My predictions are at the bottom of this post, but this year, frontrunners have not emerged, so this may be an enormous year for surprises. This is very exciting, I think, but also means that my predictions probably suck. This year's final five nominees:
Bardo: Falsa Crónica de Unas Cuantas Verdades
(Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths)
- Cinematography: Darius Khondji (Evita)
Cast: Daniel Giménez Cacho, Griselda Siciliani, Ximena Lamadrid, Íker Sánchez Solano, Andrés Almeida, Francisco Rubio
I loved this movie, and although it only got this one Oscar nomination, it probably deserved many more. It's a surrealist, epic, ambitious sort of thing that explores Mexican history, colonialism, grief, parenting, art, money, and almost everything under the sun. For some audiences, these things didn't all work together very well, for me this worked very very well and I was enraptured by this movie from start to finish. It's on Netflix, by the way, but it deserved to be seen on a large screen. The production design is absolutely incredible, and Darius Khondji absolutely deserves his cinematography nomination. As I say, the movie's not for everyone, but I really loved it.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
- Cinematography: Roger Deakins (1917, Blade Runner 2049, Sicario, Unbroken, Prisoners, Skyfall, True Grit, The Reader, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, No Country for Old Men, The Man Who Wasn't There, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Kundun, Fargo, The Shawshank Redemption)
Cast: Olivia Colman, Micheal Ward, Tom Brooke, Toby Jones, Colin Firth, Tanya Moodie, Hannah Onslow, Crystal Clarke, Monica Dolan
I loved this movie too, and maybe we should all sense a pattern: movies that are gorgeously shot are usually going to be rated well on my end. I love it when a movie does beautiful things with light and camera work. This one was, of course, shot by Roger Deakins, so we all know to expect breathtaking visuals. This movie was better than that, though. It also boasts a brilliant performance (another in a line of brilliant performances) by Olivia Colman, and I thought it also had an excellent screenplay. I found this heartfelt and moving, and it was mostly unsentimental in its approach to British nationalism (by which I mean white supremacy), aging, mental illness, and grief. Tanya Moodie is also excellent in Empire of Light, and I enjoyed this movie a lot.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
- Costume Design: Jenny Beavan (Cruella, Mad Max: Fury Road, The King's Speech, Gosford Park, Anna and the King, Sense and Sensibility, The Remains of the Day, Howards End, Maurice, A Room with a View, The Bostonians)
Cast: Lesley Manville, Ellen Thomas, Isabelle Huppert, Jason Isaacs, Lambert Wilson, Alba Baptista, Lucas Bravo, Rose Williams, Anna Chancellor
I confess to having watched the Angela Lansbury–Omar Sharif–Diana Rigg version of this, titled Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris, many many times as a young person, so I was pleasantly surprised to find they were remaking it, and even more pleased to find that they remade it so well. This film is a charming little bit of fluff, and I enjoyed it thoroughly. The costumes are, of course, gorgeous. I love Jenny Beavan and feel devoted to her because she worked with Merchant–Ivory for so long in all of those wonderful 80s and 90s films. Everyone is great in this, and the whole thing is enjoyable. This is also modified from the Angela Lansbury version – they shifted the end, and it makes the entire thing cuter. As I say, it is a bit of fluff, but I had a good time.
- Song: Chandrabose & M.M. Keeravaani
Cast: NTR, Ram Charan Teja, Ajay Devgn, Alia Bhatt, Olivia Morris, Shriya Saran, Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody
This was impossible not to like. I am not sure why I phrase it like this, except that this movie is absurd and insane and a completely and totally predictable melodrama musical. I liked most of it, although it has an underlying Hindu nationalism that it is selling, it seems to me. In any case, its stars are attractive and clever, the songs are catchy and fun, the dancing is great, and the whole thing is fun. The outrageousness of all of the giant setpieces in this movie make for wonderful viewing. It's really nuts and that's great. Maybe this will win original song? For a while, certain Oscar watchers had been predicting that RRR would be in the spot that All Quiet on the Western Front is currently in – that it would grab a whole bunch of nominations and would finally be the crossover Bollywood hit that the Academy would embrace. Those hopes/predictions did not materialize, but this song, "Naatu Naatu", definitely deserves its nomination, and perhaps Bollywood's recognition by the Academy will come at some point.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: #33 out of 68
- Song: Dianne Warren (Four Good Days, The Life Ahead, Breakthrough, RBG, Marshall, The Hunting Ground, Beyond the Lights, Pearl Harbor, Music of the Heart, Armageddon, Con Air, Up Close & Personal, Mannequin)
Cast: Eva Longoria, Jennifer Hudson, Marcia Gay Harden, Cara Delevigne, Margharita Buy, Anne Watanabe, Leonor Varela, Jacqueline Fernandez, Brandon Win, Nate' Jones, Alex Bentley
This is the worst movie I saw this year. The Academy's music branch has been doing this bizarre thing where they nominated a Diane Warren song in a movie no one has heard of or seen every single year. They've literally done this 8 times in the last 10 years. It's madness! The movies are uniformly awful, and then, of course, Dianne Warren doesn't win the Oscar anyway. What is this about? Meanwhile, the Academy is wringing its hands over Andrea Riseborough scoring a nomination. Let's take a look at the music branch's shady behavior, y'all. Anyway, Tell It like a Woman is a complete waste of time, and honestly I have no idea what the title means. "Tell it"? Is this an injunction for us all to do something? This is an anthology movie, and there is one good short in it and two fine shorts, but mostly this is just painful. And the Dianne Warren song? It's nonsense! Give yourself some applause, you deserve it. Girl, what? The song is basically "Treat yourself".
Picture: Everything Everywhere All at Once (天馬行空)
Director: Everything Everywhere All at Once (天馬行空)
Actor: The Whale
Actress: Everything Everywhere All at Once (天馬行空)
Original Screenplay: Everything Everywhere All at Once (天馬行空)
Supporting Actor: Everything Everywhere All at Once (天馬行空)
Supporting Actress: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Film Editing: Top Gun: Maverick
International Picture: Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Cinematography: Im Westen Nichts Neues (All Quiet on the Western Front)
Production Design: Elvis
Costume Design: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Sound: Top Gun: Maverick
Visual Effects: Top Gun: Maverick
Animated Feature: Pinocchio
Animated Short: My Year of Dicks
Make-up & Hairstyling: The Whale
Song: Top Gun: Maverick
I'd love it if you checked out my new book Love Is Love Is Love – out March 24!