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94th Annual Oscar Nominations Announced

By Will Jones

Freshman B.F.A in Film Production

On Tuesday morning, per annual tradition, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced nominations in 23 categories, commemorating the very best in film for the year 2021.

The 10 nominees for the Best Motion Picture of the Year are:

Belfast (Focus Features)

CODA (Apple TV+)

Don’t Look Up (Netflix)

Drive My Car (Bitters End)

Dune (Warner Bros.)

King Richard (Warner Bros.)

Licorice Pizza (MGM)

Nightmare Alley (Fox Searchlight)

The Power of the Dog (Netflix)

West Side Story (20th Century Studios)

Throughout the half-hour nominations telecast, hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan, several notable storylines emerged. The Netflix-produced western, “The Power of the Dog,” led the pack with twelve nods, notably including Best Director for Jane Campion and Best Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch. With this nomination, Campion became the first woman nominated for Best Director twice in her career. Campion’s first directorial nomination was for “The Piano” in 1993, when she was only the second female director ever to be nominated in Oscar history up to that point.

Furthermore, Ari Wegner, the film’s cinematographer, became only the second woman ever nominated in her respective category – the first being Rachel Morrison in 2018 for her work on “Mudbound” (also a Netflix release).

“The Power of the Dog” seems poised to become Netflix’s first Best Picture Winner, following previous nominees such as “Roma,” “The Irishman,” and “Marriage Story.”

This year’s nominees also marked widespread international attention, with Japanese film “Drive My Car” nominated in multiple above-the-line categories, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Norway’s “The Worst Person in the World” also surprised in the Best Original Screenplay category, in addition to Spain’s “Parallel Mothers” for Best Original Score and Best Actress for Penelope Cruz.

Additionally, “King Richard” – the Williams-family sports drama – secured six nominations, one notably for Aunjanue Ellis in the category of Best Supporting Actress. Ellis grew up in McComb, Mississippi, and attended Tougaloo College before transferring to Brown University.

Another Warner Bros. release, “Dune,” cleaned up in the technical categories, accruing nods in Best Sound, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects, to name a few.

“Dune” remains the highest-grossing Best Picture nominee at the box office, as many turned to streaming services this past year for cinematic entertainment, with the Leonardo DiCaprio-starring (in addition to every famous person imaginable) Netflix-produced hit, “Don’t Look Up,” shattering streaming records and expectations, and acquiring four nominations.

As Hollywood remains in flux, struggling to define what a successful movie looks like amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the shuttering of movie theaters, and the rise of streaming services, the Oscars remain a valued constant for the industry.

This year, the ceremony will return to a host-led format, with potential candidates being Pete Davidson, Tom Holland, and the “Only Murders in the Building” trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selene Gomez. Thankfully, we will not have to wait too long to find out who the host will be, in addition to who will be taking home the top prizes.

I personally have my fingers crossed for Kristen Stewart, nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of the late Princess Diana in “Spencer.”

For the full list of nominees in every category, click here.

The Academy Awards ceremony will be held on March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, and televised on ABC.

Adam Brown
Adam Brown
Sports Editor

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