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2022 Oscar Snubs:

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Last week, we finally got the nominations for the 2022 Academy Awards, the biggest event in any film fans diary. In this piece, I will be looking through some of the people who may feel unlucky not to be getting glammed up on the 27th March. As a disclaimer, these snubs may not necessarily be films/people that I wanted to see in the lineup. Just ones that will feel aggrieved at not having a nomination.

Best Picture:
This years Best Picture lineup is not one of the strongest lineups we’ve seen, especially when compared to some past years. There are a few films that will feel aggrieved to not be in the running…

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Joel Coen tackling one of the most famous plays from William Shakespeare with Academy favourites Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand as your two stars certainly feels like the perfect recipe for Oscars success. The Tragedy of Macbeth landed 3 Oscar nominations in total and will feel like it could have snuck into the Best Picture running.

The Lost Daughter

Maggie Gyllenhaal’s directorial debut, The Lost Daughter, is an excellent debut and considering it picked up 3 Oscar nods for Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Adapted Screenplay, it will feel like it should have its place in the running for Best Picture.

In the Heights

The feel good film of 2021, In the Heights was a popular film amongst both audiences and critics which should have resulted in some love from the Academy. If I had my way, this would have been in the Best Picture running.

House of Gucci

The definition of ‘Oscar bait’. A biopic about a huge scandal in one of the most famous and luxurious fashion families in the world, with Ridley Scott at the helm and a cast that includes the great Al Pacino…its a shock that this wasn’t in the running.

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as Doctor Strange and Tom Holland stars as Spider-Man/Peter Parker in Columbia Pictures’ SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME.

This was always going to be a long shot, but with the mega box office, the campaigning by Marvel, the overall popularity of the picture and the Academy trying to become more ‘relevant’, it wouldn’t have been *that* big of a surprise if the film had snuck into the Best Picture running.

Best Director:
Denis Villeneuve

Easily the biggest snub from this years Oscars lineup. It is absolutely crazy that the Academy doesn’t recognise the director of a film that picked up 10 nominations in total…

Maggie Gyllenhaal

Another Best Director snub is first timer Maggie Gyllenhaal. This would have been a long shot but it would have been fantastic to have seen Gyllenhaal make her way into this illustrious group.

Guillermo Del Toro

Another one of the Academy’s favourites, Guillermo Del Toro feels like a big snub in this race, especially given the quality of the film on offer with Nightmare Alley.

Best Actress:
Alana Haim

The breakout star of 2021, Alana Haim was perfect in Licorice Pizza and was fully deserving of a Best Actress nod.

Emilia Jones

Another breakout star of 2021, Emilia Jones should have been in the conversation a lot more this awards season for her leading role in the wonderful and heart wrenching CODA.

Jodie Comer

The Last Duel is probably the biggest suffering film in terms of awards snubs. This should have been in the conversation for all of the major awards but the leading snub from the film is hands down Jodie Comer. She is breathtaking in the picture.

Lady Gaga

Probably the biggest surprise of the Oscars nominations was Lady Gaga’s snub from the Best Actress race. The majority of people were expecting Gaga to be a potential winner in this topsy turvy category so to see her snubbed came as a huge surprise. I have to say though, if Gaga missing out means Kristen Stewart gets in, I’m happy…

Best Actor:
Leonardo Di Caprio

Say what you want about Don’t Look Up as a film (a lot of people have said a lot of stuff). One thing that can’t be denied though is the quality of some of the performances, namely Leonardo Di Caprio. One of the Academy’s favourite actors, it is a surprise not to see them give him another nomination.

Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage is one of the finest working actors out there, continually putting in great performances throughout the years. It would have been wonderful to see Dinklage finally land an Oscar nod for Cyrano.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper is well overdue an Oscar win, he should have won for A Star is Born back in 2019. In Nightmare Alley, he gives one of his best performances and one that has definitely been overlooked by the Academy voters.

Nicolas Cage

Another long shot, but Nicolas Cage gives his best performance in years in the excellent Pig. It would have been quite the turn from the Academy to recognise this kind of performance but I for one would have loved it.

