What Matters with Oscar
Every year, Oscar lets us know what matters to people who make movies.
While those of us who write about film may have our favorites, only Academy members get to choose who gets nominated.
This year, as the industry continues to wish upon a star for audiences to return to theaters, the honored films reconfirm the joy that cinema brings no matter the size of the screen.
Here are 10 reactions to the nominations.
1.Being Outrageous Matters
Three years ago, Parasite stunned the film world by winning Best Picture for celebrating the outrageous. Oscar now continues the party by nominating two exaggerated explorations, the multiverse of Everything Everywhere All at Once and a vacation gone awry in Triangle of Sadness. These Best Picture contenders remind us anything can show up in a movie.
2. Remakes and Sequels Matter (When Well Done)
All Quiet on the Western Front – with nine nominations – becomes the second remake of a Best Picture winner to compete for the top Oscar. Last year’s nominees included the remake of West Side Story. This year, as well, Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water become the sixth and seventh sequels to be nominated for Best Picture; The Godfather II and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King are the only sequels to win that award.
3. Being Cate Matters
Scoring her eighth Oscar nomination – with wins for The Aviator and Blue Jasmine – Blanchett’s searing performance as an aggressive conductor perfectly matches Todd Field’s storytelling. The film’s six nominations – for Picture, Director, and Screenplay – also include an important nod for Film Editing.
4. Film Editing Matters
In Oscar’s 95 years, only 11 films have been named Best Picture without being nominated for Film Editing. including last year’s winner, CODA. That may not be good news for All Quiet on the Western Front or The Fabelmans, two nominees for the top award that were not honored by film editors.
5. Being Spielberg Matters
For some 45 years, since Steven Spielberg was snubbed by Oscar for directing Jaws, the filmmaker has been a part of the Academy narrative, with three wins and Best Picture nominees in six of the last 10 years. This year, the Academy celebrates the filmmaker’s own story in The Fabelmans, also giving composer John Williams his 53rd nomination for music.
6. Comebacks Matter
Oscar loves to celebrate a performer’s return in the acting categories. For 2022, Ke Huy Quan – a nominee for Everything Everywhere All at Once – becomes the “comeback kid” some 40 years after becoming a child star in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Brendan Fraser also returns to the big screen to secure his first Oscar nod for The Whale.
7. Biopics Matter
Oscar likes to shine its spotlight on films about performers. A few years after Rami Malek was named Best Actor for playing Freddie Mercury and Renee Zellweger won for recreating Judy Garland, Austin Butler is a Best Actor nominee for bringing Elvis Presley to life, and Ana de Armas was nominated for her take on Marilyn Monroe.
8. Being Human Matters
Martin McDonagh’s exploration of family and friendship, The Banshees of Inisherin, continues Oscar’s love affair with films that focus on the layers of relationships. With nods for Picture, Director, Screenplay – and four acting nominations – the film reminds us what cameras can reveal when filmmakers creatively celebrate ties that bind.
9. Oscar Campaigns Matter
Few people have seen To Leslie, a small film about a woman fighting addiction in West Texas. That didn’t stop former Oscar winners Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Winslet from launching a grassroots campaign on behalf of the film’s leading player, Andrea Riseborough. The work paid off with a surprise Best Actress nomination in a category filled with twists and turns.
10. Surprises Matter
It wouldn’t be the Oscar nominations without a few snubs. Many expected acting nods for Tom Cruise, Viola Davis, Danielle Deadwyler, Brad Pitt, and Jessie Buckley, and for Baz Luhrmann, James Cameron, and Sarah Polley to be a part of the director race. More reminders that, while we may all love to predict the nominees and winners, the Academy always has the final say. See you on Oscar night, March