The 94th Academy Awards Nominations were announced Tuesday morning (Feb. 8) with a handful of notable recognitions. Actors Leslie Jordan and Tracee Ellis Ross, along with several special guests, revealed the 2022 Oscars nominees in all 23 categories live from Los Angeles, Times Square in New York City, Howard University in Washington, D.C., Beaumont Hospital in Detroit, and Thaddeus M. Bullard Academy in Tampa, Fla. This year, the Academy saw its highest-ever voter participation in the organization’s history, with members submitting ballots from 82 countries.
The annual affair is scheduled for Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.
From King Richard earning top nominations to Will Smith, Denzel Washington, and Beyoncé in place to reach career milestones with wins in their respective categories, below are some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s class of nominees.
Will Smith And Denzel Washington Compete Again
During the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony, the late Sidney Potier was given an honorary award for his achievements in both his life and career, as he was the first Black man to be nominated for any acting Oscar as well as the first Black man to take home a competitive Oscar for his role in Lilies of the Field (1963). The same night, Denzel Washington became the second Black man to win the Best Actor category for the film Training Day. Among the actors nominated against Washington that year was Will Smith for his portrayal of Muhammad Ali in the biopic Ali. Now 20 years later, the two veteran actors again face off in the same category—Washington for his role in The Tragedy Of Macbeth and Smith for King Richard.
So, will the third try finally be the Oscar win charm for Smith? Whereas, if Washington takes the trophy, he will be the first Black actor to win the category twice. Washington and Smith compete with Javier Bardem for Being the Ricardos, Benedict Cumberbatch for The Power of the Dog, and Andrew Garfield for Tick, Tick… Boom! In total, only four Black actors have won ever the category with Jamie Foxx for Ray (2004) and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland (2006) rounding out the quadfecta.
Beyoncé Nominated For Her First Oscar
Beyoncé has earned the first Oscar nomination of her career for Best Original Song for the track “Be Alive” featured on the soundtrack for King Richard. “Be Alive” plays during King Richard‘s end credits, which feature archival footage of the real Williams family. The song was also nominated for the 2022 Golden Globe Awards for Best Original Song, losing to Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” for the James Bond movie of the same name.
“When the film came out, there was no other person that could do the song except for Beyoncé. Because I feel like we’ve had a similar path in our lives. We trained since an early age to reach a goal. Her dad was super involved in her career as well as her mom, my dad, my mom, sisters were involved,” said Serena Williams during an interview last November on Jimmy Kimmel Live. She continued, “And for us, it was really only one answer and she embraced that. There was just no doubt in her mind that belonged to her as well and so the original song is amazing and I love it. It’s just, it all came together really so perfectly.”
Also nominated in the category is Sebastián Yatra for “Dos Oruguitas” from Encanto, Van Morrison for “Down to Joy” from Belfast, and Reba McEntire for “Somehow You Do” from Four Good Days.
King Richard Brings Firsts For Actors
King Richard, the film that tells the story of how tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams’ father Richard Williams raised them to greatness, received the fifth most nominations for one film with a total of six recognitions. Producers Tim White, Trevor White, and Will Smith are all nominated for Best Picture, the first time for all three. Smith is also nominated for Best Actor for his leading role in the film. Aunjanue Ellis, who played Oracene “Brandy” Williams, is up for the first Oscar of her career for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. Zach Baylin, who wrote the screenplay for King Richard, is also nominated for the first time in his career for Original Screenplay. Beyoncé’s aforementioned nomination makes five and a nomination for Best Film Editing completes the half-dozen.
“I woke up to this. Our film is really nominated for an OSCAR!!!!!!!” wrote Serena Williams on Instagram shortly after nominations were revealed. “This is CRAZY!!!!!!! From Compton to Wimbledon to Academy awards. Everyone can dream. And your dream can come true. Ok I am definitely crying this morning. Congrats to the entire film and crew.”
Coming 2 America Looked The Part
While the star-studded comedic reboot of the 1998 classic film Coming to America is not up for any acting categories, Coming 2 America is nominated for Best Makeup And Hair Styling. Mike Marino, Stacey Morris, and Carla Farmer are named in the category for their work in bringing both old and new characters to life. The sequel was written by Kenya Barris, Barry W. Blaustein, David Sheffield, and Justin Kanew, directed by Craig Brewer, and starred Eddie Murphy, Arsenio Hall, James Earl Jones, Shari Headley, John Amos, Louie Anderson, Wesley Snipes, Leslie Jones, Tracy Morgan, Jermaine Fowler, Bella Murphy, Rotimi, KiKi Layne, Nomzamo Mbatha, and Teyana Taylor.
Summer Of Soul Earns A Nomination For Questlove
Questlove’s directorial debut Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) was nominated for Best Original Documentary.
“It is a huge honor to receive this nomination,” shared Questlove in an emailed press statement to VIBE. “The Harlem Cultural Festival was both a testament to Black genius and Black joy at a formative time in our country’s history and a cautionary tale about the way that history, especially Black history, can be erased. Being entrusted with the responsibility of keeping that past visible has been one of the great honors of my life. I am beyond gratified to be nominated alongside these four other incredible filmmakers. Congratulations to the entire filmmaking team and everyone at Searchlight, Onyx, and Hulu.”
“The significance of this film can’t be overstated—for all of us who lived through 2020, being isolated in quarantine, experiencing social unrest, questioning what’s happening in our country, to see a film that highlights the joy, pride, artistry, and resilience of Black people and how Black people come together to heal themselves and our culture at large, was literally a manual for how to survive the pandemic. For us at Onyx Collective, Summer of Soul was affirmation that our brand is also right on time to bring culturally specific stories to a global audience,” added Tara Duncan, President Freeform and Onyx Collective.
Will Packer Producing The Award Show
Emmy-nominated producer Will Packer will produce the 94th Academy Awards. It will be his first involvement with the Oscars according to a press release.
“There is no one better than Will Packer to celebrate our collective love for cinema,” expressed Craig Erwich, president, Hulu Originals and ABC Entertainment. “Will is a world-class hitmaker and the ideal producer to capture the prestige of ‘The Oscars’ and deliver a powerful and moving event.”
Shayla Cowan, chief of staff of Will Packer Productions and Will Packer Media, will serve as co-producer alongside Packer.
View the full list of the 2022 Oscar nominations below.