A Look Into the 2022 Oscar Movies

It took a while, but I’ve finally watched Licorice Pizza! With that said, I have also finished watching every major 2021 film that I wanted to see, making it possible for me to talk about the movies that have been nominated for the next Academy Awards. As I previously mentioned in other articles, I’m not a huge fan of the Oscars, so this article will function more as a brief comment on the nominated films, which many of them haven’t been talked about in the blog before. So here they are, in alphabetic order:

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“Being the Ricardos” by Aaron Sorkin

If you have names such as Aaron Sorkin, Nicole Kidman, and Javier Bardem together in a movie, is very much likely that it will end up at the Academy Awards – which doesn’t mean Being the Ricardos is a good film. Trying to be a somewhat portrait of a turbulent period of life of Lucille Ball, Aaron Sorkin’s movie can grab your attention with its fast-paced screenplay and interesting performances, but it never really takes off in terms of story, resulting in a well-crafted movie that feels shallow and with very little to say. ★★½

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“Belfast” by Kenneth Branagh

Without a doubt the worst movie that has been nominated this year, Belfast is your typical Oscar nonsense that almost didn’t appear in lists of “best movies of the year” but somehow it got seven nominations, including Best Picture and Director! By trying to be a homage to Belfast and Kenneth Branagh’s childhood, the movie fails to talk about Northern Irland, childhood, and what was happening in the country at that time, resulting in a messy, lifeless, and uninspiring story that goes nowhere. Not to mention the terrible acting, directing, and editing. ★½

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“CODA” by Sian Heder

A great film that I could have never imagined it would end up receiving major Oscar nominations such as Best Picture, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay; CODA is a family drama about a young teenager who needs to help her deaf family to get by while she also tries pursuing her dream as a singer. Despite not necessarily deserving such attention, CODA is a creative, fun, and interesting movie that uses hearing loss as a dramatic tool to tell an inspiring story, while it also brings attention to a minority group through challenging perspectives and real deaf actors. ★★★★

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“Cruella” by Craig Gillespie

Nominated for Best Costume and Best Makeup & Hair only, it’s kind of hard to imagine Cruella going further than this in the Oscar race. But this is such a fun, rebellious, and challenging movie from a Disney perspective that I feel it deserved a little bit more. Emma Stone, for example, is so amazing in this that I wouldn’t mind an Oscar nomination for her, but I guess the Academy prefers “more serious” movies instead. Loved it either way. ★★★★

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“Cyrano” by Joe Wright

Cyrano is almost not worth mentioning with its single Best Costume nomination, with the exception of the fact that Peter Dinklage was almost nominated for Best Actor for this. Joe Wright’s movie, however, which is a musical version of the revival of a play by Edmond Rostand, is so generic and simple that even the best costumes and production design couldn’t make Cyrano take off the ground. Nevertheless, we can see that Joe Wright tried hard, along with Dinklage’s great performance. ★★★

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“Don’t Look Up” by Adam McKay

Probably the most “love it or hate it” movie of the year, Don’t Look Up is a hilarious disaster movie that despite not taking itself a little bit too seriously, it definitely raises important questions, and it talks more about the world today than we’d like to admit. The fact that it’s nominated for Best Picture is probably as absurd as the film itself, but its Best Original Screenplay and Editing nominations don’t sound too bad for me since it’s a pretty interesting film by the end of the day. ★★★

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“Drive My Car” by Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s

The Oscars are trying really hard to treat foreign films as equals, and Parasite winning Best Picture and Director two years ago was the major proof of that. This behavior has also been repeated with movies such as Drunk, Roma, Cold War, Amour, and this year’s Drive My Car, which was nominated for Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, and Foreign Film. Being without a doubt one of the best movies of the year, the fact Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s film has received such a claim is somewhat odd as this is a 3-hour introspective film about a theater director dealing with grief, identity, and loneliness. Either way, it’s great to see Drive My Car coming this far. ★★★★½

