The 95th Academy Awards, held on March 12, 2023, was a night filled with glitz, glamour, and celebration. However, as is the case every year, the Oscar nominations and eventual winners came with their share of controversies and snubs. With several deserving films and performances overlooked, the debate over who should have been nominated or won continues. Here, we examine what we believe to be the most significant snubs from the 2023 Oscars and make our case as to why our picks should have won instead.
(Winner) “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
(Our Pick) “Top Gun: Maverick“
Released in May 2023, “Top Gun: Maverick,” the much-anticipated sequel to the original 1986 blockbuster, has been widely regarded as the savior of theatrical distribution in the movie industry. With its impressive box office success, grossing close to $2 billion, this high-octane action drama reignited the collective passion for the cinematic experience and served as a powerful reminder of why audiences flock to theaters.
“Top Gun: Maverick” showcased the very best of what modern cinema has to offer, from groundbreaking visual effects and breathtaking aerial sequences to the heart-pounding soundtrack and emotional depth of its characters. The film skillfully built on the legacy of its predecessor while offering a fresh and engaging story that resonated with both long-time fans and newcomers to the franchise. This perfect blend of nostalgia and innovation created a captivating and immersive experience that could only truly be appreciated on the big screen.
The film’s undeniable impact on the revitalization of the theatrical experience should not be understated. In an era where streaming services and home entertainment options have increasingly dominated the landscape, “Top Gun: Maverick” played a pivotal role in rekindling the magic and allure of the cinema. The success of this film paved the way for other movies to follow suit, encouraging audiences to return to theaters and providing a much-needed boost to the industry.
Considering its immense impact on revitalizing the significance of the theatrical experience, alongside its exceptional storytelling, visual prowess, and compelling performances, “Top Gun: Maverick” should have won the Best Picture Oscar. The film not only captivated and motivated millions but also acted as a pertinent reminder of the genuine power of cinema. If it weren’t for “Top Gun: Maverick,” the other films honored during this year’s Oscar ceremony might have been confined to the small screen, viewed from the coziness of a home recliner instead of the immersive and collective atmosphere of a theater.
(Winner) Daniel Kwan/Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
(Our Pick) Todd Field for “Tár”
Todd Field, the visionary director behind critically acclaimed films such as “In The Bedroom” and “Little Children,” has once again demonstrated his exceptional talent and unique storytelling abilities with his latest foray into the world of classical music. By bringing this often-overlooked genre to the big screen, Field not only made classical music interesting but also transformed it into a captivating and enthralling experience for audiences.
Field’s masterful direction transcended conventional expectations of classical music-themed films, blending a rich narrative with stunning visuals and a meticulously crafted soundscape. His keen attention to detail and deep understanding of the intricacies and complexities of the music world allowed him to create an immersive experience that resonated with viewers, drawing them into the lives, passions, and struggles of the characters.
Through innovative cinematography and thought-provoking storytelling, Field showcased the beauty, discipline, and dedication required to excel in the world of classical music, while also exploring the emotional and psychological nuances that often accompany such a pursuit. His ability to balance the inherent drama and tension of the story with moments of quiet introspection and vulnerability created a dynamic and engaging film that captured the hearts and minds of audiences.
Field’s unwavering commitment to artistic excellence and his adeptness in elevating a niche subject matter to a level of widespread appeal made him a standout contender for the Best Director Oscar. By challenging the status quo and pushing the boundaries of traditional filmmaking, Field has proven himself as a trailblazer in the industry and demonstrated why he deserved recognition for his groundbreaking work in the directorial realm.
(Winner) Brendan Fraser in “The Whale”
(Our Pick) Austin Butler in “Elvis”
Embodying the essence of Elvis has long been considered an impossible challenge, as capturing the charisma, magnetism, and enigmatic allure that established him as the undisputed King of Rock’n’Roll has consistently eluded even the most skilled performers. However, Austin Butler, with his transformative portrayal of the iconic singer, transcended expectations and delivered a deeply nuanced and multifaceted interpretation. Butler’s performance not only created a believable character but went beyond mere impersonation; he breathed new life into Elvis, immersing himself in the role and embodying the spirit of the legendary musician.
Butler’s meticulous attention to detail, from Elvis’s signature mannerisms and vocal intonations to his emotional vulnerabilities and complex relationships, showcased his dedication to honoring the legacy of the King while adding his unique artistic flair. This remarkable performance garnered widespread critical acclaim and resonated with both die-hard Elvis fans and casual viewers alike, reigniting a sense of nostalgia and admiration for the iconic artist.
Given the seemingly insurmountable task of portraying one of the most recognizable and beloved figures in music history, Butler’s exceptional commitment to his craft and his ability to delve deep into the heart of Elvis’s persona made him a strong contender for the Best Actor Oscar. His performance transcended the typical boundaries of biographical portrayals, offering a fresh and authentic glimpse into the life and struggles of the man behind the legend. In doing so, Butler not only paid homage to the King of Rock’n’Roll but also demonstrated the depth of his own acting prowess, making a compelling case for why he should have been recognized with the prestigious award.
