Behold the 2022 Awards Season Awards!

Jane Campion
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty
Matthew Belloni
March 20, 2022

By the end, the months-long run-up to the Oscars can seem like a death march for the weary nominees, not to mention the “teams” around them, the marketers behind the elaborate campaigns, and the awards media that covers it all like it’s Biden vs. Trump. This year, with the late-March show and onerous Covid protocols, it’s even worse. When I was at The Hollywood Reporter, a few of us vented with an annual feature called Awards Season Awards, which chronicled the absurdities of the billion-dollar Oscars Industrial Complex. 

Alas, that franchise died when I left a couple years ago, so I’m reviving it here as Oscar Week officially kicks off in L.A. So enjoy these 22 categories, all of which are presented here live and in full—unlike the winners on the actual show.

Most Emotional Plea for an Oscar Ticket

Rachel Zegler
The West Side Story star posted today on her Instagram that she’s hoping for “some last minute miracle” after being left off the invite list. A Disney insider notes she’s shooting the Snow White sequel in London and is No. 1 on the call sheet, and co-star Ansel Elgort isn’t attending either because they aren’t nominated. But let’s see how long this lasts. Spielberg hates to be embarrassed, and he could certainly pay for any production delays out of his very large pocket.

Whiplash Award 

Jane Campion
Riding high after calling actor Sam Elliot “a little bit of a B-I-T-C-H” for his criticism of Power of the Dog, the filmmaker found herself apologizing days later to the Williams sisters for her “thoughtless” comment that they “do not play against the guys like I have to.” I’m not sure controversies like this change any voters’ minds, but the number of awards consultants and publicists who were charged with managing the situation is staggering. 

Best Tweet About a Tragic Love Story Featuring Multiple Murders from the Golden Globes Twitter Account During an Untelevised Ceremony  

“If laughter is the best medicine, @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you. Congrats on the #GoldenGlobe for Best Picture—Musical/Comedy”

Purest Vanity Campaign

Shawn Levy
The Free Guy filmmaker convinced Disney to run Best Director for-your-consideration ads for his work on the Ryan Reynolds action comedy. I’m sure he just missed the cut.  

Most Hysterically Over the Top Reaction to the Academy Bumping Eight Categories Off the Live Show

Tom Fleischman
The Oscar-winning sound engineer and re-recording mixer announced he’s quitting the Academy in protest of the move. 

Best Invocation of Historically Marginalized Groups to Defend the Academy Bumping Eight Categories Off the Live Show

Ava Duvernay
The Academy governor responded to the music branch’s complaint about being “excluded” from the televised show with this eyebrow-raiser: “…The word ‘excluded’ is a powerful one for many … I think it’s important to call things by their right name so as not to minimize the meaning of true exclusion in these spaces.”

Best Use of Martin Scorsese as a Campaign Tool

A Tie!
Nightmare Alley, for the well-timed Scorsese op-ed in the LA Times on Jan. 21, entitled “Martin Scorsese wants you to watch Nightmare Alley. Let him tell you why.”

And Power of the Dog, which enlisted Scorsese for an effusive intro speech at the New York Critics Circle ceremony that brought Campion to tears—right before Phase 2 voting began.

Superspreader Award

The London gathering apparently infected Belfast director Kenneth Branagh, actor Ciaran Hinds, and dozens of others now quarantining.

Honorable mention: Every other show.

Best Artsy Explanation for a Spotty Accent

Lady Gaga
The House of Gucci star, to British Vogue: “I started with a specific dialect from Vignola, then I started to work in the higher class way of speaking that would have been more appropriate in places like Milan and Florence. In the movie, you’ll hear that my accent is a little different depending on who I’m speaking to.” 

Most Relentless Campaigner

Phil Lord
Netflix’s Mitchells vs. the Machines producer has been plugging his animated feature non-stop on Twitter, and occasionally attacking Disney, which happens to have three movies nominated in his category.   

Runners Up: Lin-Manuel Miranda and Andrew Garfield for seemingly 24-7 event appearances and media hits.

The You’re Nominated For What?? Award

Diane Warren
The songwriter scored another nomination (her 13th; she’s never won) for a song from a movie nobody has heard of: Four Good Days, a Glenn CloseMila Kunis heroin drama. 

Best Timing

SAG Awards
Thanks to loosening Covid restrictions, this year’s event felt like an actual awards show, and attendees kinda, sorta had fun. 

Worst Timing

Critics Choice Awards
The event took the old Globes slot in January and was forced to postpone amid spiking Omicron cases. Then the only viable date was the same as the BAFTAs, which caused about half the film nominees to no-show.

Least Edible Food

Critics Choice Awards (double winner!)
Per USA Today (I did not attend): “Though viewers may imagine lavish meals at ritzy Hollywood award shows, the only food served at the Critics Choice Awards were three slices of bread, a plate of hummus and two macarons for each attendee.”

The Christine Lahti Potty Break Award

Michael Keaton
The Dopesick star was in the bathroom when his SAG Award win was announced.

Best Use of an Interpreter

Marlee Matlin
The CODA star employed her longtime sign language translator Jack Jason to take tons of pictures of her with other stars, including seemingly dozens of shots at the Oscar Nominees lunch.

Dumbest Forced Apology By a Contender in a Leading Role

Rachel Zegler (a double winner!)
The West Side Story star, after taking down a video in which she dramatically “monologued” some of Britney Spears’ recent messages about her father. “I should have thought about how this could be perceived, and I’m so sorry for upsetting or disappointing anyone.”

Best Use of an Owned-and-Operated Platform for Incongruous Campaign Ads

Three-Way Tie!
Amazon’s Being the Ricardos branding at Whole Foods.
Disney’s ABC airing a rerun of Jimmy Kimmel Live! with Lin-Manuel Miranda spoofing Encanto on the Friday of Phase 2 voting.
Apple’s CODA messaging on all of its platforms.

Humblebrag Honoree

Josh Gad
The actor felt the need to tweet that he was asked to host the Oscars but “passed because it didn’t feel right for me.” OK… 

Biggest Flex

She picked up her first Oscar nomination (for Be Alive, from King Richard), and is again co-hosting the hottest-ticket afterparty, without campaigning at all for her song. 

Related: Music stars who did campaign and got nothing: Kid Cudi, Lady Gaga, U2, Camilla Cabello and Bey’s husband, Jay-Z.

The Maybe Awards Season Is Too Long Award

Benedict Cumberbatch
The Power of the Dog star, during his tribute at the Santa Barbara Film Festival, launched into a spot-on impression of interviewer Pete Hammond.

And the winner of the 2022 Awards Season Is…

The PCR Test.
Congrats to everyone! Did I miss something? Email me your own Awards Season Awards and I’ll include a few good ones in Thursday’s email (you can sign up here.)