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of murdered teenager Emmett Till. The powerhouse’s performance made her a season breakthrough and earned Deadwyler SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations (and a Gotham Award). Many expected her to land in the Best Actress category at the Oscars, but received no nods.
Surprise: Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
Riseborough had the opposite trajectory of Deadwyler; after starring as a West Texas alcoholic mother in To Lesliewhich had a relatively small outing last fall, the British actress suddenly received an outpouring of support from celebrities such as Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow, earning her an unlikely Best Actress nomination.
Snub: Viola Davis, The female king
Davis was expected by many to receive his fourth acting nomination for his starring role in The female king, after the film did well with critics and the box office. Lashana Lynch was also considered a snub in the supporting actress category, as was the film’s director, Gina Maria Prince-Bythewood.
Surprise: Brian Tyree Henry, Pavement
In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, Henry received a nod for his role opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Pavement, an independent film about a soldier struggling with PTSD. Although Henry received Gotham, Spirit and Critics’ Choice nods earlier this season, he was left out of the Golden Globes and SAG slates, as well as the general Oscar conversation. That didn’t matter, however, as Henry received the coveted Best Supporting Actor award.
Surprise: Paul MescalAfter Sun
Although his performance as a young father in Charlotte Wells’ drama A24 After Sun received many rave reviews, Mescal’s Best Actor nomination was always a bit of a surprise. Since appearing in Hulu’s adaptation of Sally Rooney normal people in 2020, the Irish actor chose difficult roles, like last year God’s Creaturesand the nod to the Oscars for After Sun places him well into the realm of the most exciting actors to watch in the younger generation.
Surprise: Ana de Armas, Blond
Armas went to great lengths to play the late Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s surreal film. Blond, but in a tight race for Best Actress that includes Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh, it wasn’t a total block that she would make this year’s list. (For what it’s worth, Blond leads the pack in nominations for the Razzies.)
Snub: female directors
According to Chloe Zhao (nomadland) and Jane Campion (power of the dog) won the Oscar in the notoriously male-dominated field of Best Director for the past two years, the 2023 nominations completely excluded women. It’s not for lack of options: Charlotte Wells (After Sun), Gina Prince Bythewood (The female king), Maria Schrader (She says) and Sarah Polley (women who talk) all could have been suitors. Instead, Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything everywhere all at once), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Todd Field (Tar) and (surprise) Ruben Östlund (triangle of sadness) filled the list. In a statement, the Women In Film organization said: “Once again, Academy voters have shown they do not value women’s voices, excluding us from Best Director nominations.”
Snub: RRRBest Picture
of SS Rajamouli RRR was a hit with audiences and critics alike, with its ambitious and thrilling dramatization of the lives of two real-life Indian revolutionaries, praising its scale and sheer entertainment value. Although the film was nominated for its maximalist musical number, “Naatu Naatu”, it missed out on the Best Picture category that many had predicted.
After snagging Best Picture and Best Director nominations (and winning Best Original Screenplay) for get out in 2017, Jordan Peele was considered one of the most exciting directors working in Hollywood today. So it was a surprise that his 2022 feature film No was completely excluded from Oscar nominations. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya’s lead performances received critical and public acclaim, but the film did not receive a single nod from the academy.
Surprise: Stephanie Hsu, Everything everywhere all at once
EEAAO led this year’s nominations with eleven nominations in total, including Best Supporting Actress for Stephanie Hsu. Though she’s been a fan favorite since the metaverse comedy-drama first hit theaters, in the awards conversation, Hsu was largely overshadowed by costar Jamie Lee Curtis. So it was a pleasant surprise to see Hsu land an Oscar nomination this year.
Surprise: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
But O crowned Hollywood veteran Hirsch as having one of the best performances this year for his brief but memorable turn in Steven Spielberg The Fabelmanshis inclusion in the Best Supporting Actor category was still a surprise.
Camouflaged: Paul Dano, The Fabelmans
Dano, meanwhile, was expected by many to receive nods for his subtly powerful performance as the father of young Sammy Fabelman, Burt. While his co-stars Hirsch and Michelle Williams (playing Sammy’s mother, Mitzi Schildkraut-Fabelman) were both recognized for their work on the film nominated for Best Picture, Dano was left out of the conversation.
The 95th Annual Academy Awards will air Sunday, March 12 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC. Go here for the full list of this year’s nominations.