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  • Writer's pictureMartin Cheney

2022 Oscar Snubs + Surprises

The 2022 Oscar nominations were released this morning. An arguably more diverse and international crop than in previous years, there is still (as there always is) a number of snubs, surprises and straight-up stupidity. Here’s a list of the most egregious offences (according to me).

Dishonourable Mentions:

Why 'No Time to Die' for Best Original Song? (Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell)

This nomination acknowledges three truths: 1) There is a reasonably small number of original songs in non-musical films each year. 2) Billie Eilish is very popular. 3) Lots of people watch James Bond films and remember that there’s an original song at the beginning. The only thing this nomination neglects is how completely ordinary this song is.

No David Newman (Original Score – West Side Story)

To be fair, no parallel universe exists where this nomination was ever going to happen. But even in my fantasy land, it would have been a very cool way to recognise Newman’s spectacular arrangements and savvy underscore. Bernstein, though. I know.

The Absolutely, Unequivocally Definitive Ranking:

10) No Daniel Craig (LEAD Actor – No Time to Die)

I will die on this hill. Honouring the end of a spectacular legacy isn’t reason enough to have nominated Craig for Best Actor, but his spectacular acting in this final instalment should have got the guy a look-in. But we all know that action films are thoroughly unserious artistic endeavours.

9) Why 'Don’t Look Up' for Best Original Score? (Nicholas Britell)

While the popularity of this pretentious film continues to baffle me, I can appreciate that its quippy dialogue and whiplash editing are a part of the Adam McKay experience (and used to much, much better effect in THE BIG SHORT, imho). Complementing its juvenile tone is Britell’s score, an annoying mish-mash of obnoxious walking bass lines and other noises. Completely and utterly Not My Thing.

8) No Rebecca Ferguson (Supporting Actress – Dune)

Denis Villeneuve’s films are often accused of being visually impressive but soulless. Ferguson is the beating heart of DUNE – so many moments land harder for her performance, and it was disappointing not to see her name among the film’s impressive slew of other nominations.

7) No Bradley Cooper (Lead Actor – Nightmare Alley)

Amidst Guillermo del Toro’s visually striking noir and Cate Blanchett’s cartoonish persona is Bradley Cooper’s deft and versatile portrayal of a man’s downward spiral. The final scene alone should have earned him a nod.

6) No Dakota Johnson (Supporting Actress – The Lost Daughter)

Speaking of individual moments deserving of larger acknowledgement, Dakota Johnson gives one teary look on the beach in THE LOST DAUGHTER that stopped me in my tracks. She grabbed me with her performance in SUSPIRIA a few years back and doesn’t seem to have been able to put a foot wrong since.

5) No Rebecca Hall (Lead Actress – The Night House)

A textbook example of the Academy’s snobbish prejudice against horror films is ignoring Rebecca Hall’s incredibly complex performance in THE NIGHT HOUSE, which was well worthy of the industry’s highest honour. But it’s a horror film, so yeah. (If you don’t believe me, go trawl through the archive and let me know how many acting Oscars (let alone nominations of any kind) go to horror films. I’ll wait.)

4) No 'In The Heights' (anywhere)

Jon M. Chu's IN THE HEIGHTS had stiff competition being released in the same year as Spielberg’s WEST SIDE STORY (which has rightly received both Best Picture and Best Director nominations), but IN THE HEIGHTS was equally deserving. Any one of the acting performances was worthy of a nod (especially Anthony Ramos'), as was the direction, cinematography, editing and adapted screenplay. But nope, nada.

3) No 'The Green Knight' (Cinematography, Direction)

Think what you like about one of the more divisive films to be released last year, but David Lowery’s dream-like folk tale was arguably the most visually arresting of the lot. Just about every frame is a work of art. What THE GREEN KNIGHT lacks in urgency (if you’re not a fan of a slow burn) it more than compensates for with its gorgeous, haunting imagery. To ignore this film completely was a criminal oversight.

2) No Mike Faist (Supporting Actor – West Side Story)

Ariana DeBose more than earned her Best Supporting Actress nomination, but Mike Faist was a complete standout and his omission from this category defies explanation. Faist wears Riff’s entire history on his face and every one of his appearances (from ‘Cool’ to the rumble) is more captivating than the last. Unfathomable.

1) No Denis Villeneuve (Director – Dune)

This is, hands down, the most hurtful and inexplicable exclusion from this year’s roster of nods. Garnering ten (10) other nominations in literally every technical category (as well as Best Picture), the Academy neglected to acknowledge the man who brought them all together. This supersedes opinion – it is objectively nonsensical.

Have I missed any? Let me know what omissions or inclusions you're the most irrationally angry about.

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