The 2022 Oscar nominations are finally here. Let the discourse truly begin, with conversations about how the industry is still lashing out against streaming, blockbuster filmmaking’s place at the Academy Awards, and why everyone seems to dislike Lady Gaga so much. Below, we hand out our winners and losers from Tuesday morning’s slate.
As announced by presenters Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan, the theme of this year’s Oscars (they do themes for the Oscars? Is this a thing?) is “Movie Lovers Unite.” Now, sure, it’s a little odd to use the word “unite” to describe a year in which everyone watched a majority of movies alone on their couches, but the theme also carries some truth—because Tuesday morning’s nominations seemed to bring together every single Oscar hopeful. A couple of favorites are coalescing—The Power of the Dog notched 12 total nominations, and Dune grabbed 10—but overall, a wide array of movies were given nods. And across the nominations, movies or actors that were seemingly snubbed were then given unexpected attention in other categories. Caitriona Balfe missed out on Best Supporting Actress, but was replaced by her Belfast costar Judi Dench; Bradley Cooper was snubbed in the Best Actor category, but Nightmare Alley was nominated for Best Picture; Aaron Sorkin got left out of Best Original Screenplay, but Being the Ricardos picked up a surprising three nominations in the acting categories; Denis Villeneuve wasn’t included in Best Director, but Dune was nominated for basically everything else.
The changes that have been made in the past few years to diversify the makeup of the Academy’s voting body has clearly had an effect. No matter which movie you were rooting for, you likely came out of the nominations with at least something to be happy about. Unless, of course, you were rooting for House of Gucci. —Andrew Gruttadaro
Loser: House of Gucci
Lady Gaga really wanted an Oscar. She was working hard for that Oscar. In the months since House of Gucci premiered, Lady Gaga has said the following things about the movie and her performance in it:
- “I had a psychiatric nurse with me toward the end of filming. I sort of felt like I had to. I felt that it was safer for me.”
- “I don’t think any actor should push themselves to that limit.”
- “I drove by where Maurizio [Gucci] was shot … and I felt a pin drop in my stomach because I was so in my character, and I thought, ‘What have I done?’ We made art out of pain.”
- “I knew I had to say goodbye to Patrizia. Large swarms of flies kept following me around, and I truly began to believe that she had sent them. I was ready to let her go.”
But maybe the Academy wasn’t into all that talk about plague-level phenomena and thespian danger: House of Gucci went home on Tuesday morning with just one nomination (for Best Makeup and Hairstyling), and shut out in the major categories—most notably the Best Actress category that Gaga and her swarm of insects have been pretending to live in since November. (The fifth nomination for Best Actress went to Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, because the only cringeworthy thing she’s done during award season is tweet about Jeremy Strong.)
Of course, the true casualty here is Jared Leto, who delivered one of the most confoundingly magnetic performances of the year as Paolo Gucci. He also said some weird stuff while campaigning, like how he “was snorting lines of arrabiata sauce” to get into character. But House of Gucci simply didn’t have enough support, and will go down as perhaps the biggest letdown of Oscar season. To that I can say only one thing: boof. —Gruttadaro
Loser: Denis Villeneuve
Is this the biggest travesty of this Oscar season? Villeneuve took a highly complex, famously “unadaptable” science-fiction novel in Dune and, well, adapted it—like, adapted the shit out of it—with some of the most stunning visual sequences ever put to the screen, only to get snubbed for Best Director. It’s not even that the Academy doesn’t like Dune—it has the second-most nominations of the entire ceremony, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay—but as the man who pulled all of these disparate yet incredible parts together, Villeneuve was apparently not worth acknowledging. Perhaps Dune’s lack of acting nods dimmed the luster of his directing, but those who have seen the movie know it’s less of a “story” and more of an experience. A Best Picture win for a sci-fi blockbuster seems unlikely, especially considering the Best Director nominations, and Villeneuve faces serious competition in Adapted Screenplay from films that very well could win Best Picture. What I’m saying is there’s a real possibility that Dune and Villeneuve will have to settle for the technical awards. Bit of a shame, that. —Aric Jenkins
Winner: Theatergoing’s Last Gasp
Last year, the Academy reviewed an Oscar season that had been totally decimated by the pandemic and delivered a collection of nominations that seemed to recognize the way most everyone was consuming film. More than half of the Best Picture nominees came from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Netflix took in 36 total nominations all on its own.
This year, even though the pandemic is still going and streaming is still playing a major role in the industry, the Academy said, “Actually, 2021 was cute, but you streamers still have to sit in the back.” Only three of the 10 Best Picture nominations were distributed by streaming-first studios. Netflix’s Tick, Tick … Boom!, thought to be a likely competitor in the main category, was left out altogether; Amazon’s Being the Ricardos and Apple TV+’s The Tragedy of Macbeth were also kept out in favor of the classically released Nightmare Alley and international darling Drive My Car.
