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SYFY WIRE Academy Awards

Oscars 2023: Genre films score big with noms for 'The Fabelmans,' 'Everything Everywhere' & more

Genre's back in a big way!

By Josh Weiss
Everything Everywhere All At Once, Glass Onion, The Batman, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: The Way of Water, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, The Fabelmans

The nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards have arrived — and genre is back in a big way! 

Universal Pictures' The Fabelmans, for example, racked up a total of seven noms in the categories for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Judd Hirsch), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Michelle Williams), Best Production Design (Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O'Hara), Best Original Screenplay (Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner), Best Director (Steven Spielberg), Best Original Score (John Williams), and Best Picture. 

At 90-years-old, Williams is now the oldest person in history to be nominated for an Oscar. Thankfully, the celebrated composer won't be retiring anytime soon and will soon be the subject of a feature-length documentary.

A tale of family, film, and religion (for Spielberg, however, the latter two are one and the same), The Fabelmans tells a semi-dramatized version of Spielberg's tumultuous upbringing in Arizona and California. Gabriel LaBelle — who was totally snubbed for Best Actor, by the way — stars as Sammy Fabelman, a young Jewish man navigating the pitfalls of his parents' divorce, while pursuing a career as a professional director in Hollywood. The film is now available to rent and/or purchase on digital platforms.

"I've been hiding from this story since I was 17-years-old," Spielberg remarked at the Golden Globes earlier this month. "I put a lot of things in my way of this story. I told this story in parts and parcels all through my career. E.T. has a lot to do with this story. Close Encounters has a lot to do with this story. But I never had the courage to hit this story head-on until Tony Kushner. When we were working on Munich ... [Tony] sat me down and said, 'Start telling me about all these stories I've heard about your life.'"

Another Universal release, DreamWorks' Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, has landed in the race for Best Animated Feature, though the competition is pretty stiff: Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, The Sea BeastMarcel the Shell with Shoes On, and Turning Red.

Praised for its innovative visuals and mature storytelling, The Last Wish (also available to stream on-demand) currently holds a near-perfect score of 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

"We used the traditional smooth animation, of CG, in contrast with what we call stepped animation, which kind of hearkens back to more traditional hand-drawn and also anime," director Joel Crawford explained during an interview with /FILM. "You get a different feel with the two. Our philosophy was, let's tie this different stylization to Puss's worldview and let the audience experience it."

Jurassic World Dominion and Nope were completely shut out, although both deserved visual effects recognition at the very least. What's more: Jordan Peele should have landed a nod for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director given Nope's innovative take on the alien invasion genre. As of this writing, the filmmaker has only won a single Oscar for his Get Out script — and that's a shame!

A24's Everything Everywhere All at Once leads the genre pack by a pretty wide margin with a whopping 11 nominations: Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ke Huy Quan), Best Actress in a Leading Role (Michelle Yeoh), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Stephanie Hsu), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Jamie Lee Curtis), Best Costume Design (Shirley Kurata), Best Director (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Best Film Editing (Paul Rogers), Best Original Score (Son Lux), Best Original Song (Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne), Best Original Screenplay (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert), and Best Picture.

Speaking with SYFY WIRE last month, editor Paul Rogers said he was prepared not to receive a nomination for his work on the Daniels' odyssey through the multiverse. "I feel completely unprepared for the inverse of that to happen," he said. "So basically, I need to start going to therapy just in case — by some miracle — this wins an award or I win an award."

The Daniels are only the fourth directing duo in Hollywood history to be acknowledged in the Best Director category after Jerome Robbins and Robert (West Side Story); Warren Beatty and Buck Henry (Heaven Can Wait); and Joel and Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men and True Grit).

Top Gun: Maverick, the long-awaited sequel to the 1986 fighter pilot classic, racked up six nods, including one for Best Picture. It'll also be competing for Best Editing (Eddie Hamilton), Best Original Song ("Hold My Hand"), Best Sound (Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor), Best Visual Effects (Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; Story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks).

And speaking of long-awaited sequels, Avatar: The Way of Water proved that envelope-pushing director James Cameron has plenty of punching power left with nominations for Best Picture, Best Production Design (Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole), Best Sound (Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, and Michael Hedges), Best Visual Effects (Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon and Daniel Barrett).

Tom Cruise plays Capt. Pete "Maverick" Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick
(L-R): Jake Sully and Neteyam in 20th Century Studios' AVATAR: THE WAY OF WATER.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever became the fourteenth entry in the MCU to be recognized by the Academy with five nominations in the categories of Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Angela Bassett), Best Costume Design (Ruth Carter), Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Camille Friend and Joel Harlow), Best Original Song (Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler), Best Visual Effects (Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick).

Bassett makes history as the first person to land an Oscar nom for acting in a Marvel project. To date, only one MCU title — 2018's Black Panther — has taken home the gold of Hollywood's most prestigious awards ceremony. The first movie was up for seven awards (including Best Picture), ultimately winning three for its costumes, score, and production design.

Angela Bassett in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Matt Reeves' The Batman (the latest reboot of the Caped Crusader at Warner Bros.) is the second comic book-inspired contender at this year's ceremony with three noms for Best Makeup and Hairstyling (Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, and Mike Fontaine), Best Sound (Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, and Andy Nelson), and Best Visual Effects (Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands and Dominic Tuohy).

Finally, Glass Onion scored a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, placing Rian Johnson's Knives Out follow-up in the crosshairs of Top Gun: Maverick, Living, All Quiet on the Western Front, and Women Talking.

Hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, the 95th Academy Awards will air on ABC March 12 at 8 p.m. EST. 

Click here for the complete list of this year's nominees.

Want to check out previous Oscar-winning dramas in the meantime? The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, Schindler's List, and Apollo 13 are now streaming on Peacock.