Oscars 2023: Surprise nominations

Potential Oscar nomination shockers include everything from category-changing actresses to Adam Sandler’s first nod.

Now, on the eve of the Oscar nominations, there are many candidates who are safe bets.

For example, given that the awards bodies, which include Academy voters, have received many accolades, it would be truly shocking not to see “THE LIBRARY” star Cate Blanchett or “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Michelle Yeoh as Best Actress nominated for the main actor award. Prognosticators may not be able to predict what the second half of the Best Picture nominee will be, but it’s safe to say that “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “The Fabelmans” will be included.

Read IndieWire’s predictions here to learn more about who will be nominated and likely to win every category at the 95th Academy Awards. However, we thought it would be fun to preview the biggest hits that may yet come true when it comes to entries in the line categories above.

the best picture

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”

"Black Panther: Wakanda Forever"

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”


Yes, the sequel to “Black Panther” wasn’t the critical or commercial success of its predecessor, but it still pretty much accomplished the impossible. Not only is the latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe the biggest November opening of all time, it’s also currently nominated for the PGA Awards’ equivalent of Best Picture (an important bellwether for the Oscars). Add to that the fact that “Wakanda Forever” is tied with “All Quiet on the Western Front” for the 2023 Oscar nominations, and that they are already winning two Oscars in March (Best Supporting Actress for Angela Bassett and the best costume). Design to Ruth E. Carter), and it’s easy to see how the Disney release is a plausible candidate for Best Picture.

Best director

SS Rajamouli, ‘RRR’

Indian filmmaker and screenwriter SS Rajamouli poses for pictures at the trailers of his upcoming Telugu language action drama film. "RRR" in Mumbai on 9th December 2021.  (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP) (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL/AFP via Getty Images)

SS Rajamouli

Sujit Jaiswal/AFP/Getty Images

The director’s Tollywood epic ‘RRR’ broke box office records and put Indian cinema more on the radar of Academy members than ever before. Of course, India took a big swipe at the film and chose ‘Last Film Show’ as Best International Feature Film instead, but the packed FYC screenings never stopped and the film now has a few awards, including the critics. Choice Award for Best Foreign Language Film and, above all, the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director. An inspired choice by coastal critics could be the final push to move the needle in Rajamouli’s favor. In the past few years, the surprise award for Best Director went to an outstanding international filmmaker, and this year it was difficult to determine who it might be. Rajamouli arguably has the most momentum, having delivered at least one memorable televised acceptance speech to win the hearts of Oscar voters.

Best actor

Adam Sandler, “Hustle”

"He pushes" Adam Sandler



The comedian seems to have backed down on his promise to make purposefully awful movies after the Oscar handed him the lead role in Uncut Gems. His latest Netflix project, directed by “We the Animals” filmmaker Jeremiah Zagar, is a total crowd-pleaser, and the streaming service has really pulled its weight with FYC screenings directed by award-winning actors like Dustin Hoffman and Henry Winkler. The fifth best actor award was not found, with superstars like Tom Cruise (“Top Gun: Maverick”) and Tom Hanks (“A Man Called Otto”), but these two actors were snubbed by the Academy. much more often and much less campaigned. SAG Awards nominations can be wildcards, but his sign indicates that Sandler is on an upward trajectory with awards that could eventually lead to his first nomination of the year.

Best actress

Andrea Riseborough, “To Leslie”

FOR LESLIE, Andrea Riseborough, 2022. © Momentum Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

“To Leslie”

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

All eyes will be on the Best Actress category on Oscar nominations morning to see if the viral ‘To Leslie’ campaign really pays off. While it would be a “surprise” that people are still waiting for, the nomination would say a lot about how to campaign for an award without a proper budget. Word of mouth for the indie drama about an alcoholic single mother trying to rebuild her life after blowing her lottery win in the middle of Oscar nomination voting, so if Riseborough gets in, it would be a glass half empty or full situation. Yes, that would be the highest level of bias in recent memory, but it would also indicate that enough Academy members are at least trying to watch and consider the lesser films that people flag.

Best Supporting Actor

Woody Harrelson: The Triangle of Sadness

The Triangle of Sadness, Woody Harrelson, 2022. © Neon / Courtesy Everett Collection

Woody Harrelson in Triangle of Sadness

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

It was difficult to assess where the 2022 Palme d’Or winner Ruben Östlund stood with the Academy in general. It was definitely a hit among the Academy’s European members, given its success at the European Film Awards in December and its numerous BAFTA nominations. While Dolly De Leon is the film’s main push for acting awards, Harrelson has the most Oscar history. Not only has the actor been nominated three times, but his final nomination for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” came as a complete surprise and came out of enthusiasm for the 2017 Martin McDonagh film. Plus, while he hasn’t campaigned much, Harrelson gave a hilarious, heartfelt speech honoring Michael J. Fox in front of a room full of the Academy’s most powerful members at last fall’s Governors Awards. If “The Triangle” is indeed the Academy’s favorite international export, Harrelson has a chance to get past one of the projected nominees for “The Banshees of Inisherin” or “The Fabelmans.”

Best Supporting Actress

Michelle Williams: The Fablemen

"The Fablemen"

“The Fablemen”

Speaking of master filmmaker Steven Spielberg’s latest contender, many believed her campaign had ruined her own shot at the Best Supporting Actress Oscar as the four-time nominee edged out Williams in the crowded Best Actress race. It is believed that the Screen Actors Guild was not a fan of the choice and decided not to nominate the star in the category of Female Actor in a Leading Role, even though she nominated her for Best Actress at her own request. Many cite Kate Winslet’s move from Best Supporting Actress to Best Actress for “The Reader” in 2009 as a precedent for category manipulation on the part of the Oscars, but Winslet has already been recognized by other awards bodies, such as the BAFTAs was taken over. Williams has already impressed there and has been snubbed at the SAG Awards, which could be a sign that there are secret machinations to get her pivotal mother role nominated in the Supporting category, whether she likes it or not.

Best Original Screenplay

“no way”

Starring Keke Palmer "No way"

“no way”

universal studios

If there’s another filmmaker who epitomizes the “original” label, it’s 2018 Best Original Screenplay winner Jordan Peele. His debut feature ‘Get Out’ redefined the entire social thriller genre. Although reactions seemed more mixed when it was released last summer, “Nope” has had a low-key resurgence among cinephiles and has been included in the best movies of 2022 lists in almost every major publication. It is also a recipient of an AFI Film Awards, which did not do badly with the Oscar shortlists either. While it would be surprising to see Peele creep into this stacked category, stranger things have happened.

Best Adapted Screenplay

“Marcel the Shell with shoes”

Marcel the Shell and Dean Fleischer-Camp

Marcel and Dean Fleischer-Camp


Many considered this to be a weaker year in the Best Adapted Screenplay race, as even front-runner Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking” isn’t a sure bet for Best Picture. Enter ‘Marcel the Shell With Shoes On’: the other A24 film surpasses all expectations, breaking into the Best Animated Feature race as soon as it was revealed to have qualified. Writers Dean Fleischer-Camp, Jenny Slate, Nick Paley, and Elisabeth Holm have been making the rounds, Slate in particular pulled double duty as a member of the “Everything Everywhere All at Once” ensemble, and the film did relatively well at the box office, so this would be a good spot to the superfan sect to highlight; a category where it is not so much in the shadow of “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”.

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