A new champagne carpet, loads of newbies, a crisis team, and (organisers hope) no slaps this year – it’s time for the 2023 Academy Awards!
While the Oscars is of course about celebrating the best films and performances of the year, there’s also a lot more to look out for than just the winners.
The “insane” – as described by star Michelle Yeoh – multiverse adventure Everything Everywhere All At Once leads the nominations, with 11 nods, closely followed by dark comedy The Banshees Of Inisherin and German anti-war epic All Quiet On The Western Front, which each have nine.
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Here is everything you need to know about this year’s ceremony – which you can watch on Sky News – taking place at the Dolby Theatre at Ovation Hollywood on Sunday evening, into Monday morning UK time.
Don’t worry – the host has assured ‘no blood will be shed’
Normally this would be a strange thing for an Oscars host to confirm, but after last year’s events perhaps you never can tell.
US comedian Jimmy Kimmel is returning to helm the ceremony for the third time – and this year, organisers have swapped the traditional red carpet for a champagne hue. Let’s hope they don’t have any kids, pets, snacks or nominees who have walked to the ceremony.
Speaking as the carpet was officially rolled out, Kimmel joked that it had been picked up for “a very good price downtown”.
Referencing Will Smith‘s infamous slap at the 2022 show, he continued: “People have been asking, ‘Is there going to be any trouble this year? Is there going to be any violence this year?’ and we certainly hope not. I think the decision to go with a champagne carpet rather than a red carpet shows how confident we are that no blood will be shed.”
First things first: the red – sorry – champagne carpet. As well as the nominees (we’ll come to them later) you can expect loads of other A-listers who will be presenting gongs on the night.
Look out for Halle Berry, Cara Delevingne, Harrison Ford, Kate Hudson, Pedro Pascal, John Travolta, Mindy Kaling, Eva Longoria, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Andie MacDowell, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Olsen, Riz Ahmed, Halle Bailey, Antonio Banderas and Elizabeth Banks.
Plus, the Academy has also confirmed attendees including Emily Blunt, Jessica Chastain, John Cho, Glenn Close, Jennifer Connelly, Ariana DeBose, Andrew Garfield, Hugh Grant, Danai Gurira, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samuel L Jackson, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael B Jordan, Nicole Kidman, Troy Kotsur, Jonathan Majors, Melissa McCarthy, Janelle Monae, Deepika Padukone, Florence Pugh, Questlove, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver and Donnie Yen.
Plus, there will be even more partying away at the Vanity Fair after-party.
First-timers, Irish success and a record-breaker
The acting nominees this year are:
• Colin Farrell, Bill Nighy, Paul Mescal, Austin Butler and Brendan Fraser – best actor
• Cate Blanchett, Ana de Armas, Andrea Riseborough, Michelle Williams, Michelle Yeoh – best actress
• Brendan Gleeson, Brian Tyree Henry, Judd Hirsch, Barry Keoghan, Ke Huy Quan – best supporting actor
• Angela Bassett, Hong Chau, Kerry Condon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Stephanie Hsu – best supporting actress
A whopping 16 of these 20 slots have gone to first-timers, including, perhaps surprisingly given they are industry icons, Curtis, Yeoh and Nighy. Who has been nominated before? That would be Blanchett (this is her fifth best actress nod, plus she has three for best supporting actress, too, and one win in each category); Williams (three best actress nods in total, two for supporting, but is yet to win); Bassett (one previous best actress nod) and Hirsch – who breaks the record for the longest gap between acting nominations.
The actor, who stars in The Fabelmans, was last nominated in 1980 for Ordinary People, some 41 years and 341 days before his latest nod. According to Guinness World Records, the record was previously held by Henry Fonda, who had a gap of 41 years and one day between his best actor nominations in 1941 (for The Grapes Of Wrath) and 1982 (On Golden Pond).
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It’s a stellar year for Irish actors, thanks mainly to The Banshees Of Inisherin, which sees all four of its main stars – Farrell, Gleeson, Condon and Keoghan – nominated, alongside Mescal for his performance in Aftersun. Only two of this year’s acting nominees are British, though – Nighy, for Living, and Riseborough, for To Leslie – the lowest number in a decade.
Asian actors have also made history, with Everything Everywhere stars Yeoh, Quan and Hsu nominated alongside The Whale’s Chau, and this year marks the first time two Asian women have ever been up for best supporting actress.
The Banshees Of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere account for eight of the 20 nominations – the first time this has happened in 45 years – and less than half (nine) of the stars nominated are from the US.
Should Bassett win in her category, it will be a first acting gong for a Marvel film, and at the start of awards season she seemed to be a favourite. However, as other stars such as Condon (BAFTAs) and Curtis (SAG) have picked up the award at other ceremonies, this category is definitely not a dead cert.
