2022 Oscar Nominations: A Return to Movie Normalcy

The academy is back at it again, exhilarating and disappointing movie fans with its annual Oscar nominations



Actresses Wanda Sykes, Regina Hall and Amy Schumer will host the 94th Oscars on ABC on Sunday, Mar. 27 at 8 p.m. EDT.


At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, film productions were shut down and delayed, and the thought of going to a movie theater became foreign and dangerous. As things seem to be returning to normalcy, we are once again flocking to the theaters, and the era of low box office numbers and major movie delays seems to be fading into the past. 

The year 2021 was a return to a typical movie year: The box office was dominated by Marvel movies like “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and the sci-fi epic “Dune,” while period pieces like “The Power of the Dog,” “Licorice Pizza,” and “Belfast” dominated the awards circuit. 

The movie magic that was missing in 2020 reappeared in 2021, giving us the opportunity to escape our sometimes dreary reality by transporting ourselves into new worlds and connecting with new and old characters. This return to normalcy in the movie industry has set up a great year for the Oscars.

There were a ton of surprises and snubs this year.

During the Feb. 8 announcement of the 2022 Oscar nominations, hosts Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan repeatedly emphasized that the Oscars are dedicated to movie lovers. Through the Oscars, we get a general overview of the public’s perception of the movies from the year. However, we all know that the Academy Awards will never get the nominations “right” because everyone has their own opinion on what should and should not be nominated. 

It is through the surprises and snubs every year that we are able to join together as movie lovers — whether in pain or joy — and ride the rollercoaster of emotions that is the Oscar nominations announcement. 

Just like all the other Oscar nomination announcements, there were a ton of surprises and snubs this year. Leading the way in nominations was Netflix’s powerhouse western “The Power of the Dog,” picking up 12 Oscar nominations; it was followed by arguably the most anticipated movie of 2021, “Dune,” which scored 10 nominations. Look for these two films to pick up plenty of awards and dominate at the Oscars on March 27. 

Now, for the moment you’ve been waiting for: the surprises and snubs.

Surprises: ‘Drive My Car,’ ‘Nightmare Alley’ Exceed Expectations

Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s Japanese film “Drive My Car” earned four nominations including best picture and best director after only earning a mere $3 million at the U.S. box office. The carnival noir “Nightmare Alley,” by Academy Award-winning director Guillermo del Toro was predicted to only receive a best cinematography nomination, but, surprisingly, it snuck into the best picture, best production design and best costume design categories. 

Snub: Denis Villeneuve Not Nominated for Best Director

Heading into the nomination announcement, it seemed like Villeneuve was a sure-fire bet to be nominated for best director for his work on successfully adapting one of the most notoriously difficult books to translate to the screen in “Dune.” However, his name was noticeably absent, a trend in his illustrious career after being previously snubbed for best director nominations for some of his other films like “Prisoners” and “Blade Runner 2049.” 

Surprises: Best Supporting Actor and Actress Categories

Throughout the awards season leading up to the Oscar nominations, the best supporting actor category has had everyone guessing. Two of the five nomination spots were seen as toss-ups, with predictions having actors like Ben Affleck (“The Tender Bar”), Jared Leto (“House of Gucci”) and Jamie Dornan (“Belfast”) seen as the front-runners to take up those last two spots. 

However, the academy nominated Jesse Plemons for his subtle performance in “The Power of the Dog” and J.K. Simmons for his work in “Being the Ricardos,” a movie about the relationship between Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz behind the scenes of the classic sitcom “I Love Lucy.” 

Contrary to the best supporting actor category, the best supporting actress category was thought to be relatively set in stone. But the one thing moviegoers learn every year is to expect the unexpected from the Oscars. 

The best supporting actress category kicked off the nomination announcements and set up the rest of the morning to be full of surprises and snubs. Jessie Buckley earned a well-deserved but surprising nomination for her performance in Netflix’s “The Lost Daughter,” while academy-voter favorite Judi Dench earned her eighth career nomination for “Belfast,” stealing the spot from her much more deserving co-star Caitríona Balfe.

Snub: ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ Didn’t Detonate in the Hearts of Academy Voters

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Netflix adaptation of legendary playwright Jonathan Larson’s musical “tick, tick…BOOM!,” one of the year’s most entertaining and meaningful movies, failed to get a best picture nomination. In one of the strongest years for musicals in recent memory, the Academy only saved room for one musical to earn a best picture nomination, Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story,” which earned the spot over other strong musicals like “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “In the Heights,” and “Cyrano.”

Surprise: Lady Gaga Not Nominated for Best Actress in ‘House of Gucci’

Several Oscar award pages were predicting Lady Gaga to win best actress for her performance in “House of Gucci,” so it was a surprise when Penélope Cruz for her performance in “Parallel Mothers” and Kristen Stewart for her performance in “Spencer” were chosen over Gaga.

Unfortunately, there are always a couple films every year that noticeably miss the cut, not earning any nominations. 

Here Are Some of the Best Movies From the Year That Missed the Oscars:

“The Green Knight,” a retelling of the medieval folklore story of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, had some of the best costumes and cinematography of the year.

“Mass,” a solemn and tragic view on how parents are affected by school shootings, had performances from Jason Isaacs and Ann Dowd that were worthy of Oscar nominations.

“C’mon C’mon,” a beautiful story about the relationship between a boy and his uncle as they learn from each other the importance of family and love, had Oscar-worthy acting from 13-year-old Woody Norman and Academy Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix.

“The Summit of the Gods,” a Netflix animated movie about a journalist and a climber whose paths cross as they attempt to make their way to the top of Mount Everest. 

“The Harder They Fall,” a Netflix western that pops off the screen with vibrant costumes and a rocking soundtrack, including the likes of Jay-Z and Kid Cudi.

The 94th Oscars will be aired on ABC on Sunday, March 27, at 8 p.m. EDT.