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Several independent films nominated in 94th Academy Awards

"Belfast," "Drive My Car," and "The Worst Person in the World" were among the nominated films

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced this year’s Oscar nominations, with several independent films making the cut in a variety of categories.

Belfast,” a British coming-of-age film directed by Kenneth Branagh, received seven nominations including Best Picture, though it wasn’t the only independent film nominated for the Academy’s most prestigious award. “CODA” (dir. Sian Heder), a coming-of-age film featuring a predominately deaf cast, was also nominated for Best Picture alongside Director Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car,” a Japanese drama based on Haruki Murakami’s short story of the same name.

In addition to its Best Picture nomination, “Drive My Car” received nominations for Best Director, Best International Feature Film, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Hamaguchi’s nomination marks the third time that a Japanese director has been named in the Best Director category.

This year’s independent films were especially successful in the Academy’s acting award categories. Nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role include Olivia Colman in The Lost Daughter” (Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut) and Penelope Cruz in Spanish drama film “Parallel Mothers.” Kristen Stewart also earned a nomination for her role as the late Princess Diana in director Pablo Larraín’s psychological drama “Spencer,” marking Stewart’s first-ever Oscar nomination. 

Troy Kotsur (left) stars alongside Marlee Matlin (right) in “CODA” (dir. Sian Heder, 2021), an Oscar-nominated film which starred a predominately deaf cast.

Troy Kotsur became the first deaf actor to be nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in “CODA.” Additionally, Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor for his role in Joel Coen’s “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” making him the most-nominated Black actor in Oscar history. 

Joel Coen’s first independently directed film “The Tragedy of Macbeth” was nominated for both Best Cinematography and Best Production Design. 

Flee,” an animated documentary directed by Danish filmmaker Jonas Poher Rasmussen, received nominations in the Best International Feature Film, Best Documentary Feature, and Best Animated Feature Film categories. 

“The Worst Person in the World,” a Norwegian dark romantic comedy by director Joachim Trier, received nominations in the Best Original Screenplay and Best International Feature Film categories. 

Winners will be announced at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 27 at 8 p.m. ET.

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Ella Peavler is an undergraduate student at Emerson College in Boston, where she is pursuing a B.S. in Journalism with a minor in poetry. Peavler currently serves as Feature Editor and Copy Editor for Independent Magazine, as well as Assistant Editor at Brick Street Poetry Inc.

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