(Winner) Michelle Yeoh in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
(Our Pick) Andrea Riseborough in “To Leslie”
Throughout her illustrious career, Andrea Riseborough has consistently displayed an extraordinary ability to delve deep into the hearts and minds of complex characters, captivating audiences with her diverse and powerful performances across a variety of genres. Her unwavering commitment to her craft, coupled with her exceptional versatility in tackling a wide array of roles, has firmly established her as a highly respected and acclaimed actress in the entertainment industry.
In her latest film, “To Leslie,” Riseborough delivered a truly unforgettable performance as a grieving mother struggling to come to terms with the loss of her child. With a breathtaking combination of raw emotion, vulnerability, and resilience, her portrayal transcended mere acting, offering a profound and empathetic insight into the depths of human suffering and the indomitable spirit required to overcome it. This masterful performance not only showcased her acting prowess but also elevated the film to new heights, making it a deeply moving and impactful experience for audiences.
Riseborough’s transformative portrayal represents the epitome of acting excellence, the kind of performance that other actors can only aspire to equal. Her ability to fully immerse herself in the character, embracing every nuance and emotional beat, demonstrated a level of dedication and skill that is truly awe-inspiring. It is this unwavering commitment to her art and her innate ability to breathe life into even the most challenging of roles that made Andrea Riseborough a standout contender for the Best Actress Oscar. With her stunning performance she not only captivated the hearts and minds of viewers but also solidified her position as one of the most exceptional talents of her generation.
(Winner) Ke Huy Quan in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
(Our Pick) Barry Keoghan in “The Banshees of Inisherin”
Barry Keoghan, the young and immensely talented Irish actor, has been steadily garnering attention and critical acclaim in recent years. With a string of notable performances under his belt, Keoghan delivered yet another unforgettable portrayal. His work in this film not only showcased his exceptional acting prowess but also made him a deserving contender for the Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar.
In “The Banshees of Inisherin,” Keoghan played the role of a complex and enigmatic character, navigating the intricate dynamics of a tight-knit community on a remote Irish island. His portrayal expertly balanced the character’s internal struggles with the external challenges faced by the people of Inisherin. Keoghan’s commitment to authenticity and his ability to convey the emotional nuances of his character allowed him to create a deeply relatable and human portrayal that resonated with audiences.
Keoghan’s performance was marked by a remarkable depth of emotion, as he expertly navigated the highs and lows of his character’s journey. From moments of quiet introspection to intense confrontations, his portrayal was consistently captivating and emotionally charged. By immersing himself in the character and embracing the complexities of the story, Keoghan was able to deliver a performance that felt both raw and genuine.
The actor’s incredible range and versatility were on full display as he seamlessly transitioned between moments of vulnerability, strength, and conflict. His ability to bring such a multi-faceted character to life, while also maintaining a strong connection with the audience, is a testament to his extraordinary talent and dedication to his craft.
One of the most striking aspects of Keoghan’s performance was his ability to create a strong and palpable on-screen chemistry with his fellow cast members. This dynamic not only enhanced the overall impact of the film but also allowed Keoghan to further explore the intricate relationships and tensions that existed within the community of Inisherin. The actor’s exceptional skill in creating and maintaining these connections further elevated his performance and solidified his position as a deserving Oscar contender.
Barry Keoghan’s outstanding performance truly exemplifies the caliber of acting that warrants recognition and accolades, including the prestigious Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar. His ability to bring depth, emotion, and authenticity to his character, while also navigating the intricate relationships and challenges presented by the story, is a testament to his exceptional talent and dedication to his craft. As audiences and critics alike continue to celebrate Keoghan’s work, there is no doubt that his remarkable portrayal will stand as a shining example of his immense talent and potential for years to come.
(Winner) Jamie Lee Curtis in “Everything Everywhere All At Once”
(Our Pick) Angela Bassett in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Throughout her illustrious career, Angela Bassett has consistently demonstrated her prowess as a formidable force in the film industry. Her diverse range of roles and undeniable talent have earned her an esteemed place among the most respected and acclaimed actresses of her generation. With her powerful performance as Queen Ramonda in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Bassett not only continued to break barriers but also served as a source of inspiration for audiences around the world.
In “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Angela Bassett’s portrayal of Queen Ramonda was marked by a captivating combination of strength, wisdom, and grace. As the matriarch of Wakanda, she navigated the complex landscape of politics, tradition, and family with remarkable poise and determination. Bassett’s ability to infuse her character with emotional depth and vulnerability, while simultaneously conveying an unwavering sense of authority, showcased her incredible range as an actress and her commitment to bringing the character to life.
Bassett’s performance also held a significant cultural impact, as she embodied a strong, powerful, and compassionate Black woman in a position of leadership. Her portrayal of Queen Ramonda not only shattered stereotypes and challenged conventional representations of Black women in film but also served as a beacon of hope and inspiration for generations of viewers.
Given her exceptional work and her ability to create an indelible impact on audiences and the industry alike, Angela Bassett was a prime contender for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar. Her portrayal of Queen Ramonda stood as a testament to her incredible talent and her commitment to pushing boundaries, breaking barriers, and inspiring change through her work in the film industry.