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“Dune” by Denis Villeneuve

As I said before, Dune is the Hollywood epic that we forgot it was possible to make. A story that embraces its time and grandeur to make you embark on a journey that has been carefully planned and executed to give the audience what cinema does best: provide us with an incredible experience. Many people didn’t like it because they thought it was too long or because it’s only half a story, but we can’t for granted what Denis Villeneuve did here, which is probably why many people are so upset he didn’t get nominated for Best Director. But at least it got other 9 deserving nominations. ★★★★

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“Encanto” by Byron Howard and Jared Bush

Nominated for Best Animated Film, Score, and Song, it kinds of make me upset that Encanto is actually doing better than Luca in this award season, which is a way superior film. Despite being visually striking, Encanto explores the same themes of self-acceptance through outcast characters in cute and funny ways, but never really delivers anything interesting with it. It’s a nice film for kids, but with Luca, Flee and Raya and the Last Dragon in the competition, I must say I’d choose any of the latter ones. ★★★½

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“The Eyes of Tammy Faye” by Michael Showalter

I absolutely love Jessica Chastain and I think she ought to have had an Oscar already but The Eyes of Tammy Faye is so bad and problematic that the fact she got a nomination for her performance doesn’t even make me excited. Having more powerful makeup than good acting, Michael Showalter’s film is another mediocre biopic with nothing to say with the exception that Tammy Faye despite being shady, she still was a good human being. ★★

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“Flee” by Jonas Poher Rasmussen

Making history for being the first film to be nominated for Best Animation, Foreign Film, and Documentary, Flee is a film that destroyed me a little bit for telling the story of a gay immigrant trying to flee his country of origin. It’s a very personal story that highlights situations we don’t really see on the news, making the film even more personal and touching. A must-watch. ★★★★

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“The Hand of God” by Paolo Sorrentino

The Hand of God is a great movie and even though there are better foreign films in 2021, Paolo Sorrentino’s latest really got me emotionally. Maybe it’s because it reminds me a little bit of Call Me by Your Name with some poetic realism, or maybe it’s because it’s a coming of age about a passive observer that discovers he wants to make films as a way to understand the world. Either way, The Hand of God deserves to be watched, especially since it’s on Netflix. ★★★★

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“House of Gucci” by Ridley Scott

Lady Gaga not receiving a Best Actress nomination for House of Gucci was probably the biggest snub of the year, especially because her acting is one of the few good things we can take from this messy Ridley Scott film, which was so cut in the editing room that is hard to say what’s left from Scott’s vision at all. Despite having a superb cast, makeup, and costume design, House of Gucci has everything to be a great film but ends up lacking rhythm, and purpose, resulting in a film that you are not really sure how such an interesting story became so boring and strange by the end. ★★½

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“King Richard” by Reinaldo Marcus Green

After Belfast, King Richard is probably the second biggest exaggeration of this upcoming Academy Awards, even though this is a far greater movie than the one by Kenneth Branagh. By telling the true story of how Venus and Serena Williams became the greatest tennis players in the world, King Richard makes a great job of transmitting an inspiring story without falling into the cliches of the genre. As someone who isn’t very fond of Will Smith, it’s nice seeing him try something different, which gave him a worthy Oscar nomination. But nominating it for Best Picture, or even Screenplay, is a little bit too much. ★★★½

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“Licorice Pizza” by Paul Thomas Anderson

Probably the biggest disappointment of the year for me, Licorice Pizza is a nice and stylish film full of charm, but it kind of didn’t do anything for me. I don’t really understand the purpose of this film and what Paul Thomas Anderson was aiming for, and the more I think about it the more I dislike it. Not that is a bad film, having incredible cinematography, production design, and some really funny moments. But this being a film by Paul Thomas Anderson, the fact that I thought it was just “nice” kind of bums me out. ★★★½

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“The Lost Daughter” by Maggie Gyllenhaal

