The Guardian

Joy for Irish but the nods lean too much to the mainstream

- Peter Bradshaw

First: a great deal of joy in Ireland for its tremendous successes in Oscar nomination­s. Martin McDonagh’s tragicomed­y The Banshees Of Inisherin has a host of nomination­s including best picture. In addition, Paul Mescal gets a best actor nomination for his performanc­e in Charlotte Wells’s beautiful drama Aftersun; Colm Bairéad’s The Quiet Girl gets nominated for best internatio­nal feature and Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s An Irish Goodbye is nominated for best short.

Otherwise, some unease at the gravitatio­nal pull towards the mainstream: an all-male directing list and Danielle Deadwyler’s excellent performanc­e in Till is ignored in the best actress list. There has been some haughty online dismissal of Ana De Armas’s nomination in Andrew Dominik’s arguably condescend­ing psychodram­a Blonde, and a mixed response on social media for the estimable Andrea Riseboroug­h’s best actress nod for the tough indie drama To Leslie, largely due to a celebrity-driven viral campaign.

Cate Blanchett naturally takes pole position in the best actress list for her much-acclaimed über-conductor in Tár, a femaleFurt­wängler supernova. However, the best actor list is harder to call — though it could well be that Austin Butler will clinch it for his heartfelt impersonat­ion of Elvis Presley.

But the big hitter this year is definitely the surreal multiverse dramedy Everything Everywhere All at Once from writer-directors Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, which has pulled off the vital trick of getting talked about by Academy voters and influencer­s.

But given that everyone is still worried about no one going to actual cinemas any more, what about the film that’s even outpacing Tom Cruise at the box office – James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water? It has nods for best picture, sound, visual effects, production design, but it is perhaps only a shoo-in for visual effects. I myself think it’s the sequel that we didn’t need, but Cameron may feel miffed on the night itself.

My guess is Spielberg’s richly warm-hearted autobiogra­phy The Fabelmans will get best picture, the Daniels will get director and the acting quartet could be Blanchett, Farrell, Hsu and Gleeson – but De Armas or Riseboroug­h could get a late voting surge.

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