The Academy Awards may be the most prestigious movie awards out there, but that doesn’t mean they always make the best decisions. Join us as we look at which potential nominees got left out and which nominees don’t belong.
The nominees for the 2022 Academy Awards were announced on Tuesday February 8th, and the ceremony will take place on March 27th. We’ll have to wait until then to see who wins, but based on the potential nominees that were left out we DO know who WON’T be winning. After having a few days to think it over, here are our thoughts on the biggest mistakes that the Academy voters made this year.
Denis Villeneuve – Best Director for Dune
Garrett – I guess the movie with the second-most Oscar nominations this year didn’t have a director. Or else he/she would probably have been nominated, right? Villeneuve’s work on Dune was nothing short of magnificent. His work on Dune made it a success. The Academy has a history of doing stuff like this, and the only reason I can think of is that everyone assumes he is going to get nominated so they decide to vote for someone else. Also, the Academy doesn’t always appreciate science fiction as well as they should. No matter how it happened, it is easily the biggest disappointment with this year’s Oscar noms.
Becky- Given all of the Oscar nominations Dune has received, I don’t understand how Denis Villeneuve was passed over for Best Director. I almost feel like it was a mistake like, they nominated Dune for almost everything else, they just forgot to include Best Director. That’s the only explanation I’ll accept right now, because Villeneuve absolutely deserved official recognition for his work on one of the best films I saw last year. Then again, maybe the Academy is waiting until Dune Part 2 comes out to give Villeneuve the award he so richly deserves?
Jordan – Yeah, I’m not saying much more than you guys here, but it’s crazy to see this happen. Yes, films are very much a collaborative effort, with hundreds of people involved to make it all happen. Even so, it all happens under the direction of…well, the Director. It’s his vision that helps guide those other aspects and helps bring it together.
Skipping out on the Best Director nom, in light of ALL the other nominations is mind-boggling. Almost like when Parasite won for Best Film, yet none of the cast received nominations. The film wasn’t amazing on its own!
Lady Gaga – Best Actress for House of Gucci
Garrett – Lady Gaga had a lot of buzz surrounding her performance in House of Gucci. I would argue she had more buzz than Chastain or Nicole Kidman. Many critics praised her performance as the highlight of the film, giving it a drive and a focus. She earned best lead actress nominations from both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild. Her film was similarly rated to The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Being The Ricardos. Despite all these things, no Oscar nomination. Why?
Jordan – Gonna be honest here, this one…doesn’t bother me. So much of House of Gucci just didn’t work for me, and much of the acting is included in that. Granted, Gaga did a solid job with what she had to work with, but it didn’t exactly stand out to me. I will say, I’d much rather have Gaga over Kidman for Being the Ricardos, alas.
Catriona Balfe – Best Supporting Actress for Belfast
Garrett – Just like Lady Gaga’s performance, the performance of Catriona Balfe was one of the things audiences and critics appreciated the most about Belfast. She received a nomination for Best Supporting actress from the Golden Globes, and twice by the Screen Actors Guild. Her film is rated much higher than The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Being the Ricardos, and is similarly rated to Spencer. She has all of the accolades to earn an Oscar nomination. But her absence on the list of nominations, similar to Gaga’s, is more likely to do with her being an outsider. Judi Dench is a much more prestigious actress with a long list of accolades, and the voters looked her way to honor Belfast instead of the more deserving candidate.
Ruth Negga – Best Supporting Actress for Passing
Garrett – Negga received a Best Supporting Actress nomination from both the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors’ Guild. Yet, like both of the other names above her on this list she did not receive an Oscar nomination. This is a shame because Passing was well-received by critics and its poignant discussion of racial privilege is an important message in light of contemporary issues. Much like Lady Gaga and Balfe, Negga is considered to be a highlight of a very good film. But I think unfortunately a few things worked against her – the film didn’t gather a lot of buzz despite the praise it received, and the filmmakers behind it did not have as much clout as those who were ultimately nominated.
