Riz Ahmed and Allison Williams just unveiled the 2023 Academy Award nominations, and one stands out. Given that every Best Actor in a Leading Role nominee will be a first-time winner, the nominations have added an extra level of intrigue. None of the five announced nominees have ever been nominated by the Academy previously, much less won an Oscar.
After years in the wilderness due to his hardships and challenges, Brendan Fraser has received his most considerable support yet with his first nomination for his strong and emotional performance as a 600-pound school teacher in Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale. He is the favorite, but only by a hair’s breadth. Alongside Fraser is Colin Farrell, whose performance as a simple Irish guy during the Irish Civil War who frantically tries to reconnect with his former best buddy is heartbreaking and humorous in The Banshees of Inisherin.
Years after filming Baz Luhrmann’s extravagantly entertaining biopic Elvis, Austin Butler still has trouble distancing himself from the voice and mannerisms he adopted for the role of Elvis Presley. And finally, the renowned Bill Nighy received a nomination after many years of waiting. The 73-year-portrayal old’s of a dying man who spent his entire life doing what he was told and following the rules has been praised by critics everywhere.
With the first four nominees being solid bets according to pre-announcement polls, the fifth position went to the less talked about but no less brilliant Paul Mescal, who has made a stunning breakthrough with his maiden nomination for his outstanding performance in Charlotte Wells’ Aftersun. In Wells’ great debut feature film, Mescal’s sad performance as a young Scottish father battling clinical depression while trying to hide it from his young daughter (an amazing Frankie Corio, one to watch) has received a well-deserved shout.