Our Favorite 2023 Oscar Nominations

The 2023 Academy Award Nominations are here and for the most part, we are pretty happy here at Oscars Central! We wanted to highlight our favorite nominations as there is much to celebrate this year!

Original Score – Babylon (Justin Hurwitz)

A few short years ago, Justin Hurwitz was the front-runner in Best Original Score for First Man. However, on Oscar Nomination morning, his name wasn’t announced. Babylon has been quite controversial, but most have agreed that Hurwitz blew us away with his outlandish jazz-like score that carried the film. I knew Babylon would not fair well with the Academy but knowing that Hurwitz got the respect he deserved was something that made me happy this morning. – Ricky

Lead Actor – Paul Mescal (Aftersun)

Paul Mescal has been slowly rising as one of the hottest actors in Hollywood, and today proved how bright his star really shines. After picking up an Emmy nomination for his first leading TV performance he is able to garner an Oscar nomination with his first leading film performance, but it wasn’t easy. When Top Gun: Maverick picked up a Best Adapted Screenplay nomination – a nomination I am still trying to wrap my head around – and Aftersun missed an Original Screenplay nomination, I really felt like Tom Cruise was going to take the Best Actor spot and continue the 88 year streak of not having five newcomers in the Best Actor race. Well, it goes to show you the power of Mescal’s quiet, restrained, and nuanced performance and the impact it had on people. Aftersun is one of my favorite movies of not only the year, but of all time as well, and this was the one nomination that really could have affected me with the Oscar nominations. Luckily, we live in the timeline in which Mescal is an Oscar nominated Actor, and Aftersun is an Oscar nominated film. Given that he is booked and busy with the Gladiator sequel and Merrily We Roll Along, I truly don’t think it will be his last one either. – Jacob

Supporting Actress – Angela Bassett (Black Panther: Wakanda Forever)

The first sentence out of my mouth as I was leaving the theater when I saw Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was “It’s not going to happen, but Angela Bassett deserves an Oscar nomination for that.” I’ve never in my life been so happy to be wrong!

I’ve said it many times before, I’ll say a hundred times more, Angela is giving a beyond stunning performance in this film. She emulates power and grace, vulnerability and strength. While the nomination is historic in the sense of being the first acting nomination for a Marvel film, it also represents an overdue acknowledgement of Angela Bassett, who has given several Oscar worthy performances in the last 30 years since she received her first and only nomination for What’s Love Got To Do With It. I shed a few rogue happy tears over this one. – Lex

Cinematography – Elvis (Mandy Walker)

Mandy Walker becomes just the third woman to be nominated for Best Cinematography at the Academy Awards. In her second feature with Baz Luhrmann, Walker received a nomination for Elvis. While Elvis was a late breaker in the cinematography race, it is such a deserving nomination. Walker incorporated various lighting techniques and camera lenses to recreate and interject new life into sequences that many can watch online of the real Elvis Presley. – Kenzie

Documentary Feature – Fire of Love

While I was a bit disappointed to see Moonage Daydream snubbed, nominating Fire of Love after a few weeks of fears that it would be shuttered makes for a decent atonement. This documentary is truly one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. While it may be classified as a “nature documentary,” it serves more as a beautiful and true love story. The overarching romantic tragedy that serves as the narrative for this film has been one that has stuck with me in the last month since I first watched it, and this is one of the few non-music documentaries that has made my rewatch list in recent years. – Lex

International Feature – EO

One of the most exciting nominations of the morning had to be EO in the International Feature category! Jerzy Skolimowski’s beautiful, harrowing film on the human condition is one of the most compelling, moving films from 2022. EO is a transcendent, hypnotic tale that allows us to feel the joys and heartbreak of life. Just a beautiful, deserving nomination. – Kenzie

Lead Actor – Brendan Fraser (The Whale)

Even though I knew it was coming, Brendan Fraser receiving his first nomination made me emotional. Fraser is one of my favourite actors when I was growing up and falling in love with film. When I was 8, I watched Looney Tunes: Back In Action every single day, and from there I loved his other works like The Mummy and School Ties. Then of course he was blacklisted from Hollywood for over a decade, and seeing him nominated for his comeback performance in The Whale means so much to me. But Fraser’s breathtaking, empathetic, and groundbreaking transformation into Charlie would’ve been my favourite nominee even without the history attached to it. No matter the outcome, in my mind, Fraser’s already won. – Adriano

Film Editing – TÁR (Monika Willi)

TÁR would not be the masterpiece it is without the contributions of editor Monika Willi. The film’s guide is the idea of time and Willi seamlessly captures real time up until Lydia Tár’s injury as she fragments major details to allow the audience to piece together what happens next in the score. Often it is over indulgent editing of montages that is applauded but the subtlety of Monika’s work perfectly blend with the camera and sound to put you in the midst of Lydia Tár’s unraveling. – Jillian

Lead Actor – Austin Butler (Elvis)

While Austin Butler truly started to feel like a lock a few months ago for a Lead Actor nomination, it was still such a wonderful feeling for me personally to hear his named called this morning! Butler totally surprised me with his perfect performance in Elvis last June and never left my heart as one of the best performances of 2022. I’m typically not a biopic person, but Butler’s performance transcended the genre for me. He is able to make audiences understand the feeling Elvis Presley brought out during his prime. Butler delivers a vulnerable, charismatic, passionate performance in Elvis that will go down as one of the best biopic performances of all time. – Kenzie

Adapted Screenplay – All Quiet on the Western Front (Edward Berger, Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson)

Supporting Actor – Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin)

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