Tag Archives: Awards

What Will Win, What Should Win, and What Should’ve Been Nominated at the 2023 Oscars

Hollywood’s biggest night is mere days away. The dust has settled on all of the precursors and guild awards, so there’s nothing left but the crying. Here’s a comprehensive list of predicted winners, what would win in a perfect world, and what should have received a nomination in each category.

Best Live-Action Short Film

  • Will Win: The last time a non English-language film won this category was in 2017. The only English-language nominee this year is An Irish Goodbye, which perhaps shows the odds are not in the film’s favor. But the short shares a few sentiments and humor with The Banshees of Inisherin, which bodes well for its chances. Emotionally complex and lovingly told, An Irish Goodbye would be a worthy winner.
  • Should Win: The Red Suitcase did the best not only at crafting an effective story within its limited runtime, but in establishing its director’s voice. It’s not only my favorite of the category, but one of the best of the short films overall.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: I missed out on seeing the shortlisted nominees, so I unfortunately can’t comment with any informed opinion on what should or should not have made the cut.

Best Documentary Short Film

  • Will Win: I’m reminded of previous Short Film winners like Two Distant Strangers or Skin, which bodes well for Stranger at the Gate. Though the film wasn’t my personal favorite, it concerns topical issues and has a strong narrative, which the Academy tends to favor.
  • Should Win: Yes, there are two Netflix nominees here, but the better of the two of them is The Elephant Whisperers. The documentary offers an eye-opening look at those that take care of elephants in rural India, and the unique relationships that emerge from them. Plus there’s adorable baby elephants.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: As Far as They Can Run was easily the best documentary short I saw all year. Equal parts heartbreaking and hopeful – sometimes both at the same time – the film depicted the Special Olympics program in Pakistan and the conditions that those with special needs must live with. It’s a life-affirming film that goes to show that anyone, regardless of their cognitive abilities, can thrive if given the right opportunities.

Best Animated Short Film

  • Will Win: The backing of Apple, the familiarity of a beloved children’s book, and voice talents the likes of which aren’t seen in this year’s nominees are a lethal combination here. It would be a surprise if The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse does not win. The film features an impressive animation style and its content will likely appeal to the soft-hearted Academy voters.
  • Should Win: Ice Merchants has a simple, stylistic approach to its animation and tells an emotionally rich story within its limited runtime. Animated shorts with no dialogue feel almost perfunctory at this point, but Ice Merchants uses its silence to great effect, letting its visuals tell the story, and using its quiet moments with greater purpose.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: One of the bigger absences on nomination morning was in Colman Domingo’s short New Moon. Not only does Domingo bring some credible star power to the category but it’s a solid story of Black youth and motherly love, which Domingo narrates with aplomb.

Best Original Song

  • Will Win: Let me lay this out up front: the Original Song category is generally my least favorite from year to year, and this year’s list of nominees is no exception. That said, if RRR can’t be awarded anywhere else, it deserves to be for its show-stopping number “Naatu Naatu.” After a Golden Globe win in the same category against similar Oscar contenders, it was clear that the song, and by proxy, the film itself, had enough support to carry a win.
  • Should Win: RRR was three-plus hours of nonstop action craziness, and its song and dance sequence for “Naatu Naatu” was one of its highlights. That the choreography for the scene matches the “balls to the wall” attitude for its zanier action scenes is proof that the scene remains one of the best of the year overall.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: I’m not as thrilled when songs that are not used in the film proper are nominated, but “New Body Rhumba” from LCD Soundsystem for White Noise was one of the best. The dance sequence that accompanies it is equally outstanding, but the song stands well enough on its own. That the songwriting branch essentially name-checked Diane Warren’s number for a non-existent movie that could have taken its place is disheartening at best.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Will Win: When it comes to this category, the Academy values three things: old-age makeup, prosthetics, and recreations of famous people. Elvis has all three. The heavy prosthetic work in The Whale was indeed impressive, but aside from Brendan Fraser, there isn’t much more to point to in the film.
  • Should Win: The makeup work in All Quiet on the Western Front almost became a character unto itself, a visual symbol for the hell that each of the soldiers has gone through. Aside from its cinematography, it’s the craft that stands out most in the film.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: It’s not easy recreating the looks of one the most famous people in the world, and the makeup team for Blonde did just that to a stunning degree. Ana de Armas’ transformation into Marilyn Monroe was impressive when considering her natural look couldn’t be further from Monroe.

Best Costume Design

  • Will Win: If there’s one thing the Academy loves as much as period costumes, it’s in recreations of famous costumes. Without Blonde as a contender here, that leaves Elvis the room to sweep up a win. Elvis Presley’s costumes were iconic, and the team behind those – and those of Col. Tom Parker and everyone else throughout the changing midcentury – nailed the looks.
  • Should Win: The inventiveness of the costumes in Everything Everywhere All at Once was just a small part of its appeal, but it made a huge impact in selling the “anything goes” attitude of the multiverse. Any time a different version of Stephanie Hsu’s character entered the fray, you could see the delight in the film’s costume department on full display. But even its more understated costumes, like those of Yeoh and Ke’s alpha-verse characters, smartly underlines who these characters are fundamentally.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Perhaps more than Viola Davis in the Best Actress race, I expected The Woman King to show up as a nominee here. Gersha Phillips’ varied costumes played into not only the time period but the specific characters who wore them. The costume designer’s branch typically likes to reward period films so a miss here was especially disheartening. Of all of The Woman King’s exceptional crafts, its costumes were easily the highlight.

Best Sound

  • Will Win: Maybe the booming explosiveness of the jets in Top Gun: Maverick are the sole reason for the film’s likelihood of winning, but try seeing the film with substandard audio and the experience will be diminished considerably. The film was an experience for the senses, and its sound was a large part of that excitement.
  • Should Win: Either Maverick or All Quiet on the Western Front would be worthy winners, but All Quiet had a wide variety of sounds in its arsenal. The gnashing, crunchy sounds in the battle sequences went a long way in complementing the harshness on display.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: The Academy’s refusal to acknowledge horror as a genre left Nope out in the cold, and Sound is just one of the categories where it should have contended. Jordan Peele’s film showed that sound is just one of many ways to generate scares, often cluing us into something terrible looming nearby. And the sound of the Jupiter’s Claim crowd screaming as it’s churned out by the alien is not something to be forgotten easily.