Meanwhile, Riseborough’s nod for the small-budget indie film To Leslie ruffled some feathers due to concerns raised over campaigning.
The full list of film and stars nominated for this year’s Oscars
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The best picture nominees
The films nominated for best picture are: All Quiet On The Western Front, Avatar: The Way of Water, The Banshees Of Inisherin, Elvis, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Fabelmans, Tar, Top Gun: Maverick, Triangle Of Sadness and Women Talking.
Everything Everywhere is the bookies’ favourite to win, followed by The Banshees Of Inisherin and All Quiet On The Western Front.
It is a year for blockbuster sequels, with two in the running for best picture – Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way Of Water – for the first time ever.
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At 90 years old, John Williams, shortlisted for scoring The Fabelmans, is the oldest Oscar nominee ever. This is also his 53rd nomination, making him the most nominated living person (and second ever only to Walt Disney).
Williams’s work on The Fabelmans, a coming-of-age drama based on director Steven Spielberg’s own childhood, marks a 50-year partnership between the pair, which includes films such as ET, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Schindler’s List and Jurassic Park.
Who’s going to win?
There are loads of awards ceremonies that take place in the run-up to the Oscars, including the Golden Globes, the BAFTAs, the Critics’ Choice and the SAGs, to name just a few. Some years, you see the same faces on stage over and over again, but not so much in 2023. This year’s awards season has been the most unpredictable for a while, with varying winners at different events, making the Oscars race pretty exciting.
Despite the unpredictability, we’re still predicting, courtesy of Sky News’ Backstage entertainment podcast co-host Claire Gregory – because what she doesn’t know about the Oscars isn’t worth knowing.
Bookies’ favourite Everything Everywhere All At Once is going to win best picture, she says, and she’s tipping one of the film’s stars, Ke Huy Quan, for the best supporting actor gong. Cate Blanchett (Tar), Kerry Condon (The Banshees Of Inisherin) and Brendan Fraser (The Whale) are the other predictions for acting nods, while she’s hoping Steven Spielberg (The Fabelmans) is named best director – but thinks it’ll go to Everything Everywhere’s “the Daniels”.
The stars and films we predict will win the big prizes at the Oscars this year
Crisis? What crisis (team)?
Sometimes the awards themselves get overshadowed by other events. Yes, we’re back to ‘slapgate’ again, and in recent years we’ve also seen the wrong film announced as best picture, #OscarsSoWhite trending on social media, and a furore about campaigning.
This year the Academy is leaving nothing to chance, setting up a crisis team for the first time, with members to be on hand should anything unexpected happen.
Ms Yang told attendees at the Oscars nominees luncheon in February that she thought changes were necessary following what she described as last year’s “unprecedented event”.
“What happened on stage was wholly unacceptable and the response from the organisation was inadequate,” she said. “We learned from this that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions and particularly in times of crisis.”
What is the Oscars crisis team – and what have they been called on for?
Despite the moves that have been made in recent years to improve diversity in the industry and at awards ceremonies, this year’s BAFTAs ceremony featured a list of all-white winners that was anything but, and the Academy has already faced criticism about black actresses Viola Davis (The Woman King) and Danielle Deadwyler (Till) missing out on Oscar nominations.
The Academy has introduced new diversity rules which kick in this year in time for next year’s ceremony – although the president told Sky News that all previous best picture nominees would still qualify under the criteria, which include ensuring a third of the cast is from “an underrepresented group” or that 30% of crew are from diverse racial or ethnic groups.
“It’s finding the right balance,” she told Sky News. “So, we want rules that make sense, that keep people kind of on your toes about it, but not telling people what to make.”
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Just a month after performing at the Super Bowl, Rihanna is ticking off another big one with the Oscars following her first nomination. The star will sing Lift Me Up, written for Marvel’s blockbuster sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, which is nominated for best song.
Lady Gaga is also up for the same prize, for Hold My Hand from Top Gun: Maverick, but don’t expect another performance like 2019’s lovey-dovey Shallow duet with Bradley Cooper; sadly, Gaga has filming commitments so is not expected to be there this year.
All three other nominees – Sofia Carson and Diane Warren (Applause, from Tell It Like A Woman), Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava (Naatu Naatu from RRR) and David Byrne, Son Lux and Stephanie Hsu (This Is A Life from Everything Everywhere All At Once) – will also perform.
Elsewhere, Lenny Kravitz will deliver the ceremony’s In Memoriam performance.
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You can watch the Academy Awards on Sunday 12 March from 11pm in the UK exclusively on Sky News and Sky Showcase. For everything you need to know ahead of the ceremony, don’t miss our special Backstage podcast, available now, plus a winners special episode from Monday morning