10 biggest snubs, surprises, and talking points from the Oscar nominations 2023

10 biggest snubs, surprises, and talking points from the Oscar nominations 2023
(Image credit: A24/NBC Universal)

The Oscars 2023 nominations are here – and there were plenty of surprises, as well as a few snubs ahead of the 95th Academy Awards. Everything Everywhere All At Once leads the nominations with 11 nods, closely followed by The Banshees of Inisherin and All Quiet on the Western Front, both with nine nominations. But what about what wasn’t nominated?

Well, to start with there were no female directors in the shortlist, despite Sarah Polley’s Women Talking being nominated for Best Picture. Then there's the fact that Nope and The Woman King missed out on some recognition – and those are just a few of the snubs from the big announcement.

We’ve broken down some of the biggest talking points from the Oscar nominations ahead of another eventful ceremony. And if you’re looking for more analysis, here’s how they matched up to our Oscars 2023 predictions too.

Surprise: Paul Mescal nominated for Aftersun

Frankie Curio and Paul Mescal in Aftersun

(Image credit: Cinetic)

Aftersun has been getting plenty of much-deserved awards attention, even scoring several nods at the BAFTAs. But, it was still an outlier heading into the Academy Awards announcement – and while Charlotte Wells may not have landed a Best Director nomination, nor was the film recognized in any other categories, Paul Mescal’s turn as Calum is officially Oscar-nominated. The film follows a young father (Mescal) and his daughter (played by Frankie Corio) on a holiday to Turkey, but behind the sun-soaked fun, he’s hiding another side of himself from her. Mescal will be up against Brendan Fraser (The Whale), Colin Farrell (The Banshees of Inisherin), Austin Butler (Elvis), and Bill Nighy (Living) on the big night.  

Snub: Nope ignored

Keke Palmer, Daniel Kaluuya, and Brandon Perea in Nope

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Jordan Peele's third directorial effort, Nope, was completely shut out from the nominations. Despite some seriously impressive sound design and visual effects, the sci-fi horror didn't pick up a single craft nod. Peele's first movie, Get Out, received nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Original Screenplay in 2018, winning the latter – though his second film, Us, also didn't pick up any Academy Award attention either.

Surprise: Women Talking for Best Picture

Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, and Rooney Mara star in Women Talking

(Image credit: Universal Pictures)

Women Talking hasn't received much love so far this awards season, and an Oscars snub was predicted to follow after the film got no recognition in this year's BAFTA nominations. However, it was nominated for Best Picture at this year's Oscars, and is the only female-directed film in the category. Sarah Polley's hard-hitting drama about a group of women taking their fate into their own hands in a Mennonite colony stars Claire Foy, Rooney Mara, Jessie Buckley, and Ben Whishaw.  

 Snub: No female directors nominated

Women Talking

(Image credit: Universal)

That's right, a grand total of zero women were nominated in the Best Director category this year. Of course, the Oscars are not renowned for their recognition of women filmmakers (only seven nominated for Best Director in its history), but this is a downturn from last year, when Jane Campion was nominated (and won), and from 2021, when Chloé Zhao and Emerald Fennell were nominated, with Zhao winning. 

The most prominent omissions from this year's category are Polley, director of Women Talking, and Aftersun helmer Charlotte Wells. Women Talking was nominated for Best Picture – the only movie in the category helmed by a woman – but Polley didn't get any recognition for directing. Wells' made her directorial debut in 2022 with Aftersun, and Mescal received an acting nod for his role as young single father Calum.

It's not just those two categories, either – none of the Best International Feature Film nominees were directed by women, while only one of the Best Animated Feature nominees was helmed by a female director (Turning Red's Domee Shi) and only two of the Best Documentary Feature filmmakers were female (All the Beauty and the Bloodshed's Laura Poitras and Fire of Love's Sara Dosa).

Surprise: Stephanie Hsu getting her deserved nomination

Everything Everywhere All at Once

(Image credit: A24)

In a very happy surprise, Stephanie Hsu landed a well-deserved nomination for her performance in Everything Everywhere All At Once. The actor plays both Joy Wang and the multiverse skipping Jobu Tupaki in the movie. After Hsu was shut out at the Golden Globes, fans will be very happy to see her nominated here. Indeed, when her name was called out during the announcement, there was an audible cheer all around. Of course, she faces some tough competition in the Best Supporting Actress category, against co-star Jamie Lee Curtis, Kerry Condon (The Banshees of Inisherin), Hong Chau (The Whale), and favorite Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever).

