Oscar nominations 2022: Streaming takes center stage during the awards’ biggest test yet

The 94th Academy Award nominations were released on Tuesday. The full list of nominations is a strange mix of questionable picks haunted by a long list of snubs.

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The 94th Oscar nominations saw academy voters recognize streaming services, with Netflix, Amazon and Apple TV+ receiving close to 40 nominations. (Image courtesy of Kirsty Griffin/Netflix)

JP Pak and Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer

In an attempt to celebrate 2021’s lethargic return to theatrical moviegoing, Oscar voters chose to recognize streaming services’ growing command of the film industry. Together, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ received close to 40 nominations — 27 went to Netflix alone.

As with any Academy Awards cycle, this year’s nominations certainly contain many surprises. Some suggest that the academy is evolving to a more inclusive state. The four nominations Japanese filmmaker Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s three-hour masterpiece “Drive My Car” received mark an important step in Hollywood’s acceptance of international film. 

But the nominations also include controversial picks and missed opportunities. While Hamaguchi’s four nominations are a huge step for international filmmakers, the academy overlooked a number of stellar non-American actors; most notably, Renate Reinsve, whose performance in “The Worst Person in the World” would single handedly define the careers of most American actresses working today. Also notable are the four nominations spent on Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up,” Adam McKay’s climate satire whose lack of nuance and inconsistent humor made it one of the most poorly reviewed films of the year. 

Despite a notable absence of low box office performers (see Best Picture), the academy’s documented efforts to expand and diversify its membership seem to be inciting some kind of change in voting processes. But, after 2021’s utterly abysmal Oscar rating — including an all-time-low in viewership — even the democratization of its voting body may not be enough to halt its descent from cultural relevancy. 

This year’s show, which ABC will air on March 27, marks an important test for the organization’s staying power in the hearts of its fading audience. 

Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” leads this year’s nominations with 12. “The Power of the Dog” is Campion’s first film in 13 years and although she kept busy working in the world of television, her latest film is a welcome reminder of her cinematic prowess and fascinating ability to create smart, bone-chilling critiques of masculinity. That being said, it remains a sad fact that Campion is the only woman nominated for best director this year. 

The complete dismissal of the Palme d’Or winning “Titane” encapsulates the Oscars’ archaic sensibilities best. The fact that Julia Ducournau would not get a Best Director nomination after crafting one of the craziest and most talked about films of the year is absolutely baffling. Its lack of a nomination in the Best International Feature category drives this point even further. 

With that said, 2022 has proven a strong year for foreign films. Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” garnered four nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Meanwhile, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s “Flee,” an animated documentary about a man who fled from Afghanistan to Denmark, received three nominations for Best Documentary, Animated Feature and International Feature. 

The rest of this year’s nominations showcase a strange mix of films including nostalgia pieces by aging white directors such as “Belfast” and “West Side Story,” critically condemned films like “Don’t Look Up” and “Free Guy,” and films by your usual suspects: Paul Thomas Anderson, Joel Coen and Guillermo del Toro. Not much has changed at the Oscars, as their nominations continue highlighting prosaic works by male directors, shunning foreign new talent and reinforcing the severity of Hollywood’s gender representation. 

The full list of nominations can be found on the Academy Awards website.

Contact JP Pak & Nicolas Pedrero-Setzer at [email protected]