Oppenheimer dune 2 oscar nominations

Oscar nominations and the year without Dune 2

“2023 was a Hollywood year shaped heavily by the SAG-AFTRA and WGA strikes. Not only were films like Dune: Part Two pushed back, but the texture and identity of the industry shifted in ways that are not yet clear.”

Let’s close our eyes and imagine what the Oscar nominations this morning might have looked like if Dune: Part Two had been released on schedule last fall. Would homegrown talent Denis Villeneuve have cleaned up, or would he have been snubbed? The question may feel like clickbait or wishful thinking, but it reveals a Hollywood year shaped heavily by the labour actions of SAG-AFTRA and WGA. Not only were films like Dune: Part Two pushed back, but the texture and identity of the industry shifted in ways that are not yet clear. The Oscars represent a snapshot in time more so than a quality measure. 

Ever since I first got into movies, I’ve been fascinated by the discrepancy between what we think of as “classics” and “great films” and how often they differ from what is rewarded at the Oscars. There are already endless jokes about how little resonance recent Oscar winners like Coda or Green Book had on the culture, but this is hardly a new phenomenon. 

How is it that, in 1956, Around the World in 80 Days won over Giant and The Ten Commandments? How does a film like The Searchers fail to receive a single nomination? Now considered one of John Ford’s greatest works, though controversial, the film has an outsized influence on filmic culture compared with the big winners. 1956 is interesting in other ways, too. It was shaped (as many years of the 1950s were) by the blacklist as Dalton Trumbo, one of the Hollywood 10, won a prize for The Brave One, written under a pseudonym. We can only imagine what films were not rewarded for political or even more impactful reasons, which films were never made due to the dark shadow of Hollywood censorship. 

In the 1990s and 2000s, Harvey Weinstein’s new promotional strategies reshaped the types of films that won Oscars, starting in 1998 with Shakespeare in Love. Many other production companies and studios replicated his wine and dine strategy, matched with intense promotional campaigns. With the mainstream industry struggling to hold onto its influence, though, with a handful of exceptions (this year, I’d say Nyad and Rustin haven’t had an enormous cultural footprint, but since they’re nominated in the acting category and are mostly big names, it’s not really out of left field or strange to see them announced this morning), the methods of pushing relatively unknown films for an unexpected Oscar run don’t really apply this year.  

Though there have always been international films that have managed to break through into the Academy Awards, this has become increasingly common in recent years. We are seeing a shift in the democratization of cinema, as movies like Parasite and Anatomy of a Fall have overcome national borders to resonate with a more American audience. 

Past Lives oscar nominations
Past Lives: Oscar nominations for 2023

Past Lives represents a different shift in influence, the increased popularity and domination of A24 as a taste-making distributor and production company that takes bets on smaller films geared towards young people and adults. Last year, they produced the unexpected best-picture winner, Everything Everywhere All at Once, which was also a box-office hit. The Zone of Interest is also a bit of a dark horse from A24. The experimental and structural approach to the Holocaust focuses on the horrifyingly mundane lives of German families living in a suburban neighbourhood right outside of the Auschwitz concentration camp. While more classically a subject we’ve come to associate with the serious-minded Academy voters, the film’s singular (and, in some circles, controversial) approach makes it worth noting, mainly as it seemed bolstered by a more organic critical campaign rather than a promotional push by A24.

Both Past Lives and Anatomy of a Fall likely benefit (I’d argue to the benefit of audiences) from the attempts to diversify the demographics of the Academy voting block. 

In broad strokes, this year’s Oscar nominees feel representative of an industry’s decade-long attempt to redefine themselves coming to fruition. The selection is strong, representing both critical and box-office appeal, rewarding a more diverse lineup of films with some surprises. Overall, this year feels especially strong across most categories, at least from this critic’s point of view. 

In terms of stats, Oppenheimer leads in Oscar nominations this year with 13, followed by Poor Things with 11, Killers of the Flower Moon with 10 and Barbie with 8.

For those keeping an eye on Oscar nominations for locals and Canadian films, here are the highlights (aside from Past Lives writer/director Celine Song): 

Invincible Oscar nominations 2023
Invincible: Oscar nominations for 2023

Vincent René-Lortie’s short film Invincible is nominated in the Best Short Fiction category. The film depicts the last 48 hours of Marc-Antoine Bernier’s life. It’s a spectacular film in terms of ambition and artistry, but I feel it falls flat ideologically and is more about surface-level poetics than challenging (I’m clearly the exception here as the film is heavily rewarded, so take my opinion with a grain of salt). The Quebec film is produced by Samuel Caron and Elise Lardinois (Telescope Films) and picked up major prizes at Regard, Clermont-Ferrand, Curtas Vila do Conde and Gala Québec Cinéma (among other accolades). 

