With the nominations for the 94th Academy Awards finally released, we see some anticipated nominations, but also some snubs and surprises. Then again, would it really be the Oscars if there wasn’t some controversy about who made the final cut? Luckily for us, we have the expert insight of Blake & Wang P.A entertainment attorney Brandon Blake to help.
The Power of the Dog Leads the Pack
Unsurprisingly, Netflix’s The Power of the Dog received 12 nominations, including Best Picture, Direction, and Writing alongside all four acting categories. Dune was hot on its heels with 10 nominations. Drive My Car managed to receive a Best Picture nod alongside one in the International Feature category.
In fact, there’s nothing all that exciting about the Best Picture list. Think Licorice Pizza, CODA, Don’t Look Up, King Richard, Nightmare Alley, and West Side Story. Given its meteoric rise and single-handed salvation of the Christmas Box Office, you might have expected Spider-Man: No Way Home to get some recognition, but it’s not terribly surprising to see the blockbuster ignored by the Academy.
While the Spider-Man team probably didn’t anticipate an Oscar Best Picture nod despite their remarkable results, there are some notable pictures and performances that got left off the slate entirely. Passing, the darling of many indie awards and festivals, was iced out entirely. Despite Licorice Pizza’s Best Picture nomination, its male and female leads were ignored entirely.
Leaving Dune director Denis Villeneuve out of the Best Director seems somewhat of a snub as well, although he’s joined by Don’t’ Look Up director Adam McKay. And, perhaps most surprisingly of all, Lady Gaga’s remarkable performance in House of Gucci failed to secure her the nomination many felt was certain. Likewise, BAFTA award winner Caitriona Balfe was left out of the running for Belfast, as was Alana Haim for Licorice Pizza.
Some Surprising Additions
Instead, the slots went to Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem for Being the Ricardos, as well as a Best Supporting Actor to J.K Simmons. This is despite the film’s notable absence from the Best Picture category. Jessie Buckley also made it to Best Supporting Actress for The Lost Daughter. While it’s not entirely out of the left field- some pundits called it- it’s still a surprise.
In a sweeter vein, the beloved Sundance documentary Flee managed to not only net a spot as Denmark’s International Feature submission, but it also picked up nominations for Best Documentary Feature and Best Animated Feature, a surprising trifold nomination. Likewise, we should probably circle back to Drive My Car’s remarkable performance despite technically being non-English. International Feature, Director, and Best Film is a trinity few films see.
Bradley Cooper is likely feeling a bit sour for being passed over in Licorice Pizza, but he does still have the Best Picture nomination as the producer for Nightmare Alley to soften the blow. It’s a bit of a shame he didn’t manage to score any acting nominations for either picture, however, and he was deserving for both.
As always, the thrills and spills of Oscar nomination make for some controversial reading, and everyone is sure to have their own opinions. For now, however, we have our nomination list, and it’s time to see what Academy voters do with it. We’ll be looking forward to the upcoming ceremony with interest.