The Oscar nominations were announced today, and as usual, there are nominees that both surprised and confused me. Here’s a rundown of some of the things I noticed today.
LOSER: Denis Villeneuve for “Dune”
This was one of the biggest surprises to me since “Dune” was nominated for a total of 10 awards including Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, Cinematography, Editing, etc. Villeneuve wrestled a dense and revered science fiction novel and created a nuanced and deep cinematic world which is ripe to explore in the second part of the film due out in late 2023.
The little film from Sundance and Apple TV landed three nominations including Best Picture, Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur, and Adapted Screenplay. Kotsur is only the second deaf actor to be nominated. We reviewed this film when it was first released on Apple TV, and we can’t recommend it enough. There hasn’t been a lot of promotion for the film which is a shame. The film is heartfelt and definitely worth checking out.
Check out episode 117- CODA now: https://stolendroids.com/coda/
LOSER: “Pig,” But Especially Nicolas Cage
I feel like the Academy should reward Nicolas Cage when he does good movies so he’ll make them more often. We’re big Cage fans at Movies that Make Us – we dedicated a whole month to the man. You can hear our discussion about Pig in our archives. Cage gives his most honest and personal performance in years and I can think of few actors that could have created such a layered and deep character.
Check out episode 127 – Pig now:https://stolendroids.com/pig/
WINNER: Kristen Stewart
I didn’t get a chance to see “Spencer” and I’m not a huge Kristen Stewart fan personally. We did just review her work in “Zathura” which you can check out in the archives. This was a polarizing film that people either loved or hated. I have to give her credit for taking on Princess Diana, and she’s definitely a winner here.
LOSER: “The Last Duel,” But Especially Jodie Comer
On paper, a Ridley Scott directed historical film would be Oscar bait the Academy wouldn’t be able to refuse, but “The Last Duel” was shut out this year. Val and I were not fans of the film, but I was surprised that Jodie Comer wasn’t nominated. She may be my favorite breakout star after this performance and her work in “Free Guy.”
WINNER: Jesse Plemons
I’ve been a Jesse Plemons fan since his work as Todd Alquist in “Breaking Bad.” He’s a reliable character actor that works in big budget films like “The Jungle Cruise” and smaller films like “The Power of the Dog.”
LOSER: “Spider-Man: No Way Home”
People often complain that the Oscars don’t honor films that are popular and do well at the box office. This is typically true, and the lack of major nominations for Spidey doesn’t lessen the film. It’s a cultural milestone and Disney/Marvel are laughing all the way to the bank. It didn’t surprise me that it didn’t get a major nomination, and it will be tough to win Best Visual Effects against “Dune.”
WINNER: Steven Spielberg
Val’s good friend Steven just nabbed his 11th Best Picture nomination as producer on the “West Side Story” and with that, he moves even further ahead of Scott Rudin, who has 9, and the director’s longtime producing partner Kathleen Kennedy, who has 8. He also becomes only the fourth director to be nominated for 8 Oscars and joins the ranks of Billy Wilder, Martin Scorsese, and William Wyler. If he wins this year, he’ll join Wyler, Frank Capra, and John Ford as the only filmmakers to take home three Oscars for Best Director. He also is the first filmmaker to be nominated in SIX different decades. The man is a true legend.
Those are some of what I noticed – what nominations stood out to you? We’d love to hear your feedback and we’ll of course be recording our Oscar special soon where we’ll go into all this and more.