And the Award Goes to…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science revealed the Oscar nominees on Jan. 24 after much anticipation from the general public. Film enthusiasts were thrilled with the news, as 2023 has been jam-packed full of cinematic masterpieces and stellar performances.

A lineup of Oscar Trophies

Those invested in the film industry will have to wait until the official Academy Award ceremony on Mar. 12. to see the winners. However, this will not prevent predictions and reactions about the nominees to run rampant within the film community.

A movie cannot be brought to life without great performances from its actors and actresses. The 2023 nominees for best actor are Brendan Fraser for The Whale, Austin Butler for Elvis, Colin Farrell for The Banshees of Inisherin, Bill Nighy for Living and Paul Mescal for Aftersun

This year, the best actor nominees are much more diverse in age compared to previous years, as there are many notable young actors on the list such as Austin Butler and Paul Mescal, being 31 and 26 respectively. With relatively little experience in show business, the rest of their careers are poised to be successful and are worth keeping an eye on.

Another nominee, Brendan Fraser, stands out as a frontrunner for best actor. He has had an extremely interesting career, previously starring in summer blockbusters such as The Mummy and Journey to the Center of the Earth. However, after he was assaulted by an industry professional and gained considerable weight, he was blacklisted from Hollywood. This allowed few studios to take a chance on him, until his recent project, The Whale. This movie showcases Fraser’s deeply emotional and gut-wrenching acting, marking a pronounced comeback into show business.

Masuk film club president, Manav Sannappanavar, had several thoughts about this slate of actors.

“Obviously Brendan Fraser came back from Hollywood blacklist with The Whale” he stated, [but] Colin Farrel put on a great performance in The Banshees of Inisherin.” To Sannappanavar, the final verdict of best actor remains highly debated.

The nominations for best actress are Michelle Yeoh for Everything Everywhere All at Once, Cate Blanchett for Tár, Michelle Williams for The Fabelmans, Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie and Ana de Armas for Blonde.

There are not many stand-out performances within this bunch, however, Cate Blanchett’s performance in Tár stands far above the rest of the group. Within her film, she plays Lydia Tár, a composer on the verge of the symphony of her career. Her performance truly expresses the character and the feel of the movie. The Oscar campaign for her movie was drastically influenced by her sheer acting chops.

As far as visuals go, Avatar: The Way of Water has a definitive case for an Oscar. The film uses cutting-edge motion capture technology, along with enhanced 3-D effects to immerse the audience in its fictional world of Pandora.

An overlooked category is the best-animated feature film. This year there are many notable animated movies including, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish or Marcel The Shell With Shoes On. It would not be surprising if either one of these two films took home the Oscar this year, as each has a very unique art style and great voice acting which bring the characters to life.

The most sought-after award every single year is the Best Picture. This award is given to the film that the academy deems as the overall best movie of the year. This year, the ten nominees are,  Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All at Once, The Fabelmans, Tár, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle of Sadness and Women Talking.

The clear frontrunner is Everything Everywhere All at Once, possessing a nomination in nine separate categories this year. It tells a rich science fiction story about a family of Chinese immigrants who need to utilize the branching multiverse to save their daughter. 

Everything Everywhere all at Once is a very well done movie,” stated junior Keller Hall “the sequences were well done and the ideas were interesting.” The film has a real shot at securing the most coveted title. Although, there could be films that the academy finds more deserving. 

The breakout film of the year Everything Everywhere all at Once movie poster

There are three films that could likely upset Everything Everywhere all at Once, these being The Fabelmans, Top Gun: Maverick, and The Banshees of Inisherin. Each film does something better than the other, and none are similar in the slightest.

The Fabelmans delivers a striking coming-of-age story with one of the greatest directors of all time at the helm. Steven Spielberg teams up with composer John Williams to deliver an amazing project with moving performances.

Top Gun: Maverick was the blockbuster hit of the summer, raking in the most money among western audiences than any other movie this year. It featured wonderful cinematography and even better sound design. “I felt it was very moving seeing Tom Cruise go in the planes once again,” stated sophomore Riyaan Kothari

The Banshees of Inisherin tells a simple yet charming story of friendship and loss. With amazing performances from Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, as well as striking shots directly from the coasts of Ireland, the film could foreseeably take a shot at Best Picture. 

Along with the aforementioned award categories come several others, such as best supporting actor/actress, best directing, best cinematography, and best original score.

Although a movie may be simply boiled down to its actors and prominent figures behind the camera, so much work goes into each picture. It is worth celebrating all the men and women who put in work to create incredible films.

Whether you are a film buff anticipating the Oscars or a casual viewer looking for new movie recommendations, no one knows the outcome of the ceremony and it will surely be an entertaining watch.

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