Here’s everything you need to know about the Oscars this year


Tracy Zhang

Senior Nora James Eikner predicts which nominees will win in their category.

Nora James Eikner, Staff Editor

On February 8, 2022, the 94th Academy Awards nominations were announced, and thus Movie Madness began. Rather than slave over a March Madness bracket, I have meticulously calculated my best guesses for the annual Academy Awards, lovingly known as the Oscars.

What are the surprises in this year’s nominees?

Besides the unexpected Best Picture nomination of Japanese foreign film “Drive My Car,” a few other movies that weren’t on most people’s radars showed up on the nominee list. “The Worst Person in the World,” a Norwegian romantic drama, was included in the Best Writing (Original Screenplay) category, another foreign movie that has had few releases in theaters and very little press.

In the Best Actress category, amidst the anticipated Olivia Colman in “The Lost Daughter” and Nicole Kidman in “Being the Ricardos,” three-time Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz takes a slot for her role in “Parallel Mothers,” a Spanish dramedy about motherhood that was not expected to earn a nomination. To further the excitement and surprise, Kristen Stewart, who has come a long way since her days as the less pale one in “Twilight,” earned her first ever nomination for her critically acclaimed performance as Princess Diana in “Spencer.”

One look at the star-studded cast of Adam McKay’s latest satire disaster comedy “Don’t Look Up” would supposedly assure a movie surrounded by praise, especially because of its nomination for both Best Picture and Best Writing (Original Screenplay). But, “Don’t Look Up” was met with very mixed reviews before the nominees were announced, with a dismal Rotten Tomatoes critics score of 56%. Even though a nomination was expected for this high-budget, sweat-inducing film, a Best Picture win is most likely out of the question.

If you were wondering why the number one song in the world didn’t get a spot on the Best Original Song ballot, don’t curse out the Academy just yet. According to “Encanto” songwriter Lin-Manuel Miranda, he submitted “Dos Oruguitas” for Oscars consideration long before “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” became such a global phenomenon. Besides, Miranda said “Dos Oruguitas” is the song “that best exemplifies the spirit of the movie itself.”

What’s missing in this year’s nominees?

Let’s start with what many are calling this year’s biggest snub: “House of Gucci.” The two-and-a-half hour crime drama directed by Ridley Scott (“Alien,” “The Martian,” “Gladiator”) follows the true story of Patrizia Reggiani after she marries into the Gucci family. Even starring huge names like Al Pacino, Adam Driver, and Jared Leto, “Gucci” earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 63%, leaving critics disappointed in both the film and the performances, save that of the star Lady Gaga. Rolling Stone said, “Forget Gucci. Long live the house that Gaga built.” Yet, to the chagrin of rave reviewers, Gaga was not nominated for Best Actress.

One of Best Picture’s ten nominees included the remake of 1984 sci-fi classic “Dune,” starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya. The movie’s nomination was well-deserved; however, despite its nomination in almost every other category, including Best

Cinematography and Best Writing (Adapted Screenplay), director Denis Villenueve (“Arrival,” “Sicario”) was not included in Best Director. On top of spell-binding performances, music, costume and sound design, the direction of the film is what stands out the most in “Dune,” proving this to be a true snub.

If you’re a die-hard Marvel fan, you will be ecstatic to know that “Spider-Man: No Way Home” was nominated for an Oscar this year (meaning all three Spider-Men might be in attendance). Unfortunately, the nomination was in Best Visual Effects, not Best Picture, as many fans hoped. The backlash to this so-called snub is fruitless, since the second-highest grossing movie of all time – “Avengers: Endgame” – could not even secure a Best Picture nomination back in 2019. Though “No Way Home” is Marvel’s version of a work of art, the esteemed Academy may not agree just yet.

In his directorial debut, Lin-Manuel Miranda released the theater kid’s dream movie “tick, tick … BOOM!” starring Best Actor nominee Andrew Garfield as struggling writer Jonathan Larson. Miranda is an Oscar away from earning an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Tony and Oscar), but he was not recognized in Best Director or Best Picture, so his historical fate lies in his “Encanto” nominations.

Finally, St. Mary’s girls who have read and seen “Passing” will be disappointed to find that the film was completely snubbed at the Oscars this year. Both Tessa Thompson’s and Ruth Negga’s performances were understated and articulately done, with Negga earning a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the SAG awards.

If you’re so smart, then who’s going to win?

You may not agree with my enumerable Oscars opinions, but below is my Movie Madness bracket for this year. Tune in on March 27, 2022 to see if I’m right.