Slightly more mainstream fare like Will Smith’s King Richard, the star-packed Netflix space satire Don’t Look Up, and Denis Villeneuve’s reboot of the 1980s classic Dune are also on the 10-picture nominee list. However, as Hollywood has struggled to keep its theatrical business model alive through the pandemic, it’s noteworthy that the Oscars failed to deliver a single nod to the box office successes that kept the film industry afloat during its darkest days. 

Answering criticism with regular people

This year, the Academy invited various members of the public to help announce the nominations, including healthcare professionals, firefighters, middle school students and college students of color, and a regular movie fan. It was a nice way to honor frontline workers who stepped up during the pandemic, and a not-so-subtle acknowledgement of the critiques the Academy has gotten over the years for the historic lack of diversity at the Oscars and the extent to which it does, or rather doesn’t, pay attention to the opinions of regular movie fans. 

The hosts of the 2022 Academy Awards

One of the most controversial issues shadowing the Oscars in recent years has been its choice of a host for the event. After the Academy announced Kevin Hart as its 2019 host, his past homophobic tweets were surfaced, eventually leading the comedian to step down as host. After three years without a host, the difficult task has been given to two hosts instead of one: widely admired—and, presumably, controversy-free—actors Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Jordan.

The Oscar snubs superheroes, aka the Visual Effects dump 

Historically, box office hits that don’t reflect the less mainstream tastes of the Academy generally find themselves relegated to the Visual Effects category. Although the award is often well deserved in terms of craft, the category’s very presence usually serves as a stark reminder that mainstream-friendly box office successes shouldn’t expect much at the Oscars.

Four of the top 10 grossing movies of 2021, including Spider-Man: No Way Home, No Time To Die, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, and Free Guy, all appear in the Visual Effects category. Not one was nominated for Best Picture or Best Director. Welcome to the new Oscars…same as the old Oscars. 

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