From !West Side Story@ to !Squid Game,~ an Analysis of the 2022 Critics Choice Awards Ballot

The members of the Broadcast Film Journalists Assn. (BFJA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Assn. (BTJA), who vote for the annual Critics Choice Awards in their respective media, always deliver at least a few surprises on the year’s ballots when compared to other voting populaces.

The 27th annual Critics Choice Awards are no exception. In television alone, HBO’s drama series succession nabbed the most nominations of all series (eight), which was expected, and the same premium cabler’s limited series “Mare of Easttown” followed closely behind (with five noms). But the usually (and unfortunately) underappreciated “Evil,” which moved from CBS to Paramount Plus this year, also tied for the second-most noms with five. Additionally, the BTJA shined a light on some other deserving but thus far overlooked series and individual talent with nominations for comedy series “The Other Two,” which moved from Comedy Central to HBO Max in its second season, as well as “Saved by the Bell” star Josie Totah, who scored a supporting comedy series actress nom.

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As for the film nominations, “Belfast” and “West Side Story” dominated, while the CCA delivered a few surprises, including Nicolas Cage’s nod for indie “Pig” and Rebecca Hall’s acclaimed “Passing” being completely passed over. The CCA also recognizes young performers and ensemble categories, and feature comedy, allowing voters to spotlight breakthrough performances. Doing double-duty in feature categories, “Flee” has a chance in both animated and foreign-language film categories while “Licorice Pizza” has a shot in best pic and comedy, as does “Don’t Look Up.”

Here, Variety breaks down how nominations shook out for some of the biggest categories at the 2022 Critics Choice Awards.

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Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” are the big winners at the CCAs, since they each landed the most nominations. “Belfast” hits awards season with a good omen — it took the Toronto Intl. Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award. That prize has been a good indicator of awards season success, and “Belfast’s” march toward a CCA win looks pretty strong so far. But “West Side Story,” despite its disappointing box office, has earned critical kudos while its Tony Kushner screenplay speaks to the 21st-century audience. The rest of the lineup is also formidable: “Dune,” “Licorice Pizza,” “Don’t Look Up” and “Nightmare Alley” while “Tick, Tick … Boom!” may be a little surprise here. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut is a showcase for Andrew Garfield’s powerhouse perf. Other crowd-pleasers that could gain traction are “CODA” and “King Richard,” while Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” has already established a high profile in its awards campaign, earning wins out of the gate at its Venice festival bow and nominations from myriad critics’ groups.

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