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The Highs and the Lows of the 2023 Oscars: Snubs and Successes

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

As the 2022 awards season ends, there is no denying that monumental history was made. Michelle Yeoh, a Malaysian martial arts icon, took home Best Leading Actress at the 2023 Oscars, making her the first Asian woman and the second woman of color to win the award. Everything Everywhere All at Once and All Quiet on the Western Front cleanly swept this year’s Academy Awards, meaning that many other deserving and incredible films got lost in all the commotion. While I’m happy for both films, I cannot repudiate that I’m a tad disappointed that Tár and The Banshees of Inisherin both went home empty-handed. 

Feature Films 

The winning Feature Films ended up being Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (animated), Navalny (documentary), and All Quiet on the Western Front (international). Now, I am not necessarily upset with any of these, but I was rooting for Fire of Love and All the Beauty and the Bloodshed for the documentary category. I am also a strong believer that Decision to Leave should have been nominated for the international feature. Park Chan-Wook’s piece won him best director at the Cannes film festival, along with being selected to be considered for the Palme d’Or. 

Supporting Roles 

As I began to type this paragraph, I left out a hefty sigh… Here is where things get controversial. I will get the obvious out of the way first. It’s no secret that Ke Huy Quan had the Academy Award on lock, just as he had every other serious award win in his grasp. He was phenomenal in EEAAO. His counterpart, however, has proved to be lackluster. Jamie Lee Curtis’ performance is nothing short of a hilarious but glorified cameo. I enjoyed her in the film, yet compared to other performances (especially to the actual supporting actress Stephanie Hsu), she did not do much supporting work. Other roles like Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever should have prevailed, or Hong Chau in The Whale, who was a criminally underrated facet to a provocative film. Kerry Condon, I will avenge you! Jamie Lee Curtis is a great actress, and it wouldn’t be impossible for her to win an Oscar, but her win here feels tasteless and random. 

Short Films 

The Boy, the Horse, the Mole and the Fox won for Best Animated Short (I wish it had been Ice Merchants), The Elephant Whisperer for Documentary Short, along with The Irish Goodbye for Live Action Short film. 

Costume Design/Makeup and Hairstyling 

Costume Design going to Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was a great choice, as the film has such a unique Afro-futuristic sense, with an incredible wardrobe to match it. Ruth Carter makes history as the only Black woman to have multiple Oscars in any category.  Makeup and Hairstyling going to The Whale is questionable… it should have been a win for Elvis

Cinematography/Film Editing 

TÁR WAS ROBBED! For cinematography, easily. Some of the most haunting and bone-chilling shots this year were gifted to us by Florian Hoffmeister. For All Quiet on the Western Front to win feels like a slap in the face to anyone who saw either. Editing belongs perfectly in the hands of Paul Rogers, who completed EEAAO on Adobe Premiere Pro. 

Visual Effects/Production Design 

Avatar winning for Visual Effects is ideal, All Quiet on the Western Front for Production Design is not. In my opinion, I would have advocated for the work of Babylon or perhaps Elvis, but it’s not really a disappointment to me. 

Screenplays 

Women Talking for Best Adapted Screenplay was my very hopeful prediction and I am so glad it won. It was a fantastic screenplay, perfectly adapting the story to the silver screen. I do feel like Banshees of Inisherin was snubbed, as I found the premise, storytelling and dialogue to be superbly idiosyncratic and fleshed out. 

Original Song/Sound/Original Score 

As a hardcore Mitski fan, I am sad that she did not win. Additionally, I mourn for the losses of Lady Gaga and Rihanna (whom I both adore as well). But even I cannot deny that Naatu Naatu is one hell of a banger… Original Score should have been Babylon’s, and while I do think Top Gun: Maverick winning Sound is fine, I propose that not only should Nope have been nominated, but it should also have won! 

Directing 

I’m going to say something controversial. I think Best Directing belonged to Todd Field. There is something so incredibly impressive and intricate about the directing of TÁR, a kind of specific artistry and presence lacking in other projects. 

Lead Roles

To say the least— I am thrilled with Michelle’s win as I am a longtime fan and after seeing EEAAO twice, she deserved it wholeheartedly. She gave a complex and moving performance of an Asian immigrant grappling with intergenerational trauma. No one could have played that role but her. I must also mention that while I thought Paul Mescal was beautifully quiet and poignant, I am happy that Brendan Fraser won. Despite personal opinions on The Whale, there is no denying that he carried the film on his back and that his win is well-deserved. After being wrongfully blacklisted from the industry, my heart could not help but soar when they called his name. 

Best Picture 

I have no serious qualms with Everything Everywhere All at Once winning (as it was my favorite of the year as well), but deep down… I was secretly rooting for The Fabelmans, a blockbuster of perfect Best Picture quality, a concoction of laughter and sadness and self-reflection. Who doesn’t love Spielberg?

Nonetheless, I am satisfied with this year’s winner and the slew of other Oscars it won, and I cannot deny how important it is to have an Asian-led film plow through the box office AND awards. 

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Hi, I'm Aliya Carrington. I am an FSU student studying Women's Studies and Film. I love to write recreationally and for HerCampus!