With thirteen nominations, Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer leads this year’s race for the Oscars, followed by Yorgos Lanthimos’s Poor Things with eleven, Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon with ten, Greta Gerwig’s Barbie with eight, and Bradley Cooper’s Maestro with seven. All five films are among the ten nominated for Best Picture, and of those ten, three—a record—are directed by women. Only one woman, though, is nominated for Best Director, and to the surprise of many, she’s not Greta Gerwig.
Instead, she’s Justine Triet. If Barbenheimer is the most celebrated unlikely coupling of 2023, Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall and Jonathan Glazer’s The Zone of Interest make for an intriguing, European sort of alternative pairing. Both films have scored five nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. They took the top two prizes in Cannes—the Palme d’Or and the Grand Prix, respectively—and they share a lead actress, Sandra Hüller, who’s nominated for her performance as a writer suspected of killing her husband in Anatomy of a Fall.
Two other nominees for Best Picture, American Fiction and The Holdovers, have been nominated for five Oscars each, but none of those nods are for the directors, Cord Jefferson and Alexander Payne. Both films, though, can boast Best Actor nominations for their leads, Jeffrey Wright and Paul Giamatti. The other three nominees in this category all play historical figures: Cooper (Leonard Bernstein), Colman Domingo (Bayard Rustin), and Cillian Murphy (J. Robert Oppenheimer).
The one Best Picture nominee that hasn’t yet been mentioned is Past Lives, for which first-time director Celine Song has been nominated for Best Original Screenplay. That category sees the sole mention of May December, a critical favorite written by Samy Burch and directed by Todd Haynes. Besides Gerwig, one of the most bemoaned snubs in the hours following Tuesday morning’s announcement is the pass given to May December’s Charles Melton, and many would like to have seen recognition as well for his fellow cast members, Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore.
Margot Robbie—Barbie herself!—has been passed over, but Gerwig can at least take consolation in becoming the first female director to have three of her features nominated for Best Picture, with Barbie following Lady Bird (2017) and Little Women (2019). Christopher Nolan has been nominated for eight Oscars now, two of them for directing (2018’s Dunkirk and Oppenheimer), but he’s never won one. Conventional wisdom out there seems to hold that this is his year.
With his tenth nomination for Best Director, Martin Scorsese has set a new record. Lily Gladstone, who stars in Killers of the Flower Moon with Leonardo DiCaprio (snubbed) and Robert De Niro (nominated for Best Supporting Actor), is the first Native American in the running for a competitive acting Oscar. Her fellow Best Actress nominees besides Hüller are Annette Bening (Nyad), Carey Mulligan (Maestro), and Emma Stone (Poor Things).
Over the coming weeks, the surprises and snubs will be sorted and resorted, predictions will be made and reconsidered, and the campaigns . . . let’s hope they stay clean. On February 22, nearly 11,000 members of the Academy will begin casting their ballots, and the Oscars will be presented on March 10 during a ceremony hosted by Jimmy Kimmel.
Don’t miss out on your Daily briefing! Subscribe to the RSS feed.