What to Know Before the 94th Oscars Ceremony


Quick Disclaimer: The Oscars and the Academy Awards are the same ceremony! The Academy is the group of individuals that decide the winners and the nickname “Oscar” (for the trophies themselves) was adopted in 1939, ten years following the first ceremony.


A meet-up of the best-of-the-best films over the last year, the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on March 27th is one not to miss for film fanatics. With critically-acclaimed hits like The Power of the Dog, King Richard, and Belfast receiving nominations alongside fan-favorite films such as Don’t Look Up and Dune, the ceremony is suited for everyone. And thanks to an increased popularity in streaming services, the majority of nominees can be viewed from the comfort of your own home. Now it’s possible to watch every Best Picture nominee without cringing at the $15 movie ticket for each of the 9 films nominated this year. For the full list of Oscar-nominated films currently on streaming services, go here.


Standouts among the nominees include The Power of the Dog, which received 12 nominations (more than any other film this year), Dune with 10 nominations, and Belfast and West Side Story (2021) tied with 7. Though it isn’t uncommon for one movie to “sweep,” or take home, the major award categories (Best Picture, Best Lead Actor/Actress, and Best Director), this year’s nominees have had scattered recognition throughout prior award ceremonies leading to the Oscars. While The Power of the Dog received Best (Drama) Motion Picture at the Golden Globes, it lost Best Ensemble, a typical indication of a Best Picture Oscar win, at the SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) Awards to CODA. And while Jessica Chastain took home the award for Best Leading Actress at the SAG Awards for The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Nicole Kidman took home the same award at the Golden Globes, a less prestigious award ceremony typically held a month prior to the Oscars, for Being the Ricardos. 


While a majority of the awards still remain up-in-the-air until the March 27th ceremony, a few individuals have been sweeping the same category repeatedly. One example is Will Smith and his portrayal of Richard Williams in King Richard, the biopic centered around the Williams sisters Venus and Serena. Smith has taken home the award for Best Lead Actor in a (Drama) Motion Picture at the Golden Globes and the Best Lead Actor at the SAG Awards for his role. Another favorite is former-North Carolinian Ariana DeBose for Best Supporting Actress, who plays Anita in Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. DeBose’s predecessor, Rita Moreno (who cameos as a new minor character in the remake) won the Oscar for her performance of Anita in the original WSS 1962, being the first Latina to win the Oscar. DeBose was the first openly queer woman of color to receive a SAG Award for the same honor. After countless years of refraining from recognizing diverse films in their repertoire of recognitions, it appears some progress is being made.


Even non-American films have been receiving acknowledgment at the Academy Awards. After the success of South Korean film Parasite in the 2020 Oscars, international films have received increasing success outside of the Best International Film category. Films this year that have broken past that barrier include Drive My Car, Flee, and The Worst Person in the World. Drive My Car received 4 nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The Worst Person in the World only has one nomination outside of Best International, but it is for Best Original Screenplay, a category that has seemed wary of including non-English films. Flee is a monumental film in that it is nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Documentary, and it’s in Danish! 


After controversy arose surrounding Kevin Hart’s homophobic tweets which resurfaced after he was announced to host the Academy Awards in 2019, the ceremony has not had a host since 2018 when The Shape of Water took home Best Picture. However, this year the ceremony will have three hosts: Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, and Regina Hall. 


After around 2 years of struggles with releasing and marketing films due to the COVID-19 pandemic closing many movie theatres, this year’s Academy Awards are truly a culmination of the gradual return to normalcy.  The ceremony will air on ABC and stream on HuluTV on March 27th, and with a total of 38 different films nominated for various awards, the 94th Oscars is one event that shouldn’t be missed by any movie fan.


To view the entire list of nominees and print your own ballot, use this link: https://tinyurl.com/oscarsballot22