Thomas Jane did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Wilfred James in 1922.
1922 is very much in the vein of classical Gothic horror, southern Gothic in this case, as Stephen King does a sort of a variation on Edgar Allen Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart", though here with the lead of Thomas Jane's Wilfred James as a simple farmer type. Jane being no stranger to a King adaptation however this time in a very different role as the central lead. Jane's whole performance is fashioned as a different kind of perspective in this lead character who he takes on his peculiar journey. Jane plays the part more akin, though with more depth mind you, to a character who would more likely be a side character used as part of the atmosphere of a typical horror story. This includes Jane playing the part with a thick southern drawl, and his whole physical manner being of a man of the earth type. Jane emphasizes a certain simplicity in this in the way he speaks so bluntly even with his technically colorful accent performance wise, however Jane fashions it to be a naturalistic aspect of this man of this time and place. His whole performance embodies this man who is made to be part of the earth in a way in his comfort in the rural land, in his simple gait, stoic manner and that pronounced droop in his lip that fills perpetual frown of contentment worthy of a man who lives his rougher life through the land and very happy to do so.
The initial conflict from the film then comes from his wife's desire to move from the farm, due to the value of the land they own, and move into the city. This is with or without Wilfred but she intends to take their son either way. Jane through his realization of this specified nature of the man does find an internal disturbing logic within the man as he decides to murder his wife in order prevent from his son from moving away. Jane doesn't portray this idea as a man with any sort of sadistic glee but rather portrays it as an anger attached specifically towards this decision. When we see Wilfred finding this decision Jane attaches this certain pride for the land, a very problematic pride, which should seem outlandish however Jane's way of finding it within his exact characterization actually does make sense of it within the man's bent logic. He projects that pride of wishing to hold onto his own land no matter what he says. The planning of the murder he says the same way his Wilfred would go about refusing to sell his land to anyone and speaks of the murder as he would planning the planting of a new crop. Jane is notable in the way he makes this initial monstrous action such a natural aspect within his work. He makes this seem like the actions of the man with a very specific worldview rather than of some overt psychopath although Wilfred does qualify as that as well in his own way.
The man successfully murders his wife along with the help of his son before dumping her body into his well. In the initial scenes of the cover up again Jane effectively portrays this as a man just going about his life as the way he sees fit, a rather problematic way to most, however Jane again normalizes it within that very exact portrayal of his. There is a momentary respite as Jane depicts this relief in the man ready just to live his days by tending to his house and home as he always intended without interference. The tell tale heart aspect of this story rear its head within the rats that feast on the man's wife's rotting corpse, and which continue to haunt him throughout the film. Jane in his reactions to specifically the rats embodies well this seed of a guilt from the first instance which he portrays well as just a momentary fear that he tries to quickly cover up as soon as possible. The rest of Jane's performance is dealing with the idea of his specific guilt towards the death of his wife. Early on in this process he shows these as those lapses into fear that usually result from being occasionally reminded of this gruesome end, but much of the time Jane portrays that same sort simple stoicism that initially defined the man as again just the man who thinks himself as the this guardian of his house and home. When he even describes his decision to his son Jane delivers his line with a modest certainty of this farmer who just believed that he knew best.
Obviously given this is Gothic horror things must not go unpunished for our main character as in addition to the frequent appearances of rats other troubles soon arise when his son runs off with the neighbor's daughter, after getting her pregnant. This leads to the gradual downfall of Wilfred as his guilt seems to take a supernatural turn as he begins to see visions, whether real or fake, of more rats and of his dead wife bringing him news that their son has become a bank robber before dying along with the neighbors daughter as his accomplice. Jane reveals this growth in guilt also within his performance where he portrays that loss of that stoic conviction or even pride that defined his initial decision. Jane devolves properly to a more introspective portrayal of the man coming to understand his mistakes revealing a more overt humanity in the fear now revealing itself to be within a more genuine remorse. Wilfred never openly admits his guilt to anyone other than himself however does so well to portray this growing rot within the core of the man through essentially revealing a more open manner in his depiction of the man's emotions. He shows Wilfred no longer able to find solace in his ways as a "man of the earth" and instead finds this man wallowing in his misdeeds. There are no further revelation to destroy the man just more visions of his misdeeds, and essentially they get louder just as the heart got louder in Poe's story. Jane in the end shows the man not breaking as this extreme anguish but rather a more subdued yet powerful evocation of the emotions as the man quietly bears witness to his crimes now with the understanding that he destroyed all that he wanted to preserve through them. This is a strong performance by Jane as he manages to realize the unique manner of the man in a convincing fashion while avoiding making Wilfred a caricature or a one note monster. He grants insight into the strange man and his horrible decisions, even if that makes all the more disturbing in a way.