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15th February 2023

Do blockbusters stand a chance at the Oscars?

Blockbusters Top Gun: Maverick and Elvis received multiple nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, but do these summer flicks stand a chance against the usual Oscar fare?
Do blockbusters stand a chance at the Oscars?
Photo: Mirko Fabian @ Unsplash

Two of the summer’s biggest films, Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick, have received a whopping 14 Oscar nominations between them. I loved both of the movies for different reasons and was very pleased to see their wide array of accolades. Based on my original article about the films which you can read here, and with less than a month to go until the winners are revealed, here is my take on the nominations.

To begin with, unsurprisingly both movies received nominations for Best Picture, Best Sound, and Best Film Editing. Baz Luhrmann’s outrageously glamorous style lent itself perfectly to depicting the King of Rock and Roll’s ostentatious life and career in Las Vegas. The cinematography stunning and its Best Picture nomination was well deserved.

As for Top Gun: Maverick, who does action movies better than action movie legend and original Captain Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell Tom Cruise himself? For me, the film was a perfect blend of action, emotion, and humour, making it also a worthy Best Picture nominee.

Of course, Elvis was destined to have a fabulous soundtrack with Presley’s songs providing the main soundtrack, but also with original songs from Doja Cat, Eminem, CeeLo Green, Kacey Musgraves, Stevie Nicks, and Måneskin. Top Gun: Maverick’s soundtrack was also spectacular, although completely different from that of Elvis! With an original score by Hans Zimmer, songs performed by Lady Gaga, Kenny Loggins, and OneRepublic, alongside Miles Teller’s rendition of ‘Great Balls of Fire’, Top Gun: Maverick is certainly a worthy nominee.

The last shared nomination for both films is Best Film Editing – no doubt a very proud moment for the respective filmmakers.

Elvis garnered more nominations than Top Gun: Maverick, receiving eight in total. Starting with Austin Butler’s Best Actor nomination: it’s impossible to disagree with Butler’s nomination. He was fantastic as Elvis, to the extent that, in some scenes, I was unsure if it was Butler or footage of the real Elvis himself.

He also received praise from Elvis’ wife Priscilla and his late daughter Lisa Marie, who both thought that his portrayal was simultaneously outstanding and sympathetic to the King of Rock and Roll. The cinematography was fabulous, which was bound to be the case for a Baz Luhrmann film so the Best Cinematography’ nomination came as no surprise.

Both the Best Costume Design and Best Make-up and Hairstyling nominations were also well-deserved, although I do think that they’re tough categories as Elvis is up against Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for both awards, as well as Everything Everywhere All At Once in the costume design category. Elvis was also nominated for Best Production Design, which is a hard outcome to predict since all five films in the category are wildly different!

Top Gun: Maverick was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Visual Effects.  Lady Gaga’s ‘Hold My Hand’ is definitely a strong contender for winning Best Original Song – it has my vote! The other two categories are also difficult as every film in the Best Visual Effects category is equally worthy of winning, although the award will likely go to either of the sci-fi/fantasy movies Avatar: The Way of Water or Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (my personal winner!).

As for Best Adapted Screenplay, Top Gun: Maverick has the highest Rotten Tomatoes score of all the films nominated in this category (96%), but, as we well know by now, the audience’s top picks don’t always reflect the Oscar’s winning choices.

Finally, it’s important to note that neither Elvis nor Top Gun: Maverick were nominated for Best Supporting Actor or any of the actress categories. In my opinion, Tom Hanks could have earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Elvis as Colonel Tom Parker, and there were a few side characters in Top Gun: Maverick who had the potential for such nominations but were snubbed.

I’m disappointed that neither film received nominations for Best Actress or Best Supporting Actress as they were two of the most highly decorated films at the Oscars and yet were unrepresented in the actress categories. Olivia DeJonge could have earned a nomination as Priscilla Presley in Elvis, and – whilst I loved Monica Barbaro and Jennifer Connelly in Top Gun: Maverick – I don’t think they were given big enough storylines to receive nominations.

Now that the countdown is well and truly on for this year’s Oscar winners, I’m looking forward to the reveal! Elvis and Top Gun: Maverick stand a good chance at winning in at least one of their categories. Elvis blew me away, particularly due to Butler’s acting, and Top Gun: Maverick turned out to be much more than just a cheesy action sequel.

Imogen Mingos

Imogen Mingos

Head Fashion & Beauty Editor 2023-24 | Winner of Best Newcomer (The Mancunion) at SU Awards 2023

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