Jordan – It’s long past time for Ruth Negga to get her due at the Oscars. The amount of awards she’s been nominated for, and won, is impressive. Yet The Academy hasn’t given her the same attention (except in 2016). I was bummed when she didn’t win for Loving, and was hoping she’d have another shot at the gold with Passing. Like Garrett said, this feels like it completely boils down to lack of promotion/buzz. Most general audiences didn’t know it was out either…
Eternals – Best Special Effects
Garrett – While Eternals may not have been as universally-loved as most of the MCU movies have been, it did set itself apart (in a good way) with the visuals. What The Eternals does really well is create an immense scale – not just in terms of the size of some of the sets and action pieces, but also the time span of the film. For all these reasons it required some spectacular, and seamless special effects, and I think it really nailed it. Besides any film but Dune, Eternals stood out to me for its special effects, and it is a shame it wasn’t nominated for them.
Jordan – Eternals being snubbed for VFX also qualifies as a “head-scratcher” for me. I mean…come on! Despite what you may have thought of the film in general, there’s no denying it’s visually stunning. From the subtle things with the characters utilizing their powers, to the large scale of the Celestials, everything pops. More than any other Marvel movie, it manages to make things fit within the context of the world, while still bringing unique style/flair.
Ben Affleck – Best Actor for The Tender Bar
Garrett – Affleck DID earn Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild nominations for his performance in The Tender Bar. Why that didn’t transfer to an Oscar nomination is hard to say. We all know the Academy has had it out for Affleck after snubbing him for Best Director for Argo. But also it could be the fact that The Tender Bar didn’t get nearly enough love from critics to be compared with the other films that received Best Actor noms. Still, it was one of the most talked-about performances of the year, and a welcome return to form for the veteran actor. (And don’t even get me started on that misguided Razzie nomination….)
Jordan – For the life of me, I don’t think I’ll ever understand why the Academy can’t seem to get on board with Affleck, especially when it comes to acting. Yeah, he’s done some goofy movies, but the man gives incredible performances every single time. It’s like, they see him doing the typical action/blockbuster flicks, and choose to ignore his other roles. The man has the range to do both, but unlike other stars who jump back and forth between genre flicks and Oscar bait, Affleck is left behind.
Leonardo DiCaprio – Best Actor for Don’t Look Up
Garrett – Despite my complaints about the nominations received by Don’t Look Up (see headscratchers below) the one area it might have actually deserved some attention was the performance by lead actor Leonardo DiCaprio. DiCaprio’s performance in this film was unlike anything we had seen from the esteemed actor before – for once he was shy and not bombastic. This quality, along with the burden he is forced to carry, makes the character complicated in a way that is not typically present in the types of roles we see big name actors take on. Seeing DiCaprio act his way through that internal conflict is one of the most compelling parts of the film. It speaks to the complexity of our modern life where we all seem to be caught between trying to mind our own business and going out of our comfort zone because it is for the greater good.
Best Costume Design or Production Design – House of Gucci
Garrett – House of Gucci is exactly the type of film that the Academy often goes crazy for in the craft categories. It DID get a nomination for Makeup & Hairstyling, but that by itself doesn’t seem sufficient. Like Cuella, it is a film that is centered around fashion, and like Nightmare Alley and West Side Story its historical setting requires a lot of work in production design. It was much more involved than The Tragedy of Macbeth, and more critical to the film’s story than in The Power of the Dog. Of course, the film didn’t really get a lot of support at the Golden Globes, and people are still not really sure it is any good – so these may be the reasons why it didn’t snag more than a single nomination.
Julia Ducournau- Best Director for Titane
Becky – I know horror films aren’t for everyone but it’s pretty undeniable that Julia Ducournau knocked it out of the park with Titane, her second feature film. A story that might’ve been an incoherent mess in other hands turned into one of the best films I saw in 2021 and I’m mind-boggled that she wasn’t at least nominated for Best Director in recognition of her efforts on this film.
