It’s been a weird year for the movies. With the industry creeping out of the pandemic-era strategy of streaming exclusives and people filling up movie theatres again (most notably for Spider-Man: No Way Home), everyone’s wondering if Hollywood can shake off the cobwebs. To tell the truth, I found this year’s nominees comfortingly predictable. One of the best picture nominations is black and white, one of the animated nominations is Pixar, and Timothée Chalamet is part of the cast of a best picture nominee – for the fifth (5th!!) time. The Academy Awards really said, “We are going to carry on doing what we’ve been doing for 94 years” – insane choices and all. That said, here’s a few of my highlights from the day’s events.  

Being the Ricardos, you will never be famous

I am a hater first. Of all the movies I’ve watched over the past year that gained some Oscar buzz, there aren’t many I loathed more than Being The Ricardos. It had a weird, drab color palette and no heart in it. Untrustworthy. Why does Aaron Sorkin love America so much? What does he know that we don’t? I felt EVERY excruciating 132 (!!!) minute of that movie in a bad way. My distaste turned to alarm when Being The Ricardos started getting nominations for awards. WORSE, it actually won a few! The Golden Globes was a dark day for me. To be clear, I do not hate the individuals involved in this work – I enjoy The Newsroom as much as the next Dev Patel fan, and Nicole Kidman is an Australian-American treasure. It’s just that awarding this film makes me ill. Luckily, it got off with just three nominations, all for acting. I can live with this. I will have to.

Timoteo Chalamezzo (Or, The Hand of God)

Some time last year, I watched the incredible Italian film The Hand of God. It carried me through my entire emotional range, making me laugh, cry, and laugh again. It was also very important in introducing me to the film’s star, Filippo Scotti. Let me tell you, I am very truly, terribly entranced with this boy. I do not stand a chance against floppy curly hair. Though my relationship with the Academy voting body is troubled, I am thankful that due to The Hand of God’s nomination, I may get a chance to see Filippo Scotti LIVE on television. I envision his curls looking the perfect state of manicured messiness. It’ll be glorious.

"Where the hell have you been, loca?!?" Getting nominated for an Academy Award <3

Kristen Jaymes Stewart was nominated for Best Actress! For Spencer! A film that I immensely enjoyed. It was nothing at all like I was expecting, but I am so glad it exists. Impeccable Jonny Greenwood score. Costumes to die for. Kind of chaotic, tremendously ahistorical, but in the best way. Stewart gave an incredible performance as Diana falling apart and coming back together, approaching the role with sensitivity but also drama! Come on! Everything! I’m not sure if she’ll go all the way to win, but honestly in this case, it’s an honoUr just to be nominated.

Lost in the sauce AND in the game

There go the Oscars again, shying away from films that are too new, too radical – movies that they don’t understand yet. Zola was adapted from a twitter thread, pushing the bounds of adaptation by moving a story from a wholly modern medium to a classic one. Such a radical act could’ve been fumbled in so many ways but Zola delivered x1000000. Yet it was left out of all categories. Nominating this film would’ve meant recognizing and highlighting the work of talented Black writer/director Janicza Bravo, as well as a majority female crew. Not only that, but I believe Zola is a film by the internet, for the internet. I’ve never seen a movie that so thoroughly understands what it means to navigate our digital world and integrate that so seamlessly into its formal elements. Zola will be talked about in the future as the first of something new and exciting for cinema, and I think the Academy missed out on history by not giving the film a nod.

Flee for three! Flee for three!

Flee is an animated documentary about an Afghan refugee who now resides in Denmark. The film was nominated for Best Documentary, Best Animated Feature and Best International Feature. Heavy on the international – there was a part that showed a soap opera in Spanish, dubbed in Russian, narrated in Danish, all while I was watching with English subtitles. I don’t have much to say except Flee is brilliant work, and I think it’s pretty rad that it did so well.

House of Gucci? House of nucci.

And so ends Lady Gaga’s incredible and unforgettable Oscar campaign. She must be commended for running a formidable race and most importantly, keeping us entertained. Love her for that. (Honestly, this is pretty well-timed because Robert Pattinson, also notorious for saying insane things in interviews, is kicking off his press for The Batman. Having both of them trending at the same time surely would’ve been too much for my Twitter followers.) It’s almost a pity that she missed out on a nomination, but in our heart of hearts, I think we all knew where this was going, especially in a year bursting with talent from female leads. If House of Gucci was just the first part where Lady Gaga runs around with Adam Driver falling in love, without the inclusion of *that man*, maybe things would’ve been different. Regardless, I have no doubt Lady Gaga will ride again; there are amazing roles in her future, and I look forward to all the new movies (and subsequent crazy press tours) ahead.

Thumbnail image "Oscar Statue" by Edu! licensed under the Creative CommonsCC0 1.0.