Oscar nominations Tuesday could give blockbusters a boost

Streaming HUBJanuary 24, 2023

NEW YORK (AP) – One year after a streaming service first won Hollywood’s top honor, big-screen spectacles are set to dominate the nominations for the 95th Academy Awards on Tuesday.

Nominations will be announced at 8:30PM EST from the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California. They will air live on ABC’s “Good Morning America” ​​and livestreamed on oscars.org, oscars.com and several of the Academy’s social media platforms. Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”) and Allison Williams (“M3Gun”) will read the nominees.

If things go as expected, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ and ‘Elvis’ could all rack up somewhere between six and nine nominations . If streaming dominated last year’s Oscars — Apple TV+’s “CODA” won best picture and Netflix garnered 27 nominations — the films that drew moviegoers to the multiplex are many of this year’s top contenders. Huh.

It includes the A24 sci-fi indie hit “Everything Happens All at Once”. Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s multiverse-skipping story could walk away with the most nominations on Tuesday, including Michelle Yeoh and Comeback Kid’s Hui Kwan.

Also at the front of the pack is “The Banshees of Inishrin,” Martin McDonagh’s Ireland-set dark comedy, which is set to score four acting nods, including nominations for Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson.

Steven Spielberg’s “The Fablemans” struggled to catch on with audiences, but the director’s autobiographical coming-of-age tale is set to land Spielberg his 20th Oscar nomination and eighth for best-director. John Williams, her longtime composer, should extend his record for most Oscar nominations for a living person. Another nod for Best Score would give Williams his 53rd nomination, a number trailed only by Walt Disney’s 59.

Many questions remain, however, such as whether the love for “Top Gun: Maverick” will go far enough to earn Tom Cruise a Best Actor nomination. This year’s highest-grossing blockbuster, “Avatar: The Way of Water” should score well in the technical categories, though it’s not certain director James Cameron will make it into the Best Director field. That category saw a first since—two back-to-back wins for female filmmakers—Chloe Zhao (“Nomadland” in 2021), Jane Campion (“The Power of the Dog”) last year—no woman up for Best Director. Not expected to be nominated.

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will surely celebrate a great picture field populated by blockbusters. Ratings for the telecasts have generally been higher over the years with the more watched movies being the favourites. Last year’s awards looked like a return edition to the Oscars before “the slap” came to define the ceremony. After this, the Academy banned Will Smith from participating for the next 10 years. Although he still could have been nominated, Smith’s performance as a fugitive slave in “Emancipation” did not catch on.

Last year’s broadcast drew 15.4 million viewers, according to Nielsen, up 56% from a record-low audience of 10.5 million for 2021’s pandemic-hit broadcast. This year, ABC is bringing back Jimmy Kimmel to host the March 12 ceremony, which will surely be seen as Slap’s return to the site.

But the bigger concerns revolve around the film business. Last year saw glimpses of a triumphant resurgence for cinemas, like the success of “Top Gun: Maverick” two years after the pandemic. But partly due to a less steady stream of major releases, ticket sales for the year only recovered to about 70% of pre-pandemic business. Regal Cinemas, the country’s second largest chain, announced the closure of 39 theaters this month.

At the same time, storm clouds swept over the streaming world after years of once-seemingly limitless growth. Shares tumbled as Wall Street looked to streaming services looking to turn a profit, not just add subscribers. A layoff has followed, as the industry again enters an uncertain chapter.

Unlike last year’s Academy Awards, this year may see no streaming titles vying for the Oscars’ most sought-after prize — though the final spots in the 10-film best-picture field are still up for grabs. Instead Netflix’s best shots are coming in other categories, most notably with animated film favorite “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” and German submission, “All Quiet on the Western Front.”

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