By Tyler White | Reporter
With the announcement of the Academy Award nominations on Tuesday, it’s time to look back on what the big screen had to offer in 2022. From critically acclaimed films to outstanding actors, there was no shortage of nominees that deserved the spotlight. Here are some highlights and predictions from this year’s Oscar nominations.
This year’s Best Picture pool is stacked with captivating stories and emotional performances. The intense reality of World War I and its brutal toll on those fighting is eloquently captured in “All Quiet on the Western Front.” Musical endeavors are beautifully narrated, from the story of composer-conductor Lydia Tár in “Tár” to the chaotic journey in “Elvis.”
The return of a couple of franchises made their mark as nominees. “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” dominated the box office. Along with films like “The Fabelmans,” “Triangle of Sadness,” “The Banshees of Inisherin” and “Women Talking,” the nominees for Best Picture are outstanding in their own ways.
However, one film in particular managed to rise above the rest. With 11 nominations, the unique and powerful story found within “Everything Everywhere All At Once” has made a great impression in the nomination pool. While the other films on this list are well deserving of the nomination, I truly think the impressive cinematography, captivating performances and wonderfully written movie will take home the award.
Actor in a Leading Role
Among the impressive performances from Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), Paul Mescal (“Aftersun”) and Bill Nighy (“Living”) lie two actors who took their roles to the next step. Brendan Fraser’s portrayal of an obese teacher, Charlie, attempting to reconnect with his daughter is nothing short of chilling. Full of pure emotion, Fraser brings you into the life of Charlie, feeling all of the pain and love expressed throughout “The Whale,” inviting audiences into the story.
Likewise, Austin Butler’s performance of Elvis Presley in “Elvis” is truly impressive. Receiving acclaim from critics and the Presley family, Butler’s ability to embody the character and personality of the icon was on perfect display throughout the film, giving him a much deserved nomination.
Actress in a Leading Role
While the acting roles of Cate Blanchett (“Tár”), Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) were acclaimed among movie critics, I want to highlight two nominations in particular. Although I haven’t seen the film yet, I think it’s important to discuss the performance of Andrea Riseborough in “To Leslie.”
This American drama directed by Michael Morris was premiered at South by Southwest in early 2022 and the film garnered mass acclaim as a result of Riseborough’s phenomenal acting. Her role as Leslie Rowland, a single mother who falls victim to alcoholism after spending all of her lottery money, was so impactful that she was able to receive a nod despite performing in a lesser known film.
Michelle Yeoh’s outstanding performance in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” must be noted. Yeoh’s ability to embrace the confusion of the film and provide great character development in this thrilling film is well deserving of a nomination.
Alongside these major awards are some categories and nominations that should be highlighted. Whether it’s a supporting role, the detail in the costume designs or the atmosphere created by a musical score, these nominees are ones to look out for when the Oscars awards are announced.
Ke Huy Quan’s performance in “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is absolutely stunning. Nominated for Actor in a Supporting Role, Quan’s embodiment of multiple personalities within the film is perfectly executed. With the confusing multiple-reality narrative of the film, his ability to distinguish between the various characters of Waymond Wang is impressive and displays his versatility wonderfully.
Similarly, Stephanie Hsu’s portrayal of Joy Wang in the movie is equally deserving of Actress in a Supporting Role. The duality of her performance as the daughter while simultaneously being the antagonist of the film is superb. Without these two, the film wouldn’t be nearly as strong as it is.
While I haven’t seen many of the films nominated for Animated Feature Film, I do want to point out one in particular. “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” quite honestly could have been nominated for Best Picture and I would have agreed. From the stunning animation to the powerful screenwriting and script, “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” is an outstanding film that is sure to appeal to kids and adults alike. With one of the best portrayals of an antagonist I’ve seen in years and amazing integration of fairytale characters in the movie, I could definitely see this taking that animation award home.
After seeing “Elvis,” one thing that stuck out to me was the unique cinematography style of the film. The chaotic, fast-paced skill of cinematographer Mandy Walker really captured the hectic lifestyle of Elvis Presley at his peak, giving an almost hazy, fever-dream-like state to the scenes. While the interesting style may not appeal to everyone, it gives the film a new level of depth by adding emotion and story within the cinematography itself. The ability of this style to add depth to the scenes and give a sense of urgency makes it a standout nominee in the Cinematography category.
Although it was snubbed of a Best Picture nomination, the costume design throughout “Babylon” is breathtaking. Mary Zophres’ pure talent is on display as the costumes in the film perfectly embody the glitz and the glamor of early Hollywood. From the seductive to the prestigious, the costume design in “Babylon” plays into the narrative perfectly and adds a beautifully created aesthetic for the film, making it a fantastic nominee for the Costume Design category.
Amidst the more classical compositional scores of Carter Burwell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and John Williams (“The Fabelmans”) lies a rather unique approach to musical score. Son Lux, an experimental group, composed the score for “Everything Everywhere All At Once.” Their chaotic fusion of classical, symphonic elements with their traditional post-rock and electronica gives an interesting take on score. Nonetheless, this unorthodox style fits the film seamlessly and makes it a highlight in Music (Original Score).
The 95th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will take place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, Mar. 12. All of the categories and nominations can be found on the Oscars website. You can find out how to stream the awards show on their website.