Oscars 2022: Netflix leads nominations in another streaming-heavy year

Cate Blanchett and Tyler Perry in "Don't Look Up."
Netflix’s “Don’t Look Up” was honored in four categories, including best picture.
(Niko Tavernise / Netflix)

“Don’t Look Up” and “The Power of the Dog” powered Netflix to 27 Oscar nominations Tuesday morning, the most of any studio, reflecting a year when streaming was again the dominant force in Hollywood.

But some of the more traditional distributors had strong showings, as the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences bestowed honors on Walt Disney Co. releases including “West Side Story” and “Nightmare Alley,” as well as Warner Bros.’ “Dune” and “King Richard” and Focus Features’ “Belfast.”

Netflix was the most nominated company for the third year in a row as the Los Gatos streamer continued to pour money into its film business in a quest to grow its subscriber base. Last year, Netflix had 35 nominations. In 2020, it led with 24.


The streaming service has not yet won a best picture Oscar, but the number of nominations is the latest sign that the film academy’s reluctance to recognize Netflix has faded in recent years.

It had the most decorated film, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog,” which scored 12 nominations including best picture, director and adapted screenplay. The critically acclaimed movie also received multiple acting nominations, including Benedict Cumberbatch for lead actor and Kirsten Dunst for supporting actress.

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“Don’t Look Up,” Adam McKay’s star-studded end-of-the-world satire, was honored in four categories, including best picture and original screenplay. Netflix’s “The Lost Daughter,” directed by Maggie Gyllenhaal, received three nominations. Other nominated Netflix movies included “Tick, Tick ... Boom!,” the animated comedy “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” and multiple short films.

Like last year, many of the nominees were primarily seen on television screens rather than in movie theaters, as studios adjusted their release strategies in the face of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and changing consumer habits.

Of the 10 best picture nominees, half were released by streaming services or simultaneously online and in theaters. The ones that got more-or-less traditional releases from theatrical distributors were “Belfast,” “Drive My Car,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Nightmare Alley” and “West Side Story.”

None of those films has made much money at the box office. Ironically, the highest-grossing best picture nominee was “Dune,” despite its same-day streaming release. It earned nearly $400 million in global ticket sales, including $108 million domestically.


All of Warner Bros.’ 2021 movies, including “Dune” and “King Richard,” were released on streaming service HBO Max and in theaters simultaneously for 31 days. The studio had 16 total nominations, with 10 going to “Dune,” though surprisingly no director nomination for Denis Villeneuve. “King Richard” received six nods, among them lead actor (Will Smith) and original screenplay.

In a streaming milestone, Apple TV+ scored its first best picture nomination for “CODA,” a comedy-drama it picked up at last year’s Sundance Film Festival. Apple had six total nominations: three for “CODA” and three for Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” including lead actor for Denzel Washington.

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Disney and its subsidiaries secured 23 nominations, the second largest companywide tally of the year, including seven for Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story.” Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley,” released exclusively in theaters by specialty arm Searchlight Pictures, got four.

Other Disney-related nominations went to animated musical “Encanto,” the live-action “Cruella” and Searchlight’s “The Eyes of Tammy Faye.”

MGM, which is in the process of being acquired by Amazon, earned eight nods, including three for Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Licorice Pizza,” which, in addition to best picture, was recognized for Anderson’s directing and original screenplay. The James Bond film “No Time to Die” earned three nods in craft categories and original song. “House of Gucci” and “Cyrano” got one each.

Focus Features, the specialty arm of NBCUniversal’s film division, had seven nominations, all for Kenneth Branagh’s black-and-white coming of age story, “Belfast.”


Indie film stalwart Neon earned six nods, including three for the animated documentary “Flee,” two for Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World” and one for “Spencer,” which got Kristen Stewart a lead actress nomination for playing Princess Diana.

Amazon’s original film arm got four nominations for movies that were streamed on Amazon Prime — three acting noms for Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos” and a makeup and hairstyling honor for “Coming 2 America.”

Also with four were indie distributors Sideshow and Janus Films, which released Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car.” The three-hour Japanese drama was nominated for directing, international feature, best picture and adapted screenplay.