Is it the 2024 Oscar nominations, or is it the 2023 Oscar nominations? We can never tell. It’s, we guess, the Oscar nominations for 2023 films announced in 2024. Either way, the Oscar nominations are here after what seems like a never-ending stream of year-end award announcements. Now, all that’s left is to watch every other guild award come out before the Oscar ceremony, thus making Oscar night all but irrelevant.
So, did all your nomination predictions come true? As usual, this year’s nominations offer little in the way of surprises, but the Academy always throws a few curveballs our way just to make it interesting and give the entertainment bloggers something to complain about. Let’s take a look at the most surprising nominees and omissions.
Did Barbie direct itself?
Yowzers, did the internet explode after Greta Gerwig and Margo Robbie failed to receive nominations for directing and actress, or what? One could easily predict the avalanche of anger from the Barbie-loving crowd when their names weren’t announced. But to call these snubs does a disservice to the other nominees. Hate to tell you folks, but this was a competitive year and the other nominees in each respective category were deserving of recognition. And in the case of director, when the Academy expands its Best Picture slate to include ten nominees, there is a pretty good bet that five of those film’s directors won’t receive a nomination. Barbie is a fine movie, and Gerwig and Robbie are two reasons why the film rose beyond the level of an obvious toy-marketing cash grab into something more meaningful. But is the film and performance on the same level as an Anatomy of a Fall and its mesmerizing, complex performance by Sandra Hüller? Sorry to disappoint the outraged, but the two films just aren’t even on the same level, not by a long shot.
Asteroid City: The Academy Couldn’t Find it on the Map
No one else seems to be talking about this, but what happened to Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City? Back in late June, when Asteroid City hit theaters, critics fell in love with the movie. Yet, when it came time to fill out year-end top ten lists, and heap critical praise on the year’s best, Asteroid City was more like a ghost town. I can’t begin to understand the Academy’s tastes, but Asteroid City was a far more tantalizing journey than Past Lives, I can tell you.
We All Love John Williams, but Come On
John Williams is a movie score legend, with the record-breaking composer Oscar nominations to prove it. I’m not sure who the fifth slot in this category should have gone to, but giving Williams a nomination for Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiney is kind of embarrassing. All I remember about that score are the call-back cues to Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now that’s a movie score. And as crazy as it seems, that Oscar-nominated score lost out to Chariots of Fire that year.
I was not a huge fan of Oppenheimer. I respect it, and it was a cool thing to see in full-screen IMAX (if you saw this movie on a Lie MAX screen, you were ripped off), but I didn’t find it as compelling as everyone else did. We’ve seen The story of building the atomic bomb on screen in 1989’s Fat Man and Little Boy. I’m guessing not a lot of today’s filmgoers saw that one because if they did, they’d be surprised at how much of the same story gets covered in Nolan’s film. It looks like Nolan and Oppenheimer’s year, and I suspect it will sweep many categories this year, including Best Picture and Director.
I think the tightest races to watch are Best Actor and Actress. Right now, as things stand, it’s a two-horse race in each, with Paul Giamatti and Cillian Murphy locking horns and Emma Stone and Lily Gladstone going head-to-head in the actress category. Who will win? Well, thanks to the SAG awards, the suspense will probably end that night, and spoil what would otherwise make for an exciting watch come Oscar night. For actor, I’m putting my money on Giamatti. He’s likable, and he should have won Best Actor for Sideways. The real injustice is that he wasn’t even nominated for Sideways, and that omission still stings. I also think he gave the best performance of the five actors nominated this year for his role in The Holdovers.
The race between Stone and Gladstone is trickier to predict. If one were voting on performance alone, Stone is your winner. What Emma Stone does in Poor Things is incredible. In my book, she deserves it. Gladstone is excellent, too, don’t get me wrong, but I think if the Academy goes with Gladstone, they are going for a historical moment. And that is something the Academy loves to do. If Gladstone wins, there is no shame in that because she is also deserving, but Stone is so far ahead of everyone else in every category that it would be a shame not to give the Oscar to the best performance of 2024. I’d settle, happily, for a tie.
Enjoy our episode where we have fun going through all the categories. This one is a bit longer than usual because I held off on doing the standard editing I typically do so that we could get this podcast out to you quickly.