Best Film Editing

  • Will Win: From its frenetic world jumping to its kinetic action scenes, Everything Everywhere All at Once certainly had the most editing of 2022. And that’s typically what the Academy likes to recognize.
  • Should Win: If it’s not Everything Everywhere, don’t be surprised if Top Gun: Maverick pulls out the win here. The action scenes get the blood pumping and are easy to follow, and the film never lags in the quieter moments.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: This one is a no-brainer. Decision to Leave had the best, most creative editing of any film in all of 2022. Seamless transitions from scene to scene that worked within the themes of the film showcased Park Chan-wook’s distinctive visual style in a way that no other film measured up to last year.

Best Original Score

  • Will Win: John Williams’ last collaboration with Spielberg isn’t memorable enough, and Volker Bertelmann’s score for All Quiet on the Western Front is too divisive, leaving the door open for Justin Hurwitz to win, in spite of a lack of overall nominations for Babylon. And, for what it’s worth, Hurwitz’s score is easily the best element of the film.
  • Should Win: Justin Hurwitz’s score for Babylon went all out, matching the chaotic energy while fitting within the jazz age time setting. Hurwitz’s previous win for La La Land will go a long way in voters’ minds.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Michael Giacchino delivered one of the best scores of 2022 for The Batman, one that instantly distinguished itself as establishing a distinct mood for the film. That it was left off the shortlist and wasn’t even considered for a nomination is as baffling as just about anything. Giacchino has composed a number of memorable scores but his music for The Batman is a thumping, exciting backbone for the film to rest upon.

Best Production Design

  • Will Win: Elvis‘ production designer Catherine Martin has won in this category for two of Baz Luhrmann’s last three films, so she goes into Oscar night with a large target on her back. But the Academy loves recreations of Old Hollywood, and Babylon has that in spades.
  • Should Win: Consider one of the opening scenes of Babylon where Margot Robbie’s Nellie tours through a sprawling grouping of silent film sets in production, and the varied creations within them, and the immense attention to detail throughout the film. The film overall may be a mess, but there’s no denying the impressive crafts on display throughout Chazelle’s magnum opus.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: No animated film has ever been nominated for its production design, but Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio would have been a wonderful stat-breaker. The film brims with life at all the wonderfully realized details and textures, giving it an abundance of unique traits that fits within the story.

Best Visual Effects

  • Will Win: Never bet against James Cameron, and never bet against his visual effects team, especially with the envelope-pushing Avatar: The Way of Water. No other film justified its bloated budget or runtime as much as this, and no other film will even come close to beating it.
  • Should Win: If you put any money down on a single category on Oscar night, make it here. For anything other than Avatar: The Way of Water to win would be one of the biggest shockers in Oscar history.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Not that it really needed more nominations, but a nod for the visual effects of Everything Everywhere All at Once would have been well deserved. Especially considering its effects budget was less than the budget of most films overall and was done with a team of just five people.

Best Cinematography

  • Will Win: James Friend may not be a household name like Roger Deakins or Darius Khondji, but Friend’s cinematography helped make All Quiet on the Western Front a powerful statement. Friend’s win at BAFTA and ASC sealed the deal, especially when Deakins and Khondji are the only representatives for their films (Empire of Light and Bardo, respectively).
  • Should Win: Nearly every frame of All Quiet on the Western Front is worthy of being framed on a wall. It’s no wonder the film cleaned up in craft nominations, and it all starts with the visual style of the film.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Aside from Avatar: The Way of Water, no other film in 2022 justified its big screen appeal like Top Gun: Maverick. Russell Carpenter’s camerawork helped to make the film not only an exciting action spectacle but added to the “you are there” verisimilitude of the plane sequences. The film was favored not only for a nomination but a win in the category, so a miss here was one of the most egregious snubs of nomination morning.

Best International Feature

  • Will Win: Without Decision to Leave standing in its way, the path was all but cleared for All Quiet on the Western Front. Not to mention the Best Picture nomination, which is as clear an indication as you would need of the Academy’s support for the film.
  • Should Win: In a relatively weak year for International Feature nominees, no other films challenge All Quiet on the Western Front. There are certainly worthy films but Edward Berger’s war epic stands above the rest because it’s an all-around feat of filmmaking and storytelling.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Korean auteur Park Chan-wook delivered his most accessible film to date with Decision to Leave, a film that most considered a lock to receive a nomination. Unfortunately, outside of the phenomenon of Parasite, no Korean film has ever even been nominated at the Oscars.

Best Documentary Feature

  • Will Win: Will the Academy go for the follow-up from a previous winner (All the Beauty and the Bloodshed), the fantastically assembled nature doc (Fire of Love) or the one directly by a previous winner (All the Beauty and the Bloodshed)? None would be much of a surprise, but Navalny is both a poignant character study and a reflection of our world today.
  • Should Win: I was not prepared for how much I would be floored by All the Beauty and the Bloodshed. Perhaps my own biases as a photographer factored into that, but Poitras has smartly assembled a film about counterculture and one of its most celebrated figures as she rattles the cages of the world’s institutions.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Perhaps the Academy simply isn’t ready to nominate films about the pandemic. That seems to be the best explanation I can come up with for the snub of Bad Axe. David Siev’s cinematic memoir depicted not only the unexpected struggles of an Asian-American restaurant in the heart of Trump country but an engaging look at his family, warts and all.

