Let’s Talk about the 94th Academy Awards Nominees

Yesterday’s ceremony wrapped up and I was back to my excitement for this most ridiculous of conversations, one that has placed itself as America’s biggest popularity contest for the supposed best group of films to come out in a calendar year. I’m pretty thrilled with this year’s crop, a different breed than what we had last year. I want my Academy Awards to be a mixture of blockbusters, awkward biopics, straight-up bait, and a couple of films that enrage me. I need that, along with the ridiculous pomp and circumstance surrounding this ceremony that is the bread and butter of its ridiculousness every year. I want the whole thing to make me happy, to make mistakes (Envelopegate is still the wildest thing), and to award surprises and snub deserving moments (except for the Chadwick Boseman snub, which was deplorable).

As Tracee Ross and Leslie Jordan wrapped up the list (the latter’s pronunciation of several names being so hilariously unfortunate that it wound up being endearing), I immediately began formulating my notes and lists of potential winners, nominees that pissed me off, and snubs that were a shock. Below is the full list of nominees, along with my picks in bold font. I’ll editorialize and list a snub or surprise where I see fit because…screw it, it’s my list! This is such a wild year, with the biggest race of Best Picture being a complete toss-up because of how the votes might be split (Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is the frontrunner for BP and BD with 12 nominations, but it’s still anyone’s race because of how stacked this year is). You may assume that every time Don’t Look Up or Being the Ricardos is listed as a nominee I am pissed. I will no doubt mention it again as I editorialize but just know that I think one of those films is bad and the other is abysmal, each taking slots from much more deserving films. I am also livid that my beloved The Green Knight was basically forgotten (that’s what happens when you release a masterpiece in July).

Best Visual Effects

  • Dune
  • Free Guy
  • No Time to Die
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home

Best Film Editing

  • Don’t Look Up
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • The Power of the Dog
  • tick, tick…BOOM!
  • SNUB: West Wide Story is a musical, one that makes significant improvements on the original film and is a beautiful display from Michael Kahn and Sarah Broshar.

Best Costume Design

  • Cruella
  • Cyrano
  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • West Side Story (this would be what I would give it to, but I acknowledge that Cruella deserves the win)

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Coming 2 America
  • Cruella
  • Dune
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye (this one might just sneak in there)
  • House of Gucci (This also might sneak in there, and if so I would call it a win because they dressed Jared Leto up like Waluigi on his way to a tacky wedding)

Best Cinematography

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog (this is probably going to win)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Best Production Design

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Best Sound

  • Belfast
  • Dune
  • No Time to Die
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

Best Original Song

  • “Be Alive” – King Richard
  • “Dos Oruguitas” – Encanto
  • “Down to Joy” – Belfast
  • “No Time to Die” – No Time to Die (it’s legitimately the best of this bunch)
  • “Somehow You Do” – Four Good Days
  • SNUB – “So May We Start” – Annette (how this got ignored I’ll never understand)

Best Original Score

  • Don’t Look Up – Nicholas Britell
  • Dune – Hans Zimmer
  • Encanto – Germaine Franco
  • Parallel Mothers – Alberto Iglesias
  • The Power of the Dog – Jonny Greenwood (strong contender right here)

Best Animated Short Film

  • Affairs of the Art
  • Bestia
  • BoxBallet
  • Robin Robin
  • The Windshield Wiper

Best Live Action Short Film

  • Ala Kachuu
  • The Dress
  • The Long Goodbye
  • On My Mind
  • Please Hold

Best Documentary Short Film

  • Audible
  • Lead Me Home
  • The Queen of Basketball
  • Three Songs for Benazir
  • When We Were Bullies

Best Documentary Feature

  • Ascension
  • Attica
  • Flee (I feel like this was also nominated in the “animated” category so that it can get a win there)
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  • Writing with Fire

Best International Feature

  • Drive My Car – Japan
  • Flee – Denmark
  • The Hand of God – Italy
  • Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – Bhutan
  • The Worst Person in the World – Norway

Best Animated Film

  • Encanto
  • Flee (this is nominated here so that it can score a win)
  • Luca
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  • Raya and the Last Dragon

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • CODA – Sian Heder (this would have been my pick, as this charming film deserves SOMETHING)
  • Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
  • Dune – Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth
  • The Lost Daughter – Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion

Best Original Screenplay

  • Belfast – Kenneth Branagh
  • Don’t Look Up – Adam McKay (if this wins I’ll throw something)
  • King Richard – Zach Baylin
  • Licorice Pizza – Paul Thomas Anderson (this would also be a deserving win)
  • The Worst Person in the World – Eskil Vogt and Joachim Trier

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter
  • Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
  • Judi Dench – Belfast (this nom seems like it’s only here because of who it is)
  • Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
  • Aujanue Ellis – King Richard
  • SNUB: Caitríona Balfe – Belfast (this was the nom from this film that I wanted to make it)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Ciaran Hinds – Belfast
  • Troy Kotsur – CODA
  • Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
  • J.K. Simmons – Being the Ricardos
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog (this is most likely going to win)
  • SNUB: Mike Faist – West Side Story (this is one of the performances of the year for me, and nominating Simmons for that bland-ass film is one of the most eye-rolling things I’ve seen in recent years)

Best Actress

  • Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
  • Penelope Cruz – Parallel Mothers
  • Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
  • Kristen Stewart – Spencer
  • SNUB: Taylour Paige – Zola (that this film got nothing and the Sorkin film snuck in again is a testament to just how hesitant the Academy still is about nominating anything truly daring, anything featuring non-white people, and how uninspired they really are)

Best Actor

  • Javier Bardem – Being the Ricardos
  • Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog (this is the performance of a lifetime from the actor)
  • Andrew Garfield – tick, tick…BOOM!
  • Will Smith – King Richard
  • Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Director

  • Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
  • Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
  • Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
  • Steven Spielberg – West Side Story
  • SNUB: Denis Villeneuve – Dune (the fact that his film got nominated for so many things, including BP, and they snubbed him for this is frustrating)

Best Picture

  • Belfast
  • CODA (this could sneak in there due to how the votes get split across the board)
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Drive My Car (this could also sneak in there)
  • Dune (it’s a long shot, but if this sneaks in there I’ll lose my mind)
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Nightmare Alley (I love Del Toro but…this doesn’t deserve to be here)
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story (This is the other main contender, a rematch of when Campion and Spielberg went up agaisnt each other for The Piano and Schindler’s List, respectively)

To read more about what I thought of the Oscar nominees I reviewed this year please see the links below. I”m also including things I think got snubbed.

West Side Story

CODA

Dune

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

Raya and the Last Dragon

Luca

No Time to Die

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Belfast

House of Gucci

Spencer

Encanto

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Zola

The Green Knight

Titane

The Matrix Resurrections

The Last Duel

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