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Storytelling Aspects The Best Picture Nominees Of 2022 Mastered

Aryan Vyas Featured Writer
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Aryan Vyas

The 94th Academy Awards are almost upon us and this time, the ceremony will be held at the original venue of Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall are set to host the ceremony that honours the best in cinema. The Netflix release The Power of the Dog is leading the pack with 12 nominations this year, followed by Dune which has received 10 nominations. The Oscar ceremony is shorter than previous years, as eight categories of awards will be handed over off-screen, before the televised ceremony begins. Here are the 10 best picture nominees of this year, and what storytelling aspects each one of them mastered.

West Side Story 2021 Musical Romance English Movie Review

WEST SIDE STORY: Exuberance and Headiness

The remake of the 1961 film of the same name that garnered 10 Oscars, Steven Spielberg’s new adaptation of the famous play delivers on almost all levels. The vivacity with which he constructs the sets here is truly astounding, as the camera swings around from one person to the other. West Side Story captures the headiness, emotions and exuberance of an ideal musical all at once. It also remains one of the most joyous theater experiences I’ve had in the past year.
The Power Of The Dog 2021 English Movie Review

THE POWER OF THE DOG: Portrayal Of Shifting Power Dynamics

Using New Zealand for 1920s Montana, “The Power Of The Dog” builds upon its airy and melancholic quality to tell an everlasting tale of shifting power dynamics. The screenplay here always seems more interested in exploring the psyche of the characters on screen, rather than judging them through a singular lens. The film is almost Freudian in its depiction of certain themes and the way it plays with shifting power dynamics. It speaks the loudest in its most nuanced moments, nailing one of the most difficult aspects of storytelling by showing the deeper psychological game at play, rather than telling it directly to us.
Nightmare Alley 2021 Crime Thriller English Movie Review

NIGHTMARE ALLEY: Showing The Menacing Shadows Of An Individual

The actors in “Nightmare Alley” bathe in the menacing shadows, both physical and metaphorical, of their grayish personas, making for a great character study. Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of the 1947 film, which was inspired from the 1946 book of the same name, gives us a melancholic account into man’s degradation burdened by the expectations of those around him. You don’t simply despise Bradley Cooper’s character in the film, but strangely empathize with him in his corrupted journey. The frames from “Nightmare Alley” haven’t left my mind since I watched it.
Licorice Pizza 2021 Comedy English Movie Review

LICORICE PIZZA: Capturing The Zeitgeist

PTA’s latest, about the repression and anxiety that comes out of youthful struggles, is an episodic and breezy film set around the San Fernando Valley in the 70s. The film not only recreates the streets, but is inspired by some real life personalities of the time. “Licorice Pizza” doesn’t only ask us to play into the gleeful nostalgia of a period lost in time, but also takes notice of its underwhelming and not-so-gleeful aspects that are deeply weaved into the script. It’s a testament to what great screenwriters can do, even during the most laidback moments (supposedly) of their careers.

KING RICHARD And BELFAST: Bringing The Biographical Journeys To Life

These two best picture nominees build upon their semi-autobiographical approach to make the stories accessible, giving a heartfelt touch to that very approach. The biopic of the William sisters wisely cuts between the action play and the reaction of key characters, littered with conventional (but impactful) monologues. On the other hand, “Belfast” gives us an insight into the feel good memoir of director Kenneth Branagh, as he explores the troubles that erupted in the late 1960s.

DUNE: Scale

Denis Villeneuve takes the practical environment, glues it with the moving human condition and imposes it on his protagonist, Paul Atreides, in “Dune”. Looking at the sheer scope and world he managed at setting up while providing us with an insight into, the film quite possibly has the chance of becoming one of the best SciFi adaptations of all time. The scale of “Dune” made it tailor-made for a big-screen IMAX  experience. What a glorious welcome to theaters the film was!

DRIVE MY CAR: Carving Catharsis Out Of A Poignant Story

There’s a scene towards the final act in “Drive My Car” where the sound completely drains out, adding so much onto the piled up emotions that it made it even more impacting, considering how quiet and laid back the rest of the movie feels. Good dramas have the potential of ripping off the bandages of your past wounds open. In this film, we follow an actor/director’s journey into finding things about another young driver he comes across. Soon he realizes that she doesn’t just become a vessel for him to reach to his house, but also a way to his soul. The film acts as a reminder of how we use art to hide, and eventually to heal.

DON'T LOOK UP: Sociopolitical Relevance

Adam McKay’s star-studded satire doesn’t only reflect, but screams out about the absurdity of sociopolitical times we’re living in where society is too slow to react to real danger (i.e climate change), because its attention is too occupied by celebrity gossip and upbeat entertainment. The film, which has managed to create intense social media buzz ever since its release which is ironic in its own way, takes on a greater meaning of depth due to everything that’s happened in the world post 2019.

CODA: Building A Comforting Coming-of-Age Tale

“CODA”, one of the most surprising yet welcoming picks for the best picture category this year, hits all the emotional chords it aims at hitting. It has an incredibly well realized performance from a stirringly delightful Emilia Jones. It’s an overly familiar story that’s been handled so sensitively (given the subject matter), that it speaks universally, and supremely. You’ve seen these interactions before. You just don’t usually see them angrily signed in ASL. It by far remains one of the most heartwarming films of the past year