Best Animated Feature

  • Will Win: The Academy loves Guillermo del Toro. (Just look at the overperformance of Nightmare Alley last year.) But his take on Pinocchio will win not just because of the name attached to it; it’s a unique retelling of the classic tale that goes beyond the family-friendly sheen that Disney has put on it. At times you simply have to marvel at the stop-motion animation because it’s so seamless and wonderful you almost forget how it was put together.
  • Should Win: I have to set aside my love for Marcel the Shell With Shoes On and recognize that the Academy at one point did not consider the film animated because of the prevalence of live-action elements. (Of course, if I had my ballot, the film would be a Best Picture nominee.) So if I have to go with something else, it would be Turning Red. Domee Shi’s semi-autobiographical film was the best of the Disney/Pixar crop this year, focusing on an under-represented demographic with loads of humor and heart.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: It’s baffling that Henry Sellick has never received an Oscar, despite his incalculable contributions to stop-motion animation. Wendell and Wild may have been divisive upon its release and was done no favors by Netflix, who essentially forgot it existed once Pinocchio started taking over. Still, Sellick’s fingerprints are all over the film to the extent that few other animated films saw in 2022.

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Will Win: Maybe this is just wishful thinking, considering the nosedive that Women Talking took in the lead-up to nomination morning, but Sarah Polley’s work in adapting the novel of the same name is one of the best pieces of adaptation of the year. The dense subject matter and character work all come together to create a righteous, emotional film.
  • Should Win: The abundance of nominations for All Quiet on the Western Front was a bit of a surprise, but its nomination here is well deserved. Erich Maria Remarque’s novel is expanded upon by Edward Berger, Ian Stokell, and Lesley Paterson and gives more depth to the increasingly hopeless situation faced by the German soldiers. Even a novel that’s almost 100 years old can be updated to feel relevant again, and it all starts with the screenplay.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: For all its messiness – intended and otherwise – White Noise deserves some credit for bringing Don DeLillo’s novel to life. Even more so considering it’s long been thought to be unadaptable, a dense set of ideas and dialogue about the American condition. Noah Baumbach’s most ambitious film was a thrill from beginning to end, even with its pacing issues, throwing out complex themes and homages to some of our greatest filmmakers.

Best Original Screenplay

  • Will Win: This is unexpectedly one of the toughest categories to predict. Martin McDonagh is a known commodity amongst the Academy and the writers’ branch. But Daniels has the wind at their backs with a surging momentum for their film, and a win at the Writers Guild (where, because of bizarre WGA rules, The Banshees of Inisherin was ineligible). The Academy tends to reward wholly original works, and nothing this year was more original than Everything Everywhere All at Once. Consider this another win for the war chest.
  • Should Win: From its opening minutes, TÁR establishes itself as intricately plotted and researched. Todd Field’s screenplay is not only a beautifully nuanced character study but a beautifully executed piece of world-building. It’s no wonder the internet legitimately thought that Lydia Tár was a real person.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Jordan Peele managed to make a familiar action sci-fi film with layers upon layers of thematic weight. Paying homage to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and many other Hollywood spectacles while including dense ideas about the Hollywood machine, and fame in general, Peele’s screenplay may have been too complex for the Academy but was rich and smart nonetheless.

Best Supporting Actor

  • Will Win: This is the only acting category where the winner has been pre-determined almost since the beginning. Ke Huy Quan will deservedly walk away with his first Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once, and I for one cannot wait to see him accept it. Here’s hoping that Ke continues to get work for his capable work here, and we don’t have to wait decades to see him on screen again.
  • Should Win: Michelle Yeoh’s Evelyn is the main focus of Everything Everywhere All at Once but Ke Huy Quan’s Waymond is the film’s bleeding heart, providing the sticky sweet emotional backbone the film needs whenever it feels like it’s getting too silly. What looks at first like a goofy nobody slowly becomes much more layered and nuanced, and an argument could easily be made that Ke gives the film’s best performance overall. Both of the men from Banshees – Barry Keoghan and Brendan Gleeson – are fantastic, and I love Brian Tyree Henry’s improbable nomination, but a win for Ke would make me the happiest on Oscar night.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: The slow inevitability that none of the actors from Women Talking would receive nominations wasn’t a surprise but still hurt nonetheless. As the only male speaking role in the film, Ben Whishaw injects a level of heart and hope to keep the darkness from becoming too overwhelming.

Best Supporting Actress

  • Will Win: If anybody tells you that they know who’s winning this category, they’re lying to you (present company excluded, of course). A different winner has been crowned at each of the precursors (Golden Globes, SAG, & BAFTA) and none of the typically discriminating factors – save for Bassett’s lack of a Best Picture nomination for her film – apply. So, given the Academy’s growing international appeal, I’ll go with Kerry Condon for The Banshees of Inisherin.
  • Should Win: Three acting wins for Everything Everywhere All at Once seems impossible. Much as Academy sentiment has carried Jamie Lee Curtis forward, it’s Stephanie Hsu who gives the outstanding female performance of the film. She’s the impetus for the action, and navigates every universe’s changing facets.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: At one point during awards season, the nominees could have been overtaken by the women from Women Talking. Whether it be Claire Foy or Jesse Buckley or Rooney Mara or even Judith Ivey, the film featured an overabundance of powerful performances. (My vote would have gone to Foy.) But as the film’s reception began to tank, so did its chances for any acting nominations.

Best Actor

  • Will Win: When it comes to acting, the Academy loves few things less than a performance of a real-life figure. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Austin Butler will likely win for his performance in Elvis. As much as musician biopics are increasingly not my cup of tea, Butler was a steadying force throughout all of Baz Luhrmann’s chaotic energy.
  • Should Win: Paul Mescal’s nomination is one that generally doesn’t happen. Not only is Aftersun a smaller, more independent film, but Mescal’s performance is far from the showy work that the Academy typically doesn’t recognize. It’s a beautiful, mostly internal performance and would make for one of the best acting wins of recent years.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: I have no qualms about any of this year’s nominees; regardless of how I felt about their films overall, they were all led by terrific performances. But if I was given a magic bullet to put anyone in the list of nominees it would be Adam Sandler in Hustle. Sandler has continued to churn out solid dramatic work in the past few years and his performance in the basketball drama went above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from him in sports-centric Happy Madison films.