Best Supporting Actress
Caitriona Balfe

Say what you want about Belfast but the quality of the performances cannot be denied. In fact the best two performances have been snubbed by the Academy. Firstly, Caitriona Balfe puts in the best performance in the film and it is a travesty that the Academy has overlooked her (no criticism to Dame Judi who I love).

Cate Blanchett

Cate Blanchett is an actor who continually puts in fantastic performance after fantastic performance. In Nightmare Alley she delivers a cold and fatal performance that deserved recognition.

Marlee Matlin

Marlee Matlin is another who gives an excellent performance in CODA. It was amazing to see Troy Kotsur nominated but it would have been lovely to have seen his on screen partner pick up a nod too.

Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton

Mass is a film filled with four devastating performances. Four performances that could have easily been nominated in the Oscars this year. Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton are both excellent and both would have been worthy of a nod this year.

Best Supporting Actor:
Jamie Dornan

Like Balfe, Jamie Dornan also puts in an excellent performance in Belfast, probably the best of his career. He gives a charismatic and likeable performance in a film the Academy voters seem to love.

Mike Faist

Mike Faist puts in a great performance in West Side Story, one of the best in the film, that is fully deserving of an Oscar nomination.

Woody Norman

C’mon C’mon is another one of those overlooked films in the awards season this year that deserved a lot more love. Woody Norman is excellent in the film and it would have been incredible to see him in the Supporting Actor race.

Jason Isaacs and Reed Birney

Again, Mass is a film filled with four devastating performances. Four performances that could have easily been nominated in the Oscars this year. Reed Birney and, in particular, Jason Isaacs are both excellent and both would have been worthy of a nod this year.

FILM RATING

23 years old-Manchester-Film Studies Graduate-Qualified Film and Media Teacher-Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman enthusiast. Check out my Letterboxd for more reviews and film goodness. letterboxd.com/joelhowarth

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DC

Three Things Todd Phillips’ Joker Sequel Can Do To Surpass The First

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By now, we all know that Todd Phillips is helming the sequel to the Oscar-winning comic-book adaptation Joker. It was reported that Joaquin Phoenix will be reprising his role as the menacing clown prince of crime known as Arthur Fleck while , in a shocking twist, Lady Gaga will be playing Harley Quinn instead of Margot Robbie coming back as the Joker’s favorite love interest. 

People are still somewhat in shock that the sequel to the 2019 smash hit is going to be a musical that will actually feature our lead character singing, which is already something new for a DC film. Despite all of that, fans are understandably worried that this sequel will not perform on the same level as its predecessor. 

Here is how it can be great:

Introduce Batman

Bruce as he appeared in the 2019 film

Technically, we already saw Batman in the last movie. Many people don’t count it because it was just a young Bruce Wayne up until he lost his parents. However, if fans want to be truly satisfied with the outcome of the film, Todd Phillips needs to have Batman come into his Caped Crusading glory once again. Whether they use Robert Pattinson, or decide to bring Ben Affleck back again, it would be so amazing so see the two go at it in this universe.

Fans might groan and roll their eyes at the prospect of these two characters duking it out yet again, but, whether we like it or not, Joker is the greatest Batman villain in his rogues gallery and a Joker without a Batman, especially in this sequel, does not look like it would bode well with audiences.

Joker must kill Robin

In the comics, Jason Todd’s Robin is kidnapped and held captive by the Joker only to be ultimately killed by the clown prince of crime. To really make this movie compelling, there has to be some sort of stakes. Robin may be the equalizer in those stakes and up the ante in the film to make it more heartfelt and poetic if the Joker were to kill him.

This would most likely culminate into an ultimate showdown of blood, justice and vengeance between Joker and Batman.

Kill the Musical Numbers

It might be impossible at this point but if the filmmakers want this film to succeed, it makes only sense to get the musical genre clear out of the film. DC comic-book films and musicals don’t sound like they mix well together. WIth that being said, it only makes sense that the two remain separate.