Jordan – Considering the ridiculous amount of buzz surrounding Titane in general (from the performances, cinematography, soundtrack, unique script, etc) it’s INSANE to see it shut out of the Oscars entirely. I mean, it won the fucking Palme d’Or at Cannes! To get absolutely nothing from the Academy, especially on the direction side of things, is mind-boggling. So much of the directing picks this year felt “safe” so I shouldn’t be too surprised…but it’s a bummer to be sure.
Jodie Comer – Best Actress for The Last Duel
Garrett – I knew it was always a bit of a long shot, but I feel that Comer deserved some recognition for her performance in The Last Duel. Unfortunately, buzz kind of worked against the film and it couldn’t really build as much momentum as it should have. Part of the problem was that it was delayed from last year, and so it may not have gotten as much attention from the studio as it should have. Comer received no help from the Golden Globes or SAG, and the movie didn’t really get much attention with other awards.
Jordan – I get there was a lot of “discourse” around the film upon its release. There are definitely discussions to be had about rape stories from the male perspective (yet again), and I certainly don’t agree with Ridley Scott’s remarks about millennials killing theaters. That said, none of those things detract from the impressive performances/style in the film. From the first trailer, Jodie Comer was a standout. She does a phenomenal job in the movie and commands the screen even among the heavy-hitting actors around her.
Don’t Look Up – Best Picture
Garrett – This is easily the most controversial nomination of the year. Don’t Look Up absolutely pales in comparison to the other films that were nominated for best picture in terms of critical consensus. While lots of people liked the film, many didn’t connect with it, and others simply hated what it represented. This film is very critical of a certain portion of the population, and so it can certainly be viewed as somewhat silly and childish. Especially given the fact that its agenda is worn on its sleeve, and it is chock-full of big Hollywood stars.
In other words, it is geared towards a very specific pro-Hollywood portion of the population, so it feels very conceited to be nominated for Best Picture by people who work in and for Hollywood. With this perspective it feels like the nomination of this film contradicts the Academy’s efforts for the Oscars to be more inclusive.
Jordan – Frankly, this one doesn’t really surprise me. There’s nothing Hollywood loves more than patting themselves on the back and looking like they’re leading the conversation in certain things. As a movie all about poking at the other side of the fence, it makes sense for everyone who feels they’re on the “correct side” of the conversation to want to put it in the spotlight.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the film for what it was (and the Republicans it mocks can absolutely cry themselves to sleep over it), but it very much plays into the conceits of a certain Hollywood crowd.
Don’t Look Up – Best Original Screenplay
Garrett – See my comments above. Certainly the screenplay is smart, important, and funny. But it also doesn’t feel as artistic, emotional, or serious as what a “Best Original Screenplay” should be. I’m as big of a fan of satire as anyone, but the film’s messaging was very blunt. It feels like an attempt at an inside joke, but it lacked that ingenuity to elevate itself beyond a parody of modern life. I also feel like it didn’t really teach us anything or give us a new perspective. For these reasons, I thought another screenplay should have been nominated in its place.
Jordan – There are plenty of things to like about Don’t Look Up, but it’s story isn’t subtle. For satire, it doesn’t hold back in hitting audiences over the head with its messaging. While the dialog is sharp, there’s nothing specific about the screenplay that feels Oscar-worthy. I think it’s just a matter of Hollywood feeling proud of themselves for it…
Don’t Look Up – Best Film Editing
Garrett – Of all the things that I remember about Don’t Look Up, I can confidently say that the editing was NOT one of them. In fact, I can’t really say that the editing impacted my appreciation of the film in any way. If it was edited in a different way, I think the film would have had the same appeal. There were many other films where the editing played a major role in the end product, and so I feel like those should have gotten the nod over Don’t Look Up.
