The 2022 Oscars nominations have been announced, and that means there are some big snubs and surprises. The long nature of awards season usually means that there is a certain expectation for what movies will dominate the Oscar nominations and who is considered a front runner in different categories. Leslie Jordan and Tracee Ellis Ross revealed the nominees in all 23 categories on Tuesday morning, February 8, 2022. Unsurprisingly, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog led the way with 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and four acting nominations.
As usual, the 2022 Oscar nominations invite a high level of examination and discussion. While The Power of the Dog looks to be a heavy favorite to win various awards come March 27, 2022, Denis Villeneuve’s Dune received 10 nominations, while Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story tied for the third most nominations at seven apiece. Film enthusiasts and those who follow the awards season trends are hardly surprised to see these four films in particular claim frontrunner statuses. The nominations also show the Academy Awards’ progress in terms of diversity with women and people of color represented in Best Director, while the acting nominations also include multiple people of color and the first deaf actor nomination in Troy Kotsur (CODA).
However, the Oscar voting body always includes several surprises in its nominations that go against the common assumptions. This includes several highly regarded movies being left out entirely, such as The French Dispatch and The Green Knight. The snubs aren’t limited to movies that won’t be part of the 94th Oscars ceremony, as even some of the most recognized movies still missed out in surprising categories. Here are the biggest snubs and surprises from the 2022 Oscar nominations.
Snub: Denis Villeneuve For Best Director
Potentially the biggest snub in the 2022 Oscar nominations is Denis Villeneuve not receiving a Best Director nomination for Dune. With Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), and Kenneth Branagh (Belfast) considered favorites in the category, it seems Villeneuve’s assumed spot went to either Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza) or Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car). All of the Best Director nominees come from the Best Picture pool, but it’s surprising to see Denis Villeneuve snubbed with Dune since his sci-fi epic earned 10 nominations overall. This could’ve been his second Best Director nomination and he was an odds-on-favorite to receive it. Now that he’s missed out on this Oscar nomination, the Academy will have a chance to recognize him in the 2024 ceremony after Dune: Part Two is released.
Surprise: Drive My Car & Nightmare Alley In Best Picture
This year’s Oscars marks the first time the Academy Awards worked with a fixed 10 slots for Best Picture, which guaranteed ten nominees instead of a fluctuating number. This meant even more movies had the opportunity to receive a nomination, including the surprises of Drive My Car and Nightmare Alley becoming Best Picture nominees. They beat out other presumed contenders like tick, tick…BOOM!, Being the Ricardos, and The Tragedy of Macbeth. Most expected Drive My Car to receive a nomination in some fashion thanks to it being Japan’s selection for Best International Feature, but the movie cemented itself as a more serious contender with its Best Picture nomination and Hamaguchi’s Best Director nom. Meanwhile, Nightmare Alley snagged its Best Picture nomination despite having just four nominations overall – but none in the “major” categories like director, actor, actress, or screenplay.
Snub: Bradley Cooper For Best Supporting Actor
The 2022 Oscar nominations also left Bradley Cooper out of the Best Supporting Actor nominations, making him a snub for his small role in Licorice Pizza. Cooper was in the thick of awards season thanks to his leading role in Nightmare Alley, but his appearance as Jon Peters in Paul Thomas Anderson’s movie became his best chance to receive an Oscar nomination. It seemed that this was quite likely after Cooper received a SAG nomination and since he’s a four-time nominee in acting categories. Instead of nominating Bradley Cooper for Licorice Pizza, the Academy put Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog) and J.K. Simmons (Bing the Ricardos) in one of the slots he could’ve occupied.
Snub: Lady Gaga For Best Actress
The flip side of Kristen Stewart’s surprise nomination is Lady Gaga’s snub for her performance in House of Gucci. Lady Gaga made a big splash with the Academy in 2018 with her starring role in A Star Is Born, which earned her an acting nomination and a win for Best Original Song. Her patience to find her next acting role led to a collaboration with Ridley Scott on House of Gucci, which saw Lady Gaga play Patrizia Reggiani. Although the movie itself wasn’t a huge hit, her performance was singled out as its biggest bright spot. Lady Gaga’s movie star performance seemed to be put her in a strong position for an Oscar nomination after earning BAFTA, SAG, HCA, and Golden Globe nominations. However, Lady Gag’s snub is now among the most notable from the 2022 Oscar nominations.Note: But There Are Many Things That The Plumber’s
Surprise: Belfast’s Best Supporting Actress Nomination
There was also a surprise in the Best Supporting Actress category with which of Belfast’s female performers received a nomination. Caitriona Balfe was considered to be the most likely of Belfast’s female stars to receive a nomination, but it was actually Judi Dench who secured the spot. It marks Dench’s eighth Oscar nomination, with her only win coming from Shakespeare in Love. Her history with the Academy may have ultimately given her a leg up on Balfe, who has never been nominated for a major award prior to Belfast bringing her a BAFTA nomination.Note: It Inevitably Stood Out As The Single Biggest
Snub: Nicolas Cage For Best Actor
Another major acting snub came in the Best Actor category, as Nicolas Cage was not recognized for his Pig performance. The revenge movie from director Michael Sarnoski sees Cage play a truffle hunter who goes on a quest to find his pig after it is stolen. However, Pig is much more than its premise sounds, and Cage does some of the best work of his career in it as his character experiences loss. Pig’s restaurant table scene plays like the perfect Oscar clip for the actor, who previously won an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas and was last nominated in 2003. Instead of recognizing Cage’s incredible performance, it seems his possible spot went to Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos) instead.Note: So The Winning Nominee Isn’t Always The Best