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Your literary guide to the 2022 Oscar nominations.

Eliza Smith

February 8, 2022, 1:13pm

As the Hub’s fearless leader Emily Temple wrote in the innocent days of 2017, “Hollywood would basically be irrelevant without books.” And while much has changed over the past five years, that statement, at least, still stands: the 94th Academy Award nominations were announced today, and by our count, 50 percent of the Best Picture nominations are (arguably) based on books and plays (you bet your bottom dollar we’re counting plays—xoxo, playwrights). Notably, the Cinematography and Production Design categories are 100 percent literary, proving that good writing makes for the best visuals, and The Power of the Dog (based on Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel) got the most love, receiving 12 nominations across 11 categories (followed by Dune, with 10 nominations across 10 categories).

If you’re going to be a Smug Book Reader during the awards ceremony on March 27, you (might) have some reading to do. Here’s your guide to all the Oscar hopefuls—with literary offerings in bold.

Best Picture

Don’t Look Up
Drive My Car (based on Haruki Murakami’s short story “Drive My Car” from the 2014 collection Men Without Women)
Dune (based on Dune by Frank Herbert)
King Richard
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley (based on Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham)  
The Power of the Dog (based on The Power of the Dog by Thomas Savage)  
West Side Story (based on the musical West Side Story by Jerome Robbins and inspired by Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

Denzel Washington as Macbeth

Actor in a Leading Role

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick…Boom! (based on the musical tick, tick… BOOM! by Jonathan Larson)
Will Smith, King Richard
Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth (based on Macbeth by William Shakespeare)

Actress in a Leading Role

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter (based on The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante)
Penelope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Kristen Stewart, Spencer

Actor in a Supporting Role

Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Troy Kotsur, CODA
Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog  

Aunjanue Ellis in King Richard

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

Power of the Dog


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)

Summer of Soul
Writing With Fire (not an adaptation, but it IS a story about the journalists running the Dalit women-led newspaper Khabar Lahariya, so it deserves a flag)

Documentary (Short Subject)

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


Animated Feature Film

The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon

the worst person in the world

International Feature Film

Drive My Car (Japan)
Flee (Denmark)
The Hand of God (Italy)
Yaana (Bhutan)
The Worst Person in the World (Norway)



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

tick tick boom

Film Editing

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


Music (Original Score)

Don’t Look Up
Parallel Mothers
The Power of the Dog

Music (Original Song)
“Be Alive,” King Richard, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Dixson
“Dos Oroguitos,” Encanto, Lin-Manuel Miranda
“Down to Joy,” Belfast, Van Morrison
“No Time To Die,” No Time To Die, Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell (borderline—based on Ian Fleming’s James Bond series, most closely inspired by On Her Majesty’s Secret Service)
“Somehow You Do,” Four Good Days, Diane Warren (borderline—based on a 2016 Washington Post article “How’s Amanda? A Story of Truth, Lies and an American Addiction” by Eli Saslow

Production Design

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

Costume Design

Cruella (borderline—based on the character of Cruella from The 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith)
Nightmare Alley
West Side Story

house of gucci

Makeup and Hairstyling

Coming 2 America
The Eyes of Tammy Faye
House of Gucci (based on The House of Gucci by Sara G. Forden)


Sound Editing

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


Visual Effects

Free Guy

No Time To Die
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (borderline—based on Marvel’s Shang-Chi character created by Steve Englehart and artist Jim Starlin)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (borderline—based on Marvel’s Spider-Man character, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko)

affairs of the art

Short Film (Live Action)

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

Short Film (Animated)

Affairs of the Art
Robin Robin
The Windshield Wiper

the lost daughter

Screenplay (Adapted)

Drive My Car
The Lost Daughter
The Power of the Dog

Screenplay (Original)

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

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