Our Biggest 2023 Oscar Snubs

With every Oscar season, people will make and people will miss. Snubs will come that will have you shaking your head completely shocked that an Oscar nomination never formulated. Here at Oscars Central, we have put together a list of some of our biggest Oscar snubs, and why we feel like they should have been nominated.

Best International Feature – Decision to Leave

Decision to Leave had such a weird run this Oscars season. For critics, the film was showing up everywhere, and in many different categories, but wins were few and far in between. After Park Chan-wook picked up a BAFTA nomination for Director I felt like the film was a shoo-in for at least the International Feature category – I even dabbled in the idea of Park getting into one of the director slots – but of course, come Oscar morning the film completely missed. Decision to Leave is a beautifully told romance with some of the best directing, and editing, I have ever seen. It was really a shame to not see it celebrated with an Oscar nomination, and Park Chan-wook will still have to battle for his first Academy-recognized film. – Jacob

Best Adapted Screenplay – Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

The story of Pinocchio has been told and retold possibly more times than any other story in history. Just this year alone there were 3 Pinocchio adaptations and another one just a few years ago. However, there is something that needs to be said about a writer and visionary taking a story that has been told far more times than it ever should have, and can make it feel like a brand new thing. That is exactly what Guillermo del Toro did with his version of Pinocchio – hence why his name is in the literal title of the movie – and by making it more personal to himself, he also completely alters the meaning of Pinocchio for the better. Of course, when adapting anything there needs to be a part of it that stays true to the source as a film can’t stray too far, and in this case, del Toro cleverly and effectively uses every aspect of the Pinocchio story and brings them to life during the rise of fascist Italy under the rule of Mussolini. While it remains an adaptation it is entirely original as well, doing everything it can to retell this familiar story in a brand-new way. This was a beautiful adaptation from del Toro and Patrick McHale and should have been nominated in this category. – Jacob

Best Documentary Feature – Moonage Daydream

This year was a tough year for documentary features but in the best way possible. There was a long list of many worthy contenders, and by the time nominations came around, I felt that any selection of the films shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature were worthy choices. However, I was disappointed to see Moonage Daydream shut out in the end. I had high hopes for it after seeing it shortlisted for Best Sound, but it ultimately didn’t make the final cut. 

I absolutely loved this documentary and thought it was a beautiful tribute to its subject matter. Posthumous documentaries can be tricky, as they do not give the subject a chance to provide their current perspective. However, Moonage Daydream makes it seem as if Bowie himself is controlling the narrative, as it relies on clips and sound bites of the music icon speaking in his own words. While the documentary may have been a bit too “artsy” for the Academy voters, its artistic value is what ultimately elevated it to the next level. An artist as colossal as David Bowie deserves something more than a talking heads documentary, especially so long after his death. Moonage Daydream manages to capture the very essence of David Bowie himself, and the editing of this documentary is a marvel to watch. While the other nominated documentaries are certainly worthy contenders, Moonage Daydream deserved some recognition. – Lex 

Best Actress – Viola Davis (The Woman King)

It’s impossible to doubt the talent of the incredible Viola Davis, and her performance as Nanisca in Gina Prince-Bythewood’s The Woman King may be one of her best yet. Her role as the general and leader of the Ajogie warriors asks for her to display a full gamut of human emotions, from anger to guilt. Additionally, as a woman in her fifties, she had to train for months to do the stunt work required for the physically-demanding role. 

The Woman King being snubbed completely is unthinkable, considering the quality of the film (which has a 94% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 99% audience score) and the fact that it made almost $100 million worldwide – almost unheard of for a non-franchise film. It seems like unfortunate proof that the Academy is unwilling to embrace a film about Black women directed by a Black woman, even when it’s a historical epic like their beloved Gladiator and Braveheart. But Viola Davis – who got all the precursor nominations – not being considered for Best Actress hurts the most. – Nicole 

Best Director – Sarah Polley (Women Talking

Women Talking is one of the best films of the year and scored both Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations, but notably was not included in the all male Best Director lineup. Sarah Polley directed the Best Picture nominee with compassion, love, and respect for not only the characters in the film but the audience as well. What could be a triggering experience for survivors or a not the easiest film to watch for audiences that want more than just dialogue, Women Talking is none of these things. The film never shows violence towards women on screen. The film never feels like just a serious conversation in one place. This is all because of the choices made by Polley as a writer and a director. 

When I first saw Women Talking, one of my first thoughts was how lucky I am to have this film to show my daughter one day. In an interview with IndieWire, Polley said, “This was a film I wanted in the world for my kids in terms of what it had to say about how you analyze a world that isn’t working in a productive way, how to imagine a world that might work, and how to take the lead to go and create it.”  This sentiment is achieved not only through Polley’s beautiful script but her strong direction as well. The Best Director lineup without Polley is incomplete.  – Kenzie 

Original Score – Women Talking

Hildur Guðnadóttir’s score in Women Talking is one of the best original scores of 2022. Guðnadóttir’s score is used perfectly throughout the film. While the sweeping music truly transports you to the story of the film, the silence, and conversation among the characters are still allowed to shine. Guðnadóttir used only instruments she felt were accessible to the characters in the film’s world as a way to truly set audiences in the film. Her score reaffirms the life-changing decisions the characters are going through by elevating the scene to its most impactful.  – Kenzie

Best Lead Actress – Danielle Deadwyler (Till)

In Till, Danielle Deadwyler delivers one of the best performances of 2022. She is a powerful force that commands the screen and your attention in a film that devastatingly covers one of the most horrendous events in American history. Till was always going to be a difficult film to make, yet Chinonye Chukwu made the film with such empathy, grace, and compassion, not only for the Till family but for the audience as well. To leave Deadwyler out of the Best Actress lineup is to willingly acknowledge the category has nothing to do with ‘best performance.’ The performance had all the checkmarks the Academy could ask for; a period piece, a biopic, a yelling scene, and a crying scene. Yet, left out of the nominations. – Kenzie

Best Adapted Screenplay – She Said (Rebecca Lenkiewicz)

It’s not often a ripped-from-the-headlines stories work on the big screen. New York Times journalists Jodi-Kantor and Megan Twohey combined to bring down one of the biggest predators of our time, jumpstarting the powerful MeToo movement. When you watch this film, you have such great admiration for their work blended with performances across the board that should’ve been nominated. However, none of it works without the precision of Lenkiewicz’s script that catapults this film to another level. How she chronicled every pivotal moment that often left you holding your breath was nothing short of brilliant. It’s a shame that her work and this film weren’t recognized because every layer of this film is perfect.  – Ricky

Best Cinematography – The Batman (Greig Fraser)

Under Greig Fraser’s eye, Gotham has never looked simultaneously dirtier and more gorgeous. Most superhero films, namely the Marvel Cinematic Universe, have grown accustomed to a certain look and feel that feels, at best, minimal. This is why it was so refreshing to see a comic book film with not only such a unique look and feel but a stunning one at that. The way Fraser and director Matt Reeves use lighting in every shot to make the film have such a gritty feel goes off without a hitch, making every shot look like an art piece. And it’s not even like the nomination was a pipe dream, Fraser was nominated for his work at the ASC, the BSC, and the BAFTA. So that just made it extra upsetting when it missed out on the nomination at the end of the day. – Adriano

Listen to our reactions to the 2023 Oscar nominations here!
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