Despite dazzling critics and dominating the domestic box office, Jordan Peele's "Nope" didn't receive any Oscar nominations this year.
The acclaimed science-fiction thriller was among the most glaring snubs of the 2023 Oscar nominations, which were announced Tuesday morning.
Leading up to the nominations announcement, Los Angeles Times film critic Justin Chang predicted that "Nope" might land a nomination for original screenplay, while awards expert Glenn Whipp posited that the suspenseful blockbuster would have an outside shot at scoring a nod for visual effects.
"Nope" co-stars Daniel Kaluuya and Keke Palmer also generated some early awards buzz for their powerful turns as siblings who discover a mysterious flying saucer hovering ominously over their family ranch. And Palmer — who has been charming audiences since her breakout performance as a child spelling prodigy in 2006's "Akeelah and the Bee" — won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for supporting actress in December.
"You can savor the prickles of comic tension between [siblings] O.J. and Em, and appreciate how Kaluuya's and Palmer's initially clashing rhythms — his slow and dour, hers fast and excitable — gradually come to complement each other as their characters join forces," Chang wrote in his review of "Nope."
When it hit theaters in July, Peele's highly anticipated follow-up to "Get Out" (2017) and "Us" (2019) earned overwhelmingly positive reviews and received an 83% fresh rating on review-aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes. Plus, it ranked No. 5 on Metacritic's tally of 2022 films most frequently included on critics' year-end top 10 lists.
The invisible-monster flick also opened at No. 1 in the United States and Canada with an impressive $44 million — securing a hat trick for Peele, whose first three feature films have all debuted atop the domestic box office.
It's easy to understand why some critics expected "Nope" to collect an Oscar nomination for original screenplay. For starters, Peele is no stranger to the category: His debut feature film, "Get Out," won the coveted prize in 2018.
And though box office success doesn't always translate to Oscar glory, it's worth noting that "Nope" was the second-highest-grossing domestic release of 2022 not adapted from another work or tied to an existing franchise, according to estimates from measurement firm Comscore.
In the United States and Canada, the Universal Pictures title racked up a whopping $171.5 million — second only to Warner Bros.' "Elvis" when you exclude entries from Marvel, DC and other corporate machines that tend to monopolize the box office.
"The learned viewing habits of the pandemic, which prioritize convenience over curiosity, now seem to suspend themselves only when a big event picture — or a Marvel movie, which at this point can scarcely be considered an event — comes along," Chang wrote in his year-end reflection.
"Some industry finger-waggers gleefully blamed these flops on Hollywood's allegedly progressive agenda, which doesn't quite explain the success of a racially inclusive, politically conscious thriller like 'Nope,' one of the few original hits released by a major studio this year. But then, Jordan Peele is in the business of avoiding — and defying — easily digestible narratives, which is very much to his credit."
The 95th Academy Awards will take place March 12 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The ceremony is scheduled to air live on ABC.