Movies & Television

Denis Villeneuve Snubbed from Best Director Oscar Nomination for Dune

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It’s a night of glitz and glamour, but more importantly, it’s a night about celebrating great cinema.

Of course, we’re talking about the Oscars and the 94th edition of the prestigious ceremony is all set to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, March 27th 2022.

The nominations were recently announced and there have already been some incredibly stimulating discussions surrounding certain categories.

Some films certainly appear across way more categories than others; amongst them, we have Dune, an awe-inspiring, ambitious adaptation of Frank Herbert’s revered 1965 novel of the same name.

Despite its success in terms of the number of nominations, the man at the helm is surprisingly absent from one category…

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still from Dune trailer, Warner Bros. Pictures

Denis Villeneuve misses out on Best Director nomination

The director of Dune wasn’t one of the five filmmakers nominated for the coveted award this year.

Amongst the nominations, we have Kenneth Branagh (Belfast), Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car), Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza), Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog), and Steven Spielberg (West Side Story).

These are all widely known filmmakers, bar Ryusuke Hamaguchi, whose aforementioned film Drive My Car – also nominated for Best Picture – has earned him the attention of western audiences at long last.

Dune has been nominated in seven other categories, on the other hand. Despite this triumph, it’s arguably very puzzling to see the 54-year-old French Canadian filmmaker who brought this sweeping vision to screens not recognised in the director race.

Making the impossible possible

Denis has explained that his passion for the source material stems back to his teenage years and over the decades the novel has been considered by many fans as an unfilmable text; not literally, of course, but in the sense that it may not translate from page to screen in a way that would do it justice.

During a chat with Wired, Denis explained that “we are bound to try to do the impossible. That’s the beauty of art. I try to push myself to the limits. I knew that I was ready to tackle this, but yes, it’s a big challenge.”

The second instalment of Denis’ Dune has already been greenlit, with critics and general audiences alike championing the scope and finer details of his uncompromised vision.

However, few were surprised with just how well the final product panned out, and that’s because of Denis. He has fast become one of the most celebrated and beloved filmmakers in the realm of sci-fi for the likes of Arrival and Blade Runner 2049.

He was previously nominated in the Best Director category at the Oscars for Arrival but was beaten to it by Damien Chazzelle for La La Land.

While grand sci-fi spectacle tends to be overlooked at the Oscars, the meticulously directed Dune is a testament to Denis’ skill as a master of his craft. As he acknowledged during the Wired interview, Dune was about making the impossible possible.

There are many elements that account for the film’s success and this is reflected in the variety of nominations that it has received. However, you’re sure to see some confusion when it comes to Denis’ directorial gusto and achievement being pushed out of the race.

Dune’s seven Oscar nominations

Despite the director omission being sure to dishearten Denis’ fanbase, it’s exciting to see his blockbuster up for the following awards:

  • Best Picture
  • Best Adapted Screenplay
  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Production Design
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Film Editing
  • Best Sound

The 94th Academy Awards take place on Sunday, March 27th 2022.

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Chris Weston
@https://twitter.com/chrisweston74

Chris has a First Class Film and Journalism (Joint Honours) degree from De Montfort University and previously studied film at A-level, making him HITC’s resident movie guy. Chris's passion for all things cinema has been with him from a very young age and he has written for a number of publications, from Taste of Cinema to local sites. He has been with HITC for a five years, exploring the world of film and television while looking out for the latest titles to excite and inspire audiences.

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