EJ Moreno looks at a selection of films the Academy Awards needs to nominate…
Last year, the Academy Awards brought in some of its lowest ratings, though improving over the year prior. While the state of the prestige Oscars isn’t dependent on viewership, it’s a sign that interest in the once hotly anticipated event is at an all-time low.
For many, it’s an overall disinterest in the film’s nominated and the eventual winners the Academy picks. The voters have long been dogged for their picks, usually receiving critiques of being out of touch or too snobbish to nominate fan-favorite projects.
While this year certainly sees trends we usually see at the Oscars, there’s a chance to nominate films from 2022 that brought fans, critics, and voters together through the power of cinema. The previous edition saw films from all over the world, all different genres, and every studio makes its mark, and some will even cement themselves as defining moments in cinema. These are the type of projects the Academy Award needs to nominate and eventually award if they want any chance of surviving the next generation.
Now, this isn’t a call for the Academy voters to board whatever Gen Z hype train is trendy or cater to whatever makes the most money; but there need to be some projects nominated that people went to see. One of the frontrunners for this year’s upcoming awards is The Fabelmans, a new Steven Spielberg that floundered at the box office and failed to make a mainstream splash. Other awards contenders like Amsterdam, Tár, and She Said also had unimpressive theatrical runs.
Money doesn’t equate to quality, and films like The Fabelmans or Tár earned their place. We’d typically see Oscar voters fawn over these projects, most of which are valid choices. But it’s time for some popular options to earn their spot and not just get shoved in a failed award category.
For this list, we’ll look at seven movies from 2022 that deserve a shot at Best Picture. These picks will range in genre, style, and popularity but will bring more people to see the essential Academy Awards.
Be sure to share your picks for the 95th Academy Awards, and now join us to look at potential Oscar gold.
If a current filmmaker knows how to impress the Academy Awards, it’s Jordan Peele. The filmmaker stormed the scene with his debut film Get Out, making him an instant fan-favorite and earning him a win for Best Original Screenplay. While Nope doesn’t hit the social commentary of his debut, it’s a rare great movie about the art of making movies.
Nope is a genre-bending romp that is a throwback to classic Steven Spielberg. It has a bit of Jaws and a whole lot of Close Encounters, but it still feels wholly original. Peele feels like he level-upped as a filmmaker with this piece, making Nope one of the more memorable outings of the year. It also has some awards momentum as one of the film’s stars, Keke Palmer, won Best Supporting Actress at the 2022 New York Film Critics Circle awards.
Nope feels like the type of rare genre film the Academy Awards could actually like, giving it an edge over its peers.
6. The Batman
A minor key to getting a comic book movie nominated at the Oscars is to set it in Wakanda or Gotham. Black Panther and several Batman-themed movies have succeeded at the Academy Awards. Just a few years ago, we saw Joaquin Phoenix take home the Best Actor award for his work in Joker. And now, we saw The Batman attempt another prestige DC entry.
Matt Reeves’s nearly three-hour Batman movie impressed the box office while also delighting hardcore fans and critics. The Batman felt like a fresh new take, giving a more David Fincher’s Se7en-like quality and making it feel more elevated. Reeve’s direction was solid, and the film could easily dominate some technical categories. It was a rare perfect storm for a film franchise many feels has been done to death.
Comic book movies are an easy way to ensure fan engagement, and a nomination or win for The Batman won’t come off as silly as those fan-voted awards we saw this year.
5. Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Getting a sequel nominated for an Oscar isn’t an easy task. It’s why Black Panther: Wakanda Forever isn’t on this, despite the original getting plenty of nominations. But something about Rian Johnson’s Knives Out sequels feels like it could break the stigma and have a run at the Academy Awards.
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery is hilariously relevant, almost painfully so, when you think about how close Edward Norton’s character is to the current famous Twitter owner. Sharp social commentaries like this have played well, and the script doesn’t just rely on clever pop culture jokes to be funny. The film is well-written, sleekly directed, and earnestly a needed moment for comedy movies in Hollywood.
Much like Peele, Rian Johnson plays well to the awards crowd and comes with a fan-favorite good film; this is the moment to give Glass Onion love.
If you’ve seen RRR, you know it’s a lot of a movie, a non-stop thrill ride from Indian filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli. If you haven’t had the chance to see this three-hour epic, stop what you are doing and seek this out. RRR is an easy choice for any cinema lover as one of the most impactful films of the year. Also, there are action scenes with tigers and dance numbers!
Indian movies are familiar with the Academy Awards; dating back to 1957 with Mother India, the country has had incredible selections made, or films featuring the community have a spotlight. None have deserved it more than RRR, which feels like a victory lap for the country’s filmmaking community. Everything you love about cinema, specifically Indian cinema, is encapsulated here.
RRR could undoubtedly be a lock for Best International Film at the Academy Awards, but it should transcend any language barrier and become a Best Picture.
Elvis is one of those rare movies that almost everyone could love. Everything on display here works for an overall enjoyable experience, from the music background to the explosive filmmaking. Is it a bit too messy and bold? Yes, but that’s why we love Baz Luhrmann in the first place.
As a film, Elvis had to grow on me. While Tom Hanks isn’t at his strongest, this film is all about Elvis himself, and Austin Butler eats it up. It’s not perfect, but the good certainly outweighs the bad. You also can’t deny the reports of industry screenings of the film having insane reactions, with people dancing in the aisles throughout the film. We could see another biopic juggernaut, but at least people like this one.
Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis could see a repeat of his masterful Moulin Rouge, which received eight nominations and two wins. As we tire of these movies winning too many Oscars, it’s only fair to award the good ones.
2. Everything Everywhere All At Once
There’s something about the movies from A24 that doesn’t always translate to Academy Award love. There are some wins, but not as many as Film Twitter or cult film fans would love. Thankfully, Everything Everywhere All At Once exists and can push the studio to new heights, like a future Best Picture winner.
There have been a growing number of detractors, with some valid criticism against the over-the-top action drama. Yet, it feels undeniable that Everything Everywhere All At Once deserves its place in the awards race. The acting is top-tier, with Ke Huy Quan already taking home wins around the critic award circuit. Let’s not forget the fantastic work of Michelle Yeoh, Stephanie Hsu, and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The Daniels made an important film, and it’s about time to see a weird genre moment make an actual splash at the Oscars again.
1. Top Gun: Maverick
Top Gun: Maverick is a force. Not only is it one of the best sequels in decades, but it’s a masterful piece of filmmaking from start to finish. It’s fair to say that no blockbuster has deserved a shot at the Best Picture mantle more than this film. And for once, it’s a film almost everyone loves. Honestly, this is how the Academy Awards gains some mainstream love.
Looking at Top Gun: Maverick from all angles, it’s easily a top contender for any award show and voting body. There’s a mass appeal; it’s a familiar IP starring one of the last remaining movie stars. It’s also a well-crafted and surprisingly heartfelt movie, which is hard to nail in an action-filled romp like this. Don’t be surprised to see this dominate every category at the show, including an out-of-nowhere Tom Cruise nomination.
What I’m trying to say is Top Gun: Maverick could be the savior to the box office and a chance at the Oscars to feel as relevant as ever.
What film do you want to see make it to the 95th Academy Awards? Let us know by reaching out to our social channels @FlickeringMyth…