Sunday, February 13, 2022

Sunday Best: Oscar Nominations 2022

  So the nominees were announced this past week for the 94th Academy Awards.

These awards remain the most prestigious in film.  And while many of you, dear readers, are of the opinion that all awards shows are terrible and should simply be shunned, it is my perpetual hope that Hollywood will reform itself and once again nominate movies that matter.

While there were a few happy nominations, I don't think this will be the year for that.  Once again, the elite in the industry will gather together, kick out the homeless from the streets, and congratulate themselves.

Last year, I did not compare the box office to the list of Best Picture nominees because of all the COVID lockdowns.  However, with things opening up and some movies shattering box office records, I thought we would do it again.

The movies nominated for Best Picture are:



Don’t Look Up

Drive My Car


King Richard

Licorice Pizza

Nightmare Alley

The Power of the Dog

The highest grossing film on here was Dune, but with its simultaneous premiere on HBO Max, it didn't crack $100 million domestic.

The top 10 highest grossers for 2021 are:

Spider-Man: No Way Home
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
Black Widow
F9: The Fast Saga
No Time To Die
A Quiet Place Part II
Ghostbusters: Afterlife
Free Guy

So as you can see, there are very few films for viewers at home to root for.

 My own top ten of the year include:

1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
2. Dune
3. The Tragedy of Macbeth
4. Zack Snyder's Justice League
6. Those Who Wish Me Dead
7. Dear Evan Hansen
8. Nobody
9. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
10. A Quiet Place Part II

Admittedly, there is a box office issue when things are released on streaming either simultaneously or exclusively.  I know Zack Snyder's Justice League was a big hit on HBO Max, but it was not something that was in theaters.

Even though superhero films are a tremendous source of the cinematic experience, the Academy refuses to recognize their worth.  Spider-Man: No Way Home was definitely snubbed in all of the major categories.  I am convinced it is because it is a super hero film.

So below are my thoughts on some (not all) of this year's nominees.  

Don’t Look Up 
King Richard 
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley 
The Power of the Dog 
West Side Story 

I was incredibly excited to see CODA and Dune receive nominations.  The Oscars are a time when smaller films receive recognition that could help them touch the hearts of wider audiences.  Dune was my frontrunner for my own list of Best Movies until Spider-Man.  I think King Richard is a worthy film to put on the list.  I'm going to try and see Belfast and West Side Story before the Oscars, but I don't have a desire to see the others.  

Paul Thomas Anderson (Licorice Pizza)
Kenneth Branagh (Belfast)
Jane Campion (The Power of the Dog)
Ryûsuke Hamaguchi (Drive My Car)

Steven Spielberg (West Side Story)

I haven't seen any of these.


Jessica Chastain (The Eyes of Tammy Faye)
Olivia Colman (The Lost Daughter)
Penélope Cruz (Parallel Mothers)
Nicole Kidman (Being the Ricardos)
Kristen Stewart (Spencer)

I haven't seen any of these.

Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos)
Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog)
Andrew Garfield (Tick, Tick … Boom!)
Will Smith (King Richard)
Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth)

Garfield, Smith, and Washington all put in excellent performances.  I didn't see the other two.  There is a lot of buzz on Garfield, who is still riding a lot of good will from recent movies.  Of these nominees, I would probably give it to Smith.  Washington was incredible, but Smith reached certain emotional levels that earned him the award.

Jessie Buckley (The Lost Daughter)
Ariana DeBose (West Side Story)
Judi Dench (Belfast)
Kirsten Dunst (The Power of the Dog)
Aunjanue Ellis (King Richard)

I've only seen King Richard, so I will have to go with her.

Ciarán Hinds (Belfast)
Troy Kotsur (CODA)
Jesse Plemons (The Power of the Dog)
J.K. Simmons (Being the Ricardos)
Kodi Smit-McPhee (The Power of the Dog)

I've only seen CODA, but Kotsur was excellent in the role.

Cruella (Jenny Beavan)
Cyrano (Massimo Cantini Parrini and Jacqueline Durran)
Dune (Jacqueline West and Robert Morgan)
Nightmare Alley (Luis Sequeira)
West Side Story (Paul Tazewell)

This category is notorious for snubbing original sci-fi and fantasy costuming.  Dune should clearly win, but I think they will go with something like Nightmare Alley

Belfast (Denise Yarde, Simon Chase, James Mather and Niv Adiri)
Dune (Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill and Ron Bartlett)
No Time to Die (Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, James Harrison, Paul Massey and Mark Taylor)
The Power of the Dog (Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie and Tara Webb)
West Side Story (Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstrom, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson and Shawn Murphy)

Easily, this should be Dune.

Don’t Look Up (Nicholas Britell)
Dune (Hans Zimmer)
Encanto (Germaine Franco)
Parallel Mothers (Alberto Iglesias)
The Power of the Dog (Jonny Greenwood)

I've only seen Dune and Encanto from this list.  I feel strongly about Dune's score, but Encanto is a crowd favorite.

