Oscar nominations 2022: rounding up the frontrunners, surprises and highlights

The 2022 Oscar nominations are in, and, as ever, they're a mixture of the diverse and the controversial, the expected and the unexpected. It's the biggest night in the movie calendar, so scroll down to discover the highlighted nominees, plus our analysis of the frontrunners.


What are the 2022 Oscar nominations?

Scroll down to discover the highlights from this year's Academy Awards,

Oscar nominations for Best Picture

  • Highlighted nominees Belfast, Dune, West Side Story, King Richard, Licorice Pizza, Nightmare Alley

Oscar nominations for Best Director

  • Highlighted nominees Steven Spielberg (West Side Story), Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)

Oscar nominations for Best Actor

  • Highlighted nominees Will Smith (King Richard)

Oscar nominations for Best Actress

  • Highlighted nominees Kristen Stewart (Spencer), Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye), Penelope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)

Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay

  • Highlighted nominees Belfast, King Richard, Licorice Pizza

Oscar nominations for Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Highlighted nominees Dune

Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actor

  • Highlighted nominees Ciarian Hinds (Belfast)

Oscar nominations for Best Supporting Actress

  • Highlighted nominees Ariana DeBose (West Side Story), Judi Dench (Belfast), Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature

  • Highlighted nominees Encanto

Oscar nominations for Best Original Score

  • Highlighted nominees Dune (Hans Zimmer), Encanto (Germaine Franco), Parallel Mothers (Alberto Iglesias)

Oscar nominations for Best Original Song

  • Highlighted nominees 'Be Alive' (King Richard), 'Dos Oruguitas' (Encanto), 'Down to Joy' (Belfast), 'No Time to Die' (No Time to Die), Billie Eilish, Finneas O'Connell

Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography

  • Highlighted nominees Nightmare Alley, Dune, West Side Story

Oscar nominations for Best Production Design

  • Highlighted nominees Nightmare Alley, Dune, West Side Story

Oscar nominations for Best Visual Effects

  • Highlighted nominees Spider-Man: No Way Home, Dune, No Time To Die, Free Guy, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings

Oscar nominations for Best Costume Design

  • Highlighted nominees Cruella, Cyrano, Dune, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley

Oscar nominations for Best Make-Up and Hairstyling

  • Highlighted nominees Cruella, Dune, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, House of Gucci

Oscar nominations for Best Film Editing

  • Highlighted nominees Dune, King Richard

Oscar nominations for Best Sound

  • Highlighted nominees Dune, Belfast, No Time To Die, West Side Story

Who are the frontrunners for the 2022 Oscars?

Which movies have amassed the most noms in total? Scroll down to find out.

Dune – 10 nominations

Belfast – seven nominations

West Side Story – seven nominations

King Richard – six nominations

Nightmare Alley – four nominations


What does this tell us about the 2022 Oscar race?

As always with the Oscars, there are surprises on the table, although maybe less than usual this year. Among the pleasing standouts: a better-than-anticipated performance from King Richard with Will Smith's Best Actor lock sharing centre court space with screen newcomer Aunjanue Ellis. The two actors light up the screen as Richard and Venus Williams, and it's expected that Smith, at least, will capitalise on his most acclaimed performance in years. This is his first nomination since Ali, in which he knocked us all out with his portrayal of Muhammad Ali, and Smith is certainly riding a wave of considerable hype, which always tends to sway the Oscar voters. (Mind you, that wasn't enough to translate into a Best Picture nom for Spider-Man: No Way Home, which we were holding out for.)



King Richard's nomination for Best Original Song (afforded to Beyonce Knowles-Carter) is also a pleasant surprise. Truthfully, though, it's hard to see the movie competing with the Lin Manuel-Miranda-themed behemoth that is Encanto, the acclaimed Disney animation that has been hailed for its diversity and warm tone. Manuel-Miranda is very much an emblem of the success of the modern movie musical, so we'd expect him to walk this one.



There's little surprise in Dune hogging the Best Picture nomination and a clutch of other noms. What is surprising, and upsetting, is the omission of director Denis Villeneuve. Why grace the movie with that many nominations if you're not going to reward the artist who is responsible for threading it all together? Villeneuve's passion for Frank Herbert's source material translated into a visually spectacular and emotionally engrossing experience, although the Oscar voters, disappointingly, have tended to look to the surface instead of recognising Villeneuve's narrative achievements in adapting such a tricky novel. Still, given the Oscars' notorious snobbishness towards science-fiction in the past, Dune's performance can be considered a triumph.



Belfast, as expected, emerged as a frontrunner, and it's thrilling to see stage and screen veteran Ciaran Hinds grab his first Oscar nomination. It's vindication for a remarkable and storied career, and secures him as the emotional lynchpin of the movie alongside fellow veteran and Oscar nominee Judi Dench. One might have expected a Best Actress nod for Caitriona Balfe but Kenneth Branagh's movie has done well where it counts, even bagging a Best Song nod for the controversial Van Morrison.



Perennial Oscar favourite Paul Thomas Anderson has scored strongly with his bittersweet, seventies-set coming-of-age drama Licorice Pizza. That said, it might be too esoteric for many tastes, and it may lack the splashier, more obviously award-courting virtues of a movie like Dune or Belfast. And despite Nightmare Alley's pleasing nomination for Best Picture, it's more likely that the movie will translate its aesthetic nominations (cinematography; production design) into wins. Guillermo del Toro's twisted latest is, perhaps, more complex and harder to take than his fable-like The Shape of Water, which swooped to Oscar success back in 2018.



One assumes that Kristen Stewart is now a lock to win Best Actress for Spencer. Despite being shut out of the BAFTA nominations, Stewart's performance has been duly noted at the Oscars, the combination of publicity hype and subject matter (she is truly transformative as the late Diana Spencer) promising to push her over the line to victory. In fact, this year's Best Actress category is easily the most intriguing, showcasing two dark horse choices in the form of Jessica Chastain (for The Eyes of Tammy Faye) and Penelope Cruz (for Pedro Almodovar's Parallel Mothers, controversially shut out of the Best Foreign Language Film Category). Truthfully, neither Chastain nor Cruz is likely to compete with the Kristen Stewart/Spencer juggernaut.



Finally, West Side Story won over the Oscar voters and made up for its box office performance, grabbing seven nominations in total. It's gratifying to see Steven Spielberg attain recognition for his lush and vibrant restaging of the classic musical (Spielberg's inclusion atones for the sour absence of Denis Villeneuve in the same category). Ariana DeBose is now poised to rocket up the A-list following her first-ever nomination for Best Supporting Actress, although given the film is a remake, ironically, none of the songs were eligible to nominated. We expect that will go to the powerhouse duo of Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell for the sultry, seductive No Time To Die, and the Bond film may also triumph in the Best Visual Effects and Sound categories.



When do the 2022 Oscars take place?

The 2022 Oscars get underway on 27th March. Got some thoughts about this year's nominations? Let us know @Cineworld. You can rewatch the broadcast of the nominations ceremony below.