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The 94th Academy Awards Kick Off: A brief dive into this year’s Oscars nominations.

As another season of film comes to an end, the industry prepares to celebrate and honor recent movies released between March 1 and December 31, 2021. The 94th Academy Awards ceremony (also known as the Oscars) will be taking place at 8:00PM on Sunday, March 22 this year. Among the numerous awards given at the annual ceremony, the most prestigious three are Best Lead Actress, Best Lead Actor and Best Picture. Between these three awards there are 17 different films featured by nominations. 

The films contending for Best Picture this year are: “Belfast,” “Coda,” “Don’t Look Up.” “Drive my Car,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley,” “The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story.” The actors contending for Best Lead Actor are: Javier Bardem (“Being the Ricardos”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”), Andrew Garfield (“tick, tick…BOOM!”), Will Smith (“King Richard”) and Denzel Washington (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”). The actresses contending for Best Lead Actress are: Jessica Chastin (“The Eyes of Tammy Faye”), Olivia Coleman (“The Lost Daughter”), Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”), Nicole Kidman (“Being the Ricardos”) and Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”). 

The film with the most nominations is “The Power of the Dog” with a whopping 12 nominations: Best Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Supporting Actor (x2), Best Supporting Actress, Best Cinematography, Best Directing, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound Design and Best Adapted Screenplay. “Dune” comes in second with their number of nominations reaching 10: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Production Design, Best Sound Design, Best Visual Effects and Best Adapted Screenplay. 

Composer Hans Zimmer has been given his 12th Academy Awards nomination after composing the original score to “Dune” and producer/director Steven Spielberg has been given his 11th Academy Awards nomination after producing and directing the musical “West Side Story.” Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart makes history as the first openly LGBT+ actress nominated for Best Lead Actress. 

The Oscars are an excellent opportunity to discover new movies that hold merit as good films and to celebrate the continuation of film as art and culture. Though the Oscars are not without controversy. Often the majority of movie-goers don’t have interest in the awards ceremony due to the nomination selections. Regularly, the movies that are popular in most crowds are not even featured at the Oscars. For example, the widely popular movies produced by Marvel have only had 13 out of their 27 movies nominated for the awards ceremony, with “Black Panther” being the only one to win any award. “Black Panther” won Best Original Score and Best Production Design in 2019. However, fans of the comic book-based films will be glad to see that both “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” have been nominated for Best Visual Effects this year! 

For those who enjoy animated films, there are five films nominated for Best Animated Film this year: “Encanto”, “Flee”, “Luca”, “The Mitchells VS. The Machines” and “Raya and the Last Dragon.” And for those who enjoy personable hosts, the 94th Academy Awards will be hosted by Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. The Oscars have not had a host since 2018 but are making up for it by featuring three.

Whether you are someone who enjoys looking at different elements of film or someone who simply enjoys watching movies, the Oscars are the perfect way to either branch out and try a new kind of movie or to find a movie that might fit into what you usually enjoy. The 94th Academy Awards show will air at 8:00PM, March 22, on NBC.

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