2023 Oscar Nominations We Would've Loved to See

By Amy Kim, Aaron Isenstein, Zach Ruggiero, Daniel Fredman, and Mariano Venegas

Several days ago, the 2023 Oscar nominations were announced. There were plenty of wonderful surprises to behold, but as is the case every year, there were also some misses (both expected and unexpected) that were truly award-worthy and deserve more recognition than they have gotten. So today, we're going to pay tribute to the Oscar nominations that we would have loved to see!

Best Picture - Bones and All

How is it possible the most beautiful romance of the year is a cannibalism horror movie? Luca Guadagnino’s Bones and All is somehow as gorgeous as it is disgusting. The Academy’s horror bias is real, but certain films have broken that barrier before! Why not this one? Bones and All isn’t just a horror movie, it’s a first love romance that also serves as a metaphor for AIDS. The scares are also scarce, with most of the film being focused on the romance between Taylor Russell and Timothee Chalamet. Despite the premise, Guadagnino has created such a beautiful film full of so much tenderness and passion. If you can look past the gore, this film features one of the most beautiful coming of age stories in years. If we can have blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick or Avatar 2 in the best picture race, the best horror film of the year should have been considered amongst them. [Aaron] 

Best Director - Alejandro G. árritu (BARDO, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths) 

Alejandro G. árritu’s BARDO is by far the director’s most divisive film to date. It is a messy, overlong, pretentious portrait of a man with so many conflicting feelings about his identity that it can feel occasionally overwhelming. Yet I adored almost everything about it thanks to árritu’s masterful visual storytelling. Despite its length, I was never bored watching this dreamy, trippy experience in all of its heartbreaking sincerity. The images onscreen contribute just as much to constructing the man behind this film as the authentic, personal screenplay does (if not more so). Four-time Oscar winner árritu is hardly an overdue director, but in a just world, his bold and visionary work in this film would have landed him another nomination. [Amy] 

Best Actor - Eden Dambrine (Close)

While most of the conversation about Close has been focused on its prospects in Best International Feature, the category I actually feel the most strongly about its chances in is Best Actor. In Close, Eden Dambrine gives what is easily my favorite film performance of the year. As the loving but self-conscious Léo, he manages to absolutely devastate you with a single look in his eyes. His relationships with Rémi (played by a similarly astonishing Gustav De Waele) and Remi’s mother (Émilie Dequnne) are heartbreakingly authentic, and Dambrine sees them through effortlessly. Even when the writing of the film nosedives in the second act, he kept me invested thanks to the raw pain and guilt he showcases. You don’t get many scenes where Dambrine breaks down, sobs, or screams. He’s phenomenal when he does, but the magic in his performance comes from those quiet revelations he illustrates on his face. Despite his age, it would be a travesty if Dambrine’s sheer talent and range went completely unnoticed all awards season. [Amy]

Best Actress - Margot Robbie (Babylon)

Let’s not beat around the bush here. It hasn’t been an easy few weeks for the Babylon Hive. Between the negative publicity around the film’s box office, the mediocre critic and audience scores and its major award prospects starting to look bleaker by the day, those of us who love it have been taking a beating. However, regardless of your thoughts on the film as a whole (I personally think it’s incredible), I think it should be difficult to deny Margot Robbie’s bravura performance as Nellie LaRoy. At this stage of Robbie’s career, it would have been easy for an actress of her stature to rest on her laurels a bit. After all, she plays a major role in a comic book movie universe and is regarded as one of the most famous people in Hollywood. She could have chosen to take a few safe Oscar roles in between appearances as Harley Quinn and watch the cash and public adoration roll in. But instead, she took a challenging role in the new Damien Chazelle film that would require a lot out of her and pulled it off with aplomb. She conveys the euphoric highs and the tragic lows of this character perfectly and is an absolutely magnetic screen presence. Nellie is a free spirit who refuses to be tied down by anyone and wants to prove herself at all times. Yet, even when things go wrong for the character and her debaucherous lifestyle begins to get the better of her and her career, she remains endearing to the audience. It’s a bold choice for a likable movie star to take this role that requires the actress to go to some truly crass places, but it is a challenge that I am thankful she took on and one that I hope can prove to the world what I have been yelling from rooftops for years: that Margot Robbie is undoubtedly one of the premier acting talents in the business today. She deserves every accolade that is coming to her, and I wish that the Academy had recognized this and embraced this bombastic performance. [Zach]

