Culture

Homoerotic western The Power of the Dog leads Oscar nominations as House of Gucci snubbed

Patrick Kelleher February 8, 2022
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KODI SMIT-McPHEE as PETER, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG.

KODI SMIT-McPHEE as PETER, BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as PHIL BURBANK in THE POWER OF THE DOG. (KIRSTY GRIFFIN/NETFLIX)

The 2022 Oscar nominations are in, and Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog has led the way with 12 nods.

The western psychological drama was released to critical acclaim in December. Like several other awards contenders, The Power of the Dog was released on Netflix following a limited theatrical release in November.

Jane Campion was nominated for Best Director for her work on the film, and the title is also up for Best Picture.

Of the cast, Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for Best Actor for his role in the film, while Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons both got nods in the Best Supporting Actor category, and Kirsten Dunst won a nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

The Power of the Dog has won praise for its often unsettling exploration of sexuality and gender roles. Cumberbatch plays a closeted rancher, Phil, who shares an intense, homoerotic relationship with Smit-McPhee’s Peter.

Many celebrated queer actors missed out on nominations this year, including Tessa Thompson (Passing), Lady Gaga (House of Gucci) and Robin de Jesús (Tick, Tick… Boom!).

The Oscars is notorious for overlooking queer talent – according to Vanity Fair, Sir Ian McKellen, Angelina Jolie and Lady Gaga were until today the only openly queer actors to have been nominated (they are now joined by Kristen Stewart and Ariana DeBose), though others have been nominated while not out.

There have, however, been many straight actors nominated and awarded for playing queer roles throughout the Oscars’ history, including Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody) and Sean Penn (Milk).

Cumberbatch has defended his part in The Power of the Dog, saying: “I feel very sensitive about representation, diversity and inclusion.

“One of the appeals of the job was the idea that in this world, with this specific character, there was a lot that was private, hidden from view.

“It wasn’t done without thought. I also feel slightly like, is this a thing where our dance card has to be public?

“Do we have to explain all our private moments in our sexual history? I don’t think so.”

Smit-McPhee, meanwhile, said: “There’s a lot in Peter that I relate to”.

“Sure, I’m a straight man, but I’m extremely in touch with my feminine side.”

Dune followed closely behind The Power of the Dog with 10 nominations. The epic science fiction film, directed by Denis Villeneuve, was one of many films that were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic – it was originally scheduled to be released in 2020.

Ariana DeBose could be the first out, queer woman of colour to win an Oscar

Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story managed to pick up seven nods. The film quickly won acclaim when it was released in December, even though it failed to win over audiences – it was widely declared a failure at the box office.

Ariana DeBose in West Side Story.
Ariana DeBose in West Side Story. (Disney)

Ariana DeBose was nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her turn as Anita in West Side Story. If she wins, she would be the first out, queer woman of colour to win an Oscar.

Belfast, Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical feature based on his early childhood in Northern Ireland, picked up seven nominations.

Kristen Stewart also picked up a nomination for Best Actress for her critically acclaimed turn in Spencer. The film, which is loosely based on a short window in the life of Princess Diana, won praise from critics following its release, and Stewart was considered an early contender for an Oscar for her pitch-perfect, tightly-wound Diana.

Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer
Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in Spencer. (Twitter/ Netflix)

However, Stewart’s chances of bagging a nomination narrowed as nomination day approached – she failed to pick up nominations in a number of other award ceremonies which are usually reliable predictors for what’s likely to happen at the Oscars.

Meanwhile, House of Gucci – the film that was supposed to give Lady Gaga her second shot at an Oscar nomination – managed to win just one nomination in the Makeup and Hairstyling category.

Read the full list of Oscar nominations below.

Best Picture

Belfast
Coda
Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car
Dune
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Barden – Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield – Tick, Tick… Boom!
Will Smith – King Richard
Denzel Washington – The Tragedy of Macbeth

Actor in a Supporting Role

Ciarán Hinds – Belfast
Troy Kotsur – Coda
Jesse Plemons – The Power of the Dog
JK Simmons – Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power of the Dog

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain – The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman – The Lost Daughter
Penélope Cruz – Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman – Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart – Spencer

Actress in a Supporting Role

Jessie Buckley – The Lost Daughter
Ariana DeBose – West Side Story
Judi Dench – Belfast
Kirsten Dunst – The Power of the Dog
Aunjanue Ellis – King Richard

Animated Feature Film

Encanto
Flee
Luca
The Mitchells vs The Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

Cinematography

Dune
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Costume Design

Cruella
Cyrano
Dune
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story

Directing

Kenneth Branagh – Belfast
Ryusuke Hamaguchi – Drive My Car
Paul Thomas Anderson – Licorice Pizza
Jane Campion – The Power of the Dog
Steven Spielberg – West Side Story

Documentary (Feature)

Ascension
Attica
Flee
Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Writing With Fire

Documentary (Short Subject)

Audible
Lead Me Home
The Queen of Basketball
Three Songs for Benazir
When We Were Bullies

Film Editing

Don’t Look Up
Dune
King Richard
The Power of the Dog
Tick, Tick… Boom!

International Feature Film

Drive My Car
Flee
The Hand of God
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
The Worst Person in the World

Makeup and Hairstyling

Coming 2 America
Cruella
Dune
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
House of Gucci

Music (Original Score)

Nicholas Britell – Don’t Look Up
Hans Zimmer – Dune
Germaine Franco – Encanto
Alberto Iglesias – Parallel Mothers
Jonny Greenwood – The Power of the Dog

Music (Original Song)

“Be Alive” from King Richard – Dixson and Beyoncé
“Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto – Lin Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy” from Belfast – Van Morrison
“No Time to Die” from No Time To Die – Billie Eilish
“Somehow You Do” – Four Good Days

Production Design

Dune
Nightmare Alley
The Power of the Dog
The Tragedy of Macbeth
West Side Story

Short Film (Animated)

Affairs of the Art
Bestia
Boxballet
Robin Robin
The Windshield Wiper

Short Film (Live Action)

Ala Kachuu – Take and Run
The Dress
The Long Goodbye
On My Mind
Please Hold

Sound

Belfast
Dune
No Time To Die
The Power of the Dog
West Side Story

Visual Effects

Dune
Free Guy
No Time To Die
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Spider-Man: No Way Home

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Coda
Drive My Car
Dune
The Lost Daughter
The Power of the Dog

Writing (Original Screenplay)

Belfast
Don’t Look Up
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
The Worst Person in the World

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