Actor Will Smith poses as he arrives at the UK premiere of 'King Richard' in London, Britain, November 17, 2021 [Reuters, Hannah Mckay]

Will Smith finally has another stab at an Oscar, and Beyonce has been nominated for her first. The 94th Academy awards were announced yesterday and the award ceremony is set to happen on March 27 at Los Angeles’ Dolby Theatre. This year’s Oscar nomination honors the movie industry’s finest from the past 12 months.

Will Smith has boosted his hopes of winning his first Oscar after his role of playing Venus and Serena Williams’ father in ‘King Richard’ earned him the much-needed nomination nod. This comes a few weeks after he won the Golden Globe Best Actor.

The nominations saw Beyonce earned her first Oscar nomination, with ‘Be Alive’ from King Richard up for Best Original Song at this year’s Oscars. The soundtrack marked Bey’s first new original music since her 2020 visual album ‘Black Is King’.

Beyonce set a new record at the Grammy’s last year for most awards held by a woman, but this will be her first Oscar.?

Sitting pensively on the same category as Smith is another black hopeful, Denzel Washington for his lauded role in ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’. The two black film heavyweights will fight it out for the top prize.

‘The Tragedy of Macbeth,’ is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s centuries-old play of the same name. Denzel has so far bagged two Oscars in 1990 for Best Actor in A Supporting Role in his role in ‘Glory’ and in 2002 for Best Actor in A Leading Role in the film ‘Training Day’.

The other nominees in the category are Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos), Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog) and Andrew Garfield (tick, tick...BOOM!).

Ironically, when Will Smith was last nominated for an Oscar in a leading role in 2002, he was pitted against, among others, Denzel Washington, who went on to win the award. Smith was playing boxer Muhammad Ali in the film ‘Ali’.

The Netflix film ‘The Power of the Dog’ following its eight nods at BAFTA nominations and its three wins at January’s Golden Globes, led the nominations with 12 nods, including Best Picture, Leading Actor for Benedict Cumberbatch, Supporting Actress for Kirsten Dunst and Director and Adapted Screenplay for Jane Campion.

Seven nominations

The sci-fi epic ‘Dune’ followed closely behind with 10 nods. ‘West Side Story’, and ‘Belfast’, each received seven nominations. All four of those films are up for best picture, joining a race that includes ‘CODA’, ‘Don’t Look Up’, ‘Drive My Car’, ‘King Richard’, ‘Licorice Pizza’ and ‘Nightmare Alley’.

The 2022 Oscar nominations included several firsts. In the best supporting actor category Troy Kotsur (CODA) became the first deaf man and the second deaf actor nominated for an Academy Award. His co-star Marlee Matlin was the first deaf nominee and winner, in 1986 for ‘Children of a Lesser God’.

Despite the raging pandemic, The Oscars are slated to happen next month and this might be a different show from last year as the pandemic meant a socially distanced ceremony which saw rating plummet to an all-time low of  9.85 million viewers.

Dating back to 1929, the Oscars or The Academy Awards is the most prestigious award within the film industry. The awards are made up of 23 different categories  including Best Picture, Supporting Actor/Actress, makeup and hairstyles, director, editing, music, sound editing, and original screenplay. A couple of years ago, #OscarsSoWhite shaped the industry and rewrote the entire Oscars script. This year’s Oscars features a record for nominees of colour, including Will Smith and Denzel Washington for Best Actor, and Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Best Director.

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