No waves in Hollywood and no big surprises with this 95th selection of the Oscars, whose ceremony is expected on March 12.
Blockbusters, biopics, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson and Steven Spielberg top the list of the 95th Academy Awards announced Tuesday, January 24 in Hollywood. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s sci-fi comedy Everything, Everywhere All at Once has the most nominations with 11 potential statuettes in total.
Strangely (?), two major films are not in this selection, at least in the main categories: Babylon by Damien Chazelle, and She Said by Maria Schrader, whose subjects turn around the Mecca of cinema. Amazing, isn’t it?
The most nominated films: eclecticism
The eleven nominations for Everything, Everywhere All at Once put Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s film at the top of the list of features selected by the Academy for this 95th ceremony. This film, which tells the story of a laundry owner immersed in parallel universes, is ahead of the German feature film Nothing New in the West (9 nominations), the Irish tragicomedy The Banshees by Inisherin (9 nominations), the Elvis biopic about the rock’n’roll legend (8 nominations), and the very intimate The Fabelmans by Steven Spielberg (7 nominations).
It is very surprising to see eventful and high-profile films like Damien Chazelle’s Babylon, about the tumultuous and scandalous life of Hollywood at the turn from silent to talkies, and Maria Schrader’s She Said about the Weinstein affair, expunged from the flagship selections of this 2023 vintage. Is it the sulphurous content of Chazelle’s film on Hollywood, which is a flop at the American box office, and the unease in the profession following the incarceration of producer Harvey Weinstein for rape and sexual harassment, that led to such omissions? The coincidence is disturbing.
Best films: blockbusters
The new adaptation of In the West, Nothing New by Edward Berger after Erich Maria Remarque, produced by Netflix (with Germany and Great Britain), opens the ball of nominees for best film. It is only visible on the screening platform (since October 2022), which would make it a non-grata work in France for the César Awards.
James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster Avatar 2: The Way of the Water will probably only win technical awards. Everything Everywhere All at Once is a surprise in this category, for a science fiction film described by some as “crazy”. Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis could be a surprise as it is in line with its subject, around the conflicting relationship between the King and his manager. It is also a surprise to find here Top Gun: Maverick by Joseph Kosinski, the third opus of a franchise in the continuity of those that preceded it.
Best film: intimate works
Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin is a strong challenger, even if it remains very dialogical and rather theatrical. Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans is an auto-biopic that is due to be released in France on February 22. Todd Field’s Tàr is a wonderful portrait of a woman trapped by her unreasonable passion for her job as a conductor. The film could be worth the Oscar for best actress for Cate Blanchett. The Palme d’Or at Cannes in 2022, Unfiltered, by the Swedish Ruben Östlund is also in the running, still causing a rift between fans and disapprovers of the director. Finally, Women Talkin, expected on March 8 in France, deals with a religious community seeking harmony between faith and daily life.
Best director: consecration for Ruben Östlund?
Logically, we find the directors present in the Best Film category in the list of best directors. First of all, it is the British director Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin, with whom one can feel a very theatrical fiber. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are at the head of Everything Everywhere All at Once, and find themselves in this prestigious category for their first feature film. They face veteran Steven Spielberg, who is on the shortlist this year for The Fabelmans, in which he recounts his youthful love affair with cinema. Todd Field is nominated for Tàr, in our eyes the leading film of this 95th selection, for its chilling classicism in the image of its heroine. Ruben Östlund is nominated for Sans Filtre, Palme d’Or at Cannes 2023, the Swede shining by the sophistication of his direction, after The Square (Palme d’Or 2017).
Surprisingly, Baz Luhrmann is still absent. Elvis is probably his best film to date.
Best actress: Cate Blanchett superstar
The Best Actress category is dominated by Cate Blanchett who is seeking a third statuette for Tàr, after her roles in Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, 2013) and Aviator (Martin Scorsese, 2004).
Ana de Armas is nominated for her very convincing portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Andrew Dominik’s biopic Blonde, only seen on Netflix. Michelle Williams was nominated for The Fabelmans, still unreleased in France, and Michelle Yeoh, for her “mind-blowing” performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once, where she plays a laundress projected into parallel universes.
Best Actor: Colin Farrell without Brendan Gleeson
Austin Butler, seen in Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino, and expected in Dune 2, is on the starting blocks for his title role in Elvis, where he plays a King more real than life confronted with Colonel Parker, his manager. Colin Farrell is up for Inisheri’s The Banshees, but it is hard to understand why his partner Brendan Gleeson is not at his side, in a role of the same magnitude, or thereabouts, where he is remarkable.
Brendan Fraser is nominated for his role as a reclusive teacher in The Whale, expected in France on March 8. Paul Mescal is selected for his role as a father in the intimate Aftersun, by Charlotte Wells, which will be released in France on February 1st. Finally, Bill Nighy is rightly selected for his role as an employee who gives up everything in Oliver Hermanus’ Living.
Best International Film: France absent
Saint-Omer by Alice Diop, selected to represent France at the Oscars in the Best International Film category, was not selected by the Academy. It includes A l’Ouest, rien de nouveau, a German co-production with the United States and Great Britain, broadcast on Netflix. Argentina, 1985, by Santiago Mitreun sees a lawyer leading an inexperienced team against the leaders of the Argentine military dictatorship. The excellent Close comes from Belgium, signed by Belgian director Lukas Dhont, about the separation of two young childhood friends following a tragedy. The Jury Prize (ex aequo) of the Cannes Film Festival, the sublime EO by Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski, is appropriately among the best foreign films of the year.
Finally, The Quiet Girl by Irish director Colm Bairéad tells the story of a little girl who has been erased and neglected by her parents and who makes a painful discovery.