‘The Power of the Dog’ leads Oscars nominations, Lady Gaga, ‘tick, tick…BOOM!’ snubbed


Photo courtesy of Kirsty Griffin/IMDB

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the 2021 Netflix film “The Power of Dog”. The film has been nominated for Best Pictures for the Oscars.

By Olivia Rosenberg, Assistant buzz Editor

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 94th Academy Award nominees Tuesday, and movie lovers everywhere have already taken to social media to voice their thoughts. 

This year’s nominees are filled with surprises, delights and disappointments for audiences and critics alike. 

The predecessor award shows like the Golden Globes, BAFTAs, PGA and Critic’s Choice Awards all carve out clear nominees that may fit into the prized Oscar nominations slots, but sometimes there are shocking differences. 

This year is no exception.  

The frontrunner for this year’s competition is Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” with 12 nominations. Following is Denis Villeneuve’s “Dune” with 10, Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” with seven and Reinaldo Marcus Green’s “King Richard” with six nominations. 

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    Joining in on the theorizing, buzz has its predictions for the four major categories (picture, director, actor and actress) at this year’s Oscars ceremony… 

    buzz’s Best Picture prediction: “The Power of the Dog”

    Locking in 10 diverse nominees in this year’s Best Picture category, the Academy has made it somewhat difficult to pick out a clear winner amongst the unique lineup. 

    Some well-received standouts have been “West Side Story,” “Belfast” and “Drive My Car.” Fan favorites include the sci-fi hit, “Dune,” while the mixed reviews of “Don’t Look Up” make the film a surprise appearance on this list. 

    However, heavily predicted nominees like “tick, tick…BOOM!,” “Being the Ricardos,” “House of Gucci” and “The Tragedy of Macbeth” are missing in the 10 slots. 

    Despite the impressive list of nominees, there is one clear front-runner. 

    After sweeping the awards season so far, Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” is continuously the most talked-about film when it comes to winning this award. 

    Its 12 nominations in acting, directing, writing and technical categories definitely help its odds of taking home Best Picture. 

    buzz’s Best Director prediction: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”

    With directing legends like Paul Thomas Anderson, Branagh and Spielberg, the nominees in this category make for an interesting competition. 

    Though the Best Director race this year is stacked with the biggest-name films, Campion makes it out in front with her many wins already for her latest film. 

    Winning the Golden Globe and Silver Lion at Venice with additional nominations at all the biggest award shows, it’s hard to imagine anyone surpassing Campion’s achievement. 

    Shockingly, Denis Villeneuve, director of “Dune,” is absent from this list despite his success thus far in awards season for his critically acclaimed adaptation. 

    A surprise name on the list is Ryusuke Hamaguchi for his international feature, “Drive My Car.” Though his work is loved by critics and has won awards, many were unsure if the Academy would recognize his direction in the film. 

    buzz’s Best Actor prediction: Will Smith, “King Richard”

    This year’s actors lineup is consistent with speculations from the beginning of award season. 

    Throughout the season, Javier Bardem’s spot has been switching between himself and Leonardo DiCaprio for “Don’t Look Up,” but clearly, it ultimately went to the star of “Being the Ricardos” for his portrayal of Desi Arnaz from the hit sitcom, “I Love Lucy.”  

    With all the buzz around Andrew Garfield for his portrayal of musical theater icon Jonathan Larson and his appearance in “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” many believe he will take home the leading actor award. 

    However, with “tick, tick…BOOM!” only scoring an editing nomination, it seems like a stretch for him to pull out on top. 

    That leaves Benedict Cumberbatch and Will Smith as the top two contenders for their respective performances. 

    In “The Power of the Dog,” Cumberbatch shocked viewers with a character unlike anything he’s done before, and with all the nominations the film has racked up so far, his name is high up in the running. 

    Yet, it is heavily speculated the Academy will ultimately present the award to Smith, awarding both his performance as Richard Williams, father to tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, in “King Richard” and Smith’s pre-existing film legacy. 

    buzz’s Best Actress prediction: Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”

    The biggest shock of the awards so far seems to be Lady Gaga’s lack of appearance on the list of nominees.

    Despite being the only actress with nominations at every televised awards ceremony so far and many people’s predicted winner, she is nowhere to be found on the Best Actress list. 

    Without a clear frontrunner in the category this year, it makes for interesting predictions with lots of variation. 

    Kristen Stewart was sweeping the beginning of the season before she was snubbed for nominations at the SAG and BAFTA awards, putting her in the back of the pack.

    It was surprising she was even able to get a slot in this year’s Academy Award nominations after the decline in the reception of her performance.

    “Spencer” was also shut out of any other categories, making her win even more far-fetched. 

    Jessica Chastain has been an audience favorite for the award with a similar amount of success as Olivia Colman and Kidman thus far, but without “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” getting any other nominations besides Best Makeup and Hairstyling, it seems unlikely for her to take home the award. 

    Penélope Cruz, whose film only received a Best Actress and Best Original Score nomination, faces a similar situation. 

    That leaves Coleman and Kidman as the two frontrunners. 

    Beloved by critics and audiences, it seems as though Kidman may take the lead above Coleman. Since her win at the Golden Globes, Kidman’s performance as Lucille Ball may be enough to get her the award. 

    With 23 categories to be predicted, the Academy Award nominations make for an entertaining lead-up to the anticipated award show.

    This year’s Academy Awards ceremony will take place at the Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on March 27.


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