Los Angeles (AFP) – Nominations for the 94th Oscars were unveiled Tuesday, and “The Power of the Dog” led the pack with a dozen nods.
Here are five key takeaways from the announcement, ahead of the Academy Awards gala on March 27:
Couple of couples
Getting an Oscar nomination is always an honor for any actor, but being nominated in the same year as your life partner must be extra special.
This year’s nominations feature two couples: Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz scored nods in the best actor and actress categories, respectively, for “Being the Ricardos” and “Parallel Mothers.” It is the fourth nomination for each, and both have won once.
“I am very happy for my nomination, but mine would not have made sense without hers, because it would not have been a celebration, and the fact that both happened at the same time seems magical,” Bardem told reporters in Madrid.
Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons earned supporting nods, playing a couple in moody Western “The Power of the Dog.” It is the first nomination for both actors.
Other famous couples earning Academy Award nominations in the same year include Lynn Fontanne and Alfred Lunt in 1932, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner in 1954, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1967, and Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach in 2020.
Hollywood titan Steven Spielberg made Oscars history again Tuesday, with a best picture nod for “West Side Story” making him the first producer to earn a staggering 11 such nominations.
He also bagged an eighth best director nod, placing him alongside the great Billy Wilder, and behind only William Wyler (12) and Martin Scorsese (nine).
Jane Campion became the first woman to receive two best director nominations, 28 years after “The Piano.”
And multi-hyphenate Kenneth Branagh is the first person to be nominated in seven different categories, earning his first original screenplay and best picture nods.
The “Belfast” director has never won an Oscar.
- EGOT for Lin-Manuel? –
The nominees for best original song are a who’s who of music, and each storyline is compelling.
With his second Oscar nomination for the Spanish-language song “Dos Oruguitas” from Disney’s “Encanto,” Lin-Manuel Miranda has another shot at the coveted EGOT status — completing the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony cycle.
But he faces stiff competition.
Pop megastars Beyonce (“King Richard”) and Billie Eilish (“No Time to Die”) are also in the running with their first nominations, as is veteran rocker Van Morrison (“Belfast”).
And rounding out the category is hitmaker Diane Warren with the song “Somehow You Do” from the film “Four Good Days” — it is Warren’s 13th nomination, but she has never won.
- Three for ‘Flee’ –
Denmark’s “Flee,” an award-winning film about a gay Afghan refugee undertaking the perilous journey to Europe, made Oscars history with an unprecedented trilogy of nominations.
In addition to best international feature, the hybrid film was recognized in the animation and documentary categories.
The movie uses simple cartoons and sketches, veering from the sinister to the playful, to tell the real-life story of Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s childhood friend — who wished to remain anonymous for fear of risking his asylum status or being seen as a victim.
“This way he can share his story, and still meet people on a clean slate — people wouldn’t know his innermost secrets, know his traumas,” Rasmussen told AFP.
A major leading actress was always going to miss out on an Oscar nomination on Tuesday — but few omissions could have provoked the social media fury and wrath of Lady Gaga’s fans.
The pop star-turned-actress famously immersed herself in the “House of Gucci” role, in which she plays the wife of an heir to the Italian fashion house… who eventually hires a hitman to kill him.
“Gaga really wrote an 80 page biography about Patrizia, got haunted by a possessed swarm of flies, studied animals, hired a psychiatric nurse and spoke with an Italian accent for 9 months only to get snubbed by the Oscars,” complained one fan.
Others took a more sanguine view.
“Can’t believe gaga went through months of… deep psychological trauma of doing a vaguely European accent just to be snubbed,” joked another Twitter user.