Oscars 2022: Will any Irish nominees win? Will Lady Gaga’s snub break the internet?

Donald Clarke: Here are 10 key questions on this year's Oscars nominations

1. Did Ireland have a disappointing morning?

Kenneth Branagh's Belfast, a Northern Ireland Screen production, scored seven nominations. That is three more than Room and four more than Brooklyn, both of which competed six years ago. Two Irish actors – Jessie Buckley and Ciarán Hinds – are nominated for supporting performances. So, no. It was one of the best ever years for Irish film at the Oscars. It just felt a bit disappointing as Ruth Negga and Caitríona Balfe looked to be nailed down. Úna Ní Dhonghaíle also seemed a likely nominee for editing Belfast. Sadly, all three missed out.

2. But will any Irish nominees win?

Possibly not. There is no category in which Belfast is clearly ahead. Branagh could win best original screenplay, but Paul Thomas Anderson is probably a nudge ahead for Licorice Pizza. Best picture has been famously unpredictable over the last decade, but (see below) there is, nonetheless, now another clear favourite in that category. Buckley will struggle to get past Ariana DeBose and Kirsten Dunst in best supporting actor. Might Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons split the Power of the Dog vote and let Hinds through in the equivalent actor race? Probably not. There is always Van Morrison. Now that might be a speech worth hearing.

3. Is Kristen Stewart back (baby)?

What a ride she has been on since Spencer premiered at Venice last September. It was immediately decided that she was the favourite to take best actress for her quirky turn as Princess Diana. Bookies had her at unbackable odds. A long, slow slide began that ended with her being left off the best actress shortlists for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Bafta. Many felt she wouldn't make it in with Oscar. But here she is. Mind you, nobody has ever won this prize without the equivalent nomination at SAG. Speaking of turnarounds…

4. Will Gaga’s snub break the internet?

The title that faltered the most today was probably House of Gucci. Ridley Scott's film received mixed reviews, but did modestly well - by Covid standards, anyway - at the box office and looked to be in the running for acting nominations. In the event, Jared Ledo missed out on an expected best supporting actor slot and Lady Gaga failed to pick up a best actress nomination that many felt inevitable. House of Gucci ended up with just a nomination for hair and makeup. The Little Monsters, Gaga's famously vigorous online fanbase, will take years to calm themselves.

5. Is there is no crossover between the Bafta and the Oscars in best actress?

The British Academy, whose electorate shares many members with its American equivalent, has long been seen as a reliable pointer towards Oscars. There is no chance of that this year with best actress – as not a single person competes in both races. The British left out their own Olivia Colman. The Americans excluded New York's Lady Gaga. It seemed Gaga was likely to attend Bafta to boost her Oscar chances. Now it's her last chance for a big award, it is even more probable she will fly to London.

6. Hang on. What is this record that Kenneth Branagh has broken?

Listen carefully. Branagh has now been nominated in more distinct categories at the Oscars than anybody else. Before today, he had scored in best live-action short, best supporting actor, best actor, best adapted screenplay and best director. That's five. He needed two more to get him past Walt Disney, George Clooney and Alfonso Cuarón, who have six. Best original screenplay and (as producer) best film did the trick. Sadly, he has still yet to win. And, as noted above, there is no guarantee he will break that duck this year.

7. And what is the record that Flee broke?

Every now and then a nominee for best international feature also scores in best film (Drive My Car managed it this year). Every now and then an animated feature pulls the same trick (Disney's Beauty and the Beast was the first to do so). But it is truly remarkable for a film to score in three "best feature" races. Jonas Poher Rasmussen's Flee, story of an Afghan refugee's journey to Copenhagen, managed that by registering in best animated feature, best international feature and best documentary feature. It is favourite in none, but neither is it out of the running in any.

8. How did The Power of the Dog become the most nominated film?

Jane Campion's The Power of the Dog has been right at the heart of the conversation since its debut at Venice. It was, however, felt that Denis Villeneuve's Dune would, with all those technical achievements, top the nomination chart. Scoring four, Power of the Dog picked up one more acting nomination than expected. Villeneuve lost out unexpectedly in the director's race. Power of the Dog converted all potential nominees who were felt to be "on the bubble" - notably Jonny Greenwood for best original score. Dog's 12 nominations confirms it as the favourite for best picture. And yet…

9. Will a Netflix film finally win best picture?

Once again, Netflix beat out the traditional studios to top the charts with 27 nominations. This is the third year in a row that the streamer has managed this feat. Yet the studio is still waiting for a best picture win. They came close in 2019 with Alfonso Cuarón's Roma, but that lost out to Green Book. A year later, The Irishman managed 10 nominations without a single win. If Netflix's The Power of the Dog cedes the prize to anything other than Don't Look Up – also produced by the streamer – then claims of a curse will grow louder still.

10. Why can’t the presenters of the nominations pronounce the names?

Almost nobody apart from Oscar nerds bothers to watch the nominations announcements. Those who do will, over the years, have noted presenters repeatedly throw up their hands when confronted with "foreign" names. ("Alejandro González Iñárritu" gave repeated problems.) This morning there were horrendous manglings of Ciarán Hinds, Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Denis Villeneuve. All were likely nominees. It would require only an hour or two to talk the announcers through the correct pronunciations of the names that might appear. Not that anyone seems to care.

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