Oscar Best Picture Nominees 2022 – Film Reviews – Deadline


Beginning with our review coverage all the way back to the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, through Cannes in July, Venice and Telluride in the late summer, and finally to late-breaking holiday-season releases that qualified just under the gun for Oscar eligibility, Deadline has been on the front lines of opinion for this year’s eventual 10 nominees for Oscar Best Picture.

Deadline

When CODA premiered at the first fully virtual Sundance more than a year ago, I watched it alone on my couch at home and still wanted to stand up and cheer for it. It was apparent the festival had a real winner, and proved so when it swept an unprecedented four top awards at Sundance and sold for $ 25 million to Apple. It has been an awards player ever since, so its Best Picture nomination today is richly deserved all this time after first discovering it, letting Deadline readers know a real winner was in our midst for 2021 even as this year’s Oscar race still had months to go .

With Cannes determined to stage its festival in-person, even moving to July, I found myself reviewing films for it instead at my home base in Los Angeles. The very first one was another movie I watched alone on my couch: an international publicist sent along one I had not heard of that had been selected for the Official Competition, Japan’s Drive My Car. As you can tell from the review I eventually wrote – it was the first to appear when the film finally had its world premiere on the Croisette – it was clearly another discovery that was something special, though I had no idea at the time it would be this special in gaining Best Picture, Director, Screenplay and International Feature Film nominations following its Best Picture triumphs from New York, Los Angeles and other critics groups. For Cannes, it represents another major victory following the Oscar success of its 2019 Palme d’Or winner Parasiteand it is well deserved.

Moving on to the Venice Film Festival, where our critics team covered every major entry, again I was covering it remotely from LA where I saw several films that earned Oscar nominations today, most notably Dune, which earned 10 nominations including Best Picture and proved an epic of genuine weight and wonder from director Denis Villeneuve. My colleague Todd McCarthy took on Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog, also a Venice premiere, and found much of the same things to admire as apparently the Academy has in delivering it a leading 12 nominations including Best Picture.

In Telluride, where Todd and I were both on the ground, we delivered the first word review-wise on two more movies that found their way into the Best Picture race. Todd highly praised King Richard and Will Smith’s title performance, while I found a reason to call Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast “No doubt the year’s best picture.” Both films further cement Telluride as a must-stop on the festival circuit in terms of creating Oscar buzz (Power of the Dog was also there).

Finally, in the post-festival world there are always promising films held back until December. I was happy to see a couple of powerful remakes that in some ways even topped the originals with both West Side Story and Nightmare Alleyas well as Netflix’s all-star satire Don’t Look Up which also carried a strong message on climate change. And then the great Paul Thomas Anderson came up with what I called perhaps his best film ever in Licorice Pizza, and a movie that in the end topped my list of this year’s Best Films that I had reviewed on Deadline in 2021.

It’s a strong year, and the list of 10 nominated films were a worthy bunch, just as we were the first to tell you.

Here they are:

Belfast

Belfast
Focus Features

Belfast

Focus Features
A TKBC Production
Producers: Laura Berwick, Kenneth Branagh, Becca Kovacik and Tamar Thomas
Release: Venice Film Festival; US theaters November 12, 2021

Hammond writes: “This is a film about home and family and our earliest memories, and what all means filtered through a prism half a century later.”

Read full review here.

CODA

“CODA”
Apple Original Films

CODA

Apple Original Films
A Vendôme Pictures / Pathé in association with Apple Original Films Production
Producers: Philippe Rousselet, Fabrice Gianfermi and Patrick Wachsberger
Release: Sundance Film Festival; US theaters August 13, 2021 (day-and-date with streaming)

Hammond writes: “It hits you right in the heart, not only as a moving story of what it means to be in a family, but also one about becoming your own person and following a dream.”

Read full review here.