Best Actress

  • Will Win: It’s hard to believe we’re still saying that Cate Blanchett could give a career-best performance when she’s already won two Oscars, and been nominated for several more. But such is the case with her work in TÁR, deftly navigating Lydia Tár’s prickly personality and her darker side while still making her endlessly watchable.
  • Should Win: Blanchett’s two Oscars is mostly what’s working against her almost inevitable win. Michelle Yeoh’s performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once was just as layered and nuanced, a steady force for all the wackiness and drama that the film needs. Yeoh has made a formidable career abroad and in the US, so to reward her here would be long overdue.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: For neither Danielle Deadwyler or Viola Davis to receive recognition for their stunning work in Till and The Woman King, respectively, was one of the biggest disappointments on nomination morning. Deadwyler was simply unforgettable in Till in portraying a mother’s grief and righteous anger, especially during the one-take courtroom scene. Outrage at Oscar nominations is usually not worth investing in, but here it’s deserved.

Best Director

  • Will Win: The winner of the top prize at the Directors Guild awards is almost always assured a win here, meaning Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan are the likeliest winners. And they’ll be worthy winners; it’s hard to imagine anyone else pulling off what’s on display in Everything Everywhere All at Once.
  • Should Win: Each of the Best Director nominees wrote their own films (Spielberg is the one “outlier”, co-writing The Fablemans with Tony Kushner). In other words, each of the nominees were the creative force behind their films, and it shows in the way their films were executed. But Todd Field deserves some recognition for his direction in TÁR. Field’s insane attention to detail and research is just part of why the film was more than the sum of its parts.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: Perhaps it’s because I’m still riding high from seeing it in the theaters, but S.S. Rajamouli deserves all the credit for what he did with RRR. Not only for creating one of the most bananas action films in recent years, but in keeping up the pace and ratcheting up the set pieces over the course of three hours is no small feat.

Best Picture

  • Will Win: Could a film as goofy and experimental as Everything Everywhere All at Once be crowned the Best Picture? (I was truly racking my brain trying to figure out when the Academy crowned a comedy with its top prize.) This was my lingering question throughout awards season, but the film has not missed at the precursors when given the opportunity. After winning the top prizes at PGA and SAG, a win for any other film would truly be shocking.
  • Should Win: For my money, there isn’t a weak link amongst the 10 nominees this year (for the record, my least favorite is Elvis). Whether the Academy wants to make a statement about the state of movies or culture or politics in 2022, or just keep it old school and reward something in the vein of past Best Picture winners like The King’s Speech or Gladiator or Spotlight, it could pick just about any of the films and nothing would be off-base. So, for the sake of brevity, let’s go with Everything Everywhere All at Once.
  • Should’ve Been Nominated: The Woman King is exactly the kind of traditional period epic that would have cleaned up at the Oscars in the 90s, full of rich characters, exciting action, and precisely rendered details. We’ll never know exactly why the film was snubbed overall (but, let’s face it, the writing’s on the wall), but it would have certainly made for a great Best Picture nominee.

Every 2023 Oscar Nominee Ranked

54. Tell it Like a Woman (Best Original Song)

For the longest time, even the most die-hard Oscar watchers doubted the very existence of Tell it Like a Woman. The film barely had an IMDb page on nomination morning, much less a website or viewing availability. But after finally viewing the film, I can confirm that the film itself is the least interesting part about its lore. What’s most surprising about the film’s lack of quality is that it boasts an incredibly likable and popular cast, including Jennifer Hudson, Marcia Gay Harden, Eva Longoria, and Cara Delevingne, among others. Anthology films rarely work – especially when each part comes from a different voice – but it’s as if the creative forces banded together to make the most basic, shallow films possible. Female empowerment is a great idea, but I assume the working title for Tell it Like a Woman was something like #GirlPower. The nominations for the 95th Oscars revealed a lot of things about the Academy and what they value, and the most telling is that they will reward songwriter Diane Warren every single year she is eligible, regardless of whether they’ve actually seen the film or not, and Tell it Like a Woman is the strongest evidence to support that theory.

53. The Martha Mitchell Effect (Best Documentary Short)

I’ve always had a unique fascination with the Watergate scandal and everything it unearthed in American politics, and I imagine I’m not alone. Which is why it’s understandable to make a documentary about one of its lesser-known figures, Martha Mitchell. Unfortunately, The Martha Mitchell Effect unfolds as little more than a standard-issue Wikipedia entry masquerading as a film. It would have been the easiest thing in the world for the filmmakers to connect Martha Mitchell, and how she was treated, to the politics of today (gendered, social, and governmental). Instead the film offers little more insight than what could be gleaned from a US history class or an episode of the first season of the Slow Burn podcast.

52. The Flying Sailor (Best Animated Short)

You don’t often see an animated film, regardless of its length, that’s based on a true story. Such is the case though with The Flying Sailor, which is inspired by the real-life Halifax explosion in 1917. The explosion causes its titular subject to re-examine his life and his own mortality as he faces his impending doom. A mixed bag of animation quality and styles ultimately leads to a middling film that could have been better.

51. Blonde (Best Actress)

As a film, Blonde is awful. But for the Oscars to reward Ana de Armas for her fearlessly committed performance, I have nothing to complain about. Even the various crafts, like the costumes or the production design or the cinematography or makeup/hairstyling work, could have and should have received Oscar nominations. The fault with Blonde lies in Andrew Dominik and his shallow – and, too frequently, distasteful – depiction of Marilyn Monroe. The film could have been an enlightening way to right the wrongs of Monroe’s life, but instead Dominik doubled down on her suffering or reduced her internal desires to the lowest common denominator. I have no doubt that Ana de Armas will be an Oscar nominee again. It’s simply a bummer that her first nomination had to be for Blonde.

50. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse (Best Animated Short)

This film is likely winning its category, and its backing by Apple TV+ is a major factor, not to mention the A-list talent attached to it. Of course, it’s based on the acclaimed children’s book by Charles Mackesy (who co-wrote and co-directed the adaptation). Producers include JJ Abrams and Woody Harrelson, plus voice talents of Gabriel Byrne, Tom Hollander, and Idris Elba. But there’s something hollow about The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse that I couldn’t get on board with. When the main thrust of your animated film’s dialogue is weighty existential platitudes about believing in yourself or supporting a friend, you’re putting your thumb on the scale of the audience’s reaction that doesn’t feel completely genuine. Nevertheless, the animation is solid, matching the ink-drawn style of the book. Perhaps I’m being a grump about this one, and perhaps a second viewing would change my opinion. But there are better, more genuine contenders among the animated short film category.