Best Supporting Actor - Paul Dano (The Fabelmans)

After years of being ignored by major awards bodies, it finally looked like this was going to be Paul Dano’s year. Ever since it was announced that he would be playing the protagonist’s father in Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film The Fabelmans, it seemed as though Dano was destined to receive his very first nomination. However, last Tuesday, myself and many others were puzzled when Dano’s name was omitted from the nominations and his co-star Judd Hirsch was announced instead. While Hirsch definitely had a strong presence in the film, he was only in it for one scene and had about eight minutes of screen time. On the other hand, Dano was on screen throughout the film, and while his performance may not have been as dramatic as Hirsch’s fiery entrance, he brought far more heart to the story and grounded the film.

Hirsch replacing Dano on nomination morning may seem familiar, and that’s because something very similar happened last year. While Belfast’s Caitríona Balfe seemed like a sure thing for a nomination, Judi Dench ended up getting a nod instead, leaving many people baffled. Similar to Dano, Balfe’s performance had a lot of heart, while Judi Dench had less screen time but a few crucial moments. To me, both of these examples demonstrate how the Academy often overlooks newer, younger talent in favor of older, more seasoned veterans. And even though I love actors like Judd Hirsch and Judi Dench, it’s a damn shame. [Daniel] 

Best Supporting Actress - Dolly de Leon (Triangle of Sadness)

This past Tuesday, the Academy proved themselves fans of Triangle of Sadness after giving it three major Oscar nominations. As a big fan of that film, I am mostly ecstatic at its success. However, the omission of Dolly de Leon as the pivotal, scene-stealing Abigail, puzzles me somewhat. She doesn’t have a lot of screentime, but de Leon devours every second she has with her captivating presence. It’s a subtle role that may not seem like it requires a lot but has the capacity to floor you if done well. And boy, does de Leon deliver. Her facial expressions, particularly in the last scene of the film, have haunted me for months. The supporting actress lineup as it stands is fairly great, but it would have been nice if the acting branch was able to make space for the best supporting actress performance of the year. [Amy]

Best Adapted Screenplay - White Noise

Don Delillo’s novel White Noise has become a staple of offbeat American literature, and has long been hailed as unadaptable. So it was a shock when a feature film adaptation was announced that Marriage Story director Noah Baumbach was attached to direct and write. It makes sense that the adaptation of an absurd novel was a highly divisive movie. But if Dune could get a Best Adapted Screenplay nod last year thanks to its “unadaptable narrative”, why couldn’t the far more writerly White Noise this year? This film thrives in its stiff dialogue and strange narration, and its unorthodox screenplay makes up much of its appeal. Baumbach mixes dark humor with gentle compassion in a glorious way. It is genuinely baffling that this wondrous, script-heavy masterpiece missed a screenplay nod to films like Top Gun: Maverick. While it may not have gotten Oscar recognition, I hope that years from now, White Noise achieves the cult classic status it so clearly deserves. [Aaron] 

Best Editing - Moonage Daydream

Moonage Daydream is one of the most outstanding documentary achievements of the past few years. It takes the audience on a journey through Bowie’s music, unique creative process, art, philosophy, and love for the world and for his fans. It's a fascinating piece about an artist like no other. However, its technical aspects deserve far more recognition than they have currently received in this crazy awards season. The nature of Brett Morgen's documentary is frenetic and kaleidoscopic without taking any time to stop, yet it ends up immersing you in its duration. It's an experience that keeps throwing all these bright, colorful images onto the screen, not just from Bowie's work but from different kinds of media that make this journey feel bigger than it already is. And, something I find quite beautiful, like David Bowie, Moonage Daydream is in constant motion. People who know about the artist know that he has been through many different personas, personalities and art forms. Not only does this film show you each of his phases with its astonishing gathered footage, but it genuinely makes you FEEL them. This is where this film’s immaculate excitement kicks in. It commits to capturing the essence of this ginormous figure rather than going for the typical Wikipedia womb-to-tomb approach that most biographical films do. It also bestowed upon us some of the craziest montages you’ll ever find in films from 2022. [Mariano]