“Nyad” Biopic Receives Two Nominations For 96th Academy Awards

Yanyan Li
by Yanyan Li 4

January 23rd, 2024 News, Open Water

“Nyad,” Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi‘s 2023 feature film about open water swimmer Diana Nyad, has received two nominations for the 96th annual Academy Awards. Annette Bening, who starred as Nyad herself, was nominated for “Best Lead Actress,” while Jodie Foster, who played Nyad’s best friend Bonnie Stoll, was nominated for “Best Supporting Actress.” “Nyad” is one of twelve films with multiple Academy Award nominations this year.

Bening’s nomination this year is her fourth career Academy Award nomination and her first since 2010. In her category, she is up against Lily Gladstone (“Killers of the Flower Moon”), Sandra Hüller (“Anatomy of a Fall”), Carey Mulligan (“Maestro”), and Emma Stone (“Poor Things”).

Meanwhile, Foster received her fifth nomination and her first since 2021. She has previously won Academy Awards for her lead roles in “The Accused” (1988) and “Silence of the Lambs” (1991). This year, she is up against Emily Blunt (“Oppenheimer”), Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”), America Ferrera (“Barbie”), and Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”).

During this awards season, Bening and Foster have already received nominations for the 2024 Golden Globe Awards and the 2024 Screen Actor Guild Awards.

Chin and Vasarhelyi previously won the “Best Documentary Feature” Academy Award in 2018 for their film “Free Solo.”

“Nyad” tells the story of Nyad’s comeback from a 34-year retirement to attempt the 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida, which she completed on her fifth attempt at age 64 in 2013. However, the film garnered controversy due to skepticism about Nyad’s swim that it did not address, as there were questions about whether the swim was unaided or not and concerns about the swim not being documented by independent news media. In addition, the film suggests that Nyad was the first swimmer to complete the Cuba to Florida swim, whereas in reality Walter Poenisch and Susie Marone had both done so in the past (aided with the shark cages).

Guinness World Records no longer recognizes Nyad as the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark age.

Some open water swimmers were also unhappy with Nyad’s story being turned into a film due to her presence as a controversial figure in the open water community who had previously fabricated other accomplishments. However, others believed that her accomplishments and what it took her to get there should be celebrated regardless of her past.

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Chin and Vasarhelyi were aware of the controversies surrounding Nyad’s film when they made it but chose not to center Nyad’s story around it.

“Our film is not about a record,” Vasarhelyi told the LA Times. “Our film is not about how many times someone was touched. It’s about how a woman woke up at 60 and realized she wasn’t finished, even though the world may be finished with her.”

“Nyad” was released in theaters on October 23, 2023, and became available to stream on Netflix on Nov. 3. Currently, it has an average rating of 7/10 on Rotten Tomatoes, and 131 of its 154 critics reviews on the site are positive.

The 96th Academy Awards show is set to occur on March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

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Beatriz Cortez
3 months ago

Lily Gladstone will win Best Actress.

3 months ago

I haven’t seen the other movies nominated so I have no perspective. This seems like great acting to me by Annette Bening but idk how it compares to the others. Jodie Foster was alright but nothing special like her performances in The Accused or Silence of the Lambs.

douglas gray
3 months ago

Rhys Ifans was the best actor in the movie. Not to take away from Bening and Foster, they were good too, but his performance was off the charts.

3 months ago

The nomination for Bening is her 5th: Supporting Actress for The Grifters, Lead Actress for American Beauty, Being Julia, Kids are Alright, Nyad.

About Yanyan Li

Yanyan Li

Although Yanyan wasn't the greatest competitive swimmer, she learned more about the sport of swimming by being her high school swim team's manager for four years. She eventually ventured into the realm of writing and joined SwimSwam in January 2022, where she hopes to contribute to and learn more about …

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