When the sun rose and the dust settled on the announcement of the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards ceremony, Everything Everywhere All At Once was the big winner with eleven chances to win a shiny gold naked dude holding a sword. All Quiet On The Western Front continued to gain steam and go from the best chance to win International Feature to now seeming to be a legit contender for Best Picture. Women Talking, a movie which underperformed at SAG and BAFTA, thankfully got nominated for both Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Jackass Forever was robbed for Best Documentary. And I was 39/50 in my predictions. Not great, but serviceable.
Here are my immediate takeaways from today’s announcements…
There are two big WTF moments, and the first, and biggest, is what an absolute clusterfuck the Best Actress category is. I’ll preface by saying that this race was always going to be a two-woman battle between Michelle Yeoh and Cate Blanchett, both giving near-perfect performances in Everything and Tár, respectfully. I had assumed that Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler were the other locks with a few people scrambling for that fifth spot.
I was wrong.
This is Andrea Riseborough in To Leslie, a movie I’m not even entirely sure is real. Riseborough went on a last minute kamikaze campaign to try and stir up some appreciation for her film and her performance, but everyone assumed it was too little, too late. But it wasn’t. Add to that Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans, a brilliant performance which should have been considered a supporting role and it was farewell to Davis and Deadwyler, two great performances from impressive African-American actresses. Boo.
While we’re discussing The Fabelmans, we need to discuss the Best Supporting Actor category. Huzzah for Judd Hirsch, who uses the five minutes he is in the movie to tear his shirt and act all crazy and give a really fun performance. But his nomination comes at the expense of his castmate, Paul Dano.
Dano, in his best role since There Will Be Blood and the most subtle performance of his career, is absolutely spectacular in The Fabelmans, playing the father who just does not have it in him to understand his son’s filmmaking “hobby”. Dano is not being showy at all, as his character needs to be the weight keeping Williams from just floating off into the ether. It’s an amazing role, so of course he got absolutely hosed this year.
I am happy that Top Gun: Maverick, a movie about cool-ass planes doing cool-ass shit is a Best Picture nominee. And while I wouldn’t call them snubs, I would have understood if Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski gotten nominations. Someone (Cruise) had to be in those cool-ass planes and someone (Kosinski) had to direct them to do cool-ass shit.
But Best Adapted Screenplay? I’m not seeing that.
I imagine the script is just, “Then Tom does this in the plane and it fucking rocks!” For 160 pages. Unless, as some have suggested, the movie is secretly about how Maverick dies in the first ten minutes of the film and spends the rest of it in Purgatory trying to atone for his past sins and complete all his life’s missions before moving to the afterlife.
Then it’s the most meta fucking script of all time.