Every year, the award season at the beginning of the year gives us a glimpse of films from Hollywood and worldwide that have been well received. It all culminates to the Academy Awards aka the Oscars which to this date is used as a marker of prestige for a project. And from the usual heavyweights like Steven Spielberg and Alejandro Inarritu to interesting picks of the Daniels and Baz Luhrmann, this year’s nominations have been diverse.
The 95th Academy Awards had a good mix of light entertainment and heavy but critically acclaimed works. And in tune with that theme, let’s take a look at some unique nominations other than the usual blockbusters like Elvis, the sequels of Avatar and Black Panther as well as cinephile favourite The Fabelmans.
The Banshees of Inisherin
Nominations – Lead Actor (Colin Farrell), Supporting Actor (Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan), Supporting Actress (Kerry Condon), Direction, Editing, Original Score, Best Picture, Original Screenplay
Set during the Irish Civil War, musician Colm one day just stops talking to his best friend, Padraic. Attributing it to his dull personality, Padraic is ignored as his former friend gets ambitious and hopes to create a legacy through music. A simple man, Padraic is hurt and tries his best to reconcile.
But what stumps him is when Colm declares that every time he tries to talk to him, the musician will cut off one of his own fingers. This leads to hijinks as Padraic does his best to trick Colm into befriending him again without approaching him.
Nominations – Lead Actor (Brendan Fraser), Supporting Actress (Hong Chau), Makeup and Hairstyle
The Whale is a tear-jerker for several reasons including the fact that it welcomes 90s superstar Brendan Fraser back into Hollywood as he was previously blacklisted for calling out the corruption in the industry. A fitting comeback for the Brenaissance, The Whale showcases Fraser’s range as he plays Charlie whose obesity affects his life as well as his relationship with those around him which includes his only friend Nurse Liz and his wayward daughter.
Everything Everywhere All At Once
Nominations – Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan), Lead Actress (Michelle Yeoh), Supporting Actress (Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu), Costume Design, Direction, Editing, Original Score, Original Song, Best Picture, Original Screenplay
With a nihilistic take on superhero films, Everything Everywhere All At Once follows Chinese immigrant Evelyn who is a simple woman with simple problems. That is until the IRS start investigating her, her husband tries to divorce her while her overbearing father decides to visit her.
If that wasn’t enough, she is suddenly visited by someone from a parallel universe and is told that her alpha version had invented verse-jumping. And it is now up to her to stop a dangerous being from destroying the multiverse.
Nominations – Lead Actress (Cate Blanchett), Cinematography, Direction, Editing, Best Picture, Original Screenplay
[trigger warning – suicide]
Chief conductor Lydia Tar is on top of her game as she is the first of her kind, has new upcoming performances to work on and has a book coming out. She also has a way with people as her ex, Francesca is her assistant while her wife, Sharon is a concertmaster. However, things start going downhill when Krista, an ex and fellow musician who was blacklisted by Lydia contacts her and then commits suicide.
Lydia’s attraction to a new chair, Olga starts affecting her relationship with Francesca and Sharon while rumour after rumour suddenly starts popping up that could very well ruin her career.
Top Gun: Maverick
Nominations – Editing, Original Song, Best Picture, Sound, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay
30 years after the events of Top Gun, the skilled fighter pilot Maverick returns to the Navy scene as a lowly test pilot. A rushed test run ends in disaster with Maverick being assigned to a Top Gun school full of elite and jeering students who look down on him. With our favourite former lieutenant tasked with training the students for an important tactical mission, Maverick needs to pull all the stops before it is too late.
Nominations – Original Song
RRR is a fictional retelling of what would have gone down if two iconic freedom fighters, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem had met and teamed up to fight the British during their colonisation of India. As leaders of two different rebellions in the South, RRR takes elements to create a supercharged tale of epic proportions. Raju and Bheem go from enemies to comrades when Raju, an officer in the British army is tasked with taking down Bheem.
Nominations – Animated Feature Film
Turning Red follows Mei, who is like any ordinary 13-year-old who helps her parents around, fangirls over a boy band with her friends and has her mom embarrassing her in front of her crush. Except, one day she wakes up to find herself transformed into a red panda.
And the only way to stop herself is to seal the panda spirit through a ritual a month later during an eclipse. Unfortunately, it is on the same day of the boy band’s concert. But with teenagers being teenagers, her friends decide to use Mei’s new party trick to come up with a solution.
All Quiet On The Western Front
Nominations – Cinematography, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyle, Original Score, Best Picture, Production Design, Sound, Visual Effects, Adapted Screenplay
All Quiet On The Western Front is a war movie that uses 17-year-old Paul to break the illusion as the glorification of World War I had young boys enlisting. The nationalistic ideas of protecting their country and dying in honour are all shattered when Paul and his friends enlist only to see that war is not a simple game but a chaotic front for destruction. And they must do their best to survive while the political leaders negotiate for peace.
Nominations – International Feature Film
The Argentinian film is based on the actual events of the Trial of the Juntas in 1985 where the faces of the country’s last dictatorship were put on trial for their bloody rule. Argentina, 1985 follows public prosecutor Julio Strassera as he takes it upon himself to bring a case against the dictatorship after the military courts refuse.
Despite the threats and lack of backing from the military, Strassera and fellow prosecutor Luis Moreno Ocampo decide to rope in enraged students and rookie lawyers to make their case.
Nominations – Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay
[trigger warning – rape]
In a small Bolivian community, the women realise that they are being drugged and then raped. The culprits are caught and imprisoned but most of the men go to bail them out. In the interim, the women must consider their options, all unsavoury as some want to fight while others want to leave.
While the women squabble as they are unable to come to a decision soon, one of their husbands return to gather more money for the bail. The turn of developments have the women rushing to make up their minds as their attackers are soon to return home.
There are obviously many worthy films like the above being acknowledged by the 2023 Oscars. If there are any notable omissions that you feel should have been mentioned, let us know in the comments below!