Jane Campion’s revisionist Western, ‘The Power of the Dog’, topped the Oscars nominations list with 12 nods, but the helmer of the sci-fi flick, ‘Dune’, which followed with 10 noms, wasn’t as fortunate as the Kiwi director. ‘Dune’ director Denis Villeneuve did not make the cut for Best Director.
Campion made history by becoming the first woman to be nominated twice for Best Director, but she’s up against the formidable Steven Spielberg, who landed his eighth nomination for ‘West Side Story’, and Kenneth Branagh (‘Belfast’), who became the first artiste in Oscars history to establish a lifetime record of notching up seven nominations in seven different categories.
Branagh, notes ‘Variety’, was nominated for directing, producing and writing the original screenplay of his semi-autobiographical coming-of-age film. Previously, he had earned Oscar nominations for best actor and best director for ‘Henry V’, best live-action short film for ‘Swan Song’, best-supporting actor for ‘My Week With Marilyn’ and best-adapted screenplay for ‘Hamlet’.
Spielberg, who earned his eighth nomination, now ranks, according to ‘Variety’, alongside Billy Wilder and behind Martin Scorsese’s nine and William Wyler’s 12 nods (including the ones for classics such as ‘Roman Holiday’ and ‘Ben-Hur’) in the Best Director category.
Villeneuve, meanwhile, wasn’t the only one to be snubbed. Lady Gaga, who scored rave reviews for what ‘Variety’ describes as her “scene-stealing work” in ‘House of Gucci’, failed to earn a nomination for best actress, although the film’s makeup and hairstyling head made it to the list.
Ironically, Lady Gaga had landed in the lead actress category at the Critics Choice Awards, Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and BAFTA Film Awards — the four precursors to the Oscars nominations. She was also named best actress by the New York Film Critics Circle.
Also to be given the royal ignore was the sixth top-grossing film of all time — ‘Spider-Man: No Way Home’. It may have collected $1.7 billion at the global box-office, but it landed just one nomination — Best Visual Effects, a department where it faces tough competition from another big-grosser, ‘No Time to Die’ (the 25th James Bond film), and the Asian superhero film, ‘Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’.
‘CODA’ star Troy Kotsur became only the second deaf actor to be nominated for playing a deaf character, following in the footsteps of his co-star, Marlee Matlin, who won an Oscar for her leading role in ‘Children of a Lesser God’.
“In a boon for domestic tranquility”, as ‘Variety’ puts it, Javier Bardem (‘Being the Ricardos’) and Penelope Cruz (‘Parallel Mother’) became the sixth married couple to be nominated for acting in the same year.
Romantic partners Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, who co-star in ‘The Power of the Dog’, were also nominated in supporting acting categories.