Being one of the biggest surprises of the year for me, The Lost Daughter is an outstanding, stylish, and personal film about freedom and motherhood. I love how it made so many people angry and called Olivia Colman’s character crazy or hypocrite, but it’s still a film directed by a woman based on a book written by a woman. Every single actor in this film is superb and Maggie Gyllenhaal makes wonders in directing this, along with Dickon Hinchliffe’s score. It’s a shame it only got nominated for Actress, Supporting Actress, and Adapted Screenplay, for I wouldn’t mind a Best Picture, Director, and Score nomination. ★★★★½

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“Luca” by Enrico Casarosa

As I said before, Luca is one of my favorite movies of the year. Telling the story of two sea monsters who decide to infiltrate a city in Italy to participate in a competition in order to win a Vespa, Luca is a beautiful homage to friendship, summer, and Italy through a story that could be interpreted as a metaphor for immigrants, outcasts, and homosexuals in such a perfect, beautiful, and touching way that I must admit I’ve cried more in this than in Toy Story 3. ★★★★★

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“The Mitchells vs. the Machines” by Michael Rianda

A very fun and creative film that takes bold steps, The Mitchells vs. the Machines starts out fine but ends up becoming a little bit too much for my taste. By telling the story of a misunderstood kid who has difficulty in bonding with her dad, the movie takes a drastic turn when it’s suddenly a disaster movie filled with sci-fi elements about cellphones controlling the world. Despite its excesses and craziness, it’s a fun movie with a big heart in the end. ★★★

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“Nightmare Alley” by Guillermo Del Toro

I’m not usually a big fan of Del Toro but we have to take into consideration what he did with Nightmare Alley, a movie that even though isn’t a masterpiece, it’s made with a lot of love and care. With incredible performances by Bradley Cooper, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Rooney Mara, and Toni Colette, Guillermo Dal Toro’s remake of Edmund Goulding’s film embraces its weirdness and mystical theme to tell a noir story that is half set in the carnivalesque world of freaks and the 1940s American high society. Again, the Oscar is pushing a little too hard for nominating this for Best Picture, but the technical achievements are for sure pretty impressive. ★★★½

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“No Time to Die” by Cary Joji Fukunaga

There’s not much to say about the latest James Bond movie, a film that is so concerned with being special and good-looking that it forgot the most important part, which is to be good. Boring, extremely long, and with one of the worst villains of the franchise, No Time to Die is your typical Hollywood blockbuster that is rushed and badly planned but will eventually make millions of dollars so they can make more 007 movies. I guess the song nomination is okay, especially because is for Billie Elish, but I’m not so sure about Visual Effects. ★★½

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“Parallel Mothers” by Pedro Almodóvar

Being probably the most mysterious movie of 2021 for me, Parallel Mothers is a nice film, but far from the incredible works that Pedro Almodóvar has done in the past. With that said, why is it being nominated for Best Actress and Best Score? It kind of doesn’t make any sense, especially because it’s not nominated for Best Foreign Film. It’s nice that Penelope Cruz has a nomination, but if we have to consider Parallel Mothers for some categories, where’s Titane, Compartment No. 6, Great Freedom, A Hero, Memoria, and so on? ★★★

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“The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion

With nothing less than 12 Oscar nominations, Power of the Dog is the academy’s favorite movie of the year, with big chances of winning Best Picture and Director. Is it this good? Yes. Does it deserve it? That’s up to debate. I still prefer movies like Spencer, The Lost Daughter, and West Side Story, but if we’re talking about Oscar material, I’m fine with this movie and director receiving the major awards. If there’s a category that I would really like for it to win is Best Supporting Actress for Kirsten Dunst because she definitely deserves it! Or Benedict Cumberbatch, if Will Smith doesn’t steal it from him. ★★★★½

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“Raya and the Last Dragon” by Carlos López Estrada and Don Hall

