The twists and turns of the Oscars race
From big risks to a year of dicks, this year’s list of ACADEMY AWARDS contenders came with highs and lows aplenty
IT WAS A nominations announcement to remember. Co-hosts Allison Williams and Riz Ahmed brought their own unique energy to the proceedings, from Williams quipping that Ahmed was easier to work with than her AI co-star in M3GAN to Ahmed’s droll delivery of the title of Best Animated Short contender My Year Of Dicks (“We’ve been delighted at the hot takes,” the film’s writer, Pamela Ribon, tells Empire of the resulting internet chatter). But the most major moments came with the revealed Academy shortlist, which this year proved to be especially unpredictable. We break down the big talking points.
ANOTHER ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
The World War I trench drama — adapted from German veteran Erich Maria Remarque’s acclaimed book — released on Netflix to little fanfare last October. But, in awards season as on the battlefield, momentum can swing suddenly. Which is how director Ed Berger’s epic ended up adding nine Oscar nods to the record-equalling 14 it picked up in the race for the BAFTAS.
THE ANDREA RISEBOROUGH GAMBLE PAYS OFF
In a sensational twist, a sudden wave of public praise from big-hitters like Jane Fonda, Edward Norton and Kate Winslet (who called Riseborough’s work “the greatest female performance on screen I have ever seen in my life”) skyrocketed the actor’s under-the-radar turn as an alcoholic single mother in To Leslie to the Best Actress shortlist in a matter of weeks. Head to page 76 to read Riseborough speaking firsthand about her wild month.
ANGELA BASSETT MAKES MARVEL-AT-THEOSCARS HISTORY
It took 30 films, but Marvel finally has an acting nominee thanks to Angela Bassett’s powerhouse performance as the grieving Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Is this nomination a stepping stone (or indeed, an Endgame-style portal) to more awards recognition for Kevin Feige’s superhero stable? Bassett’s odds are vibranium-strong.
STEPHANIE HSU GETS HER DUES
Stephanie Hsu missing out on BAFTA and Golden Globes nods for her Everything Everywhere All At Once breakout performance has been one of this awards season’s biggest sore points. But her supercharged performance as a neglected, bagel-obsessed queen of darkness has earned her Academy recognition. “I really feel like any time good news happens, it’s not just for me, it’s for so many other people as well who don’t get to be seen,” the actor said of her nomination.
PAUL MESCAL HITS BIG
It’s rare that a young star gets a Best Actor nod for their first leading role, let alone one for a British indie from a first-time director. Yet Normal People breakout Mescal has done just that for his soulful turn in Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun. Where his performance had audiences reaching for tissues, it could now have him reaching for a trophy.
IN FACT, THE IRISH HIT EVERYWHERE
From the nine nods for The Banshees Of Inisherin, including a first-time nomination for Colin Farrell, to Best International Feature shortlister
The Quiet Girl — a film featuring dialogue exclusively in Ireland’s native tongue — this is a huge year for the country’s cinematic exports.
RRR MISSES OUT
Sure, there was a Best Original Song nomination for the Indian epic’s show-stopping ‘Naatu Naatu’, but no Best Picture or Best Director love despite a groundswell of momentum — including a lengthy public endorsement from James Cameron — around S.S. Rajamouli’s Tollywood epic. What’s Telugu for, “Come on, Academy voters, didn’t you see the scene with the tiger fight”?
LEADING BLACK WOMEN GET NO LOVE
Hotly rumoured contenders Danielle Deadwyler and Viola Davis didn’t earn recognition for their performances for Till and The Woman King respectively. Deadwyler’s snub caused Till director Chinonye Chukwu to take to social media to call out the “unabashed misogyny towards Black women” within the industry.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES FOR FEMALE DIRECTORS
Chukwu was among those omitted from the allmale Best Director nominations line-up, alongside The Woman King’s Gina Prince-bythewood and Women Talking’s Sarah Polley, calling into question just how far Hollywood is striving for parity among its filmmakers.