In what is traditionally the dazzling end to the annual Awards Season, we are now heading full steam ahead to the Oscar buildup, kicking off with the nominations being announced last week. Brandon Blake, our local industry insider and entertainment attorney with Blake & Wang P.A, gives us some of the key points from the nominations ahead of the March 12th ceremony.
A Lack of True Surprise
Let’s kick off with some positives- there’s a decent smattering of indie films included, the blockbusters that have shaped the 2022 Box Office got some needed appreciation, and it was rather nice to see the ‘mid-tier’ offerings like Elvis get some love too. There’s a few little surprises tucked away, but nothing we could call a shocker in good faith. Then again, it wasn’t the most content-filled year we’ve ever seen, so let’s not be unreasonable- those COVID pipeline delays are still echoing!
Seeing the remade German-language version of All Quiet on the Western Front (Netflix) take 9 nominations, Best Picture included, was a double-edged surprise. It’s been very clear that even Netflix expected The Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery to be their big contender, but that only scored one nomination for adapted screenplay. All Quiet did solid work, but was neither a high-profile fall festival promotion nor all that focused on. So we’ll call that one a true Oscar-only nomination. In fairness, the BAFTAs loved it too. And it is deserved- it may be in a foreign language, but it clearly was worth a little more than average. We are a bit surprised to see its director skipped in the general category, although he is nominated for director in the International Film lists.
Perhaps the only truly surprising nomination was Andrea Riseborough in Lead Actress for To Leslie. Don’t worry if that film is off your radar- most can say the same!
Some Solid Indie Nominations
Triangle Of Sadness managed to score a Best Director nomination alongside Best Picture and Original Screenplay. Sadly, the rather stellar performance from supporting actress Dolly De Leon was skipped, however. Everything Everywhere All at Once gained a stellar 11 nominations, heavy in the Director, Actor, Music, and Writer branches. It’s something of a landmark movie for the Oscars, as it has been out since March and was an SXSW premier- far from the usual Oscar pattern. Of course, A24’s profile has been rising all year, and it was a true box Office phenomenon for the size of the picture. A24 also managed Best Actor for Aftersun, an animated nomination with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, and three nominations for The Whale.
Tár and The Banshees of Inisherin managed some passable nominations, and it’s no surprise to see The Fabelmans net seven, including Best Picture. Women Talking also managed some solid nominations.
Avatar: The Way Of Water was expected to score highly in the craft nominations, but pulled a Best Picture nomination as well. It’s nice to see Top Gun: Maverick, the darling of the mid-year Box Office revival, pull six. And very heartening indeed to see Elvis take eight nominations.
Everything Everywhere All at Once, Elvis, and Top Gun: Maverick took 25 nominations between them, and were all early-year openers. There’s an argument that May’s Triangle of Sadness should be included there, too. Quite the bucking of an age-old trend! As always with the Oscars, there were some surprise snubs, too. The Woman King and Till came up empty despite heavy campaigning and likely deserved more.
Until the SAG awards weigh in with some guidance, it’s all up in the air from here. It’s an interesting list, and a little unpredictable, so watching the wind down to the ceremony should be interesting indeed.