49. Night Ride (Best Live-Action Short)

Night Ride certainly feels like it’s trying to say something profound but needs more consistent writing to actually get that message across. It’s a film about marginalized people finding commonality, but feels too slight because of its varying tones. A young woman, who’s also a little person, inadvertently commandeers a tram on a snowy night, picking up passengers along the way. One of those passengers happens to be a trans woman who’s harassed after flirting with another man. The film looks nice enough with some snappy editing, but by the time the credits rolled, I didn’t feel all of what the film was wanting me to feel. Perhaps these issues could be fixed with a longer runtime but as it stands, Night Ride is a misfire.

48. Stranger at the Gate (Best Documentary Short)

I have no doubt that the creative minds behind Stranger at the Gate set out to make an informative documentary about a little-known community about the transformative power of empathy. But there’s a darker message within the film that rings hollow the more you pick it apart. Stranger at the Gate chronicles the story of a man, driven to extremism and violence against the Muslim community, and how he eventually found acceptance within it. My initial reaction to the film was mostly positive, but after considering the film’s unspoken message that minorities must be overly accommodating to people that wish them harm, rather than the structures that create that harm in the first place, quickly sank my feelings overall.

47. Le Pupille (Best Live-Action Short)

Le Pupille benefits from increased visibility on Disney+, not to mention its producer Alfonso Cuarón, sporting a unique visual style. At times borrowing from Wes Anderson’s filming style and color palette, the film stands out from this year’s Live Action Short nominees. It’s the only film of the nominees that’s set in the past, and it deals with children as the main protagonists. Specifically, a group of children at an Italian orphanage during WWII. Credit to writer and director Alice Rohrwacher for centering the dramatic conflict not on whether the plucky youngsters will get adopted, but on the interior and exterior conflict within them. The film has its moments, and features some natural performances, but could have used some kind of dramatic inertia to justify its 38-minute runtime.

46. An Irish Goodbye (Best Live-Action Short)

Unfortunately for An Irish Goodbye, The Banshees of Inisherin was released in the same year. Or it could be fortuitous for its Oscar chances, coasting on a wave of Irish goodwill. Either way, the film is a perfectly capable short film that shares a handful of thematic similarities to Martin McDonagh’s film. It’s about Turlough and Lorcan, two brothers, one mentally handicapped and played brilliantly by James Martin, who have to decide how to move on after their mother’s death. Turlough, the older, more practical brother, wants to sell the family farm but Lorcan wants to stay. Directors Tom White and Tom Berkeley inject a good amount of humor to prevent it from getting too dour – something all too common amongst the shorts categories.

45. Ivalu (Best Live-Action Short)

Part travelog, part heartbreaking portrait of a family, Ivalu is a product of rural Greenland but contains sentiments that translate beyond its remote origins. It’s the story of a girl in search of her older sister all by herself – her family’s concern is mostly absent – who suddenly goes missing. She visits all the locations they used to run away to when things got difficult, which brings up fond memories. There’s an underlying darkness revealed by the end of it, but Ivalu could have easily expanded on the emotional fallout from the events depicted. Still, it’s gorgeously shot and takes full advantage of Greenland’s countryside, and star Mila Heilmann Kreutzmann handles her role with tenderness. If this is most people’s first encounter with Greenlandic film, it’ll be a solid entry point.

44. Haulout (Best Documentary Short)

Haulout contains what could be the most surprising cinematic reveal of any film amongst the batch of nominees. What starts out as a simple film about a man in isolation pans over to show that he’s very much not alone. The film shows the harsh and unpleasant reality of the life of a biologist studying walruses, and the effects that climate change has had on them. But where the film succeeds is in its minimalism, eschewing any talking heads or on-screen text and telling its story only through the sparse notations of its human protagonist. Nature documentaries are commonplace in the Documentary Short category, and Haulout is a worthy nominee, less for its subject matter and more in its storytelling technique.

43. How Do You Measure A Year? (Best Documentary Short)

Jay Rosenblatt’s second Oscar nominated documentary short in two years is just as personal as his first. It’s much more simple than When We Were Bullies but retains the same emotional complexity. In a kind of real-life take on Boyhood, Rosenblatt set out to interview his daughter on her birthday every year since she was 2 to ask her the same set of questions, including “what do you want to be when you grow up” and “what’s your greatest fear.” The results aren’t anything terribly surprising. We see her go from a spunky toddler whose favorite thing is lollipops, to a restless teenager who loves sleeping, to a more mature, self-aware young adult. Anyone with kids will connect with How Do You Measure a Year?, a microcosm of the evolution that our greatest accomplishments go through; I just don’t know how much it will resonate beyond Oscar season.

42. Close (Best International Feature)

Most of the elements within Close are solid, if not great. From the performances of its cast – especially lead Eden Dambrine – to Frank van dan Eeden’s cinematography to Valentin Hadjadj’s score, and more. But something within director and co-writer Lukas Dhont’s semi-autobiographical coming-of-age drama feels hollow, a collection of moments and sentiments we’ve seen in plenty of other films before. Not to mention, after the inciting incident around the 45 minute mark, the film simply feels like it meanders for the remaining hour, without adding much new to say. The film will surely elicit a deep emotional reaction if you’re invested enough in the material, but without that, Close isn’t close enough.

41. The Elephant Whisperers (Best Documentary Short)

I like nature documentaries as much as the next person. And The Elephant Whisperers is a more than capable entry, which generally sees at least one nominated film per year. The documentary short deals with a remote village in South India as it takes care of orphaned, sick, and abandoned elephants. It’s an intimate look at how the elephants’ caretakers view these creatures not just as another animal to look after, but as members of their own family. They learn and grow together, and director Kartiki Gonsalves shows how the elephants do the same. But The Elephant Whisperers doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from other documentaries of its ilk, some of which are similarly available on Netflix.

