Movie theaters are once again having a very bad day at the 2022 academy awards, with Netflix Original The Power of the Dog a clear frontrunner for critical acclaim at 12 separate Oscar nominations. And Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi epic Dune, which dropped in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously as part of the Warner Bros. same day releases program, continued the trend, coming in second for overall acclaim with 10 nominations.
Dune, a blockbuster space opera I unapologetically adore, exceeded all expectations with a wide range of nominations, including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design (stillsuits!), Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Production Design, and Best Visual Effects, although notably not for Best Director, a slight to Villeneuve.
This latest round of acclaim for streaming and hybrid-streaming films comes after a truly terrible couple of years for brick and mortar theaters. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still keeping theater seats empty, viewers have largely turned to streaming for quality films, fueling the streaming wars’ already ferocious arms race for original content.
Yet of all the nominees, it’s Dune, a movie Villeneuve insisted needed a theatrical release, that I hope wins the day. Despite lacking an ending, the movie overcame great odds to adapt a novel that had been thought unfilmable, and genuinely entertained viewers in the process. It had plans within plans within plans, and I hope that when it comes to the streaming wars, House Atreides’ terrible luck might finally turn.