The beginning of the 2022 awards season: nominees and winners

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Corinne McDevitt

Grace Sherban covers the first awards and nominations of this season.

Grace Sherban, Staff Reporter

As the confetti fell to kick off the beginning of 2022, some people wrote down their New Year’s resolutions while others partied with friends. For those who follow the film industry, the turn of the new year can only mean one thing: awards season has officially begun. The Academy Awards is the most prominent awards ceremony meant to honor movies from 2021, but there are many other awards that are handed out by different groups that give a good indication of what to expect come Oscar night on Mar. 27. 

The Golden Globes were held on Jan. 9, 2022 in Los Angeles in an unaired ceremony due to some controversy surrounding the Hollywood Foreign Press, the association who puts on the event. According to The Hollywood Reporter, over 100 PR firms signed a joint letter saying that their clients would boycott any HFPA events due to a resistance to diversify their organization in March 2021.

It is unclear if the negative press surrounding the Globes will have an effect on Oscar voters because typically, the Academy closely follows the precedent set by the HFPA. Despite all this, the winners were announced online, leaving some of the biggest questions this season answered.

…it gives the average film lover a place to find new films to add to their watchlist and can determine the legacy of these films in the years to come.”

According to Entertainment Weekly, both “West Side Story” and “Power of the Dog” were the biggest winners of the evening. “West Side Story,” a remake of the classic 1961 musical directed by Steven Spielberg, won Best Picture (Musical or Comedy) and two acting awards for Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy and Best Supporting Actress, respectively. “Power of the Dog,” a Western streaming on Netflix directed by Jane Campion, won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Supporting Actor for Kodi Smit-McPhee. 

It did not come as a big surprise when Will Smith won Best Actor (Drama) for his performance in “King Richard,” as well as Andrew Garfield winning Best Actor (Musical or Comedy) for his role in “Tick, Tick… Boom!”. The biggest upset of the night came when Nicole Kidman won Best Actress (Drama) for “Being the Ricardos,” beating the likes of Lady Gaga, Jessica Chastain and most surprisingly Kristen Stewart, who played Princess Diana in “Spencer.” 

Once considered the favorite to win Best Actress at the Oscars, Stewart failed to even pick up a nomination at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. Variety reported that “House of Gucci” and “Power of the Dog” tied for the most nominations at three each. Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture is arguably the biggest award the SAG hands out, and the nominees featured some surprising inclusions and snubs. The nominees in this category are “Belfast,” “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “House of Gucci” and “King Richard,” The most notable omission is “Power of the Dog,” which did get nominated for three out of the four individual acting awards. The most surprising inclusion to this list is Sundance’s 2021 favorite, “CODA,” which tells the story of a young girl who feels torn between supporting her deaf family and chasing her dreams. 

Shortly after the SAG announced their nominations, the Directors Guild of America nominations were released and helped solidify the most likely candidates to pick up an Oscar nomination for Best Director. The nominees include Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza,” Kenneth Branagh for “Belfast,” Campion for “Power of the Dog,” Spielberg for “West Side Story” and Denis Villeneuve for “Dune.” Campion continues to be the front runner after this nomination, but Spielberg should not be counted out at this stage in the race. 

Most recently, the Producers Guild of America released their nominations for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures which could possibly resemble the ten films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. The nominees as reported by Variety include “Being the Ricardos,” “Belfast,” “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “The Power of the Dog,” “Tick, Tick… Boom!” and “West Side Story,” “Being the Ricardos,” Aaron Sorkin’s most recent directorial effort, is slowly starting to build up its case as a Best Picture candidate with this nomination as well as Nicole Kidman’s win for Best Actress at The Golden Globes. It is important to note that, despite being snubbed by the PGA, Joel Coen’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth” might still be in contention for a spot in the Oscars Best Picture lineup. 

With the Academy Awards nominations set to be released soon, it will be interesting to see how closely their nominations align with those of other awards bodies. It may seem redundant to continually nominate the same few movies, but there have been some surprise nominations for movies and performances that have been flying under the radar. Ruth Negga was nominated by both the SAG and Golden Globe for her role in the underrated Netflix film “Passing” which was directed by Rebecca Hall. Bradley Cooper was nominated for his small supporting role in “Licorice Pizza” by the SAG as well as Cate Blanchett for her supporting role in “Nightmare Alley,” according to Variety.

These nominations, as well as some notable snubs—specifically Kristen Stewart’s—continue to keep things interesting as award season continues for the next two months. Some people may believe that award shows for movies are frivolous and only serve as self-gratification for those in the industry. But for those on the outside looking in, it gives the average film lover a place to find new films to add to their watchlist and can determine the legacy of these films in the years to come. Keeping this in mind, the 94th Academy Awards will announce their nominations on Feb. 8.