2022 Emmy Predictions

The 74th Primetime Emmy Awards will be presented on September 12, 2022. Here are our ranked predictions for the actors and shows most likely to win. Check back in, as the list will be updated often.

Best Drama SeriesBest Comedy Series
1. Succession
2. Squid Game
3. Stranger Things
4. Better Call Saul
5. Ozark
6. Euphoria
7. Severance
8. Yellowjackets
1. Abbott Elementary
2. Ted Lasso
3. Barry
4. Hacks
5. Only Murders in the Building
6. What We Do in the Shadows
7. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
8. Curb Your Enthusiasm
Best Actress – DramaBest Supporting Actress – Drama
1. Zendaya, “Euphoria”
2. Melanie Lynskey, “Yellowjackets”
3. Laura Linney, “Ozark”
4. Reese Witherspoon, “The Morning Show”
5. Jodie Comer, “Killing Eve”
6. Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
1. Julia Garner, “Ozark”
2. Sarah Snook, “Succession”
3. Rhea Seehorn, “Better Call Saul”
4. Sydney Sweeney, “Euphoria”
5. Jung Ho-yeon, “Squid Game”
6. J. Smith-Cameron, “Succession”
7. Patricia Arquette, “Severance”
8. Christina Ricci, “Yellowjackets”
Best Actor – DramaBest Supporting Actor – Drama
1. Brian Cox, “Succession”
2. Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
3. Jeremy Strong, “Succession”
4. Lee Jun-jae, “Squid Game”
5. Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
6. Adam Scott, “Severance”
1. Matthew Macfayden, “Succession”
2. Kieran Culkin, “Succession”
3. Park Hae-soo, “Squid Game”
4. John Turturro, “Severance”
5. Oh Yeong-su, “Squid Game”
6. Billy Crudup, “The Morning Show”
7. Nicholas Braun, “Succession”
8. Christopher Walken, “Severance”
Best Actress – ComedyBest Supporting Actress – Comedy
1. Jean Smart, “Hacks”
2. Quinta Brunson, “Abbott Elementary”
3. Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
4. Issa Rae, “Insecure”
5. Elle Fanning, “The Great”
6. Kaley Cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
1. Janelle James, “Abbott Elementary”
2. Hannah Waddingham, “Ted Lasso”
3. Hannah Einbinder, “Hacks”
4. Kate McKinnon, “Saturday Night Live”
5. Juno Temple, “Ted Lasso”
6. Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”
7. Alex Borstein, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
8. Sarah Niles, “Ted Lasso”
Best Actor – ComedyBest Supporting Actor – Comedy
1. Bill Hader, “Barry”
2. Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
3. Steve Martin, “Only Murders in the Building”
4. Donald Glover, “Atlanta”
5. Martin Short, “Only Murders in the Building”
6. Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
1. Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”
2. Henry Winkler, “Barry”
3. Bowen Yang, “Saturday Night Live”
4. Nick Mohammed, “Ted Lasso”
5. Toheeb Jimoh, “Ted Lasso”
6. Anthony Carrigan, “Barry”
7. Tyler James Williams, “Abbott Elementary”
8. Tony Shaloub, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Best Limited SeriesBest TV Movie
1. Dopesick
2. The White Lotus
3. The Dropout
4. Pam and Tommy
5. Inventing Anna
1. The Survivor
2. Chip ‘n’ Dale: Rescue Rangers
3. Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas
4. Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon
5. Ray Donovan: The Movie
Best Actress – Limited SeriesBest Supporting Actress – Limited Series
1. Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout”
2. Lily James, “Pam and Tommy”
3. Toni Collette, “The Staircase”
4. Sarah Paulson, “Impeachment: American Crime Story”
5. Margaret Qualley, “Maid
6. Julia Garner, “Inventing Anna”
1. Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”
2. Kaitlyn Dever, “Dopesick”
3. Mare Winningham, “Dopesick”
4. Alexandra Daddario, “The White Lotus”
5. Connie Britton, “The White Lotus”
6. Natasha Rothwell, “The White Lotus”
7. Sydney Sweeney, “The White Lotus”
Best Actor – Limited SeriesBest Supporting Actor – Limited Series
1. Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”
2. Colin Firth, “The Staircase”
3. Andrew Garfield, “Under the Banner of Heaven”
4. Sebastian Stan, “Pam and Tommy”
5. Oscar Isaac, “Scenes From a Marriage”
6. Himesh Patel, “Station Eleven”
1. Murray Bartlett, “The White Lotus”
2. Michael Stuhlbarg, “Dopesick”
3. Will Poulter, “Dopesick”
4. Jake Lacy, “The White Lotus”
5. Peter Sarsgaard, “Dopesick”
6. Seth Rogen, “Pam and Tommy”
7. Steve Zahn, “The White Lotus”
Best Animated SeriesBest Variety Talk Show
1. Rick and Morty
2. Bob’s Burgers
3. What If…?
4. The Simpsons
5. Arcane: League of Legends
1. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
2. The Late Show with Stephen Colbert
3. Late Night with Seth Meyers
4. The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
5. Jimmy Kimmel Live!

Every 2022 Oscar Nominee Ranked

53. Being the Ricardos (Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor)

Your mileage will surely vary on this one depending on your level of tolerance for Aaron Sorkin. As for me, any film that features a third-act deus ex phone call and a completely pointless series of talking head interviews – populated by actors, not the real people! – is enough to jump ship for good. Yes, Nicole Kidman, Javier Bardem, JK Simmons (all of whom received acting nominations, and Kidman could very well win Best Actress) and Nina Arianda are quite good in each of their roles, getting at the heart of their characters beyond simple pantomime. Being the Ricardos is the only Oscar-nominated film that I initially disliked and subsequently despised whenever I would come back to thinking of it later on.

52. Four Good Days (Best Original Song)

Poor Diane Warren. Year after year, the Academy continues to trot her out to the Oscar ceremony for her songwriting, only to pull the rug out from her and award someone else. She certainly won’t be winning for “Somehow You Do”, and perhaps it’s a coincidence that the film it was written for is as lazy as the Academy’s box-checking nomination. Premiering at Sundance back in 2020, Four Good Days is a collection of misguided scenes and character beats that would feel like too much for a Lifetime Original Movie. Mila Kunis and Glenn Close do their best, but the material they’re given is so ham-fisted and tired that these very capable actresses could do this work in their sleep.

