Oscars 2022: Biggest Snubs & Surprises


The Oscars 2022 winners resulted in some major snubs, surprises, and shocks, albeit with the Academy Awards themselves overshadowed by Will Smith’s altercation with Chris Rock. Hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer, and Wanda Sykes, the Oscars 2022 ceremony was billed as an opportunity to properly reflect upon and honor cinema amidst the coronavirus pandemic, following a year that continued to be challenging for the industry but did see movie theatres reach something of a new normal. Still, it was a streaming service that led the way, with The Power of the Dog’s 12 nominations placing it at the front of the pack heading into the 94th Academy Awards.


Even prior to the 2022 Oscars, there was some cause for controversy alongside snubs and surprises from the nominees themselves, ranging from the decision to have several awards not broadcast live to Dune director Denis Villeneuve’s Best Director snub. It was still, perhaps, a more muted awards season – like in 2021, a sign there remain ongoing struggles, while the Oscars themselves attempt to stay relevant and network ABC tries to increase viewing numbers.

Related: What Happened With Will Smith & Chris Rock At The Oscars?

There will certainly be an increase in interest of these Oscars, but only after Will Smith hit Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about the former’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Coming partyway through the show, it inevitably stood out as the single biggest shock of the night, but what about the actual movies themselves? At the Oscars 2022, it was Dune that came away with most awards (six in total) while CODA won the top prize of Best Picture at the 2022 Oscars. Some of the award winners were to be expected, but others – for better or worse – less so. Here are the biggest Oscars 2022 snubs and surprises.

Surprise: CODA Wins Best Picture

CODA Emilia Jones audition scene Joni Mitchell

It’s true that CODA had picked up a lot of steam heading into the 2022 Oscars, but looking at the full view from the beginning of awards season to now, it stands as a welcome surprise that it took home the night’s biggest award. CODA was critically acclaimed but didn’t receive huge amounts of fanfare when it released on Apple TV+ in August 2021, and it wasn’t among the most immediately obvious contenders like The Power of the Dog and Belfast, which at one point looked most likely to be fighting this out. However, the movie steadily grew the longer awards season went on as its feel good message resonated. The SAG Awards made it clear there was a lot of love for CODA‘s cast, and wins at the WGA and PGA Awards further solidified its chances, but it still wasn’t the betting favorite with many heading into Oscars weekend. This was the right movie at the right time, and with that did enough to get a deserved Best Picture win.

Snub: The Power Of The Dog Only Has 1 Win From 12 Nominations

Phil and Peter riding horses in The Power of the Dog.

On the flip side of CODA‘s Best Picture win is The Power of the Dog, which led all movies with a whopping 12 nominations, but struggled to convert many of those into wins. Jane Campion made headlines for several of her comments on the awards circuit, beginning with a strong response to Sam Elliott’s The Power of the Dog criticisms and then a controversy of her own when speaking about Serena and Venus Williams, but still managed to claim the Best Director Oscar most expected. Beyond that, though, The Power of the Dog lost out in all of the other categories it was nominated in, as Dune swept the technicals, the acting awards all went according to awards season form, and CODA‘s win for Best Adapted Screenplay was a good sign for its own Best Picture chances, and a nail in the coffin for The Power of the Dog‘s.

Surprise: Belfast Wins Best Original Screenplay

The Best Original Screenplay award one one of the hardest to predict heading into the Oscars 2022, with voting split across awards season. The WGA Award went to Don’t Look Up, giving it a shot of momentum and boosting writer/director Adam McKay’s chances of a second screenplay Oscar. However, the BAFTA had gone to Licorice Pizza, while Belfast (which wasn’t eligible for the WGA) took home the Critics Choice. Although there had been many predictions for Licorice Pizza in this category, it was Kenneth Branagh who took home the Oscar in something of a surprise win. Branagh had five nominations across various categories prior to the 2022 Oscars (which gave him three more), so it’s arguably an overdue win, and shows the broader support Belfast had across the Academy in the end.

Related: How 2021’s Best Picture Oscar Nominee Rotten Tomatoes Scores Compare

Snub: Licorice Pizza Wins Zero Oscars

Alana and Gary Licorice Pizza

If Branagh was overdue, then Paul Thomas Anderson may be even more so. His movie had already been overlooked in the acting nominations – with Alana Haim and Bradley Cooper both somewhat egregiously left out – and the night itself completed the Oscars’ snub of Licorice Pizza. Its best chance was in Original Screenplay, which went to Branagh, and its loss there alongside other prizes going elsewhere meant it went home empty handed. Anderson has now been nominated for 11 Oscars as a writer, producer, and director, with zero wins.

Snub: Flee Wins Nothing (But Still Made History)

Flee 2021 Amin

Animated movie Flee made Oscars history with nominations in three different categories: Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature, the first film to ever be nominated in all three of those. Unfortunately Flee wasn’t able to beat out some of its mammoth competition – those awards went to Encanto, Summer of Soul, and Drive My Car, respectively – but it was nonetheless still a huge achievement in its own right.

Surprise: Zack Snyder’s Justice League & Army Of The Dead Win Audience Awards

The Flash Justice League Snyder Cut running

Perhaps this isn’t too surprising, since – on social media in particular – Zack Snyder’s fandom has long since proved its ability to showcase its voice, get things trending, and so on, and there was a clear movement to win both of the Oscars 2022’s fan-favorite awards. Still, even with that it’s a slight surprise – or at least a little jarring and certainly ironic – to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League, a movie that released directly on streaming and that otherwise wasn’t eligible for the actual Oscars, win the #OscarsCheerAward for the Flash entering the Speed Force, and Army of the Dead win #OscarsFanFavorite movie ahead of 2021 juggernaut Spider-Man: No Way Home.

Next: Why CODA Won Best Picture At The 2022 Oscars

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