I’m always a little more whiny this time of year.
I won’t say that the current crop of Oscar hopefuls is full of non-deserving work. On the contrary, with one or two exceptions, I’ll applaud as loudly as anyone else when the winners are announced.
As always, though, I remain disappointed by the omission of so many incredible movies. As I do every year, I will take this moment to acknowledge my top picks, which include quite a few films you won’t see in Academy Awards nominee lists.
So here we go with the Cookie Awards for 2022:
Best Picture: Three-way tie: “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” “All Quiet on the Western Front” and “The Outfit.” This is dazzling, triumphant filmmaking. The first film is about timeless love and choices we make, the second is based on a novel about the horrors of war, the third is about a tailor who has ties to the mob. It doesn’t get any better than these.
Best Actress: Danielle Deadwyler, “Till.” She plays the mother of the slain Emmett Till so beautifully I could not stop sobbing at one point. See the movie for being one of the finest of 2022 and for Deadwyler’s incredibly nuanced performance.
Best Actor: Three way tie: Austin Butler as “Elvis,” Bill Nighy in “Living,” and Brendan Fraser in “The Whale.” All three performers inhabit their characters. Butler had to learn to dance and sing just like Elvis did – he deserves extra credit for that.
Best Supporting Actress: Hong Chau, “The Whale.” Frustrated, angry, and always loving, she’s one of the finest characters in any movie from 2022.
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bones and All.” Admittedly, this movie about folks with, uh, unusual dining habits isn’t for everybody. But Rylance’s performance is, if you can get through the gore. Also see him in “The Outfit” and “The Phantom of the Open” so you can take in his great actor’s range and versatility.
Best Animated Film: “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.” It has much more an edge than the Disney version, and it’s more true to the dark themes of the book. The stop-motion animation is gorgeous.
Movie that Caused My Most Embarrassing Crying Spell: “DC League of Super-Pets” sent into me into a crying spell I had trouble containing. In fact, I didn’t. There’s a scene in this movie which, although it’s a whimsical animated film about superheroes and their animal companions, rings true when a dog is taken to the shelter. I wasn’t the only one in the auditorium who was snuffling, either.
Best Documentary: “Ariel Phenomenon.” This is one of the most incredible documentaries you’ll ever see, and one of the most astounding true stories you’ll ever hear. It might change your world view. What this group of (now grown-up) children saw, and how it continues to affect their lives, is one of the best true stories ever told. And it’s also one of the most important.
Most under-seen theatrical release: “Brian and Charles” and ‘Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.” Both are whimsical. Both are clever, intelligent and unique. “Brian and Charles” is a take on the Frankenstein myth.
Steam them. Buy them on disc. Or take them in at the theater. You’ll be glad you did.