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The Conservative Critic

The Oscar Nominations Are Here! Here Are The Best, Worst, Biggest Snubs, And Big Surprises

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No matter how much Hollywood sucks (which is quite a lot), and no matter how political or bought-and-paid-for these awards tend to be – the Academy Awards remains the top award in the film industry and is considered the gold standard for whether or not a film is a high quality. Its only true rival is the Free Press Fail Freedom Award whose nominations have not yet been announced in 2023. 

Even in recent years the Academy politics have been thwarted by the voice of the voters and high quality, special, and even conservative-friendly films have taken wins including CODA from last year and Nomadland from the year prior – both of which enjoyed high critical analysis from the Conservative Critic and the former of which received a Freedom award from Best Supporting Actor. 

So you don’t have to follow it. I am on the sometimes painful and definitely long journey of watching all the Oscar front runners. For a full list of nominees see here

Here are the best, worst, most surprising, and biggest snubs for the nominations this year: 

Best: Top Gun: Maverick for Best Picture 

Based on the lack of nomination for Tom Cruise in the acting categories or for the film’s director or cinematography (more on this), Top Gun: Maverick is unlikely to take the top prize despite quite clearly and objectively being the best movie of this year and probably in the last five years. I was glad to see it nominated as it more than deserved the credit and accolades for single handedly saving films, pioneering technique, and blending nostalgia with high quality new content. 

Worst: Elvis for Best Makeup and Hairstyling 

Austin Butler was truly great as Elvis (he might think he actually is Elvis) and definitely deserves the Best Actor nomination. But the film itself was absolute garbage. Irredeemably bad. One of the worst elements of the entire movie was the God awful makeup and hair. The prosthetics in the movie were so bad they looked like the same ones used when Mike Meyers played Fat Bastard in Austin Powers. They weren’t as good as the ones Tyra Banks wore to pretend to be fat. Even setting aside the atrocious prosthetics (which is a big portion of how makeup gets judged) the hair and makeup itself was insane. Austin’s fake tan looked like 13 year old me had applied it before a pool party sleepover. His eyeliner was thicker than Billie Joe Armstrong in the early aughts. But after all that overdoing, the makeup and hair artists made the absolutely wild decision to totally downplay Priscilla’s makeup and hair even though she was known for a giant beehive and big winged eyeliner. Elvis was trash, but it’s unbelievable that the actual worst party of an already terrible film was nominated for an award.

Biggest Snub: No nominations for Top Gun: Maverick  in directing or cinematography 

There is a major flag on the play for me when it comes to the Top Gun: Maverick production snubs. The team produced a film unlike any film ever made in history. They used technology that has never been used in film before. They had actors actually in military jets flying in g-force with cameras able to capture the action with such clarity that it did not hurt the integrity of the film. You had a director, Joseph Kosinski, who was directing his actors literally while they were in the sky flying at jet speeds. I know cinematography is about the artistic vision of the film, but the film was beautiful and the director had to manage that by directing jet pilots on where to fly and what to capture and by sending his team into high intensity flight scenarios. Tom Cruise was literally flying a jet in the film and they captured it beautifully. These two omissions are unforgivable. Read here for how immensely difficult and technical their unique film technique was to create Top Gun: Maverick. This film is the best of a decade on technique alone. 

Best surprise: Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris for Best Costume Design 

A sweet and lovely film about a woman who has had a tough time and just wants to buy a fancy dress in Paris, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is not the normal Oscar fare. But the film features absolutely stunning vintage Dior recreations that are as appealing in the film as they were when they walked the runway in the 1950s. On top of that, the film really captures something special about the connection between a beautiful dress and a lifted spirit. The film is all about the costumes and fully deserves the nomination if not the win.  

Unconfirmed Snub: The Decision to Leave for Best International Picture or Best Picture

I have not yet seen The Decision to Leave but the internet is absolutely abuzz with its alleged “snubbing.” It is apparently a beautiful film that was the best on the international circuit. I will check it out and report back if it’s any good. I’ve seen a lot of stills and it does appear to be a work of art. 

