The Oscars has announced this year’s nominations. While many prominent film creators are eagerly awaiting the results, which will be broadcasted live on March 12, there are many masterpieces that have been overlooked. My award predictions are based on personal opinion as well as research. However, the Academy Awards is known for awarding unpredicted nominees with the grand prize, so we shall see if that happens again this year.
I am consistently disappointed with The Academy Awards’s treatment of foreign films; Hollywood is a jealous lover and often directs its audience’s attention to domestic films instead. However, this year’s International Feature Film nominees give us a peek of robust foreign film industries. Netflix’s remake of the 1930 film, All Quiet on The Western Front, seems to be the frontrunner. With its impressive visual effects and compelling storytelling, the movie is currently expected to win. Putting up a good fight is the Polish EO, which has a strong environmental theme along with being another visually stunning picture. EO’s lack of character development and cohesiveness, however, turns me away from it.
Best Animated Feature:
This category leaves me torn; in any other year, all three top films would easily win. A24, the film company that proudly claims 18 Academy Award nominations, produced yet another delight in Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Adorable, cozy and beautifully narrated, Marcel is a must-watch. Its adversary, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish is equally compelling in storytelling. Puss in Boots combines incredible animation with inexhaustible humor and a twinge of the sinister and mature. Finally, there is Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. The creativity of del Toro’s retelling was a mind-blowing experience. Realistically, I think Pinocchio will win this category, but my heart goes out to Marcel.
Colin Farrell, the Irish star, has appeared in many critically acclaimed films recently. Farrell is more than capable of winning Best Actor eventually, but his part in The Banshees of Inisherin simply does not showcase enough of his potential. I believe Brendan Fraser has the higher chance. Fraser’s performance in The Whale is soul-touching and undoubtedly the best we have ever seen from him.
The category of Best Actress is interesting because its top contenders starred in films that are drastically different in genre and style. Tár showcased Cate Blanchett’s flexibility, but I found Blanchett’s performance over-the-top. I also thought Ana de Armas’s portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Netflix’s Blonde had a limited range. But Michelle Yeoh is having an extraordinary year. Yeoh’s performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once (EEAAO) warrants the praise it has been receiving. Yeoh nails her (literally) multidimensional role. She has unmatched chemistry with her co-star Jamie Lee-Curtis, and years of experience with stunts helped her execute her elaborate choreography perfectly. EEAAO was originally supposed to have Jackie Chan as the lead, but you simply can not imagine the film without Michelle Yeoh.
I am not even going to entertain the idea of Avatar: The Way of Water winning Best Picture, and I will eat my hat if Top Gun: Mavericks does. They are good movies, just not Oscar-caliber. To me, the two films that are worthy contenders for the ultimate award are The Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All at Once, and I am inclined towards the latter.
Banshees shocked me when I saw it in a theater. The movie is unexpectedly gruesome, but in a manner that facilitates great storytelling. The picture is morbid and heavy but wildly funny. Most of all, Banshees is unafraid of making the audience wait. However, I wish Banshees had been even more graphic. To me, gore was a necessary part of the film (especially for the payoff on the audience), but Banshees shied away from it.
Everything Everywhere All at Once is a handsomely written movie with strong philosophical motifs and even more playful action scenes. Although EEAAO is sci-fi, visual effects play a small role in the film. This is a breath of fresh air for audiences: all of us are too well-acquainted with VFX oversaturation. The movie is masterful at evoking sentiments of hilarity, helplessness and unity almost simultaneously. EEAAO is a creative nuclear bomb.
Jordan Peele’s work was blatantly missing from the nominations. Both Nope and the stop-motion movie Wendell & Wild were Oscar-worthy. 2022’s repertoire of films is impressive; unfortunately, this means that many usually Oscar-worthy films will not receive nominations. But this is also an auspicious sign for cinema: hopefully, we will continue to see a larger variety of high-quality movies produced and become accessible to mainstream audiences! For now, we wait until March 12. Let’s see how wrong I am.