Western Film, “The Power of the Dog” Leads All Oscar Nominations, Lady Gaga and Others get Snubbed

Pictured from left to right and then top to bottom, Benedict Cumberbatch in "Power of the Dog," Jude Hill in "Belfast," Ariana DeBose in "West Side Story," Timothée Chalamet in "Dune," Bradley Cooper in "Licorice Pizza," Will Smith in "King Richard," Olivia Colman in "The Lost Daughter," and Toko Miura in "Drive My Car." / Photo via slate.com

The 94th Academy Award nominations were announced on Feb. 8. With that came a lot of praise and uproar due to nominees and, perhaps, lack thereof in the world of film.

For the first time in four years, there will be a trio of hosts for the Oscars. Comedians Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall will be banding together to narrate this year’s ceremony which will take place on March 27 on ABC.

This year, the movie “The Power of the Dog” took the lead with 12 nominations, showing the world that the realm of cowboys and Wild West are very much alive and well in the Western genre of film. 

Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” came at a close second with 10 total nominations for the sci-fi film starring heartthrob Timothee Chalamet alongside Euphoria star, Zendaya.

The nominees for the category of Best Picture are “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Nightmare Alley,” “Licorice Pizza,” “West Side Story,” “The Power of the Dog” and “Belfast.” 

The nominees for Best Director are Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi for  “Drive My Car,” Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza,” Jane Campion for “The Power of the Dog” and Steven Spielberg for “West Side Story.”

The nominees for Best Actress are Penélope Cruz in “Parallel Mothers,” Nicole Kidman in “Being the Ricardos,” Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter,” Jessica Chastain in “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” and Kristen Stewart playing her role as Princess Diana in “Spencer.”

Stewart did a marvelous job at portraying the late princess in this biopic. Her embodiment and mannerisms were so spot on. It is amazing to see how far Stewart has come in film from playing the young teen girl who falls in love with a vampire during her role as Bella Swan in “Twilight.” But, it did pique my interest that one woman was left out of this category of nominees.

After winning Best Original Song for “A Star is Born,” many Lady Gaga fans were in despair when they found out that the singer and actress did not get nominated whatsoever for her performance in the 2021 biopic, “House of Gucci.” The film only received one nomination for makeup and hairstyling. I wasn’t a big fan of the film as a whole, but I think that Lady Gaga has shown herself to be an exceptional method actor. I feel that she truly embodied the part of Patricia Reggiani in the movie and felt that she at least needed to be recognized. 

I saw several interviews of Gaga online as she promoted the film and you could see how much she fell in love with her character and put so much heart and depth into becoming Reggiani. Even Adam Driver should have gotten nominated for his part for playing Maurizio Gucci. Although the film was lacking, I personally feel like Gaga and Driver still should have been recognized for their work.

The nominees for Best Actor are Benedict Cumberbatch in “The Power of the Dog,” Andrew Garfield in “Tick, Tick … Boom!,” Will Smith for “King Richard,” Javier Bardem for “Being the Ricardos” and Denzel Washington for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” If Denzel happens to snag another Oscar this year, he will still hold the crown as the most-nominated Black actor in Academy Awards history. 

Garfield’s depiction of the late playwright and composer Jonathan Larson was spectacular. I’ll be honest to all the drama kids out there, I had no idea who Larson was upon watching “Tick, Tick… Boom!” nor the impact he had on Broadway. But, after I finished watching with my eyes all welled with tears, I can tell you for sure that Garfield did an amazing job at showing the audience what a brilliant person Larson was and the path he paved for Broadway today.

The biggest snub was that the Marvel-Sony blockbuster film of the year, “Spiderman: No Way Home” didn’t make it in, seeing as the film was the top-grossing film of 2021 with a total of $759 million. Everybody and their mom was excited to see all three Spidermen in the same realm. 

Even the late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel had something to say about it during his monolog the same night that the nominations came out.

“How did it not get one of the 10 nominations for best picture? There were only 11 movies made this year. Forget the fact that the movie made $750 million and is still going,” Kimmel said. Pretty much saying everything that many of us were thinking on national television, “This was a great movie. It wasn’t in the top 10 best movies of the year?”

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