Worst Surprise: Ana De Armas in Blonde for Best Actress in a Leading Role

I have not seen Blonde. I will never see Blonde. I do not care how well Ana De Armas can cry on cue or “do Marilyn Monroe.” The film (and source material) is a disgusting rape fantasy which fetishises the domineering of Monroe and masqueredes as a gritty retelling of truth. The film invents sexual assaults, forced abortions, and horrific abuses which never occurred and delivers them with highly graphic detail including a close up of Monroe giving fellatio to JFK before he calls her a dirty slut. This is not done to sympathize with Monroe but to instead create a weird, violent, pornographic fantasy about her. It should not be rewarded whatsoever. Leave it to Hollywood to reward an actress for doing something so disgustingly perverted and harmful to women including the real life woman she was portraying. 

Here’s the full list: 2023 | Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Best Picture

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

Best Director

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Todd Field, TÁR

Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Best Actor

Austin Butler, Elvis

Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser, The Whale

Paul Mescal, Aftersun

Bill Nighy, Living

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett, TÁR

Ana de Armas, Blonde

Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie

Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor

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

Best Supporting Actress

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

Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, and Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front

Rian Johnson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Kazuo Ishiguro, Living

Screenplay by Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie, story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks, Top Gun: Maverick

Sarah Polley, Women Talking

Best Writing (Original Screenplay)

Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, The Fabelmans

Todd Field, TÁR

Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness

Best Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

Puss In Boots: The Last Wish

The Sea Beast

Turning Red

Best International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina, 1985

Close

Eo

The Quiet Girl

Best Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Fire of Love

A House Made of Splinters

Navalny

Best Film Editing

Mikkel E.G. Nielsen, The Banshees of Inisherin

Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond, Elvis

Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Monika Willi, TÁR

Eddie Hamilton, Top Gun: Maverick

Best Cinematography

James Friend, All Quiet on the Western Front

Darius Khondji, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths

Mandy Walker, Elvis

Roger Deakins, Empire of Light

Florian Hoffmeister, TÁR

Best Costume Design

Mary Zophres, Babylon

Ruth E. Carter, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Catherine Martin, Elvis

Shirley Kurata, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Jenny Beavan, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová, All Quiet on the Western Front

Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, and Mike Fontaine, The Batman

Camille Friend and Joel Harlow, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, and Aldo Signoretti, Elvis

Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley, The Whale

Best Production Design

Christian M. Goldbeck and Ernestine Hipper, All Quiet on the Western Front

Dylan Cole, Ben Procter, and Vanessa Cole, Avatar: The Way of Water

Florencia Martin and Anthony Carlino, Babylon

Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy, and Bev Dunn, Elvis

Rick Carter and Karen O’Hara, The Fabelmans

Best Music (Original Song)

“Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman, music and lyrics by Dianne Warren

“Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick, music and lyrics by Lady Gaga and BloodPop

“Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, music and lyrics by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR, music by M.M. Keeravaani, lyrics by Chandrabose

“This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once, music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski, lyrics by Ryan Lott

Best Music (Original Score)

Volker Bertelmann, All Quiet on the Western Front

Justin Hurwitz, Babylon

Carter Burwell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Son Lux, Everything Everywhere All at Once

John Williams, The Fabelmans

Best Sound

Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte, All Quiet on the Western Front

Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, and Michael Hedges, Avatar: The Way of Water

Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, and Andy Nelson, The Batman

David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, and Michael Keller, Elvis

Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor, Top Gun: Maverick

Best Visual Effects

Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar, All Quiet on the Western Front

Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett, Avatar: The Way of Water

Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, and Dominic Tuohy, The Batman

Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher, Top Gun: Maverick

Best Animated Short Film

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse

The Flying Sailor

Ice Merchants

My Year of Dicks

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake, and I Think I Believe It

Best Live Action Short Film

An Irish Goodbye

Ivalu

Le Pupille

Night Ride

The Red Suitcase

Best Documentary Short

The Elephant Whisperers

Haulout

How Do You Measure a Year?

The Martha Mitchell Effect

Stranger at the Gate

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