51. Lead Me Home (Best Documentary Short)

It’s unfortunate that this documentary short will most likely win its category simply because it concerns a pressing current issue that hits close to the homes of many of the Academy’s voters. To be clear, the film shows a side of America’s homeless population that isn’t always shown, and the result is often heartbreaking. But Lead Me Home asks nothing of the homeless crisis beyond “did you know that homeless people are real people?” The film could have expanded on America’s broken system and why more and more people are finding themselves unable to afford homes that are only getting more and more expensive. Perhaps, if the filmmakers were to develop the short into a feature, they could investigate these issues. But, as it stands, Lead Me Home ultimately feels like a puff piece for the national news.

50. Coming 2 America (Best Makeup & Hairstyling)

When last we saw Eddie Murphy, he was courting a Best Actor nomination for his turn in Dolemite Is My Name in 2019. I don’t know who convinced Murphy and Arsenio Hall to reunite (along with Dolemite director Craig Brewer) and make a sequel to Coming to America more than 30 years later but it’s clear that nobody had more than a passing interest in making a film that justifies doing so. Lazy jokes and cultural observations abound throughout Coming 2 America‘s unforgiveable 110-minute runtime, with the only joke that elicited a laugh from me revolving around a Shake Weight. Were it not for the film’s admittedly solid use of prosthetics and makeup, this film would rightfully be placed amongst the ash heap of history, along with many of Murphy’s other misbegotten films.

49. Don’t Look Up (Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Editing)

Nearly 3 months after watching it for the first and only time, the rotten taste of Don’t Look Up has mostly washed out of my mouth. But I simply can’t forgive the film’s lazy approach to satire, the wasted potential of its A-list cast, or its insane editing, which landed it a Best Editing nomination. (If any professional film editors are reading this, I would love to be enlightened on the film’s editing merits, or lack thereof. Please reach out to me.) Thankfully the Academy didn’t feel as strongly about it as I had feared, only giving it four nominations when many more could have easily happened. That it stands little-to-no chance of winning any of those four awards is extremely comforting.

48. When We Were Bullies (Best Documentary Short)

I have no doubt that director Jay Rosenblatt set out with the best of intentions when conceiving When We Were Bullies. The film interrogates a specific incident from Rosenblatt’s time in fifth grade wherein a classmate was bullied. Far be it from me to demerit someone else’s way of healing with something that’s haunted them for decades, but the resulting film is dramatically inert. There’s nothing wrong with a small-scale documentary that only deals with a handful of characters, but Rosenblatt makes too many questionable narrative decisions to make this a memorable experiment.

47. Bestia (Best Animated Short)

There’s always at least one animated short every year that provides enough nightmare fuel to last until next year’s ceremony. In 2022, that designation goes to Bestia. A stop-motion curio that’s supposedly based on true events from the dictatorship in Chile, Bestia focuses on one woman’s career under the secret police, and her relationship with her dog. But it’s not just the visuals that are unsettling here, as each human character is a kind of unflinching porcelain shape, and everything else is either covered in felt or shaped out of paper. Bestia portrays a person with a terrible occupation, plus some disturbingly strange habits, all to middling effect.

46. On My Mind (Best Live-Action Short)

Director Martin Strange-Hansen’s short is incredibly simple on its surface, but packs an emotional punch with its conclusion. When a despondent man walks into a bar, he notices a karaoke machine and requests to sing the song before he goes to visit his wife. Strange-Hansen’s heart is in the right place, and Rasmus Hammerich gives a fine performance, but the film is filled too much with petty roadblocks to keep the drama going for its 18-minute runtime.

45. The Hand of God (Best International Feature)

Paolo Sorrentino’s semi-autobiographical story feels like (at least) two films mashed together, and only one of those is relatively successful. The first half establishes Fabietto (Filippo Scotti), his family, and his love of soccer great Diego Maradona in Naples, Italy. Far too many plot threads and characters are introduced far too quickly early on to get a handle on the themes of the film. The second half slows down and focuses better, but by then I had mostly checked out. The Hand of God also isn’t helped by Fabietto feeling like a dry lump of clay, though Scott does his best in a few key scenes. At least Sorrentino makes the most of the Naples scenery, along with Daria D’Antonio’s cinematography, to make a visually invigorating film.

44. Free Guy (Best Visual Effects)

I imagine that Free Guy received its nomination not because it had the best visual effects to choose from but because it had the most visual effects. Especially in its early scenes, there’s hardly a single frame that doesn’t have some sort of computer-generated imagery – it does take place inside a video game, after all. It’s important to note that the film likely took the place of fellow short-listed films like The Matrix: Resurrections and Godzilla vs. Kong, films that incorporated their effects more smoothly and effectively. Still, you can’t be too mad at Free Guy; it’s the kind of turn-your-brain-off popcorn film that is typically relegated to the Visual Effects category with virtually zero chance of winning.

43. Ascension (Best Documentary Feature)

In Jessica Kingdon’s feature debut, what begins as a shockingly subversive way of showing the sheer amount of stuff we make in the world – most of it likely going to waste – eventually loses its focus. The film deals with the myriad ways that China perceives work, and the ways that that definition is rapidly changing today. From mind-numbingly monotonous factories to sex doll decorators to bodyguard training, every occupation is shown with an observant eye, and Kingdon lets events fold completely naturally. Though there is plenty of interesting material to be found here, it’s not enough to justify its 98-minute runtime.

42. Nightmare Alley (Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Costume Design)

There’s lots to like about director Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to his last film, which won 4 Oscars, including Best Picture. In fact, a lot of what worked in The Shape of Water is evident in Nightmare Alley as well, like the production design, costumes, and cinematography. But where Nightmare Alley suffers is in its predictable script, which feels like a distillation of every grifter story you’ve ever seen. Del Toro imbues the first half with some interesting details but fails to make all of it feel fresh.