To be honest, could you imagine seeing Joker singing a power ballad with Harley Quinn in a DC film, or better yet, singing it with Batman? Moreover, could you imagine Joker looming over Robin as he belts out a villain song? I couldn’t imagine that either.

FILM RATING
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Adventure

Why ‘Return to Oz’ is one of my favorite films now

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I have said it once and I’ll say it again. Nothing could match the sheer brilliance of the 1939 Judy Garland-led film The Wizard of Oz, but there is another film that was flown under the radar that was forgotten by many Oz fans after its release. That film was Return to Oz.

The movie is the unofficial sequel to the 1939 classic film. It follows a young Dorothy Gale six months after she came back from the Land of Oz. She is sent a key by the scarecrow via a shooting star and gets back to the magical land of Oz using a raft on a floating river. She is accompanied by a talking chicken, a metalhead named Tik-Tok, a Gump and Jack Pumpkinhead. 

The gang battles the evil Princess Mombi and her boss the Nome King. They must find the Scarecrow and unfreeze all of the inhabitants of the Emerald City. 

The film bombed at the box-office and only received mixed reviews, but, over the years, it has gained popularity, thanks to the internet and other Oz fans. 

As a child, I have always been fascinated with the idea of a person or a group of people traveling to a distant and fantastical land of wonder and amazement. That’s why I love movies like Alice In Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz and The Chronicles of Narnia but this Walter Murch film from 1985 seems to capture my attention whenever I’m on Disney+ trying to kill some time. 

The story is so simple that it takes the journey of the hero and breathes new life into the marvelous land of Oz and the films that inspired it. It has a certain kinship to the nostalgic movies that I previously watched as a child in the 2000s. 

Another reason that I love this film so much is because of the magnificent score by David Shire. His music is so beautifully crafted that it makes one weak in the knees and the heart. Each note is a transformative thrill into Murch’s vision of what L. Frank Baum’s Oz was. The film uses every single strand of filmmaking techniques that the 1939 film originally hosted. 

Since its release, it has been acclaimed as a cult classic and its nostalgic charm is what makes it so likable and watchworthy. 

FILM RATING
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Why ‘Joker’ Is Better Than ‘Captain Marvel’

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The 2010s proved to be the age of the comic-book movies and I’m not just talking about the Avengers movies, although they certainly changed the game for superhero movies, today I will be discussing are two of the most divided comic-book films of the 2010s and they are Captain Marvel and Joker or better yet, why ‘Joker’ proves to be a much better film than ‘Captain Marvel’.

I will start with what makes the ‘Joker’ movie better than Captain Marvel. For those that have not seen the ‘Joker’ movie, major spoilers ahead. Although, if you haven’t seen it by now, shame on you. It made over a billion dollars at the box office and became Joaquin Phoenix’s most successful film. 

Joker 2019 [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

But anyway, the joker is about a struggling stand up comedian named Arthur Fleck who is constantly bullied and disregarded by society. Fleck lives with his mother Penny working as a party clown until he is fired from his job for bringing a gun into a children’s hospital. 

Afterwards, Fleck is beaten by three businessmen on a train. Fleck draws his gun and kills all three men, beginning his dark descent as one of the greatest comic book villains of all time. Now, let’s talk about Captain Marvel. Yeah I know, but it’s still part of the essay. 

Captain Marvel is about a young US Fighter Pilot named Carol Danvers who is the victim of a terrible crash that gives her immeasurable powers  after a Kree causes her plane engine to explode. And I’m only saying this not because I remember exactly what happened but because I’m reading that from Wikipedia. 

Now, before I break down anymore differences, let me break down how both of these movies are similar. Both movies address a character that is looking for more purpose in life. I understand that that seems like a very broad explanation but that is the case in these films. Both characters have something or a series of traumatic events occur in their lives, both characters go up against a powerful group. In the Joker, Arthur Fleck goes up against the Waynes and in Captain Marvel Carol Danvers goes up against the Kree, both characters find out who they truly are: It’s revealed in Joker that Fleck was adopted and abused as a child and in Captain Marvel Danvers figures out that she was captured by the Kree after she gained her powers and lost her memory and after discovering their true selves, they decide to use their newfound persona for either evil or for good. 

