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RRR to Ke Huy Quan, Oscars 2023 is a remarkable story of the underdogs

Ayaan Paul
Ayaan PaulJan 25, 2023 | 15:16

RRR to Ke Huy Quan, Oscars 2023 is a remarkable story of the underdogs

With the announcement of the 95th Academy Awards nominations, this year has proved to be a year of the underdogs, with an increasing number of nominees defying all odds and ousting industry veterans to make the Oscar cut.

The Oscar nominations are chosen by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is made up of industry professionals. There are several categories in which films can be nominated and the nominees are selected through a multi-step process that includes both a preliminary round of voting and a final round of voting. 

The nominees were selected based on their performance in the previous year, which is known as the eligibility year. The nominees are selected through a multi-step process that includes both a preliminary round of voting and a final round of voting. 

To know more about the how the awards race shapes the Oscars, have a look at: How To Win An Oscar

The nominees for the 95th Academy Awards were announced yesterday. Have a look at the complete list of nominees and our predictions (we got most of them correct).

After the announcement, what has since become evident is that several underdog films and individuals managed to make the cut for various categories. These nominees have surpassed expectations and have made a significant impact in the film industry. 

Despite facing stiff competition from more established and critically acclaimed films, these underdog nominees have managed to secure a spot among the elite group of nominees. Their inclusion in the nominations is a testament to the hard work and dedication put into these projects, and it is exciting to see them get recognition on the big stage. 

As the awards ceremony approaches, it will be interesting to see if these underdogs can defy the odds and take home the coveted golden statuettes. 

Have a look of some of these odd-defying nominees for the Oscars 2023:

RRR

Having consistently outperformed itself at this year’s awards race, SS Rajamouli’s Telugu epic is proving its worth on the global stage, with a Golden Globe and a couple Critics Choices already in hand. Its nomination under the Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu comes as no surprise given its reception in Hollywood and we expect it to go the whole way, come the Academy Awards in March.

Angela Bassett

Angela Bassett gave a powerful and commanding performance as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. As the mother of the late King T'Challa and the leader of Wakanda, Bassett's portrayal of Queen Ramonda was a strong and nuanced portrayal of a regal, determined and nurturing leader and mother.

Her portrayal of the Queen was a perfect embodiment of the strength, wisdom and grace of the Wakandan royalty. With a career spanning decades, Angela Bassett continues to impress and amaze audiences with her performances, and her portrayal of Queen Ramonda is a standout in her already impressive career, making her the first Marvel Studios acting performance to ever be nominated for an Oscar.

Bryan Tyree Henry

Bryan Tyree Henry gave a powerful performance in the Apple Original Causeway, for his portrayal of a character struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic event. His work was praised for its raw emotional intensity and vulnerability, and for the way in which he was able to convey the character's inner turmoil in a powerful and nuanced way. Henry's performance was one of the highlights of the film and helped to bring the themes of trauma and recovery to life in a powerful and compelling way, earning his first ever (and well deserved) Oscar nomination.

Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal is an Irish actor best known for his breakout role in the critically acclaimed television series Normal People, based on the novel of the same name by Sally Rooney. His portrayal of a young father struggling to keep up a façade of contentment during a holiday with his daughter in Aftersun is one of the most moving performances of the year. Mescal's unsuccessful attempts to quell his feelings of self-hatred and sadness are heartbreaking and well-worthy of his first ever Oscar nomination.

Brendan Fraser

Brendan Fraser delivers a powerful and moving performance in The Whale. He portrays the character of Charlie, a morbidly obese man who is struggling to come to terms with his past and confront his inner demons. Fraser's portrayal of Charlie's emotional journey is raw and authentic, as he expertly conveys the character's vulnerability and determination.

Brendan Fraser has had an eventful journey in Hollywood, experiencing both great success and a hiatus from the film industry. After a string of hit films in the 1990s and 2000s, including The Mummy and George of the Jungle, Fraser took a break from acting to focus on personal issues and recover from a traumatic encounter at the Golden Globe awards. 

However as of late, Fraser has made a comeback, with what is now being referred to as the "Brenniassance." He has returned to the screen with a powerful performance in The Whale that has now earned him his first ever Oscar nod. Fraser has been open about the struggles he faced during his hiatus, and his road to recovery serves as an inspiration for many in the industry. 

All Quiet on the Western Front

Netflix’s adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front has been praised for the film’s technical prowess, highlighting its ability to convey the brutal realities of war in a powerful and evocative way. The cast and crew of the film have since been credited with its realistic portrayal of soldiers' experiences during the First World War, and its remarkable ability to humanise the German front and demonstrate the impact of the war on their lives. 

The film has earned itself a whopping nine nods at the Oscars, second only to Everything Everywhere All At Once, including a Best Picture nomination, ousting other international nominees and making it the only foreign language film included in this year’s Best Picture roster.

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The definitive cinematic experience of 2022. A24's Everything Everywhere All At Once is gorgeous, captivating filmmaking and has taken the film industry by storm on various fronts. The indie film leads the Oscar nominations race with a total of 11 nominations across various categories.

Written and directed by a pair known only as the ‘Daniels’ (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) - the minds behind a man riding another man as a fart-powered raft across the sea - EEAAO is a testament to fiercely original, grassroots level filmmaking that has now earned the pair two Oscar nods for their writing and direction.

EEAAO also received two surprising (but deserved) nods for Son Lux’s stunning original score and Mitski's moving original song, but the film shone the brightest through its tremendous performances.

Though Hollywood veteran Jamie Lee Curtis’s nod came as no surprise, Stephanie Hsu’s riveting supporting performance was more than qualified to make the cut for her very first Oscar nomination.

Judging by Michelle Yeoh’s career-defining lead performance she’d be winning not only in this, but every other existing reality in the multiverse of Michelles.

However, the show-stealer for EEAAO was its bespectacled, fanny-pack-wielding Waymond Wang, brought to life by Ke Huy Quan. 

The Vietnamese-American actor who first gained fame in the 1980s for his roles in the films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies is now experiencing a Brendan Fraser-like resurgence in popularity due to his fantastic performance in EEAAO.

Since its release, the film has brought renewed attention to Quan's acting talents and has not only showered him with industry praise and awards acclaim, but also sparked a newfound increase in opportunities for future roles, not to mention his first ever Oscar nomination.

Quan personifies all that EEAAO strives to be and is the face of the underdog narrative at this year’s Academy Awards.

The 95th Academy Awards will be broadcast live from Los Angeles at 8 pm PT (red carpet at 7 pm) on March 12. That's 5.30 am red carpet and 6.30 am awards on March 13 if you're watching the 95th Academy Awards in India.

Last updated: January 25, 2023 | 15:18
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