41. Boxballet (Best Animated Short)

A wordless animated film from Russian director Anton Dyakov, Boxballet is a surprisingly endearing tale of how opposites attract. The animation is perhaps the most “traditional” of this year’s nominees in the Animated Short category, but the characters are uniquely designed to emphasize their features. In essence, Boxballet is a love story between a boxer and a ballet dancer as they find mutual solace in the way they’re perceived by the world around them.

40. Belfast (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Sound, Best Original Song)

Belfast could potentially win Best Picture, or it could go home empty handed on Oscar night. Writer and director Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical account of his childhood in the titular Irish town checks all of the boxes of an awards favorite: great performances, a historical backdrop that provides plenty of drama, and a dynamic visual style. And while my initial feelings on the film were positive as I left the theater, I slowly began to realize the film’s flaws. Chief among them being the screenplay, which throws out a lot of ideas and plotlines without fully investing in any of them. Judi Dench, Ciaran Hinds, Jamie Dornan, and Caitriona Balfe all give magnetic and memorable performances, but they’re left stranded by a script that puts weight on everything and nothing simultaneously. There’s a version of Belfast that could be a great, worthy Best Picture winner; instead it’s just a collection of fleeting memories.

Best and Worst of the 2022 Golden Globe Nominations

Note: This post will only reflect the film nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes.

Yesterday the nominations for the 2022 Golden Globes were announced. Since NBC terminated its relationship with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, many assumed the awards wouldn’t be handed out at all. It’s still unclear exactly how the winners will be announced, but it’s safe to say that the Golden Globes’ unbroken streak came as a surprise. Below are just a few of the surprises and snubs throughout the film and TV award nominations.

Perhaps the most shocking element of the nominations is how utterly normal they are overall. The Globes have always been criticized for valuing a good show over awarding worthwhile achievements in film and television, nominating A-list celebrities in lesser films when more difficult were just as deserving. We all remember where we were when The Tourist received three nominations.

To that end, there aren’t a ton of surprises in the Best Picture – Drama or Best Picture – Comedy or Musical categories. Though it’s racked up serious awards buzz since it premiered at Sundance, the only outlier amongst the two categories would be CODA because it doesn’t have any big-name stars amongst its cast. Mass had a chance to take its spot since it’s widely more beloved amongst those that have seen it, but I don’t think too many awards watchers are terribly surprised. Mass comes from a smaller studio and is dealing with a much less rosy subject matter than CODA. Given my general disdain for Don’t Look Up, I’m still not foolish enough to believe the HFPA would pass up the opportunity to nominate it in the bigger categories. It is disheartening to see In the Heights be all but forgotten around awards season, but with a loaded slate of musicals this year, and given its early release in the year, it’s not terribly surprising.

That being said, Anthony Ramos completely deserves his spot at the table amongst the Best Actor – Musical or Comedy nominees. Of all the Lead Actor nominees in both Drama and Musical/Comedy, Mahershala Ali stands out simply because Swan Song hasn’t been as heavily promoted as, say, C’mon C’mon or The Harder They Fall. And not that the Globes would ever go for a movie like Pig, but Nicolas Cage gave perhaps his best performance of his career this year and would be a great face to see amongst the crowd of nominees. Since the Globes don’t differentiate between genres when it comes to Best Supporting Actor, some bigger names are bound to be left out. Nevertheless, the HFPA seems to have just thrown its hands up and doubled-down on love for Belfast by nominating both Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds when David Martinez could have easily taken a spot for West Side Story.

Meanwhile, Lead Actress had much stiffer competition in both categories, and there’s much less to complain about overall. Could Frances McDormand have taken a spot in the Drama category for her role in The Tragedy of Macbeth, especially since she was nominated in the category last year? Sure, but good luck deciding whose spot she would take. Hulu seems to have essentially forgotten that Barb and Star Go To Vista del Mar but could have easily campaigned for Kristen Wiig in Comedy – can you imagine her acceptance speech?? – but it’s hardly surprising that the Globes would rather see Emma Stone over her. Parallel Mothers remains a mystery to just about everyone that didn’t see it at one of the fall festivals, but by all accounts, Penelope Cruz gives one of her best performances ever and could have received a spot in Best Lead Actress – Drama. Never mind the film’s inclusion in the Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language could simply be box-checking since it’s directed by Pedro Almodovar, a well-known, well-liked director. When it comes to the Best Supporting Actress category, it’s surprising that Jessie Buckley was snubbed for her performance in The Lost Daughter, given its love in other categories, but at least Ruth Negga rightfully shows up here to show that Passing wasn’t completely forgotten.

Best Director, is always a crowded field where several talented contenders are left off. It’s very possible that the Globes nominees could be matched on Oscar nomination morning. Though the film ultimately received four nominations, Paul Thomas Anderson’s snub in the category stings a little extra hard. Given its love in other categories, if the HFPA simply wanted to nominate a big star, it could have gone with Lin-Manuel Miranda for tick, tick… BOOM!. The Best Screenplay category is probably the Globes-iest category overall, opting for lesser offerings from mainstays like Adam McKay and Aaron Sorkin. This is another spot where Mass or even CODA could have made some noise.

There aren’t too many complaints to be made in the Best Animated or Foreign Language Feature categories, with a fairly limited slate in the former. Encanto was always going to be Disney’s big push for awards play over Luca, in the same way that Soul ate Onward‘s lunch last year. Still, it’s hard to complain when they still found room for an outside-the-box film like Flee. That it was shut out of the Foreign Language category is interesting, especially with a head-scratcher like Compartment No. 6 taking its place.

It was only earlier this year when the world learned of – and quickly forgot about – the existence of Sia’s Music. That the HFPA has avoided any nonsense like those nominations (at least on the film side of things) perhaps speaks to its newly changed outlook. Will we begin to take the Golden Globes as a serious predictor of quality film and television going forward, or will this year be a temporary blip? And how much does the lack of a televised broadcast have to do with the normality of this year’s nominees? There are a lot of factors at play, but this is at least a step in the right direction for the awards body.

At least they had the good sense to leave Dear Evan Hansen out in the cold.