Every year, the first noteworthy thing to discuss after the announcement of the Oscar nominations is who has been snubbed and which surprises have been sprung by the voting body of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Today, the Academy announced the nominations for its 94th awards ceremony — and there's plenty to talk about as always.
Jane Campion's meditative Netflix western The Power of the Dog leads the field with 12 nominations, ahead of the 10 nominations for sci-fi blockbuster Dune and seven each for Kenneth Branagh's Belfast and West Side Story — Steven Spielberg's first foray into musicals.
Read more: All the winners from the 2021 Oscars
But away from the headline numbers, here are the biggest snubs and surprises from this year's Oscar nominations...
SNUB: We don't nominate Bruno... or Spider-Man
Two of the nominations a lot of movie fans might have been expecting to see from the Academy didn't transpire this afternoon. Despite its mammoth box office haul during the middle of a pandemic, Spider-Man: No Way Home didn't make the shortlist for Best Picture. The movie was rewarded for its visual effects, but failed to appear in any other categories. Spidey fans should probably send their devotion to Andrew Garfield as he competes for Best Actor, where he is nominated for Tick, Tick... Boom!
Speaking of Lin-Manuel Miranda, the songwriter extraordinaire is in the running to complete his EGOT thanks to one of the tracks he wrote for Encanto securing a Best Original Song nod. But it's not breakout hit 'We Don't Talk About Bruno' that made the shortlist — it's the Spanish-language ballad Dos Oruguitas.
The reason for this is simple. The team behind Encanto had to submit their potential nominees before the movie came out. They opted to pick just one rather than risk splitting their vote, and they plumped for the heartfelt and more Oscar-y choice. Nobody expected the movie's strange ensemble number to capture so many hearts and minds, so it misses out on the chance of a performance on the Oscars stage.
SNUB: Power of the Dog is Best Picture frontrunner after Belfast misses Editing
The Power of the Dog was one of the big frontrunners for the Best Picture prize — which would be Netflix's first win in the category — before today, but it's now firmly ensconced as the favourite. That's mostly down to where its major competitors missed out.
Belfast was seen as a key contender prior to the announcements, and it's certainly still in the running. It got a Best Picture nod, Branagh is on the Best Director list and it secured acting nominations for Judi Dench and Ciarán Hinds. However, it missed out a nomination for Best Editing.
That might not sound like a big deal, but the editing category is a key bellwether in the prediction game. Other than Birdman in 2015, you have to go all the way back to Ordinary People's triumph in 1981 to find a winner of the big prize which wasn't at least nominated for editing. So that's good news for this year's editing nominees: Don't Look Up, Dune, King Richard, The Power of the Dog and Tick, Tick... Boom!
SURPRISE: Kristen Stewart makes it amid Best Actress curveballs
A couple of months ago, this would not have been a surprise. Kristen Stewart had been the presumptive frontrunner for Best Actress from the moment her performance as Princess Diana in Spencer was first seen on the festival circuit. However, her momentum had fallen away after she missed out on nominations from BAFTA and, crucially, the Screen Actors Guild. In the 30 year history of the SAGs, they have never failed to even nominate the eventual Oscar winner in the Best Actress category.
But the category was a strange one across the board today. Olivia Colman got in for The Lost Daughter despite being snubbed by BAFTA, while Penelope Cruz made it for Parallel Mothers despite missing all of the main precursor awards. Jessica Chastain meanwhile got a surprise nod for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, unseating SAG nominee Jennifer Hudson for Respect. Only Nicole Kidman's recognition for Being the Ricardos was expected.
Is K-Stew now the frontrunner again? It's certainly going to be an exciting race.
SNUB: House of Gucci gets almost nothing
Jared Leto always manages to get nominated for awards, it seems. Until today. Leto had been expected to secure a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his outrageously accented work in House of Gucci, but was absent from the list. More surprising, though, was the fact that Lady Gaga's excellent lead performance was completely snubbed in the Best Actress category.
In fact, the only nomination Ridley Scott's epic family saga managed to earn was a single nod for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. It's probably good news for those who struggle with Mark Kermode's extravagant impression of Leto.
