You can’t have an Oscar telecast without Snubs & Surprises. It’s an unwritten law. This year, mercifully, the surprises had nothing to do with bad behavior or mishandled envelopes, but simply with awards outcomes that not everyone saw coming.
Jimmy Kimmel hosted the 95th Oscars, which were held Sunday (March 12) at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. Everything Everywhere All at Once was the top winner, with seven Oscars.
EEAAO became only the third film – and the first in nearly 50 years – to win three acting Oscars. The first two, both classics, were A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and Network (1976). The film’s star, Michelle Yeoh, won best actress, while Ke Huy Quan and Jamie Lee Curtis took the supporting awards.
“The Daniels” – Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert – won three Oscars on Sunday (March 12) for co-producing, co-writing and co-directing the buzzy film. This marks just the second time in Oscar history that two people have shared three awards on Oscar night. Joel and Ethan Coen won Oscars for serving in the same capacities 15 years ago for No Country for Old Men.
For the second year in a row, all four of the acting winners – Brendan Fraser, Yeoh, Quan and Curtis – had previously won at the SAG Awards. This is the eighth time in the past 14 years that all four Oscar winners had won at the SAG Awards, a surprisingly high rate of agreement.
Here are some of the more notable snubs and surprises from Oscar night 2023.
Snub: Austin Butler
Even though Brendan Fraser won the SAG Award last month, many expected Austin Butler to win the Oscar for best actor. It was a star-making performance. Moreover, Lisa Marie Presley’s shocking death just as awards season was heating up seemed to be a factor that might weigh in his favor. People would want to see Butler pay tribute to not only Elvis, but his daughter, who was on hand to see Butler win best actor in a drama at the Golden Globes on Jan. 10. She died two days later.
Surprise: The Whale
The Whale was a polarizing movie. Many were moved by it, but others harshly dismissed it. Still, it was one of only three multiple Oscar winners this year, with its two wins trailing only Everything Everywhere All at Once (with seven wins) and All Quiet on the Western Front (with three).
Snub: The Banshees of Inisherin
The acclaimed film was shut out despite nine nominations. Other films with six or more nominations that didn’t win any awards are Elvis (eight nods), The Fabelmans (seven), and Tár (six).
Snub: Rihanna and Lady Gaga
The Oscars had nominated songs – and performances on the telecast – by two of the hottest music stars on the planet, but Oscar voters gave their best original song award to “Naatu Naatu” from RRR. The joyous song was a highlight of the telecast, but it is rather remarkable that it beat back songs from such high-powered competition.
Snub: Steven Spielberg and John Williams
They are far and away the most successful director and composer in movie history. Both were top contenders for The Fabelmans, but neither went home with an Oscar. Williams is 91 and Spielberg is 76, so this might be their final collaboration, but let’s hope not.
Snub (Sort of): Angela Bassett
Bassett was nominated for best supporting actress for Black Panther: Wakanada Forever, but lost to Jamie Lee Curtis for Everything Everywhere All at Once. Curtis had also prevailed at the SAG Awards. Even so, some thought Bassett would win here, for a couple of reasons. Bassett was nominated previously, for 1993’s What’s Love Got to Do With It, so she was more “overdue” than Curtis, who was a first-time nominee. And no Black actresses were nominated for best actress, even though two were very much in the conversation – Viola Davis for The Woman King and Danielle Deadwyler in Till.
Snub (But Not Really): Diane Warren
Warren lost in the best original song category for the 14th time when “Applause” from Tell It Like a Woman lost to “Naatu Naatu.” Warren has yet to win. But you can’t really call that a snub. Warren said it best in talking with Billboard after the nominations were announced: “I joke around that I’ve lost 13 times, but I haven’t. I’ve won 13 times. The fact that my peers who are the best of the best in music and movies in the world have chosen songs of mine all these times is a giant win in itself.”