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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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‘Sometimes I Think About Dying’ Review | A Poignant Portrait On Internal Struggles

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Based on the 2013 play Killers by Armento and a 2019 short, Sometimes I Think About Dying, director Rachel Lambert’s film “Sometimes I Think About Dying,” starring and produced by Daisy Ridley, offers a poignant and introspective exploration of social anxiety, isolation, and suicidal impulses. The film delicately unfolds in a small Oregon coastal town, with Ridley’s character, Fran, navigating the background of life as she grapples with daydreams of her death. Ridley delivers a captivating performance, showcasing her range outside of her iconic role in the Star Wars saga. 

Lost on the dreary Oregon coast, Fran (Daisy Ridley) finds solace in her cubicle, listening to the constant hum of officemates and occasionally daydreaming to pass the time. She is ghosting through life, unable to pop her bubble of isolation, however when a friendly new coworker, Robert (Dave Merheje) persistently tries to connect with her. Though it goes against every fibre of her being, she may have to give this guy a chance. 

Fran likes to think about dying. It brings sensation to her quiet life. When she makes the new guy at work laugh, it leads to more: a date, a slice of pie, a conversation, a spark. The only thing standing in their way is Fran herself. 

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

Working as an office administrator, it’s a role she quietly excels at, the film masterfully captures the awkwardness of Fran’s interactions with her co-workers, highlighting her struggles to speak up and navigate social situations. Lambert’s direction immersed me in Fran’s perspective, creating a sense of intimacy and empathy for her internal struggles with introversion and loneliness. The portrayal of social anxiety and awkwardness feels authentic and relatable, resonating with the complexities of human connection in a world filled with loneliness. Lambert chose to tell this story, identifying as I did with Isolation and how a person can feel when they struggle to find a connection in the world that surrounds them. Fran ultimately is a person who wants to feel love, and joy and communicate with others but that path throughout the film plays mysteriously and is often out of reach for her. So for comfort like many others, Fran retreats into her mind, creating a landscape of forest floors and oceans. The mind is where you can imagine all sorts of things for delight and often stimulation. Sometimes they are images that allow her to fathom the ultimate escape from life. These ideations, while allowing her to feel the extremity of sensation, can only deepen her feelings of being too ‘different’ or ‘strange.’ Thus, a chasm between her public and private self grows. Until that is, she meets Robert, who disrupts her patterns of orderly disassociation.

There’s a lot of loneliness in the world today, and this film captures that realistically, slowly revealing each of the two main characters. Fran and Robert meet and awkwardly start a relationship. As they embark on this awkward relationship, the film beautifully balances moments of melancholy with glimpses of hope and humour. Lambert skillfully restricts dialogue, allowing visual storytelling to take centre stage and evoke emotional depth. The film’s blend of influences, from deadpan humour to human drama, results in a captivating and thought-provoking narrative that raises awareness about mental health issues. If you are introverted like me, the arrival of new friends tends to disrupt patterns. However, she is embraced instead of being shunned by Robert at her most vulnerable. She is seen. And her pain appears to dissolve. Fran is a woman who channels so much of the anxiety, fear, and dread that plagues her body in this moment, and, yet, she remains determined to find meaning. She is unwearying, messy, hilarious and, also, in some pain. I found it rather consoling to see that portrayed honestly. 

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

“Sometimes I Think About Dying” serves as a quiet yet profound examination of social anxiety, depression, and the challenges of putting oneself out there. The film’s beautiful score and tone enhance its portrayal of an introverted love story, offering a tender and sensitive look at the complexities of the human experience. When thinking about death one is worrying about living. I get so worked up about living, and living rightly that I overthink in my head so I end up taking up residence there. That’s what Fran does. With Robert now in the picture, Lambert allows Fran’s story to step out into the day which allows Fran to see what’s right in front of her. And risk loving it all for the sake of being alive. Fran is not interested in hurting herself, that’s not her goal.  What I felt whilst watching is that pain, for her, has to do more with figuring out how to be a person in the world, and to be comfortable with all that entails. Ridley’s standout performance, coupled with Lambert’s nuanced direction, makes this film a compelling and emotionally resonant cinematic experience that offers an artful portrayal of shyness.

This independent feature truly showcases the highest level of craftsmanship in filmmaking. The static lensing and composed shots, thanks to cinematographer Dustin Lane, guide the audience to notice tiny, delicate details ultimately finding beauty and emotional resonance in everyday moments. Director Fran’s subtle approach allows us to dig deeper into the story, with lead actress Ridley’s remarkable ability to convey emotions through subtle gestures adding a layer of depth to the film. The score by composer Dabney Morris brings such a melancholic feel to the film, which is the perfect accompaniment to writers Kevin Armento, Stefanie Abel Horowitz and Katy Wright-Mead’s screenplay.

Photograph: Vertigo Releasing

Alongside a subtle sense of melancholy, as we’ve mentioned, the film also offers moments of hope and joy in the protagonist’s simple pleasures. From Fran excelling at her job to enjoying cottage cheese and wine in her apartment, the film embraces the beauty in life’s small moments. The inclusion of black humour adds an unexpected twist, such as during a murder-mystery game where Fran’s fascination with death serves her well. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

In conclusion, “Sometimes I Think About Dying” is a moving and thought-provoking exploration of mental health and human connection, brought to life through stellar performances and visually rich storytelling. Lambert’s directorial vision and Ridley’s compelling portrayal make this film a must-watch for those seeking a deeper understanding of social anxiety and the complexities of the human psyche. I found it rather cathartic and sincere.

FILM RATING
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First Look at Maggie Gyllenhaal’s ‘The Bride’

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Maggie Gyllenhaal/Niko Tavernise/Instagram

We have our first look at ‘The Bride.’ New images released by director Maggie Gyllenhaal show Christian Bale as Frankenstein’s monster. Gyllenhaal, who is teaming up Warner Bros. Pictures shared the first images from a camera test to her Instagram account. The all-star cast opposite of Christian Bale and Jessie Buckley are Penélope Cruz, Peter Sarsgaard and Annette Bening. The film will also have “Joker” cinematographer Lawrence Sher.

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A Must-See Satanic Panic Horror – Late Night With the Devil

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Written and directed by Cameron Cairnes & Colin Cairnes, Late Night With the Devil follows a late night TV host Jack Delroy, fighting the plummeting viewership of his show by welcoming in people from the occult in order to change that, but of course, everything doesn’t go as smooth as planned.

David Dastmalchian as Jack Delroy Late Night With the Devil (2023)

David Dastmalchian has appeared in a lot of films however always in smaller roles including The Dark Knight, Prisoners and more recently The Suicide Squad. This film allows Dastmalchian to take on the lead role of Jack Delroy, the host of the late night show at the centre of this film, and he genuinely does a great job. There’s a real range of emotions which his character goes through during the course of this film and he depicts them so well.

If you’re a fan of the horror genre, you’re going to really appreciate the use of practical effects in this. There’s plenty of stretchy and gooey gore for all of the horror fanatics that will have you shouting at the screen. 

From left to right: Laura Gordon, Ingrid Torelli, David Dastmalchian, Ian Bliss

If you want to hear my full thoughts, check out my review over on YouTube and let me know your opinions in the comments.

Late Night With the Devil will be released in cinemas from 22nd March and on Shudder on 19th April.

FILM RATING
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