The NFB (National Film Board of Canada) produced Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger, nominated for Best Documentary film. The film follows Ranjit, a farmer in India, as he takes on the fight of his life by demanding justice for his 13-year-old daughter, the victim of a brutal gang rape. His decision to support his daughter is virtually unheard of, and his journey is unprecedented.

Here are all the 2023 Oscar nominations

Best Picture

American Fiction
Anatomy of a Fall
The Holdovers
Killers of the Flower Moon
Past Lives
Poor Things
The Zone of Interest

Best Actor

Bradley Cooper, Maestro
Colman Domingo, Rustin
Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers
Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
Jeffrey Wright, American Fiction

American Fiction: Oscar nominations 2023

Best Actress

Annette Bening, Nyad
Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
Sandra Hüller, Anatomy of a Fall
Carey Mulligan, Maestro
Emma Stone, Poor Things

Best Supporting Actress

Emily Blunt, Oppenheimer
Danielle Brooks, The Color Purple
America Ferrera, Barbie
Jodie Foster, Nyad
Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Supporting Actor

Sterling K. Brown, American Fiction
Robert De Niro, Killers of the Flower Moon
Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer
Ryan Gosling, Barbie
Mark Ruffalo, Poor Things

Best Director

Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Yorgos Lanthimos, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

Original Screenplay

Arthur Harari & Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
David Hemingson, The Holdovers
Bradley Cooper & Josh Singer, Maestro
Samy Burch & Alex Mechanik, May December
Celine Song, Past Lives

Adapted Screenplay

Cord Jefferson, American Fiction
Noah Baumbach & Greta Gerwig, Barbie
Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
Tony McNamara, Poor Things
Jonathan Glazer, The Zone of Interest

Animated Feature

The Boy and the Heron
Robot Dreams
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Documentary Feature

Bobi Wine: The People’s President
The Eternal Memory
Four Daughters
To Kill a Tiger
20 Days in Mariupol

International Feature

Io Capitano (Italy)
Perfect Days (Japan)
Society of the Snow (Spain)
The Teacher’s Lounge (Germany)
The Zone of Interest (United Kingdom)


Laurent Sénéchal, Anatomy of a Fall
Kevin Tent, The Holdovers
Thelma Schoonmaker, Killers of the Flower Moon
Jennifer Lame, Oppenheimer
Yorgos Mavropsaridis, Poor Things


Edward Lachman, El Conde
Rodrigo Prieto, Killers of the Flower Moon
Matthew Libatique, Maestro
Hoyte van Hoytema, Oppenheimer
Robbie Ryan, Poor Things

Original Score

Laura Karpman, American Fiction
John Williams, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny
Robbie Robertson, Killers of the Flower Moon
Ludwig Göransson, Oppenheimer
Jerskin Fendrix, Poor Things

Production Design

Killers of the Flower Moon
Poor Things

Costume Design

Barbie: Oscar nominations 2023

Jacqueline Durran, Barbie
Jacqueline West, Killers of the Flower Moon
David Crossman & Janty Yates, Napoleon
Ellen Mirojnick, Oppenheimer
Holly Waddington, Poor Things

Visual Effects

The Creator
Godzilla Minus One
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3
Mission: Impossible — Dead Reckoning, Part One


The Creator
Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One
The Zone of Interest

Makeup and Hairstyling

Poor Things
Society of the Snow

Original Song

“The Fire Inside” from Flamin’ Hot
“I’m Just Ken” from Barbie
“It Never Went Away” from American Symphony
“Wahzhazhe (A Song for My People)” from Killers of the Flower Moon
“What Was I Made For?” from Barbie

Live-Action Short

The After
Night of Fortune
Red, White and Blue
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

Documentary Short

The ABCs of Book Banning
The Barber of Little Rock
Island in Between
The Last Repair Shop
Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó

Animated Short

Letter to a Pig
Ninety-Five Senses
Our Uniform
War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko

Oscar nominations and the year without Dune 2

Oscars will be handed out at the 96th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, March 10.

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