Josh Brolin is not happy about one of the Oscars Dune failed to get nominated for. And when Josh Brolin isn’t happy, fingers snap and weird stuff happens. While doing promotion for his upcoming Amazon series Outer Range, the Thanos actor let loose about Denis Villeneuve being overlooked for his work directing the classic Frank Herbert science fiction novel to the screen.
Josh Brolin was talking to Collider when the subject of Villeneuve failing to get a Best Director nomination came up. The actor didn’t mince any words. Brolin said, “It’s the most asinine, bizarre… I mean, that’s why snubs are such a thing and that’s why we all talk about them, but that’s a snub, of a snub, of a snub that I just thought was an impossibility.” The star went on about how the entire ceremony was strange, seemingly making a reference to the infamous Will Smith/Chris Rock slap. Brolin mused, “But given everything about the Academy Awards, there are many impossibilities that actually materialized. So it’s all part of the game right now. I don’t know. Is it post-pandemic mentality? Whatever it is, I don’t understand it. [Villeneuve] helmed the whole thing. It’s his creation. It’s his interpretation.”
Villeneuve and the rest of the cast and crew apparently got news of the nominations while on set for the upcoming sequel Dune: Part Two. According to Josh Brolin, if the director was upset about the snub, he didn’t show it. Speaking of the director’s professionalism, Brolin said that when Villeneuve got the news, “all he did was go right into praise for the ten people who were nominated.” Since there were only five Best Director nominations — with The Power of the Dog‘s Jane Campion taking the prize — Brolin probably just got confused momentarily between the Best Director and Best Picture nominations, the latter of which Dune did receive a nomination for. Still, it doesn’t take away from his larger point.
As for the question that troubles Josh Brolin, about why Villeneuve was snubbed, who knows? One possibility is that it has something to do with Dune being a science fiction film. The stigma around genre cinema isn’t nearly what it used to be, but that doesn’t always translate into Academy recognition of the directors. That certainly seems to be the case perusing those who were nominated in 2022. In a year chock full of acclaimed superhero, science fiction, horror, and fantasy films, the Best Director nominees made two coming-of-age dramas, a musical, a road movie, and a Western. Out of all five the only genre film is The Power of the Dog, but Westerns shook off any genre stigma decades ago. It took longer for science fiction, fantasy, and other more fantastical genres to receive less critical prejudice.
The good news is that Villeneuve will get another chance with Dune: Part Two, and Josh Brolin confirmed to Collider that he’ll be there as well. In fact, he told Collider that when he found out there was some question about his appearance, he did something he apparently hadn’t done before. He told the site, “I am a part of Dune: Part Two, to the ridiculous extent of when somebody mentioned to me that it wasn’t on IMDb, I actually went out of my way to call Liz (his publicist) and say, ‘Can you please put that on IMDb?’ Because it’s a proud moment for me, man.” We can confirm that Brolin’s publicist got the job done.
Josh Brolin plays Gurney Halleck in Dune. Gurney is the Warmaster of House Atreides and the last we see of him, he’s defiantly charging the villainous Harkonnen with loyal Atreides soldiers at his back. Those who have seen the 1984 version of Dune will remember that Gurney was played by Patrick Stewart in the earlier film, who likewise disappears after charging the Harkonnen (though in his case, he’s holding a pug in one arm for some reason). After Paul (played by Kyle MacLachlan in 1984) begins his Fremen-backed military campaign against the Harkonnen, he encounters a disheveled but still relentless Gurney likewise battling the Atreides’ ancient enemies. We’ll see if Villeneuve has things unfold similarly when Dune: Part Two hits theaters October 20, 2023.