Oscars 2022: The Biggest Takeaways From the 94th Academy Awards Nominations

From 'Dune' getting 10 nominations to Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga getting snubbed, here are the biggest takeaways from the 2022 Oscar nominations.

Dune Lands 10 Oscar nominations
Warner Bros.

Image via Warner Bros.

Dune Lands 10 Oscar nominations

Let’s keep it real: the 2022 Oscars nominations were boring AF. As they read the nominees I realized how far apart the films hitting the Academy’s eyes and the films hitting the masses are. Dune is an exception, but this year, it looks like many may be skipping the ceremony. There’s just no connection between the mainstream and what's going down during AWARDS SZN.

You can blame COVID for a lot of this; the films bringing people to cinemas aren’t the films that are being voted on by the Academy, and the films the Academy swoon over don't have the oomph to keep today's movie audience intrigued. That said, those same films pride themselves in world-building, not awards fodder. We still recommend checking out what interests you; just know that the film that moved you in 2021 ain’t the same things hitting you in 2022.

All of that said, we still have an Oscars to watch, and there is still news being made. Here are the biggest takeaways from the 2022 Oscars nominations.

'Dune' Racks Up an Impressive 10 Nominations 


Isn't being a box office dynamo enough? Why do I need to see folks having Spider-Man: Noy Wa Home trending and opinion pieces have to be posted about the latest Sony/Marvel Spider-fest getting adequate Oscars nominations? It may in fact be 2021’s most entertaining film, especially for the box office, but let me be the voice of reason: being a dope superhero/comic book film doesn’t make you Oscar bait. And what are you expecting it to be up against? You looked at the rest of the films getting nominations and figured Spider-Man: No Way Home would be in their midst? Chill out. —khal

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Will Smith Lands Another Oscar Nom After 15 Years

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When you watch King Richard you can tell Will Smith did his best to give it his all. Playing Richard Williams, a man who was so determined to shape his two daughters Venus and Serena into two of the greatest athletes of all time, was no easy feat. Richard was a man who was unmoved by naysayers, steadfast in the faith and belief he had in his kids, and so focused on his plan for his daughters to make history that he never once took “no” for an answer. Smith knows a thing or two about what it’s like to pursue greatness, not just for himself but for his kids as well. In the course of his career, the actor has contributed so much to pop culture, both through his music and his acting but it’s been 15 years since he got nominated for an Oscar. He landed a Best Actor nomination for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in 2002’s Ali and another in the same category for 2007’s The Pursuit of Happyness

Both of those were well deserved, but he was up against some big names, and the golden statue landed in the hands of Denzel Washington for Training Day and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland. The actor’s devotion and commitment to his role in King Richard are clear to see, but through his performance, Smith couldn’t quite make me forget that I was watching him, and not the tennis players’ father. The Academy has an opportunity here to give Smith the Oscar he so rightfully deserves after a remarkable career, even if he’s up against Washington once again. Smith’s costar Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard is up in the Actress in a Supporting Role category and the film is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Song, so there are plenty of opportunities for major wins for the team. —KR

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'Don't Look Up' Got Some Love, but Ariana Grande's Song Did Not

Ariana Grande Oscar Snub Just Look Up

I am shocked to see how many nominations Don’t Look Up racked up (four in total!). The film was one of my favorites from 2021, but a lot of people didn’t agree. I personally wasn’t expecting any acting nominations, so I’m not surprised to see that Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, or Meryl Streep didn’t get any recognition. But seeing the film nominated in the Best Picture category? That was a surprise. But the real shocker for me was Ariana Grande and Kid Cudi not being nominated for Best Original Song for their ballad “Just Look Up.” The song was produced by Nicholas Britell, and co-written by Grande, Cudi, Britell, and Taura Stinson, and the lyrics are inspired by the movie’s end-of-the-world plot, and I figured it would be a shoo-in for this category. In the film, Grande and Cudi are the world’s most famous celebrity couple and in one scene, they have a grand live performance of the song, which is one of the most beautiful and moving moments in the film. 

Director Adam McKay praised the singer saying she sang the track live when they shot the scene. “Every single take that we shot, she sang it live from beginning to end,” he said at the time. “It was an incredible thing.” After her two Grammy wins, I thought this potential nomination would nudge her closer to EGOT status. But it is what it is. She would have also been going up against Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Encanto song “Dos Oruguitas,” Beyoncé’s “Be Alive” from King Richard, and Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” from the film by the same name, so a win may have been unlikely this year. Grande and Cudi may have been snubbed this time around, but I’m sure they’ll circle back for another try in the near future. Check out their performance below. —KR

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Beyonce’s list of accomplishments is long and impossible to rival, especially now that she’s officially an Oscar nominee. Lin-Manuel Miranda may have thought he had this one in the bag following Encanto’s massive success but now he’s got some tough competition with the singer landing her first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for the King Richard ballad “Be Alive.” Her vocals are as powerful as ever on the track, and the lyrics speak on family, hard work, and building a legacy, were written especially for the biopic about Serena and Venus Williams’ father. She wrote the song alongside songwriter Dixson. “It feels so good to be alive/Got all my family by my side,” she sings on the track, “Couldn’t wipe this Black off if I tried/That’s why I lift my head with pride.”

After making history by setting a ​​record for most Grammys won by a singer (she has won 28) last year, it is no surprise that she would set her sights on getting her hands on a different kind of golden trophy. The Best Original Song category is usually pretty predictable, but there are some heavy-hitters nominated this time around. It would be for sure be satisfying to see Bey walking away with an Oscar statue this year, and the Beyhive will surely tune in for this, so it’s up to the Academy to do the right thing here. —KR

EGOT Watch: Lin-Manuel Miranda

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Lin-Manuel Miranda is just one step away from attaining EGOT status. Encanto’s success has given him another shot at joining the unique group of just 16 individuals who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and a Tony. This year he is up for Best Original Song for the Disney movie’s track “Dos Oruguitas,” which is one of the eight original songs he wrote for the film. According to Variety, it is also the first song Miranda has written in Spanish and the only song in the category that’s not written in English. The Hamilton creator was already up for an Oscar in this same category in 2017 for Moana’s “How Far I’ll Go,” but lost out to La La Land’s “City of Stars.” He already has three Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards—all that’s missing to finish the puzzle is this Oscar. If he wins, he would also become the first Latino with an EGOT, following in the footsteps of Rita Moreno who became the first Latina to reach the milestone in 1977. He’s up against Beyoncé, Van Morrison, Billie Eilish, and Diane Warren, but maybe the animated film’s wide success (and the fact that “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” is topping the music charts) will push the Academy to lean toward Miranda taking home the award. The statue could go in any direction in this category, but it sure would be special to watch Miranda take home the award and join the elite group of EGOT winners. —KR

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