Dune’s Denis Villeneuve Follows Oscar Snub By Talking About Pancakes

The Oscar nominations for 2022 are officially here, which means that it’s also Oscar snubs season. As is tradition, a number of 2021’s most notable films and creators were left off this year’s list, with Dune director Denis Villeneuve and Spider-Man: No Way Home among the omissions that raised eyebrows on social media.

Villeneuve was not among those nominated for the Best Director category, which featured Steven Spielberg (West Side Story) and Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza). His absence was striking in light of Dune picking up 10 nominations, including one for Best Picture. While not always the case, movies nominated for Best Picture generally get packaged with a Best Director nod.

Fans and industry observers were quick to note Villeneuve’s absence from the Best Director category.

“How is it even possible Denis Villeneuve was not nominated for Best Director for DUNE?” The Game Awards founder Geoff Keighley tweeted, echoing the sentiments of a number of critics on the platform.

Some compared the snub to Inception, which also garnered a Best Picture nomination in 2011 while Christopher Nolan was snubbed for Best Director. Both films stand out due to their strong creative direction and visual aesthetic, which have typically been credited to their directors.

“This is a technically brilliant, visually amazing movie with a top-notch cast and deep sci-fi concepts,” Scott Collura in IGN’s Dune review, observing that Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic had previously been considered virtually un-filmable due to its sprawling scope and unconventional pace.

Oscar Snubs 2022

Vanity Fair called Villeneuve’s snub “shocking,” but argued that it could also “galvanize” the film’s Best Picture hopes.

Voters and moviegoers already liked Argo, a lot. But it was in a tight race against Lincoln and Life of Pi. Blowback over Affleck’s snub was just a little extra wind in Argo’s sails, helping it pull ahead. And on Oscar night, Affleck did indeed collect the best picture trophy. What does this mean for Dune? Well, it’s hard to engineer a campaign around sympathy; seek that feeling and it immediately evaporates. But if a sense of “Denis was robbed” evolves naturally and authentically, it can be a powerful, invigorating force. If enough people—if enough voters—are scratching or shaking their heads over Villeneuve’s absence, it could lend a little momentum to Dune in a year where there isn’t already an established frontrunner.

Villeneuve himself didn’t specifically address the snub, but he did talk about pancakes while saying that the Dune team had an “amazing morning.”

“Here is a trick for all filmmakers on Oscar nominations morning. At the very last minute before announcements, make pancakes. It helps with the stress,” Villeneuve wrote in a statement thanking the Academy. “Second, make sure you put enough eggs in the preparation, our pancakes were a disaster.”

Dune already has plenty of momentum even without Villeneuve being nominated for Best Director. Apart from Best Picture, it was nominated for awards in the Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects categories. One way or another, Dune should clean up on awards night.

Spider-Man and Lady Gaga also snubbed

In the meantime, there were plenty of other snubs, with Lady Gaga for Lead Actress (House of Gucci) and Spider-Man: No Way Home for Best Picture both drawing attention. Spider-Man’s omission was notable but not surprising — out of all the superhero films released to date, only Black Panther and Joker have been nominated for Best Picture. Even a permanent expansion to include 10 nominees hasn’t been enough to get more comic book movies in the mix. Spider-Man did earn a nomination for Best Visual Effects.

Among the films that did make the cut, Power of the Dog led the way with 12 nominations. West Side Story and Belfast received seven nominations each.

The Oscars will take place on March 27. While you wait, check out our list of the best reviewed movies of 2021.

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