Now the reason audiences loved the Joker movie could be surrounded in the fact that the filmmakers brought light to a comic book villain that was never shown in a film until now, while Captain Marvel was divided amongst fans because in my opinion it seemed more like a filler in between avengers infinity war and endgame. 

And that brings me to my first point. Unlike Captain Marvel, Joker was designed to be a standalone film and not be part of a cinematic universe, despite the fact that a sequel is possible. But anyway, one of the reasons that makes the Joker movie so much better than Captain Marvel is the fact that it was meant to be a standalone film, which makes it unique. 

Captain Marvel on the other side of the Marvel spectrum is a movie within a collection of movies, which means that if it wants to really stand out among the comic book film genre, it needs to do something new that hasn’t been seen before and I don’t want to use these guys as a source, but rotten tomatoes consensus sounds like Captain Marvel just recycles old material.

Captain Marvel [Credit: Marvel Studios]

The consensus reads: “Packed with action, humor, and visual thrills, Captain Marvel introduces the MCU’s latest hero with an origin story that makes effective use of the franchise’s signature formula”.

Did you guys hear that last part? It makes effective use of the franchise’s signature formula. It never said that Captain Marvel adds anything new in the Marvel Pantheon, it just makes effective use of an already done-before formula.

Joker’s consensus reads: “Joker gives its infamous central character a chillingly plausible origin story that serves as a brilliant showcase for its star — and a dark evolution for comics-inspired cinema”.

The consensus says that it is an evolution for the comic book film genre….and it is. It changed the game for comic book films and it did it with simplicity. It didn’t need to use extended CGI battles and epic fight scenes and that’s what made it so special. It was a departure from other superhero or villain films that rely on special effects to draw a crowd and that is what brings me to my second point as to what makes Joker better than Captain Marvel.

Joker is grounded in reality. Joker doesn’t reference any other superheroes with the exception of young Bruce Wayne, because it’s a film that attempts to tell a story about a mentally ill man that has been ignored, abused and disregarded by society and critics have been taken aback by the results. Many liberal critics are triggered by the fact that director Todd Phillips is shedding a light on a white male character that becomes a supervillain and ends up killing many people in the future. In fact, it’s so stirring for moviegoers that people have claimed it would incite violence or more mass shootings…and it didn’t. With that logic you could say the same thing about Tom Hardy’s Venom or Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, but I won’t get into that.

Anyway, when you compare the plausibility–and that’s what Joker’s consensus says. Plausibility.–when you compare it to that of Captain Marvel, you realize that Captain Marvel by comparison is a fairy tale compared to the Joker because in reality you don’t get powers from a plane crash, you don’t have women fall out of the sky get chased by aliens and later on in the film blast an entire spaceship armada effortlessly. It….does….not….happen.

Joker 2019 [Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures]

The Joker however is more plausible. It addresses the fact that there are people with mental illness, which is a real thing. It addresses neighborhood poverty, which is a real thing. It addresses the poor protesting the rich, which is a real thing and it addresses people inciting violence which is a real thing. 

Had Todd Phillips taken a different direction to the origin story, like the Joker falling in a vat of acid, we would be having a very différent conversation because it would be a lot less plausible. In Detective Comics #168 in 1951, and revised in Tim Burton’s Batman in 1989, where the Joker, before he became the joker, fell into a vat of acid after a scuffle with Batman, giving him a white complexion, red scarred lips, green hair and a frightening cackle and that explanation is so lazy. It doesn’t cut deep within the motivations of why this character is the way he is. 

Captain Marvel’s origin is just as implausible, except with aliens, spaceships and devices that allow you to look inside a person’s mind. I’m actually hoping that there isn’t a sequel to the Joker because if there’s a sequel and/or cinematic universe based on this one movie, Joker would lose its uniqueness and end up being lost in a slew of movies that are only being made to make money, because the best things in life must always come to an end….you know what I’m talking about Star Wars.

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