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The Biggest Snubs and Surprises of the 2023 Oscar Nominations

A still from NOPE

This year’s unusually fluid Oscar race, means there’s more than a few happily surprised nominees and surely some disappointed snubs sulking about Hollywood this morning . For this year’s 95th Annual Academy Awards nominations count actors like Brian Tyree Henry, Paul Mescal and Andrea Riseborough amongst the former, and, sadly, Danielle Deadwyler for Till and Viola Davis for The Woman King amongst the later.

Here are the biggest snubs and surprises from this year’s Oscars nominations:

Snub: Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Though she’s been a working actor for years, Deadwyler made her debute as a film lead in Till as Mamie Till-Mobley, the mother of murdered teen Emmett Till. The powerhouse performance made her a breakout of the season, and earned Deadwyler SAG and Critics’ Choice nominations (and a Gotham Award). She was expected by many to land in the Best Actress category at the Oscars, but failed to receive a nod.

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie

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Riseborough had the opposite trajectory of Deadwyler; after starring as an alcoholic West Texas mother in To Leslie, which had a relatively tiny release last fall, the British actress suddenly received a groundswell of support from celebrities including Kate Winslet and Gwyneth Paltrow, resulting in an unlikely Best Actress nomination.

Snub: Viola Davis, The Woman King

Davis was expected by many to receive her fourth acting nomination for her lead role in The Woman King, after the film performed well with both critics and the box office alike. 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, Causeway

In perhaps the biggest surprise of the day, Henry received a nod for his role opposite Jennifer Lawrence in Causeway, an indie film about a soldier dealing with PTSD. Though Henry received nods from the Gotham, Spirit and Critics’ Choice awards earlier this season, he was left out of the Golden Globes and SAG lists, as well as the general Oscars conversation. It didn’t matter, however, as Henry received a coveted Best Supporting Actor nod.

Surprise: Paul Mescal, Aftersun

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Though his performance as a young father in Charlotte Wells’ A24 drama Aftersun has received plenty of critical acclaim, Mescal’s Best Actor nod was still a bit of a surprise. Since breaking out in Hulu’s adaption of Sally Rooney’s Normal People in 2020, the Irish actor has chosen challenging roles, like last year’s God’s Creatures, and the Oscar nod for Aftersun places him well in the realm of the most exciting actors to watch in the younger generation.

Surprise: Ana de Armas, Blonde

Armas went to great lengths to embody the late Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s surrealist Blonde, but in a tight Best Actress race that includes Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh, it wasn’t a total lock that she’d make this year’s list. (For what it’s worth, Blonde leads the pack in nominations for the Razzies.)

Snub: Female directors

After Chloé Zhao (Nomadland) and Jane Campion (Power of the Dog) took home the Oscar in the notoriously male-dominated Best Director field the past two years, the 2023 nominations completely shut women out. It wasn’t for lack of options: Charlotte Wells (Aftersun), Gina Prince-Bythewood (The Woman King), Maria Schrader (She Said) and Sarah Polley (Women Talking) all could have been contenders. Instead, Martin McDonagh (The Banshees of Inisherin), Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (Everything Everywhere All at Once), Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans), Todd Field (Tár) and (in a surprise) Ruben Östlund (Triangle of Sadness) filled out the list. In a statement, the organization Women In Film said, “Once again, Academy voters have shown that they don’t value women’s voices, shutting us out of the Best Director nominations.”

Snub: RRR, Best Picture

S.S. Rajamouli’s R.R.R. was a hit with audiences and critics, with its ambitious and exciting dramatization of the lives of two real-life Indian revolutionaries drawing praise for its scale and sheer entertainment value. Though the film was nominated for its maximalist musical number, “Naatu Naatu,” it missed out on the Best Picture category that it was predicted by many to land.

Snub: Nope

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After landing Best Picture and Best Director nominations (and winning Best Original Screenplay) for Get Out in 2017, Jordan Peele has been regarded as one of the most exciting directors working in Hollywood today. It was a surprise, then, that his 2022 feature Nope was completely shut out of Oscars nominations. Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya’s lead performances received critical and audience raves alike, but the film didn’t receive a single nod from the academy.

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once

EEAAO led this year’s nominations with eleven nods total, including Best Supporting Actress for Stephanie Hsu. Though she’s been a fan favorite since the metaverse dramedy first premiered in theaters, in the awards conversation, Hsu has largely been overshadowed by costar Jamie Lee Curtis. It was a pleasant surprise, then, to see Hsu land a nomination at the Oscars this year.

Surprise: Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans

Though W crowned Hollywood veteran Hirsch as having one of this year’s best performances for his brief but memorable turn in Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans, his inclusion in the Best Supporting Actor category was still a surprise.

Snub: Paul Dano, The Fabelmans

Dano, meanwhile, was expected by many to receive a nod for his subtly powerful performance as young Sammy Fabelman’s father Burt. While his costars Hirsch and Michelle Williams (playing Sammy’s mother, Mitzi Schildkraut-Fabelman) were both acknowledged for their work on the Best Picture-nominated film, Dano was left out of the conversation.

The 95th Annual Academy Awards will air Sunday, March 12 at 8pm EST on ABC. Head here for the full list of this year’s nominations.

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