The film industry has gone through major changes in the past decade, changes that were hastened even more in the past two years. The way movies are being distributed and watched has completely shifted. But when it comes to how the Academy thinks people should watch movies—and which movies should be celebrated—the message sent by today’s nominations is pretty clear. —Gruttadaro
Winner: Drive My Car
Two years after South Korea’s Parasite became the first non-English-language film to win Best Picture, could Japan’s Drive My Car become the next? Adapted from a Haruki Murakami short story, the three-hour drama is probably the least widely seen of the 10 Best Picture contenders, but it’s a critical darling and earned a strong four Academy nominations: Best Picture, Best Director for Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Best International Feature Film, and Best Adapted Screenplay for Hamaguchi and cowriter Takamasa Oe. Released in the U.S. in November, Drive My Car initially seemed destined to remain a cinephile’s favorite, robbed of widespread attention, but changing demographics within the Academy’s voting bloc may have played a hand in its well-deserved Oscars recognition:
DRIVE MY CAR, a 3-hour Japanese slow-burn epic about Chekhov and grief, got four Oscar nominations. It's an amazing film, I was wrong about how this one would play out for months. The Academy is super different now than it was five years ago.— Sean Fennessey (@SeanFennessey) February 8, 2022
Best International Feature seems certain for Drive My Car, but the film also feels like the wild card in each of the other categories it’s nominated in. This is one to keep an eye on. —Jenkins
Loser: Best Supporting Actor Wild Cards
We already poured out a glass of prosecco for Jared Leto. Now let us pour out a canister of gasoline for this guy:
Cooper’s portrayal of the unhinged Jon Peters in Licorice Pizza had the fourth-best odds in the Best Supporting Actor category, according to Gold Derby. Ultimately, though, it was passed up for the likes of Jesse Plemons in The Power of the Dog and J.K. Simmons in Being the Ricardos. What we’re left with is a pretty stale category of carefully considered performances. Say what you want about Leto and Cooper in their respective movies, but “careful” is a word you would never use for either. These two provided some of the most delightfully chaotic bursts of energy in film this year, which, honestly, ought to be the measuring stick in the supporting categories. Allow me to say boof once more. (And while we’re pouring out liquids for dudes, might I also suggest tipping over a chalice of Bordeaux for Ben Affleck in The Last Duel.) —Gruttadaro
For the first time in the Academy’s history, two couples have been nominated across all four acting categories in the same year. Javier Bardem (Best Actor, Being the Ricardos) and Penélope Cruz (Best Actress, Parallel Mothers) have been earning nods—and winning Oscars—for a while now, but Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons … welcome to the show. Further adding to the overlap, the pair received their first-ever Academy nominations for their work in the same movie, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog. Congrats to both these couples for not only being hot and rich, but also talented. Love is real. —Jenkins
Winner: CODA’s Staying Power
CODA is an Apple TV+ movie that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021. The way that the pandemic has slowed down time, that’s basically a lifetime ago. But the movie—a down-to-earth, heartstring-pulling story about a hearing teenage girl who’s the daughter of deaf parents—had Oscar buzz then, and it’s still got Oscar buzz now. Sian Heder’s film pulled in three big nominations: Troy Kotsur for Best Supporting Actor, Heder herself for Best Adapted Screenplay, and biggest of all, Best Picture.
CODA is one of the least-seen nominees in that final category, and of the 10 films recognized, it might have the longest odds of winning. But to be such a small movie to begin with, and to survive the gauntlet that is a year-long award campaign, is no small feat. —Gruttadaro
Broadway may have reopened in September, but the past year’s biggest developments in musical theater came from Hollywood. In November, Tick, Tick … Boom! leapt to the top of Netflix’s streaming charts thanks to an energetic performance from Andrew Garfield; a month later, Steven Spielberg’s grand remake of West Side Story premiered in theaters to rapturous acclaim. Both have now been honored by the Academy: West Side Story nabbed an impressive seven nominations, tied for third most total, including the major categories of Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actress (Ariana DeBose). And while Tick, Tick … Boom! may have been (somewhat surprisingly) shut out from the Best Picture race, a Best Actor in a Leading Role nod for Garfield is validation enough for a year of musical accomplishment. —Jenkins
Loser: No Way Home
Sorry, Mr. Kevin Feige. I know you were hoping that the billion-dollar box office success of Spider-Man: No Way Home would propel the MCU to its first-ever Best Picture win. I know you had said, “It’s a good thing when people are wiping tears because they’re thinking back on their last 20 years of moviegoing and what it has meant to them,” and that the Academy was founded to recognize that exact thing (even if in reality, it definitely wasn’t). I know that this is the year you thought Martin Scorsese might start returning your phone calls. Alas, you will have to be satisfied with the lone nomination you received for Best Visual Effects—oh, and the billions of dollars, and the knowledge that your film franchise has irrevocably changed the entire filmmaking industry. —Gruttadaro