The Oscars 2023 have their movie unicorns

Illustrative file photo of the Oscar Award statuette (Lewis Joly/Pool via REUTERS)

When the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards were announced last Tuesday, most of the names called had been behind for months. Few were surprised that hits like Top Gun: Maverick, Avatar: The Shape of Water Y Elvis They will pass the cut. Also the fierce interpretation of cate blanchett in tar or the heartbreaking return of brendan fraser in The Whale.

Even this year’s little film, the kaleidoscopic existential horror-martial arts adventure Everything Everywhere All at Once, met the expectations of conventional wisdom. With the most nominations of the day (11), this art-house sensation continues its stealthy drive for global domination, launched by independent studio A24 in April 2022 and turned into a cult phenomenon this summer, thanks to word of mouth and obsessive repetition of views.

From left to right, Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, "Everything Everywhere All At Once" (Photo: Allyson Riggs/A24 Films via AP)
From left, Stephanie Hsu, Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in a scene from, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” (Photo: Allyson Riggs/A24 Films via AP)

The devotion of the fans of Everything Everywhere All at Once helped make it a huge success. The film -directed by daniel kwan Y daniel scheinert, known as “the Daniels” by insiders – became the first A24 film to exceed $100 million at box office sales. In addition, the likeability of its creative team has made it the winner of the awards season. Even viewers who find the film too repetitive and undisciplined have found it hard to resist the Daniels’ seriousness and risk-taking vision. And no one is immune to the allure and compelling storytelling of its stars: the doyenne of martial arts and lead actress nominee michelle yeohY Ke Huy Quanbest known for playing “Short Round” in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), now nominated for best supporting actor after a rather low-key career.

So far, all predictable. But just when seasoned Oscar watchers were thinking of new ways to say “usual suspects,” they were in for some real surprises. Although to the fans of Tom Cruise they were disappointed that the star of top gun didn’t receive a nomination for her role in the movie that brought audiences back to theaters in 2022, fans of Bill Nighy they were delighted that the always alert and subtle actor finally received his well-deserved nomination, for a characteristically understated performance in Living room. and admirers of Paul Mescal -so far best known for co-starring in the series normal people– were delighted to be recognized for aftersun, an impressionistic coming-of-age drama, in which he plays a troubled father who takes his daughter on vacation to Turkey. The same can be said of Brian Tyree Henrywhose supporting role in Causewaybeside Jennifer Lawrencehas been highly praised for a touching self-assurance.

Living room, aftersun Y Causeway they’re just the kind of little, rarely seen movies that are poised to get a boost from moviegoers curious to see what all the fuss is about. They’re also an example of how important building support groups can be to an Oscar campaign, even when it’s supposed to be relatively late.

"aftersun"one of the great surprises of the year in global cinema
“Aftersun”, one of the great surprises of the year in global cinema

While a covert designated as Everything Everywhere All at Once developed its promotional campaign over almost a year, at least two of the latest arrivals have shown that finding your people and attracting them can work, even on the go. Andrea Riseboroughwho plays without vanity an alcoholic who hits rock bottom in the naturalist drama To Leslie, was appearing virtually nowhere in the official Oscars conversation in October, when the film opened in a few theaters and on streaming. But Riseborough had been garnering endorsements for playing him in powerful venues ever since To Leslie it premiered at the South by Southwest festival the previous spring.

According to recent reports from Variety and indiewirethe writer and director of the film, michael morrisand his wife, the actress mary mccormack, began recruiting defenders over the summer. His friend howard stern raved about Riseborough and the film on his radio show sirius xmjust as they made powerful allies such as Charlize Theron Y Edward Norton. (Morris has directed episodes of television series such as Better Call Saul, shameless Y blood line). Once Riseborough received an awards nomination Independent Spirit In November, organic momentum began to build among his fellow actors – the largest branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – and the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Jane Fonda, Kate Winslet Y Mia Farrow they jumped on his grassroots campaign, hyping him up on social media and hosting screenings for tastemakers.

Andrea Riseborough, star of "To Leslie"obtained his nomination after a campaign by Hollywood celebrity networks (Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse)
Andrea Riseborough, star of “To Leslie”, obtained her nomination after a campaign by Hollywood celebrity networks (Photo: REUTERS/Annegret Hilse)

The last time an actor did anything remotely similar was in 2011, when Melissa Leo He took out his own commercials for his supporting role in The Fighter. But the Riseborough campaign, while no doubt facilitated by his PR and management team, is the result of his colleagues seeing his performance and advocating for it, more or less the way the system is supposed to work. . The same could be said of No news at the frontwhich received a staggering nine nominations, including best picture.

The adaptation of Edward Berger -the first German version of the novel by Erich Maria Remarque about World War I – is a Netflix movie, but its nomination was not the result of one of the streaming service’s notoriously aggressive campaigns. It was based on thoughtful and strategic use of the consistent support the film has earned among viewers, especially in the craft guilds, where it has been recognized for its superb cinematography, sound design, and visual effects.

"No news at the front" It is the big surprise of the Oscars 2023 with nine nominations (Photo: Netflix Press)
“All quiet on the front” is the big surprise of the Oscars 2023 with nine nominations (Photo: Netflix Press)

Undoubtedly, No news at the front it has also benefited from the changes that have taken place at the Academy in the past five years, which have seen a dramatic increase in the number of non-US members of the organization. The results of the internationalization of the Academy have already been seen in victories as innovative as that of Parasite for best film in 2020. (No news at the front received 14 BAFTA nominations).

This year, the good results of No news at the front and contemporary satire sadness triangle -nominated for best picture, director and screenplay- suggest that the Oscars have a powerful and global reach. And the success of actors like Nighy, Mescal, Henry and Riseborough raises the encouraging prospect that inevitability lies not in huge corporate spending, but in something as nuanced and fundamental as great acting, period.

“The idea that you need infinite resources I don’t think is necessarily true,” Riseborough told Marc Malkinof Variety. “The people who have made sure of that are our community.”

Source: The Washington Post

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The Oscars 2023 have their movie unicorns

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