CODA (screenplay by Siân Heder)
Drive My Car (screenplay by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Takamasa
Dune (screenplay by Jon Spaihts and Denis Villeneuve
and Eric Roth)
The Lost Daughter (written by Maggie Gyllenhaal)
The Power of the Dog (written by Jane Campion)

Heder won my award for Best Screenplay, so I was very excited to her nominated for CODA, and I hope she wins, though Dune was excellent as well.

Belfast (written by Kenneth Branagh)
Don’t Look Up (screenplay by Adam McKay; story by Adam McKay & David Sirota)
King Richard (written by Zach Baylin)
Licorice Pizza (written by Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Worst Person in the World (written by Eskil Vogt, Joachim Trier)

Again, with this list I've only seen King Richard, so I will go with this.

Affairs of the Art (Joanna Quinn and Les Mills)
Bestia (Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz)
Boxballet (Anton Dyakov)
Robin Robin (Dan Ojari and Mikey Please)
The Windshield Wiper (Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez)

I haven't seen any of these.

Ala Kachuu — Take and Run (Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger)
The Dress (Tadeusz Lysiak and Maciej Ślesicki)
The Long Goodbye (Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed)
On My Mind (Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson)
Please Hold (K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse)

I haven't seen any of these.

Don’t Look Up (Hank Corwin)
Dune (Joe Walker)
King Richard (Pamela Martin)
The Power of the Dog (Peter Sciberras)
Tick, Tick … Boom! (Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum)

I want to say Dune on this one, but Tick, Tick ...Boom! did a very good job with how it edited the scenes together in a non-linear fashion.  If I'm being objective I would have to give it to them.

Coming 2 America (Mike Marino, Stacey Morris and Carla Farmer)
Cruella (Nadia Stacey, Naomi Donne and Julia Vernon)
Dune (Donald Mowat, Love Larson and Eva von Bahr)
The Eyes of Tammy Faye (Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram and Justin Raleigh)
House of Gucci (Göran Lundström, Anna Carin Lock and Frederic Aspiras)

It should be Dune without question.  But I think they will go with The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Encanto (Jared Bush, Byron Howard, Yvett Merino and Clark Spencer)
Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sørensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie)
Luca (Enrico Casarosa and Andrea Warren)
The Mitchells vs. the Machines (Mike Rianda, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Kurt Albrecht)
Raya and the Last Dragon (Don Hall, Carlos López Estrada, Osnat Shurer
and Peter Del Vecho)

I was actually very surprised by how well crafted Encanto was, so I will be rooting for this one.

Ascension (Jessica Kingdon, Kira Simon-Kennedy and Nathan Truesdell)
Attica (Stanley Nelson and Traci A. Curry)
Flee (Jonas Poher Rasmussen, Monica Hellström, Signe Byrge Sorensen and Charlotte De La Gournerie)
Summer of Soul (Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Joseph Patel, Robert Fyvolent and David Dinerstein)
Writing With Fire (Rintu Thomas and Sushmit Ghosh)

I haven't seen any of these.

Audible (Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean)
Lead Me Home (Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk)
The Queen of Basketball (Ben Proudfoot)
Three Songs for Benazir (Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei)
When We Were Bullies (Jay Rosenblatt)

I haven't seen any of these.

“Be Alive” — music and lyrics by DIXSON and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter (King Richard)
“Dos Oruguitas” — music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Encanto)
“Down to Joy” — music and lyrics by Van Morrison (Belfast)
“No Time to Die” — music and lyrics by Billie Eilish and Finneas
O’Connell (No Time to Die)
“Somehow You Do” — music and lyrics by Diane Warren (Four Good Days)

I would probably go with the song from Encanto

Dune (Greig Fraser)
Nightmare Alley (Dan Laustsen)
The Power of the Dog (Ari Wegner)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (Bruno Delbonnel)
West Side Story (Janusz Kaminski)

This is a tough one between Dune and Macbeth, but ultimately I think the wonder caused by Dune gives it an edge.

Drive My Car (Japan)
Flee (Denmark)
The Hand of God (Italy)
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom (Bhutan)
The Worst Person in the World (Norway)

Did not see any.

Dune (production design: Patrice Vermette; set decoration: Zsuzsanna Sipos)
Nightmare Alley (production design: Tamara Deverell; set decoration: Shane Vieau)
The Power of the Dog (production design: Grant Major; set decoration: Amber Richards)
The Tragedy of Macbeth (production design: Stefan Dechant; set decoration: Nancy Haigh)
West Side Story (production design: Adam Stockhausen; set decoration: Rena DeAngelo)

Once again Dune and Macbeth are in a tight race with me.  And once again, I think Dune wins out.

Dune (Paul Lambert, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor and
Gerd Nefzer)
Free Guy (Swen Gillberg, Bryan Grill, Nikos Kalaitzidis and
Dan Sudick)
No Time to Die (Charlie Noble, Joel Green, Jonathan Fawkner and Chris Corbould)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Christopher Townsend, Joe Farrell, Sean Noel Walker and Dan Oliver)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (Kelly Port, Chris Waegner, Scott Edelstein and Dan Sudick)

This might be the toughest category of all, between Dune, Shang-Chi, Spider-Man, and Free Guy.  But in the end it isn't just the quality of the special effects, but how they are used.  So I'm going with Dune.

Soon I will be posting my annual OSCAR GAME for anyone who wants to participate.


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