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Oscar Nominations 2022: The Biggest Surprises

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The 94th Academy Awards will see Hollywood’s best and brightest awarded for their cinematic efforts of the past year — or at least that’s the idea.

But as actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan revealed the nominations Tuesday morning, it quickly became clear that many of the best and brightest talents in Tinseltown aren’t even in the running.

 

Here are the 2022 Oscar nominees

FEB. 8, 202205:34

Sure, there were some fun surprises in the mix, including the fact that veteran star Judi Dench landed a best supporting actress nom for her performance in Kenneth Branagh’s coming-of-age dramedy “Belfast,” and that “The Power of the Dog” director Jane Campion, who was nominated for best director for “The Piano” back in 1994, became the first woman ever nominated for a second time in that category.

But the biggest surprise of all? The sheer number of snubs.

Two famous faces who didn't make the Oscars cut this year: Lady Gaga in "House of Gucci" and Leonardo DiCaprio in "Don't Look Up."
Two famous faces who didn’t make the Oscars cut this year: Lady Gaga in “House of Gucci” and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Don’t Look Up.”Amazon Prime, Netflix

Snub: Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio

Going into award season there were a couple of A-list names that seemed shoo-ins for lead acting nominations — Lady Gaga and Leonardo DiCaprio.

The former earned her Oscar buzz for her role as Patrizia Reggiani in “House of Gucci,” a part that already landed her a Golden Globe nomination. But the musician-turned-actor, who’s also a former Oscar winner, is nowhere among this year’s nominations.

 

As for DiCaprio, he hoped the Netflix film “Don’t Look Up” would be a wake-up call for the world’s woes, but it didn’t wake up the voters of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to his solid and somewhat understated performance in the apocalyptic comedy.

Snub: Frances McDormand

Last year’s best actress winner, Frances McDormand, who took the gold trophy for her role in “Nomadland,” won’t be up for a repeat this year with her turn in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.” Voters gave a nod to Denzel Washington for his Lord Macbeth while ignoring McDormand’s take on his mad queen.

No noms this time for Jennifer Hudson in "Respect" or Frances McDormand in "The Tragedy of Macbeth."
No noms this time for Jennifer Hudson in “Respect” or Frances McDormand in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”Prime Video, Apple +

Snub: Jennifer Hudson

And Jennifer Hudson was snubbed for her own regal role as the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in “Respect.”

Still, Hudson, who won a best supporting actress Oscar in 2007 for her role in “Dreamgirls,” has raked in Screen Actors Guild, People’s Choice and Black Reel Awards nominations for the part the late singer handpicked her to play.

 

Snub: Ruth Negga

Meanwhile Ruth Negga, who delivered a powerful supporting performance in Rebecca Hall’s black-and-white drama, “Passing,” was also a no-show among the nominations, despite being critically heralded for her work.

Ruth Negga in "Passing" and Caitriona Balfe in "Belfast."
Ruth Negga in “Passing” and Caitriona Balfe in “Belfast.”Netflix, Amazon Prime

Snub: Caitriona Balfe

It was the same for Caitriona Balfe, of “Belfast,” who was another supporting star whose name has appeared again and again on Oscar prediction lists for months, only to find that, unlike her co-star Ciarán Hinds, she isn’t an Oscar hopeful this time. 

Snub: Rita Moreno, Rachel Zegler

And in the case of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” while the musical garnered seven nominations total, including best picture and best director, two of the women who brought the colorful piece to life were completely left out of the accolades.

Two of the top talents from "West Side Story," Rita Moreno and Rachel Zegler.
Two of the top talents from “West Side Story,” Rita Moreno and Rachel Zegler.Disney +

Both leading lady Rachel Zegler and supporting star Rita Moreno, who won an Oscar for her role in the original 1961 production of “West Side Story,” were snubbed Tuesday.

Snub: Mahershala Ali

Another Oscar oversight? The lack of a nomination for Mahershala Ali.

Mahershala Ali
Mahershala Ali looks sternly at his clone in 2021’s “Swan Song.”Apple TV / Apple TV

The actor won in the best supporting actor category in both 2017 and 2019, for his work in “Moonlight” and “Greenbook” respectively, but he’s not in the running this year, for his impressive dual role in the sci-fi drama “Swan Song.”

Snub and Surprise: Denis Villeneuve, ‘Dune’

"Dune," from left: Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson.
“Dune,” from left: Timothee Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson. Everett Collection

Although the Academy seemed to love Denis Villeneuve’s big screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” showering it with 10 nominations, it proved less impressed with the director himself, leaving him out of the running for best director.

Surprise: Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst

We’re not surprised this talented couple got recognized for their work in “Power of the Dog” but rather that they’re first-time Oscar nominees.

Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst
Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst received Oscar nominations for their work in “Power of the Dog.” Donato Sardella / Getty Images

Kirsten Dunst, 39, was nominated for best actress in a supporting role while Jesse Plemons, 33, was nominated for best actor in a supporting role in the Western drama.

The two actors, who have two sons together, met on the set of the TV show “Fargo.”

Could his-and-hers Oscars be in their future? We’ll have to wait and see.

Surprise: Ariana DeBose

You’ve been hearing Ariana DeBose’s name buzzing everywhere over the last couple of months. Well, be prepared to hear it even more because DeBose received a nomination for her role as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.”

Ariana DeBose as Anita in 20th Century Studios' WEST SIDE STORY.
Ariana DeBose as Anita in “West Side Story.”Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Studios

And if she wins, she’ll join a special group: Actors winning an Oscar for playing the same role in different films.

Rita Moreno won best supporting actress for her role as Anita in the 1961 version of “West Side Story.”

DeBose, who’s no stranger to accolades this year (she won a Golden Globe), was shocked and thrilled about her Oscar nomination, writing on Instagram, “WHAT JUST HAPPENED!?! 🤯.”

As for the other lucky talents who made the big list, see who turns their nominations into wins when the Academy Awards air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. PT on March 27. 

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