2022 Academy award nominations recap


The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences revealed their nominations this Tuesday for what they thought was the best of cinema in 2021. It was a sad day for me as my favorite film of the year, “The French Dispatch,” was unjustifiably left empty-handed. But a lot of other wonderful films received the recognition they deserved, so there’s only so much I can be mad about. 

Below is a recap of the above-the-line categories, complete with the list of nominees and an analysis of who got in and who didn’t. 

Best Supporting Actor

NOMINEES: Ciarán Hinds, Troy Kotsur, Jesse Plemons, J.K. Simmons, Kodi Smit-McPhee

NOTABLE INCLUSION: Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”)

NOTABLE SNUB: Jared Leto (“House of Gucci”)

Along with other below-the-line categories, this was the place where “The Power of the Dog” showed immense strength as it went on to lead the day with 12 overall nominations. Kodi Smit-McPhee is still the favorite to win the category, but his co-star Jesse Plemons was a surprise addition. J.K. Simmons continues to ride his recent wave of industry love, getting in for a so-so performance in “Being the Ricardos.” But even if Simmons wasn’t deserving, I would much rather have him in here than Jared Leto, who, thankfully, missed out on a nomination after getting precursor support. 

Best Supporting Actress

NOMINEES: Jessie Buckley, Ariana DeBose, Judi Dench, Kirsten Dunst, Aunjanue Ellis

NOTABLE INCLUSION: Judi Dench (“Belfast”)

NOTABLE SNUB: Caitríona Balfe (“Belfast”)

This whole season we were paying attention to the wrong supporting actress in “Belfast,” as Dame Judi Dench came out of nowhere to steal her co-star’s spot. This is Dench’s eighth career nomination, and it makes her the third-oldest acting nominee ever. Another Jessie, this time Jessie Buckley in “The Lost Daughter,” surprisingly made it in after not appearing anywhere else all season. In the end, it will be a battle between Ariana DeBose and Kirsten Dunst, with the latter receiving much-needed revitalization with the overperformance of “The Power of the Dog.”


Best Leading Actor

NOMINEES: Javier Bardem, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andrew Garfield, Will Smith, Denzel Washington

NOTABLE INCLUSION: Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”)

NOTABLE SNUB: Peter Dinklage (“Cyrano”)

It was the first time in 40 years that all five of the nominees in this category have been nominated before. Peter Dinklage would have been the one to keep that streak alive, but he was bested by Javier Bardem and his precursor support. This was the most straightforward category on the morning, with Will Smith looking to be the overwhelming favorite heading into the industry awards. 

Best Leading Actress

NOMINEES: Jessica Chastain, Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart

NOTABLE INCLUSION: Penélope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”)

NOTABLE SNUB: Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”)

Academy members might want to start hiring some bodyguards, as the Gaga fans will surely storm the Hollywood Hills with pitchforks. Her miss was quite surprising, as she was leading the race with the most precursor support. Taking her spot was Penélope Cruz, who proved once again that she doesn’t need her film to perform well for her to get in. This is the second time she’s been the sole nominee for a Pedro Almodóvar film. And Kristen Stewart survived a shaky past few weeks to get her first career nomination. 

Best Original Screenplay 

NOMINEES: “Belfast,” “Don’t Look Up,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “The Worst Person in the World”

NOTABLE INCLUSION: “The Worst Person in the World”

NOTABLE SNUB: “Being the Ricardos”

The Academy’s relationship with Aaron Sorkin continues to be a mystery, as they continually nominate his movies, just not him. At least in his absence, we got a great addition in Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World,” which truly deserves the recognition it is getting. The two frontrunners in Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast” and Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza” are still looking for their first wins after 8 and 11 career nominations, respectively. 

Best Adapted Screenplay

NOMINEES: “CODA,” Drive My Car,” “Dune,” “The Lost Daughter,” “The Power of the Dog”


NOTABLE SNUB: “West Side Story”

Tony Kusher misses out on a nomination for the first time despite his “West Side Story” script being the film’s most revered quality. Replacing him was veteran screenwriter (and Kushner’s writing partner on “Munich”) Eric Roth, netting his seventh career nomination with “Dune.” “CODA,” “Drive My Car,” and “The Lost Daughter,” all came from first-time writing nominees, but they stand no chance against Jane Campion and “The Power of the Dog” in the race for the trophy. 

Best Director

NOMINEES: Kenneth Branagh, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi, Paul Thomas Anderson, Jane Campion, Steven Spielberg

NOTABLE INCLUSION: Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (“Drive My Car”)

NOTABLE SNUB: Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”)

Everybody (including me) thought that if Hamaguchi did make it in, he would replace either Branagh or Spielberg for the final spot. Not one person predicted that he would replace industry-favorite Denis Villeneuve. It’s a crazy omission considering Villeneuve has been nominated before for a science-fiction film in “Arrival.” “Dune” is now the first and only film to score double-digit nominations and not have its director nominated. 

Best Motion Picture

NOMINEES: “Belfast,” “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley,” “The Power of the Dog,” “West Side Story.”

NOTABLE INCLUSION: “Drive My Car” and “Nightmare Alley”

NOTABLE SNUB: “Being the Ricardos” and “Tick Tick Boom”

It was the first year where the Best Picture lineup was confirmed to be 10 films after years of a sliding scale between 5-10. “Nightmare Alley” was the surprise inclusion as it received a tepid response throughout the season and received no above-the-line nominations. “Drive My Car” got into the lineup taking the opposite path as “Nightmare Alley,” as it only received above-the-line nominations for Hamaguchi’s screenplay and direction. 

“Being the Ricardos” was nowhere to be found, despite getting three acting nominations. So was “Tick Tick Boom,” which looked like a surefire nominee once it received a nomination for Best Film Editing along with Andrew Garfield’s lead performance. Its omission had to sting for Lin-Manuel Miranda, who still has a chance to complete his EGOT with his nomination for “Dos Oruguitas” in Best Original Song.