As country stars stepped into Las Vegas' Allegiant Stadium to celebrate the 2022 ACM Awards, most were feeling excitement because of their nominations, their performances, or simply just to be back in Vegas after a smaller, Nashville show over the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But for many, there was a more sobering issue on their minds, too: The escalating conflict between Ukraine and Russia was heavy on hearts, and show host Dolly Parton took a moment in her monologue to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine. When they won their Group of the Year award, Old Dominion also used part of their acceptance speech to hold space for the crisis.

Backstage in the press room, the group elaborated on those thoughts. They felt pulled between two emotions, explained singer Matthew Ramsey: Excitement at their win, but sadness for the world at large.

"I'm feeling very grateful that we are living in a country that allows us to fight for our dreams. These are things we take for granted: That we work so hard and can imagine something, and we can make it happen," Ramsey says.

"I'm feeling very grateful that we're here," he adds, "but also my heart just hurts for the people right now hiding in basements, trying to get out of their country, and their lives and the lives of their children are in danger all the time."

When confronted with that reality, the band's worries about whether or not they win an award at a country music awards show seemed unimportant.

"It's a strange feeling to be here dressing up in nice clothes in this beautiful building ... I feel grateful, but also silly at the same time," he says. "If that makes sense."

2022 ACM Awards Nominations: Snubs and Surprises

This is not the same 'ol list of ACM Awards nominees. One of the biggest categories seems to have completely turned over, while a major winner from 2021 was snubbed in a major way.

Chris Young leads all nominees — who saw that coming? — and Morgan Wallen is back. What some would say is the best album of 2021 was forgotten, and an artist everyone thought could represent the next generation of female stars was shut out.

Needless to say, the 2022 version of the ACM Awards Nominations: Snubs and Surprises list is very, very interesting.

More From 98.1 The Hawk