2022 Oscar nominations reactions slugfest: Contributors venting over the most exciting surprises and heartbreaking shocks [WATCH]

“Be careful what you wish for,” Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria proclaims when reacting to the announcement of the 2022 Oscar nominations, which were announced in a live presentation Tuesday morning by Leslie Jordan (“Will & Grace”) and Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”).

“A few days ago, I said to some of you that I love a really unpredictable race and I love it how it’s crazy and it’s hard to predict and it keeps things interesting,” he says, adding that ultimately, while “there were some really interesting and happy surprises and of course, a lot of nominations that we expected, there were also a few snubbed, so to speak, that I found really hard to swallow.”

Licuria debates with contributors Charles Bright, Riley Chow and Tony Ruiz to vent about what they are delighted to see included in Oscar’s class of 2022 and also some of those head-scratching snubs and heartbreaking shocks. Watch our Academy Awards nominations reactions slugfest video above.

SEE 2022 Oscar nominations: Full list of nominees in all 23 categories

Kicking things off for the guys was Caitriona Balfe (“Belfast”) missing out on a supporting actress bid, which nobody saw coming. Chow was perplexed by her exclusion, noting that it was his favorite performance of the year, but agreed that it was likely a result of some category confusion by academy voters, who are free to nominate actors as either a lead or supporting performance), where Balfe likely scored votes in both categories, thereby diluting her overall chances at scoring that coveted first Oscar nomination.

What made some of the shock exclusions all the more difficult to reconcile was that the so-called Oscar pre-cursors, i.e. those kudosfests that shape the Oscar derby by weighing in with their choices in the lead-up to the Oscar nominations announcement, were less predictive than usual. Certain contenders, like Balfe, Ruth Negga (“Passing”) and perhaps most surprisingly Lady Gaga (“House of Gucci”) missed out after a promising pre-Oscars run, while other contenders showed up on Oscar nominations morning with little to no precursor support, like Penelope Cruz (“Parallel Mothers”) who missed at SAG, Critics Choice and BAFTA, but squeaked in at the Oscars. “The tea leaves are nowhere more confusing than in Best Actress,” Ruiz sighs.

Other misses the guys weren’t happy about included Nicolas Cage (“Pig”), Marlee Matlin (“CODA”), Ann Dowd (“Mass”) and director Denis Villeneuve (“Dune”) to name just a few.

SEE Oscar Experts slugfest: Kristen Stewart in, Lady Gaga out! Analyzing those wild 2022 nominations [WATCH]

As for nominees that the guys were most happy about, Bright summed it up best when he pointed out that Kristen Stewart (“Spencer”) making the cut was a good news story for the day. “I’m happy for her, being a first time Oscar nominee,” he says. “She should she should savor that, for all that it’s worth.”

He was also excited about the four surprising nominations for Japanese critics’ darling “Drive My Car,” which he says is testament to he power of the critics for prestige films like this. “I really think that the critics, especially critics groups really help put a spotlight on ‘Drive My Car’ and has helped it,” he explains, adding that it “all started with New York and then LA and the National Society of Film Critics. A bunch of them went with this and I’m sure that it boosted its profile and made sure that people in the Academy watched it.”

“What this line-up shows is that ‘The Power of the Dog” is a huge front runner,” Ruiz declares about his favorite film of 2021. “Everything just has kind of solidified around it, which I think is the unexpected thing. I did not expect 12 nominations for this!”

Among Chow’s favorites was Jesse Plemons (“The Power of the Dog”) and Jessie Buckley (“The Lost Daughter”), both included after unfortunately missing out the year before. “Jesse and Jessie should have been nominated last year in lead for ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things,’ so I think it’s a kind of a nice surprise that they’re both nominated in supporting this year.”

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