Oscar Nominations: A Two Star Flop

The Oscar nominations are finally here. A quick look reveals symptoms of a bigger issue in Hollywood.

With the Oscars around the corner, it is time to look back to last year’s releases to see what was left out from the nominations and what we can look forward to in the coming years.

Looking at the Best Picture nominees, we can start to see a trend that will be more and more evident as we move through all the different categories. Avatar, Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick, and Everything Everywhere All At Once were all box office hits and, though not necessarily devoid of artistic merit, The Academy’s choices certainly hint at a monetary bias. 2022 made it clear that theaters are currently on life support. After Covid, people just don’t go out of their way to watch a film when they can do it from the comfort of their couches. Even Spielberg, who in many ways created the concept of a blockbuster, has found it more and more difficult to attract viewers to the theaters to watch his movies. So it comes as a surprise that The Fabelmans was also nominated for best picture despite it being a box office flop.

Whether streaming killed theaters or the death of theaters gave way to streaming is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the new way of watching movies does not seem a reliable source of income for producers and distributors alike. Even if Netflix’s All Quiet On The Western Front was nominated for 9 categories (including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay), The Academy still favors theatrically released films like Elvis, The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All At Once. This last one, in fact, received the most nominations out of all of them, coming up with a well-deserved grand total of 11 nominations. This means it might win one, maybe two Oscars if we are lucky.

I think the real surprise will come from the Best Animated Feature Film category. In the last decade, nine out of the ten winners of the category have been Disney products. It is finally time for a change. Guillermo del Toro’s beautiful reinterpretation of the classic children’s tale is certainly the superior entry out of the three or four Pinocchios released in 2022, and it stands a good chance of winning. However, given its success at the box office and its animation style reminiscent of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (the only non-Disney film to win the category in the last decade), Puss In Boots: The Last Wish might prove to be the winner. Even if it is unlikely to win, my vote is on Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. If only there were a category for Most Wholesome Movie of the Year.

But we must also talk about what The Academy left out this year. I was expecting Guadagnino’s Bones and All to be recognized for its beautiful cinematography if nothing else. The biggest disappointment was seeing Nope not even mentioned once in any of the categories. Keke Palmer definitely deserved to be nominated for Best Actress, and the movie itself deserved to be recognized for its original script. It seems that, after the success of Get Out, the academy has completely forgotten about Jordan Peele. Apparently they also forgot that female directors exist. I guess that after two consecutive years of women winning the category, they decided that was probably enough, which is a real shame given the great directing in films like Women Talking and Saint Omer.

Joan Vega is an English major on the literature track in his final year of college. He spends his days reading modernist writers and listening to music. His favorite movie genres include horror and tragicomedy.