This Tom Hanks movie was snubbed by the Oscars this year. Here’s why it deserves some love

A boy leans on a phone booth in Asteroid City.
Focus Features

Every year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences goes through the trouble of nominating a bunch of movies for a wide array of different awards. Some years are better than others, and all in all, the slate of 2023 movies they nominated is pretty solid. Many wildly imaginative, interesting movies are in this year’s slate.

Even when the Academy does a pretty good job, though, there are some performances and entire movies that don’t make the cut, and often totally unjustly. While much of the ire this year has focused on the various ways Barbie was snubbed, the Academy blanked another great movie. Wes Anderson’s Asteroid City, the latest film from the master director, was completely blanked by the Academy, but here are three reasons we love it anyway:

It’s among the most technically perfect movies of the year

Asteroid City – Official Trailer – In Select Theaters June 16, Everywhere June 23

While many people understandably pay attention to the Oscars for the performances and the stories of the year’s best movies, most great movies are made great thanks to all the technical work that is harder to spot. There are sets to be designed, costumes to be created, and careful choices about how a movie should look and sound. Wes Anderson’s movies are always remarkably precise in this regard, and Asteroid City is no different.

The movie’s sets are impeccably designed with the director’s notorious attention to detail, and the movie’s cinematography brings out the kinds of vibrant color that modern movies rarely possess. Before you even get to the story, there are like eight different craft categories where this movie merited a nomination.

It features a roster of amazing talent

Jason Schwartzman and Tom Hanks talk on the phone in Asteroid City.
Focus Features

If you were upset that Margot Robbie didn’t score a nomination for Barbie, you might be equally upset to learn she has a beautiful, pivotal scene in Asteroid City. However, Robbie is far from the only person whose work merited a nomination. Jason Schwartzman is terrific in the film’s central role, and Scarlett Johansson is just as good as the film’s female lead. There’s also Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Maya Hawke, Edward Norton, Adrian Brody, and a panoply of other wonderful performers who all do the most they can, given their relatively limited screen time. It’s one of the best casts Anderson has ever assembled, which is saying something, given the overall quality of his casts.

It’s a movie about why Wes Anderson makes movies

Scarlett Johansson leans on a window frame in Asteroid City.
Focus Features / Focus Features

Wes Anderson’s style, which features carefully controlled sets and stilted dialogue, among other elements, can be alienating to some viewers who don’t appreciate the way he uses artifice.

In Asteroid City, though, Wes is laying out beat for beat exactly why he tells stories this way. He doesn’t understand the world, or what anything means, or why we lose the people we love. All he knows how to do is keep telling stories and hope for the best, so that’s exactly what he does. And Asteroid City is one of the best stories he’s ever told.

Asteroid City is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Editors’ Recommendations