SURPRISE: Nightmare Alley sneaks into Best Picture
One of the most pleasant surprises of today's nominations was that Guillermo del Toro's carnival-set film noir tale Nightmare Alley received enough love from voters to secure a berth in the Best Picture category. The movie's technical nominations for cinematography, production design and costume design were perhaps expected, but it was a delight to see Del Toro's first film since his big win for The Shape of Water grab a coveted spot on this year's Best Picture list. It won't win this year, but it's the taking part that counts.
SNUB: Denis Villeneuve not in running for Best Director
Dune had a great day, earning 10 nominations by virtue of domination in the technical categories, as well as securing a nod for Best Picture. Its chances of winning the big prize, however, were severely dented by Denis Villeneuve's rather confounding absence from the five-person field for Best Director.
In the last 30 years, only two movies (Argo in 2013 and Green Book in 2019) have won Best Picture without managing at least a nomination for their director. Sorry Denis, but there's always the sequel.
SURPRISE: Being the Ricardos has big showing in acting categories
The Academy seemingly can't help itself. Whenever Aaron Sorkin makes a movie, they hand it a selection of nominations. His fast-talking Hollywood biopic Being the Ricardos might have missed out on Best Picture attention this year and also been snubbed for Sorkin's screenplay, but it managed a trio of acting nods for Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem and, in a big surprise, JK Simmons.
It's not likely to win in any of those categories but, with all four acting races wide open as we speak, there's a chance it could spring another surprise on the night.
SNUB: Passing misses out in Supporting Actress chaos
Those wide open acting categories this year seemed to leave the door ajar for some more left-field picks from the Academy. Many were expecting to see Ruth Negga earn a Supporting Actress nod for her outstanding, ambiguous performance as a Black woman pretending to be white in Netflix drama Passing. However, Negga was not present on the shortlist, which featured surprise attention for Jessie Buckley's work in The Lost Daughter. Passing was not recognised in any categories.
Elsewhere in the Best Supporting Actress category, there was a shock demotion for one of the frontrunners as Caitríona Balfe missed out on a nomination for Belfast. Her co-star Judi Dench did make the list, but it surely seems as if Hamilton alum Ariana DeBose is now the likely winner for her exceptional work as Anita in West Side Story.
SURPRISE: Drive My Car secures strong selection of noms
Bong Joon-ho's masterpiece Parasite deserves a lot of credit for breaking down the boundaries around international films at the Oscars. When the movie won Best Picture in 2020 — just before the world went down the pandemic plughole — it seemed to herald a new dawn for films made outside the bright lights of Hollywood.
This year, another Asian movie has been the beneficiary of the doors opened by director Bong. Ryusuke Hamaguchi's epic Japanese drama Drive My Car received nominations in Best Picture and for Hamaguchi's direction, as well as in Best Adapted Screenplay and, of course, Best International Feature Film. We can safely assume it's the frontrunner for the final category.
SNUB: Don't Look Up chances hurt after Director/Actor miss
Netflix eco satire Don't Look Up had been building momentum as a potential dark horse contender to steal Best Picture away from the presumed frontrunners. However, its ability to challenge for the big prize took a hit today, despite it managing four nominations. It got a Best Picture nod and that all-important Best Editing recognition, with its other noms coming for Best Original Screenplay and Nicholas Britell's musical score.
However, it missed out on two big nominations which could have shown it had momentum and support within the Academy. Adam McKay failed to land a Director nod, despite having done so for his two previous films — The Big Short and Vice. There was also a surprising omission in the Best Actor category, with Leonardo DiCaprio notably absent from that shortlist. With Don't Look Up lacking in meaningful support across the board, that could be the end for its chances.
SURPRISE: Flee secures hat-trick of nominations
One of the most uplifting stories to come from today's nominations was the three nods for animated documentary Flee. The highly acclaimed movie tells the story of a gay man who escapes Afghanistan as a refugee and moves to Denmark.
It managed nominations for Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary and as Denmark's entry for Best International Feature Film. Thus, it's the first movie to be nominated in all of those categories at the same ceremony.
Watch: Garfield and Cumberbatch among British nominees for 2022 Oscars