Snub: No Viola Davis or The Woman King

The Woman King

(Image credit: Sony Pictures)

Viola Davis’ impressive performance as fierce Agojie leader Nanisca in The Woman King seemed like an Oscars shoo-in. However, neither her, nor the movie, were recognized in any of the categories. The well-reviewed blockbuster was popular with viewers and critics, and Davis has been garnering attention for her performance so this is a surprise. Thuso Mbedu’s and Lashana Lynch’s performances were also shut out, as was director Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Surprise: Andrea Riseborough’s last-minute Oscars campaign success

To Leslie

(Image credit: Momentum)

Andrea Riseborough’s nomination for To Leslie has built steam over the last month, with plenty of A-listers coming out in support of her. Despite the movie not landing a wide audience, her turn as a mother looking for redemption struck a nerve with many. Among those praising her were Kate Winslet, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Aniston, and Edward Norton. "I’m astounded," the actor told Deadline (opens in new tab) of the news. "It’s such an unexpected ray of light. It was so hard to believe it might ever happen because we really hadn’t been in the running for anything else." 

Snub: Ana de Armas and Brian Tyree Henry getting spotlighted when their films didn't

Ana de Armas in Blonde

(Image credit: Netflix)

Prior to its release, many assumed Andrew Dominik’s Blonde would be an Oscar contender a la Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. Much like Austin Butler, Ana de Armas had undergone a complete transformation – nailing Marilyn Monroe’s voice, mannerisms, and even appearance. However, the film itself had an utterly divisive response and has received little to no attention this award season, save for de Armas earning a Golden Globe nomination.

Causeway, on the other hand, has received several nominations from various critics societies, with Brian Tyree Henry leading the noms for Best Supporting Actor, though the film and its actors received no attention at the Golden Globes. The film, directed by Lila Neugebauer, stars Jennifer Lawrence as a US soldier who returns home after experiencing a traumatic brain injury and connects with James (Henry), an auto mechanic who is also suffering from PTSD after his nephew was killed in a car accident on the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway.

Surprise: Triangle of Sadness for Best Picture

Triangle of Sadness

(Image credit: Lionsgate)

While it won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, no one really expected Ruben Östlund’s wild, vomit-drenched black comedy Triangle of Sadness to "sneak" into this year’s Best Picture category. Opposite the likes of Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical drama The Fabelmans, James Cameron’s sci-fi sequel Avatar: The Way of Water, and harrowing anti-war flick All Quiet on the Western Front, it stands out as the most daring of the Academy’s picks – and we’re all for its inclusion.

Centered on a bunch of rich folks, from influencer models and tech whizzes to arms dealers and "shit" salesmen, the movie sees its unlikeable protagonists luxuriate on a superyacht before rough seas cause them to crash on a remote island. There, the clueless "elite" find themselves answering to the much more competent staff who were serving them onboard. 

None of its stellar cast members – Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Burić, the late Charlbi Dean, Harris Dickinson, and Woody Harrelson, to name a few – received acting nods, but Triangle of Sadness earned spots in Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, too. Back in 2019, Parasite won the most prestigious accolade at Cannes before going on to bag the Oscars’ most prestigious gong. Could this do the same?

Snub: Decision To Leave omitted

Decision To Leave

(Image credit: Mubi)

Korean mystery-romance Decision to Leave didn't get any recognition in this year's Oscars nominations, despite the critical acclaim and other nods the film has received – helmer Park Chan-wook was nominated for Best Director and the movie got a nod in the Best Film Not in the English Language category at the BAFTAs and Park won Best Director at Cannes Film Festival. The movie follows an insomniac detective (Park Hae-il) who becomes obsessed with the prime suspect in a murder case (Tang Wei) and has been a hit with audiences around the world. 


For what else is on its way to theaters this year, check out our guide to 2023 movie release dates.

Fay Watson

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering TV and film for the Total Film and SFX sections online. I previously worked as a Senior Showbiz Reporter and SEO TV reporter at Express Online for three years. I've also written for The Resident magazines and Amateur Photographer, before specializing in entertainment.

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