Graphic by Nozizwe Msipa / North by Northwestern.

I will start with what's most important to me: Paul Mescal.

The Irish angel, the patron saint of Sad Boys™️, has been nominated for an Academy Award for best actor. Let that sink in! This is a man most people had probably never heard of five years ago. We can count his film and TV credits on just our fingers alone. And yet, in one of his first leading roles in a film, he has been nominated for one of most lauded awards in the industry. Everyone wants to either be him or be with him. I will say to the Academy that they were so real for this one thing. Everything else… well. Let’s get into it.

Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams hosted the nominations announcement for the 95th Academy Awards, which was kind of awkward but mostly hilarious. The livestream introduced them as, “2022 Oscar winner Riz Ahmed, and the star and executive producer of M3GAN, Allison Williams,” knowing full well that one of these things is not like the other.

Some epic highs

Everything Everywhere All at Once leads the pack with 11 nominations in acting and technical categories. While I’m ecstatic for Michelle Yeoh in best actress and Ke Huy Quan for best supporting actor, I’m absolutely over the moon about Stephanie Hsu's best supporting actress nomination. Her nod was getting quite precarious as she has been continually overlooked in other awards this season, with many of the accolades going to her co-star Jaime Lee Curtis. Curtis was also nominated in the same category today, and if it was just her, there surely would have been some harsh words spoken on the timeline. But with Stephanie Hsu and MOTHER Angela Bassett in there, I am happy!

The best supporting actor category is so much fun, brimming with talent and weirdos. Brian Tyree Henry is such an incredible performer whenever he appears on screen; he played so well with Jennifer Lawrence in their film Causeway that it earned him a nomination. Happy to see that he’s getting that Marvel check and still has time to get Oscar nominated. Speaking of weird little fellas and Marvel checks, it was also a big day for Tyree Henry’s Eternals co-star Barry Keoghan, whose role in The Banshees of Inisherin earned him a nod. His performance is so weird, but also so sensitive, and yet abrasive at the same time – but altogether definitely incredible. I guess weird boys are in! I’d say the world is better for it. The last nom I have to make special mention of is Judd Hirsch. He had less than 15 minutes of screen time overall in The Fabelmans...what else can I say but he came to slay.

The ??? nomination

Ana de Armas nominated for best actress for Blonde....

The lowest lows

The Woman King. Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Gina Prince-Blythewood! Nothing. All the work put in the colossally epic Nope. Where are Jordan Peele and Keke Palmer and Daniel Kaluuya and Steve Yeun’s nominations??? Danielle Deadwyler in Till. Dolly de Leon in the third act of Triangle of Sadness. These omissions are glaring and have a clear pattern. Does the Academy no longer fear #OscarsSoWhite? It is long past time to do better.

Best picture

Movies are so good. Truly and honestly, there are no sneaks – from films that felt like a punch in the face (Elvis, Triangle of Sadness), to stories that revolved around white people fussing (The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fablemans), I will tell the truth and say I had a good time at the movies this year.

I mourn the tragic exclusion of objectively the best picture of the year– Aftersun – and the epic, inconceivable and beautiful mess that is Damien Chazelle’s Babylon. All the same, I’m strangely optimistic? Cinema may just be out of its flop era! Everyone cheer.