Editorial | The Oscar Nominations could be better

By The Pitt News Editorial Board

The 80th Golden Globes kicked off award season with the subjective best of the business, where many of the year’s favorite movies and TV shows celebrated success — like Michelle Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan in “Everything Everything All at Once,” Quinta Brunson in “Abbott Elementary” and Jennifer Coolidge in “White Lotus.” 

But now, as we move into the 2023 Oscar season, we see many of the same movies up for awards, some for good reason and others… not so much. The Academy Awards has a longstanding tradition of grossly underrepresenting women and people of color — although there are now measures in place to make the nominations more inclusive

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is nominated for 11 Oscars. The hype surrounding the film is significant, considering it portrays an Asian mother struggling to connect with her adult daughter while confronting a life she is unsatisfied with — all with an Asian-led cast. Despite this being the 95th Academy Awards, Yeoh made history as the first openly Asian nominee in the Best Actress category. Critics and audiences alike received the movie well, and many deemed it the best film of the year, giving deserved representation to the Asian acting community. 

Meanwhile, “All Quiet on the Western Front” surprisingly received nine nominations including Best Picture. Although the movie provokes intense emotions with the visceral and disturbingly realistic scenes of trench warfare during World War I, the movie’s plot lacks the emotional complexity between the characters that are portrayed in the 1929 book. Representations of war consumed most of the movie’s screen time and left the plot a bit flat. Although “All Quiet on the Western Front” is a good movie, it is not a film worthy of nine Oscar nominations.

And while movies like “All Quiet” are overrepresented in the awards categories, no women were nominated for Best Director yet again. Critics also mention that “Woman King” did not receive its due respect and recognition, further contributing to the snubbing of women actors and actors of color as well.

But surprisingly, one category reigns above all — Animated Feature Films. Not only are there a wide array of stories told in this category — from a heartwarming tale of a shell who lives with his grandmother and pet ball on lint, to a girl with an overprotective mother who also grapples with turning into a red panda everytime she feels intense emotions, to a reprised stop-motion telling of “Pinocchio” with a rustic artful flare — there’s also a collection of diverse creatives producing these stories. 

The Animated Feature Films represented this year include Jewish, Asian and Latino creatives, as well as stories that appeal to people with different interests. Although animation is not real life, its cultural significance is very real. Diverse teams of contributors on popular films, even animated ones, are crucial to diverse stories being told in all genres and forms. 

Americans objectively love movies, so it’s important that the movies awarded for their greatness are representative of the greatness that exists across the industry — not just in pockets to celebrate white-led, male-directed movies. While the Academy Awards are making strides in the diversity presented at the Oscars, we as movie viewers need to champion the best of the best and demand all stories and people are represented, too.