The Oscars wouldn’t be the Oscars if they didn’t have their share of snubs and surprises. And this year was no different.
To catch you up, the year’s most nominated film is Everything Everywhere All at Once, with 11 nods, followed by All Quiet on the Western Front and The Banshees of Inisherin with nine each; Elvis with eight, The Fabelmans with seven; and Tar and Top Gun: Maverick, with six each.
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever followed with five nods; Avatar: The Way of Water was next up, with four.
Top Gun: Maverick did better in the nominations than the first Top Gun, which received just four nods. Also, this sequel rated a best picture nod, something that was denied the 1986 blockbuster that made Tom Cruise a superstar. But the aforementioned sequels to Black Panther and Avatar moved in the other direction in voters’ esteem. The original Black Panther had seven nominations. Avatar had nine.
The 95th Oscars will be presented on March 12 at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner will produce the show, with Weiss also serving as director.
Jimmy Kimmel will host for the third time. Kimmel presided over the most infamous gaffe in Oscar history, where the best picture award was presented to the wrong film. Nothing like that could possibly happen again, could it? You’ll just have to tune in on March 12 to see.
We’ve teased you enough. Here are 2023’s snubs and surprises, with a special focus on music categories.
Snub: Taylor Swift
Swift was shortlisted for best original song with “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing, but she failed to land a nod. Swift has yet to be nominated for an Oscar. She has had far better luck at the Grammys, where she has amassed six song of the year nominations, which puts her in a tie with Paul McCartney and Lionel Richie for the most nods ever in that category.
Snub: Billboard Hot 100 Chart-Toppers
Two artists who have had No. 1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 were nominated for best original song (Rihanna and Lady Gaga), but four other chart-toppers were shortlisted but failed to make the final five. The snubbed chart-toppers are Taylor Swift (for the aforementioned “Carolina” from Where the Crawdads Sing), Drake (for co-writing “Time” from Amsterdam), The Weeknd (for co-writing “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water); and Selena Gomez (for co-writing “My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me).
Surprise: David Byrne
Byrne is nominated for best original song for co-writing “This Is a Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once. This is Byrne’s second Oscar nod. He won best original score 35 years ago for The Last Emperor, on which he collaborated with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su. Byrne also won a Grammy for that score, his only Grammy from seven nominations.
Snub: Alexandre Desplat
Many thought the French composer would be a double nominee in the music categories – best original score for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio and best original song for “Ciao Papa,” which he wrote for the film with del Toro and Roeban Katz. Instead, he missed out in both categories.
Snub: Simon Franglen
Like Desplat, Franglen was shortlisted in both music categories for his work on Avatar: The Way of Water. He scored the film and co-wrote “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” with The Weeknd, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso and Axel Hedfors. He was passed over in both categories.
Surprise: Ryan Lott
Ryan Lott is this year’s only double nominee for best original song and best original score. He is nominated for both awards for his work on Everything Everywhere All at Once. He is up for best song for co-writing “This Is a Life” with David Byrne and Mitski; and for best score along with Rafiq Bhatiaand Ian Chang, his colleagues in Son Lux.
Snub: Hildur Guðnadóttir
Three years ago, the Icelandic composer won best original score for Joker. This year, she was passed over for a nod for Women Talking. The film received just two nods, but one of them is for best picture. A second female composer who was shortlisted for best original score, Chanda Dancy for Devotion, was also left out of the all-male nominations list in that category.
Snub: Music Documentaries
Moonage Daydream, which explores David Bowie’s creative and musical journey, and Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, A Song, which looks at the life of Leonard Cohen through the prism of one of the most beloved songs of modern times, were shortlisted for best documentary film, but were passed over for nominations.
To be clear, it’s not a surprise that Elvis did well, but it may be a surprise that it did so well – eight nominations, the most for a music biopic since Amadeus. That 1984 film, which told of a rivalry between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian composer Antonio Salieri, received 11 nods. Other biopics that received eight nods are Funny Girl (1968) with Barbra Streisand as the vaudeville star, and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), with Jimmy Cagney as George M. Cohan. Lead actors from all three of these other films won Oscars, which bodes well for Butler’s chances.
Snub: Songs Written By More Than Four Songwriters
Three of the songs that were shortlisted for best original song had more than four songwriters. Not one of them was nominated. “My Mind & Me” from Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me had six songwriters (Amy Allen, Jonathan Bellion, Selena Gomez, Jordan K Johnson, Stefan Johnson, Michael Pollack). “Nothing Is Lost (You Give Me Strength)” from Avatar: The Way of Water had five (The Weeknd, Steve Angello, Sebastian Ingrosso, Axel Hedfors, Simon Franglen), as did “Good Afternoon” from Spirited (Khiyon Hursey, Sukari Jones, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul, Mark Sonnenblick). Under Academy rules, songs with more than four songwriters can be nominated, but the songwriters have to sign an agreement that if the song wins, they will share one Oscar. This rule needs revisiting, and fast.
Snub: Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler
Two Black actresses were thought to have a good shot at nominations for best actress – Davis for The Woman King (a best picture nominee) and Danielle Deadwyler for Till. Neither was nominated. The snubs extended to the music categories, where Terence Blanchard’s shortlisted score for The Woman King failed to be nominated, as did “Stand Up,” Dernst “D’Mile” Emile II and Jazmine Sullivan’s shortlisted song from Till. Many who were disappointed by the exclusion of David and Deadwyler were pleased to see Angela Bassett’s nomination for best supporting actress for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She is seen as the front-runner to win in the category, 29 years after she was first nominated for playing Tina Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It.
Snub: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson
Both halves of this popular Hollywood couple were in play for nominations for their work on the charming “small” film, A Man Called Otto. Hanks, a two-time winner for best actor, was a serious contender for a nod in that category. Wilson was shortlisted for best original song for co-writing “Til You’re Home.” Neither made the cut.