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Sniffing out Snubs

I watched 33 movies in 2023. Two of my top five were snubbed for Academy Award nominations. As a layman film connoisseur I look forward to the Oscars every year, but I know that these movies deserve their time in the spotlight.

On Jan 5, my life was permanently altered by a film that transcended the likes of any movie I had ever seen. And I watch a lot of films. I chose to go with my good friend to see “The Iron Claw” in theaters simply because of Jeremy Allen White. From “Shameless” to “The Bear,” we believe in White’s potential as an actor; so we bought tickets for “The Iron Claw.” 

From the trailer, it was seemingly a simple wrestling bio-pic. But the acting and cinematography of this heart-wrenching tale of brotherhood and loyalty and the hustle far exceeded my expectations. I was devastated throughout the final half of the movie. Even more so as I began to reflect on the entire runtime. I watched over 30 movies in 2023, and “The Iron Claw” had to be the best overall film of the year. I can see the scenes so vividly and re-imagine the emotions that I felt in the theater. 

As I watched the live unveiling of the Academy Award Nominations, I expected nothing short of a “Best Actor” Nomination for Zac Efron’s glass-ceiling-shattering performance as Kevin Von Erich, as well as a number of other nominations for “The Iron Claw.” Perhaps “Best Cinematography” or “Best Production Design” or “Best Supporting Actor” for White or Harris Dickinson—both of whom shared equally tear-jerkingly vulnerable performances. I took to the Oscar Entry Rules to assure myself that the greatest movie of the year’s December release had not pushed its eligibility to the 2025 Oscars. I was floored. Zero nominations had come in for “The Iron Claw.” 

Throughout my years as a cinephile, I’ve been privy to many an Oscar snub. Typically, though, these snubs come during the Academy Award show (we may look to Leonardo DiCaprio’s many unsuccessful “Best Actor” nominations). However, never has a snub impacted me so significantly. Everyone in my life who saw this movie adored every aspect of its creation. 

The nomination spots were essentially all filled by five movies dubbed by the Board as the only films worth the recognition. “Oppenheimer,” “The Killers of the Flower Moon,” “Poor Things” and “Barbie” were great—don’t get me wrong. That is no excuse for an underrepresentation of many other great films of 2023. 

Also notable was the lack of acknowledgement for Sophia Coppola’s “Priscilla,” which featured a beautiful soundtrack; closed by America’s Sweetheart’s Dolly Parton. Cailee Spaeny won the “Best Actress” title at the Venice Film Festival and a nomination at the Golden Globes for her role as Priscilla Presley; yet, nothing from the Oscar nominations. For me, “Priscilla” was a top five-movie of 2023. It moved me. Much more so than after last year’s eight nomination-earning film “Elvis.”

2023 was a fantastic year for film. Strides were made in many genres and respect for women in cinema has increased dramatically. Many—if not all—nominated movies for this year’s Academy Awards are incredibly deserving. Great filmmakers and actors have made their way into the public eye and have been acknowledged by the Review Board. That does not, however, authorize the neglect of some of the greatest instances of acting and cinematography and scoring like we saw in “The Iron Claw” and “Priscilla.” 

As is the way of life, the nominations are out of my hands. But as last year’s STA Cinema Club winner of the most correctly guessed Oscar awards, I know the game well. If “The Iron Claw” couldn’t be a winner, at least I can. On that note, here are my predictions for the biggest categories. 

Best Picture: “Oppenheimer” (I’ll admit bias here: I loved this movie)

Best Actor: Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer”

Best Actress: Lily Gladstone in “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Ruffalo in “Poor Things”

Best Supporting Actress: Emily Blunt in “Oppenheimer”

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About the Contributor
Tierney Flavin, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, dear Dart fans! I’m Tierney, one of your co-editors-in-chief (shoutout Mrs. Hirner on the compound modifier). This is my third and final year on The Dart and I can’t wait to pump out more news! If it were up to me, I would read The Dart 24/7, but I also love watching movies. My favorites are “Interstellar,” “American Pie” and “Love, Rosie.” I couldn’t live without my cat Beezus, burritos or energy drinks. You can follow my beverage review account @tierneyandvioletjudgebeverages for elite content… Anywho, here’s to the best year of Dart ever!!!! Happy reading! Love,  Tierney

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