Oscar nominations are here! The biggest snubs and surprises

Steven Watts, Features Editor

Image by Liam Killian

Last week, the Oscars released their list of nominees for 2022. While the Oscars surely aren’t the deciding factor of what makes a film great, the award show still has a tremendous influence on popular culture and how a movie’s legacy is regarded.

Dune leads the group of nominees this year with 10 nominations, but Denis Villeneuve was strangely left out of the conversation for Best Director. I absolutely think that Dune was one of the best films of the year, and I’m really not sure how it could be nominated for its cinematography, writing, editing and so much more, but not earn a Best Director nomination over Steven Spielberg for his work on West Side Story or Kenneth Branagh for Belfast.

Among some of the surprises for best actor nominations were Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman and J.K. Simmons, who earned nominations for their performances in Being the Ricardos. Though I thought their performances were all incredible, I was surprised that all three of them got recognition for Best Actor, Actress and Actor in a Supporting Role.

Dev Patel was  snubbed for his leading performance in The Green Knight which was one of my favorite films of the year. I thought Patel’s performance in Lowery’s film was incredible, and his best outing that I’ve seen. The Green Knight also wasn’t nominated for its beautiful cinematography from Andrew Droz Palermo of A Ghost Story, or its adapted screenplay, which I thought would be a lock this year. David Lowery was able to transform a 101 stanza poem into a two and a half hour movie, one of the most faithful adaptations I’ve ever seen. 

The Worst Person in the World was also left out of acting and cinematography nominations, despite being the most impressive that I had seen all year. Given it’s harder for international films to earn nominations at the Oscars, I will die on the hill that this film should have gotten a Best Picture nomination over Don’t Look Up or West Side Story

Let’s dig into the Best Picture category, because the category has sparked quite a bit of controversy with so many films being left off the list. Notable surprises that did earn nominations were the lovable CODA, beautiful The Power of the Dog, and the unbearably preachy Don’t Look Up.

If you’ve kept up with past issues of The Argus, you’ll know that I hated Spider-Man: No Way Home. That said, it was rated significantly higher on IMDb than any of the films that were nominated for Best Picture. It was the first film since the pandemic that earned over one billion dollars, and became the sixth highest grossing film of all time. I understand that the academy wants to preserve the art of film, but I also don’t understand how a movie could have such a large impact on culture, be so beloved by fans and critics alike and still not earn a nomination for Best Picture. Instead the movie was nominated for Best Visual Effects, which I thought was the worst aspect of the film. That choice baffles me.

The French Dispatch was left completely out of any nominations which was also a huge surprise. Wes Anderson is usually an Academy favorite director, and The French Dispatch was the first film that he’s directed since 2007 that wasn’t nominated for any awards. I thought The French Dispatch was a charming comedy and would be a shoe-in for at least a few nominations, another questionable decision from the Academy.

I wish that the Oscars didn’t have such a large impact and influence on film culture, but that’s a change that seems near impossible. The best that we can do is seek out films on our own or keep up with festivals like Sundance or Cannes that highlight films that might not get a broad spotlight without them. The Oscars do not highlight the best films each year, and they never have, let’s hope for some change.