Jordan – Again, Don’t Look Up is mostly an “okay” movie. It’s decently written and features some great acting (no surprise considering the cast), but just about everything else is…okay. On the technical side of things, Don’t Look Up is competent, but does nothing groundbreaking. It doesn’t do anything unique with the editing than any other comedy film does to ensure proper timing.
Jessica Chastain – Best Actress for the Eyes of Tammy Faye
Garrett – I know Chastain received Golden Globe and Screen Actors guild nominations for her role in The Eyes of Tammy Faye. These days those two other nominations are typically seen as prerequisites for an Oscar nomination. But Lady Gaga also got the same nominations but no Oscar nom, and Penelope Cruz received neither yet earned an Oscar nomination. The Eyes of Tammy Faye was not very well appreciated by critics, and it only earned one other Oscar nomination (for Makeup and Hairstyling). That means her performance didn’t really elevate the film, like Lady Gaga’s did. Nicole Kidman, her fellow Oscar nominee, won the Golden Globe, and so that gives her an edge for a nomination compared with the other actresses who received Golden Globe and SAG nominations. Furthermore, Chastain’s performance didn’t seem to generate a lot of buzz the way her fellow nominees did. For these reasons I scratch my head over her nomination in place of Lady Gaga.
Jordan – Sorry, I’m a Jessica Chastain simp, so I’m down with just about any nomination she gets. No explanation needed for me!
Judi Dench – Best Supporting Actress for Belfast
Garrett – See my comments above regarding the snub for Caitriona Balfe. Dench is the more recognizable face to the academy voters, and it probably helped her cause that she played a role in which she was nearly unrecognizable compared with the types of roles she is known for. The Academy voters have also seemed to have a soft spot for grandmas over the past few years (Youn Yuh-jung in Minari, Glenn Close in Hillbilly Elegy) so that probably helped as well. But in no way do I think she deserved her nomination over Balfe, especially when Dench did not receive either a Golden Globe or individual Screen Actors Guild nomination (despite the cast being heavily favored by both organizations).
2 Best Supporting Actor Nominations from The Power of the Dog
Garrett – This one is more of a surprise than a genuine head scratcher. Voters really loved The Power of the Dog, giving it the most nominations of any film this year. So, for that reason it isn’t a surprise to see the film load up on the acting categories, but it is surprising to see two nominees of the same gender in a supporting category. Only Kodi Smit-McPhee received nominations from the Golden Globes and SAG. Jesse Plemons seems to have come out of nowhere. He did receive supporting actor nominees from other smaller organizations, but not nearly as many as other potential Oscar nominees. I feel like his nomination is more a recognition of his fantastic work as of late, more so than specifically for this role.
Jordan – It’s not surprising to see Power of the Dog nab multiple acting nominations this year, though it is kinda funny to see TWO within the same category. Plemons’ nom this year does feel out of left field, but the man absolutely deserves the gold. At least it’s not the same situation as last year where both LaKeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya were nominated for Best Supporting Actor in Judas and the Black Messiah (ONE of them was definitely the lead).
Steven Spielberg – For Best Director for West Side Story
Garrett – Siiiiigggghhhh. With the Oscars pushing to be more inclusive with their nominees it brings quite a bit of suspicion when you end up nominating a director who has already been nominated 7 times in his career. And this nomination came as a result of his work on a remake, no less! Now, I’m not saying he didn’t do a good job or anything, but I wouldn’t really qualify it as ground breaking or influential. This isn’t a defining moment in his career, unlike several of the other possible candidates who should have been nominated in his place…
Jordan – This isn’t so much a headscratcher as it is, safe. No one is saying Steven Spielberg isn’t still amazing and continues to deliver fantastic work. The man can make just about anything engaging. But yeah, nothing in West Side Story feels particularly noteworthy for the director. It’s a remake, and largely remains a faithful adaptation. I love the man to death, but he certainly feels like the safest pick the Academy could go with.