The Academy recently made its nominations for the Oscar Awards. Here are my favorite movies from 2022.
This is Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical film about his childhood and introduction to the cinema. With charming performances, “The Fablemans” has a Lifetime movie vibe. Excellent set design and cinematography tap the landscapes and brightly colored optimism of the fifties. The family’s small everyday moments capture the drama of a tight-knit household. Moving performances by Michelle Williams and Judd Hirsch highlight the movie, with both Oscar-nominated Williams in the lead actress category and Hirsch in supporting. Spielberg’s directing also gets an Oscar nod.
Avatar: The Way of Water
Making quite the box office splash at $2 billion, “Avatar: The Way of Water” is a stunning study in technical and visual effects. Even if the story is a little manufactured, it’s the breathtaking details that makes the movie stand out. Its technical brilliance is no small achievement. Immersive visuals keep you focused on the enchanting world of Pandora until the ending credits. The film runs over three hours, but moviegoers don’t seem to mind. The epic is directed by James Cameron, who gave us “Titanic.” Cameron didn’t get an Oscar nomination, but the visual effects team did.
Austin Butler, the endearing towhead from Nickelodeon, plays Elvis in the role of a lifetime and overachieves. Director Baz Luhrmann imprints the story in a brash, overwhelming way reminiscent of his other films like “Moulin Rouge!” It’s a biographical portrait of the King and his rise and fall from stardom. Shout out to the Oscar-nominated makeup team for their Elvis transformation. Tom Hanks plays Colonel Parker, the manipulating manager, or rather, Tom Hanks plays Tom Hanks. The blended singing voices of Butler and Elvis created a memorable soundtrack.
All At Once
Having received 11 Academy Award nominations, this sleeper hit woke the Oscar voters. “Everything Everywhere All At Once” shatters the standard idea of genres and inspires a different film direction. Michelle Yeoh showcases her range by portraying three different versions of her character Evelyn Wang. Ke Huy Quan and Stephanie Hsu join Yeoh with scintillating performances. Oscar-nominated directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (the Daniels) have turned classic filmmaking upside down.
“To Leslie” only earned $27,000 at the box office. The film’s simplicity turns a cliched “alcoholic” movie into a heart-rendering portrait of Leslie. Andrea Riseborough plays the lead character, who won the lottery six years ago, only to squander the money and live in squalor. Hitting rock bottom prompts Leslie to return to her hometown, but family and friends shun her. While this seems like an Oscar-bait redemption arc, she’s not twelve-stepping her way into sobriety but quietly reflecting on her life. After realizing the emotional damage she’s caused, particularly to her son, Leslie starts her journey to sobriety. Brilliantly acted by Riseborough, who should win an Oscar and every other award. She’s that good.
This under-the-radar film is another Oscar-nominated movie for best picture directed by Sarah Polley. “Women Talking” is based on the novel “Women Talking” (2018) by Canadian writer Miriam Toews. Toews’ story is based on true events in a remote Mennonite community in Bolivia, where over a hundred girls and women are raped in their sleep. While the men are away, the Mennonite women gather to discuss their trauma and how to confront their rapists. Compelling dialogue and thoughtful direction are the film’s hallmarks. The disturbing and raw content is mitigated by solid performances by Claire Foy, Jessie Buckley, Michelle McLeod, Kate Halle and Judith Ivey.
Cate Blanchett plays Lydia Tár, the maestro and problem child of the Berlin Philharmonic. Blanchett plays an all-in, demanding and emotionally exhausted conductor who is starting to see the consequences of her behavior. Thanks to Cate Blanchett’s thunderous performance and Todd Field’s unwavering direction, both are nominated for best actress and director, respectively. “Tár” also received a best picture nod, and the movie delivers with never-ending intensity. Lydia is a fictional character, but you wouldn’t know it with the abundant amount of real facts (composers, songs and orchestras) which blend with the fictional story.
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The 7 best movies of 2022 – The Clarion
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