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The 2022 Oscar Nominations Are Here and Surprise... It’s All About Genre

by Shanee Edwards on February 9, 2022

Which films were nominated for the 94th Academy Awards?

With the 2022 Oscar nominations finally revealed , today is a day to celebrate excellence in filmmaking – but you may be surprised by some of the leading contenders that feel like a throwback to the Hollywood of yesteryear: we’re talking the triumph of classic genre films like a stark western, a retelling of a classic sci-fi tale and one powerful musical.

The return to genre isn’t a bad thing, especially considering the film industry has had a couple of incredibly difficult years due to the pandemic; box office revenue is way down and the most obvious success story belongs to streamers like Netflix, Apple TV+. Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. But as screenwriters, we can’t help but step back and look at the genre films that broke through on all platforms. 

Netflix’s The Power of the Dog is a traditional western set on the plains of a younger, wilder America where despite the harshness of the environment, the main story is one of rugged individualism – for both men and women. 

Warner Bros.’ Dune is a space opera that reinvents the classic sci-fi tale of a harsh and distant planet where the presence of “spice” lures intergalactic travelers despite the dangers. 

20th Century Studios’ West Side Story is a powerful, coming-of-age musical that transforms the conflict of Romeo and Juliet into an American tale of racial and social conflict, directed by America’s premiere film director Steven Spielberg. 

Focus Features’ Belfast, shot in gorgeous black and white, is the deeply personal story of director Kenneth Branagh’s own family and falls into the genre of biopic, bordering on melodrama. Though distinctly plucked out of the past, the story of an innocent boy in a troubled Ireland where social and religious conflict threatens a young family feels all-too relevant in a divided America.

Biopics like Spencer, Being the Ricardos, King Richard, The Eyes of Tammy Faye and Tick, Tick…Boom! provide actors with juicy roles that look back at earlier times and somehow also reveal our modern selves in new ways. Perhaps in uncertain times, it’s the role of cinema to look back as a way to ground us and help us get our footing as surprising new stories for future films emerge.

Whatever genre inspires you, you’ll no doubt find it among this year’s Oscar contenders and we look forward to celebrating their wins with you on Sunday, March 27th

Best Picture 

  • Belfast
  • CODA
  • Don’t Look Up
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • West Side Story

Best Director 

  • Kenneth Branagh, Belfast
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
  • Paul Thomas Anderson, Licorice Pizza
  • Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
  • Steven Spielberg, West Side Story

Best Actor 

  • Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
  • Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick … Boom!
  • Will Smith, King Richard
  • Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Actress 

  • Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
  • Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
  • Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
  • Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Best Supporting Actor 

  • Ciaran Hinds, Belfast
  • Troy Kotsur, CODA
  • Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
  • J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog

Best Supporting Actress 

  • Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
  • Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
  • Judi Dench, Belfast
  • Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
  • Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard

Original Screenplay

  • Belfast
  • Don’t Look Up
  • King Richard
  • Licorice Pizza
  • The Worst Person in the World

Adapted Screenplay

  • CODA
  • Drive My Car
  • Dune
  • The Lost Daughter
  • The Power of the Dog

Animated Feature 

  • Encanto
  • Flee
  • Luca
  • The Mitchells vs. the Machines
  • Raya and the Last Dragon

Production Design 

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Costume Design 

  • Cruella
  • Cyrano
  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • West Side Story

Cinematography 

  • Dune
  • Nightmare Alley
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Editing 

  • Don’t Look Up
  • Dune
  • King Richard
  • The Power of the Dog
  • Tick, Tick … Boom!

Makeup and Hairstyling 

  • Coming 2 America
  • Cruella
  • Dune
  • The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • House of Gucci

Visual Effects 

  • Dune
  • Free Guy
  • No Time to Die
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  • Spider-man: No Way Home

Score 

  • Don’t Look Up
  • Dune
  • Encanto
  • Parallel Mothers
  • The Power of the Dog

Song 

  • “Be Alive” (King Richard)
  • “Dos Oruguitas” (Encanto)
  • “Down to Joy” (Belfast)
  • “No Time To Die” (No Time to Die)
  • “Somehow You Do” (Four Good Days)

Documentary Feature 

  • Ascension
  • Attica
  • Flee
  • Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  • Writing with Fire

Animated Short 

  • Affairs of the Art
  • Bestia
  • Boxballet
  • Robin Robin
  • The Windshield Wiper

Documentary Short 

  • Audible
  • Lead Me Home
  • The Queen of Basketball
  • Three Songs for Benazir
  • When We Were Bullies

Live-Action Short 

  • The Dress
  • The Long Goodbye
  • On My Mind
  • Please Hold
  • Ala Kachuu—Take and Run

Shanee Edwards is a screenwriter, journalist and author. After receiving her MFA in Screenwriting from UCLA, she was hired to adapt various stories for the screen including Apes or Angels, the true story of naturalist Charles Darwin, and Three Wishes, based on the New York Times best selfing novel by Kristen Ashley. You can listen to her interview Oscar-winning screenwriters on The Script Lab Podcast, or read her book Ada Lovelace: the Countess who Dreamed in Numbers. Follow her on Twitter: @ShaneeEdwards

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