Don't Look Up

“Don’t Look Up”
Netflix

Don’t Look Up

Netflix
A Netflix / Hyperobject Industries Production
Producers: Adam McKay and Kevin Messick
Release: US theaters December 10, 2021; streaming December 24

Hammond writes: [Adam] McKay turns his satire into a kind of Mad Mad Mad Mad World approach in showing our complete ignorance in a world that now exists in 24-hour news cycles and dim-brained Twitter commentary.

Read full review here.

Drive My Car

“Drive My Car”
Sideshow; Janus Films

Drive My Car

Sideshow and Janus Films
A C&I Entertainment / Culture Entertainment / Bitters End Production
Producer: Teruhisa Yamamoto
Release: Cannes Film Festival; US theaters November 24, 2021

Hammond writes: With sharp insights on love, loss, marriage, grief, truths on stage and off, and what we may – or may not – know about those closest to us, Drive My Car takes its time to explore all its themes.

Read full review here.

Dune

“Dune”
Warner Bros.

Dune

Warner Bros.
A Legendary Pictures Production
Producers: Mary Parent, Denis Villeneuve and Cale Boyter
Release: Venice Film Festival; US theaters October 21, 2021 (day-and-date with streaming)

Hammond writes: [Denis] Villeneuve has gone faithfully, with co-writers Jon Spaiths and Eric Roth, to the heart and soul of Herbert’s vision, focusing on the human element of the futuristic story… when a crisis of ecology and the environment sparks a massive turf war between two families .

Read full review here.

King Richard

“King Richard”
Warner Bros.

King Richard

Warner Bros.
A Star Thrower Entertainment / Westbrook Production
Producers: Tim White, Trevor White and Will Smith
Release: Telluride Film Festival; US theaters November 19, 2021 (day-and-date with streaming)

McCarthy writes: Director Reinaldo Marcus Green keeps a firm hand on the tone, gliding smoothly from warm family interludes to tense scenes of hometown confrontations, professional disputes and tennis action. To be sure, this is [Will] Smith’s show from beginning to end…

Read full review here.

Licorice Pizza

“Licorice Pizza”
MGM / United Artists Releasing

Licorice Pizza

MGM / United Artists Releasing
A Ghoulardi Film Company Production
Producers: Sara Murphy, Adam Somner and Paul Thomas Anderson
Release: US theaters November 26, 2021

Hammond writes: One of the few American auteurs who can do just about anything he chooses, Paul Thomas Anderson again takes us in new directions with Licorice Pizza, perhaps his lightest, most engaging and – dare we say it? – accessible movie to date.

Read full review here.

Nightmare Alley

“Nightmare Alley”
Searchlight Pictures

Nightmare Alley

Searchlight
A Double Dare You Production
Producers: Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale and Bradley Cooper
Release: US theatrical December 16, 2021; streaming February 1

Hammond writes: Perhaps for the times in which we currently live – where a huckster-style con man and grifter can become president and where as a society we seem to be drifting into darker alleys every day – now is the time for another stab at this material. And [Guillermo] del Toro, whose mantra is trying to decide if we shall be monsters or humans, is probably the perfect person to bring it on.

Read full review here.

The Power of the Dog

“The Power Of The Dog”
Kirsty Griffin / Netflix

The Power of the Dog

Netflix
A See-Saw Films / Bad Girl Creek / Max Films in association with Brightstar / The New Zealand Film Commission / Cross City Films / BBC Film Production
Producers: Jane Campion, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Iain Canning and Roger Frappier
Release: Venice Film Festival; US theatrical November 17, 2021; streaming December 1

McCarthy writes: This is a serious, ambitious, living and breathing work, a film that sticks in the mind, ignites a mix of feelings that you can stew about for days and makes you want to examine it in the light from different angles.

Read full review here.

West Side Story

West Side Story
Niko Tavernise / 20th Century Studios

West Side Story

Disney
A 20th Century Studios Production
Producers: Steven Spielberg and Kristie Macosko Krieger
Release: US release December 9, 2021

Hammond writes: West Side Story not only stands as a towering entertainment and musical masterpiece but one with real gravitas and urgency for today, even if Spielberg and company have not changed the ’50s era in which it always has been set.

Read full review here.





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