Despite Luca being my favorite animation of the year, we can’t take for granted Raya and the Last Dragon. Not only because of the beautiful graphics but also for its extremely important and relevant story about how different nations should overcome their problems to unite their differences, and create not only a better world but actually save it from destruction. ★★★★½

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“Spencer” by Pablo Larraín

Being one of my top 5 favorite movies of 2021, Spencer probably got the nomination that least deserved. Sure, Kristen Stewart is hypnotizing as Princess Diana in a performance where she seems to be deconstructing herself, but Pablo Larrain’s film is so much more that, that Spencer is able to be an outstanding film on its own without Kirsten being the center of it all. It deserved at least a Best Picture, Director, Cinematography, Original Screenplay, Editing, Costume Design, and Original Score nomination, but I guess we have to swallow the Oscars being Oscars instead. By the way, Spencer was the most nominated and awarded film at the 2021 Papiro & Mint Awards. ★★★★½

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“Spider-Man: No Way Home” by Jon Watts

There had been some talk about the possibility of Spider-Man: No Way Home being nominated for Best Picture, which in my personal opinion, I’d be totally okay with it. Is it an amazing film? Not really. When Martin Scorcese said that Marvel movies are like theme parks, No Way Home is exactly that, especially for bringing back the old spider-men. It’s also the most mature Spider-Man movie from Marvel, which doesn’t mean it’s better or as good as Sam Raimi’s trilogy – quite the contrary. But if the Academy keeps nominating stupid movies like Belfast for Best Picture, it makes much more sense to nominate Spider-Man since every single Marvel fan loved it, and it was the most-watched movie at the theaters in 2021. Still, its only nomination was Visual Effects. ★★★½

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“Tick, Tick… Boom!” by Lin-Manuel Miranda

A movie that definitely isn’t for everybody but people should definitely give it a try is Tick, Tick… Boom!. Despite being an extremely indulgent musical based on Jonathan Larson’s life and play, Lin-Manuel Miranda makes pretty creative and interesting decisions in this, along with Andrew Garfield’s incredible performance to tell a story that connects with many people, which is trying to make it in the art industry. Sure, it’s very flamboyant in many ways, but still very truthful, touching, and inspiring, making Tick, Tick… Boom! better than many Oscar-nominated films. ★★★½

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“The Tragedy of Macbeth” by Joel Coen

Despite looking absolutely stunning, I have to say that The Tragedy of Macbeth wasn’t exactly my cup of tea – especially because I absolutely love Justin Kurzel’s version of the same play, which is way more creative, cinematic, and challenging. Coen’s film, however, relies way too much on its cinematography and production design, while he doesn’t seem to do anything special with the text and the images itself, resulting in a film-play hybrid that feels tiring and uninspiring. Not that is a bad film, but one that is more interesting to look at than to be fully immersed in. ★★★½

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“West Side Story” by Steven Spielberg

Another movie that I was completely surprised about was West Side Story. I’m not usually a huge fan of Steven Spielberg, never mind musicals or the original West Side Story. However, this new version is so fresh and beautifully made that it was impossible for me not to fall in love with it, making even in my list of one of the best movies of 2021, and receiving 8 deserving nominations at the Oscar. Mike Faist should have definitely been given one for Supporting Actor, but I’m happy if it wins anything at this upcoming edition. ★★★★½

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“The Worst Person in the World” by Joachim Trier

And last but not least, The Worst Person in the World ended up surprising most people for being nominated for the most deserving nomination of the year, which is Best Original Screenplay. I’m pretty sure Belfast will end up getting the final prize, but that doesn’t mean we have to ignore the fact that the Academy at least did something right here. Sure, Renate Reinsve and Anders Danielsen Lie should have been nominated too, but for Oscar standards, this is kind of a big deal. If you haven’t watched the movie yet, do it for yesterday. ★★★★½

If you wish to know what I would have nominated and even given an award to, check out the 2021 Papiro & Mint Awards.

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