Critical and box office success notoriously have trouble aligning when it comes to the Oscars. The Academy Awards oftentimes turns the other cheek when it comes to big box office franchises and films like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a way, that makes this morning’s nomination announcement almost a warm embrace of the cinematic blockbuster, even if it included some eyebrow-raising omissions.
The nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards feature six nods to 2022 tentpole and critical darling Top Gun: Maverick as well as four to James Cameron’s sprawling epic Avatar: The Way of Water. Both movies are up for Best Picture consideration alongside the heavily promoted Elvis and its eight nominations
In fact, even the nomination-leading A24 film Everything Everywhere All at Once, which pulled in 11 nods, raked in more than $100 million at the global box office according to Variety. That’s a far cry from recent leading movies of year’s past like The Power of the Dog or the Netflix-released Mank.
The Michelle Yeoh-led film earned four acting nominations, including two nominees in Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu. Ke Huy Quan of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom fame also received recognition for his much talked about comeback in the Best Actor in a Supporting Role category.
The Best Picture love and multiple overall nominations wasn’t enough for Top Gun’s leading man, Tom Cruise, or any of the rest of the cast of the high-flying film to receive any individual acting recognition, however. The Oscars also shut Avatar out of the acting awards, predictably giving it praise in areas like visual effects and production design instead.
Some box office-friendly films and fan favorite actors still snuck in the major categories though. Austin Butler’s popular performance as Elvis in the titular film earned him a nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role. The buzzworthy comeback of Brendan Fraser also continued as he received a nomination in the category for The Whale despite the film’s fairly tepid critical response.
Similarly, Angela Bassett earned the ever-popular MCU its first acting nomination according to Deadline. After more than 25 films, the Disney owned superhero flicks finally broke through thanks to Bassett’s performance in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. She’ll be competing with nominees from two of this year’s leading movies, the aforementioned Everything Everywhere All at Once along with The Banshees of Inisherin, in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category.
Speaking of Banshees, the tragicomedy finished tied for the second most nods, along with the latest adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front, with 9 apiece. The Banshees of Inisherin, in particular, seems positioned to challenge Everything Everywhere All at Once for the show’s spotlight with recognition across three of the four acting categories along with best picture and directing nominations.
That’s just a taste of a few of the storylines and movies to follow leading up to the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted ceremony on March 12. Check out the full list of nominees at the Academy’s digital magazine to start penciling in your predictions today.