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Ode to the Oscar Nominees Soon to Go Home Empty-Handed

Universal Pictures

Come Sunday evening, we’re going to know who and what will be the latest crop of Oscar winners. Of course, that also means that the Academy Awards will also be chock-full of artists and films that go home empty-handed. Today. I wanted to take a moment and pay tribute to the movies and performers who will not be winning, as well as to just appreciate some of these works, regardless of their outcome this weekend.

Below, I’ve cited four flicks, as well as some special citations, that could end up without Oscars on their mantles. I’m doing this just to remind you that they’re often wonderful works, regardless of what the Academy has to say on Sunday. The nomination for some is very much the prize, but even for those who lose competitive races, being a nominee is still something to be very proud of. So, Paul Mescal may not win Best Actor, or Living may go home empty-handed, but if you love them, there’s still reason to rejoice.

Searchlight Pictures

*Special Citation to The Banshees of Inisherin, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Tár, and The Whale, as they’re in thick of a race or two, but could easily wind up shut out, in terms of wins. So, regardless of the outcome, cheers to Cate Blanchett, Kerry Condon, Colin Farrell, Brendan Fraser, and others!*

The Batman – Isn’t it cool that The Batman wasn’t forgotten about completely? In fact, had it not been just left out of the Best Cinematography race, it would have been seen as a legitimate contender there. So, while it won’t win anything, the fact that the Academy remembered this impressive take on the character is worth mentioning.

The Fabelmans – Now, this is the film that inspired me to make this piece in the first place. Somehow, Steven Spielberg‘s passion project is going to go home empty-handed, even though it began as the early frontrunner. That’s a future bit of Oscar trivia, but to look at The Fabelmans as mere prestige fare is to do it a severe disservice. It’s such a layered work, as deep as it is entertaining, that it’ll be top-tier Spielberg regardless of its Academy Award outcome.

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Even though its ultimate nomination total was disappointing, we’ve entered a time where this Rian Johnson franchise is considered Oscar worthy (in the Screenplay fields, at least). That alone is delightful, but that Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery just missed a Best Picture nomination is worth celebrating. Perhaps the third time will really be the charm?

Top Gun: Maverick – Sure, this should be in the special citation section, but I wanted to talk a little bit more about this one, so I’m cheating. Depending on what happens in a couple of categories, it may sneak out with a win or two, but consider that for a second. We live in a world where it’s more notable that Top Gun: Maverick is about to not win an Oscar than it is that it’s up for several in the first place. The Top Gun sequel managed to do the thing, as it were, and regardless of the Academy, it’s not going to disappear from our hearts and minds anytime soon.

Paramount Pictures

Stay tuned to see who and what the Oscar winners turn out to be on Sunday, of course, but don’t forget about these other films!


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Written by Joey Magidson

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