‘Power of the Dog’ leads Oscar nominations

Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — The haunting Western psychological drama “The Power of the Dog” captured a leading 12 nominations for the 94th Academy Awards, including nods for best picture and best director for Jane Campion, while the sci-fi epic “Dune” received 10 nominations, despite Denis Villeneuve’s surprising omission from the directing category.

Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Steven Spielberg’s musical remake “West Side Story” each collected seven nominations, while “King Richard,” recounting the upbringing and rise to tennis stardom of Venus and Serena Williams, earned six.

The films were all nominated for best picture, along with “CODA,” “Don’t Look Up,” “Drive My Car,” “Licorice Pizza” and “Nightmare Alley.”

“The Power of the Dog” also garnered Oscar nominations for Benedict Cumberbatch for best actor as well as Jesse Plemons and Kodi Smit-McPhee, both for supporting actor, and Plemons’ real-life partner, Kirsten Dunst, for supporting actress. Plemons and Dunst play husband-and-wife in the film.

The Netflix-backed “Power of the Dog” also enabled Campion to make Oscar history. The New Zealand native became the first woman filmmaker to garner two nominations for best director. She was also nominated for 1994’s “The Piano.”

Besides the best picture, acting and directing nominations, “The Power of the Dog” also snagged nominations for cinematography, film editing, original score, production design, sound and adapted screenplay.

Nominations were announced Feb. 8 during an early morning live-stream co-hosted by Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan.

In addition to Campion’s nomination, best director nominations went to Branagh for “Belfast,” Ryusuke Hamaguchi for “Drive My Car,” Paul Thomas Anderson for “Licorice Pizza” and Spielberg for “West Side Story.”

Joining Cumberbatch in the best actor category were Javier Bardem in “Being the Ricardos,” Andrew Garfield in “tick, tick … BOOM!,” Will Smith in “King Richard” and Denzel Washington in “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”

For best actress, nominations went to Jessica Chastain for “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” Olivia Colman in “The Last Daughter,” Penélope Cruz in “Parallel Mothers,” Nicole Kidman in “Being the Ricardos” and Kristen Stewart in “Spencer.”

The nominees for supporting actor are Plemons and Smith-McPhee for “The Power of the Dog,” Ciarán Hinds in “Belfast,” Troy Kotsur in “CODA,” and J.K. Simmons in “Being the Ricardos.”

Earning nominations for best supporting actress were Dunst, Jessie Buckley in “The Lost Daughter,” Adriana DeBose in “West Side Story,” Judi Dench in “Belfast” and Aunjanue Ellis in “King Richard.”

In addition to Villeneuve’s omission for best director, the most noteworthy snub was likely for Lady Gaga, who had been a contender and fan favorite for a best actress nomination for her role in “House of Gucci.”

But the singer/actress came up empty, and “House of Gucci” scored only one nomination — in makeup and hairstyling.

Another surprise was the failure of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “tick, tick … BOOM!” to score a nomination for best picture.

Oscar nominations were announced in 23 categories in all.

To qualify for Oscar consideration, a film must have either opened between March 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021, and run for seven consecutive days in a theater in Los Angeles County, New York City, the Bay Area, Chicago, Miami or Atlanta. Drive-in theaters are considered qualifying venues.

A film can also qualify if it debuted on a streaming or on-demand service, if it was also made available through the Academy Screening Room member site within 60 days.

A total of 276 feature films have met the criteria, according to the Academy.

The Oscar ceremony is set for March 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The ceremony is expected to have a host again this year, for the first time since 2018, when Jimmy Kimmel led the telecast.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has not yet announced who will host this year’s event.


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