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Perhaps Tom Cruise and James Cameron were onto something.
The superstars behind two of the biggest films from the past year, Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water, didn’t attend the 2023 Oscars, where their blockbuster movies, despite being nominated for multiple awards, went home with only one award each, both in the craft categories.
While Cameron missed out on a best director nomination and Cruise was left out of the best actor contest, they were both nominated for best picture for their roles as producers on their long-gestating sequels.
But at least Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar 2 won one award each.
The Banshees of Inisherin went into the night up for nine awards, tied with All Quiet on the Western Front for the second-most nominations this year, and while All Quiet made noise winning four awards, Banshees left the 2023 Oscars empty-handed. Still, star Colin Farrell got some screen time, jabbing back at Saturday Night Live‘s Oscar parody and reminiscing with a donkey that host Jimmy Kimmel claimed was the same one who worked on Banshees.
Some predicted that Banshees actress Kerry Condon would win in supporting actress or perhaps even that Barry Keoghan would win for supporting actor, repeating their BAFTA triumphs, but instead those awards, as part of the Everything Everywhere All at Once dominance, went to Jamie Lee Curtis and Ke Huy Quan, respectively.
Curtis’ win was somewhat of a surprise. While Curtis won the SAG Award, many were expecting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever star Angela Bassett to win, repeating her Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards triumphs, and making history as the first Oscar-winning Marvel actress.
The best actor race was also a toss-up going into Sunday night with some experts predicting another SAG Awards repeat with a Brendan Fraser win and others suggesting Elvis star Austin Butler would triumph. Indeed, Fraser won, in a rare case of a best actor win coming from a film not nominated for best picture (The Whale) and marking a surprise defeat for Butler. But that wasn’t the only setback faced by Elvis. The Baz Luhrmann-directed film, which went into the Oscars up for eight awards, didn’t win any.
Elvis was predicted to triumph in a number of categories, including cinematography, where Mandy Walker would have become the first woman to win in that field. Instead, the cinematography Oscar went to All Quiet on the Western Front. Catherine Martin also could have pulled off a three-peat win in both production and costume design (she lost both), after winning both categories for Moulin Rouge and The Great Gatsby.
Also failing to win any of the awards for which they were nominated were two films that looked like Oscar favorites this fall: Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans (composer John Williams could have become the oldest winner of a competitive Oscar if he’d won for best score) and Todd Field’s Tár (Cate Blanchett could have won her third Oscar, but as with many awards this season, she lost to Michelle Yeoh).
While All Quiet on the Western Front won four awards, some experts predicted it would win best adapted screenplay but that honor went to Women Talking, the only award for the best picture nominee.
And “Naatu Naatu,” which has had audiences dancing in the aisles, beat starry best original song competitors from Rihanna, Lady Gaga and perennial nominee Diane Warren.
See the star-studded Oscars red carpet arrivals.
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