2022 Academy Award Nominees for Best Picture

It’s that time of year again, and in preparation for it, I provided a kingdom-based framework for evaluating movies. No, it was not determined by how much sex or profanity were in the movie but in light of the purpose for which movies exist in the Kingdom.

With that three-prong framework in mind, here are my rankings of the 2022 nominees for Best Picture, starting with the best and ending with the … err…less best.

1. CODA. I haven’t cried watching a movie in years, but that’s not the only reason I rated this movie at the top of this year’s nominees. CODA is entertaining and engaging. You care about the characters and their stories. The movie has an excellent message about family, responsibility, and the life of the deaf. If you watch only one movie on this list, it should be this one.

2. King Richard. A very entertaining movie about the tension between family and success. If you are torn between praising and cursing Richard Williams in this movie, you get it. The movie was engaging and the message honest.

3. Don’t Look Up. I love dark comedies, which is probably why I have this movie in the third spot. I love serious messages presented tongue-in-cheek. The message in this movie couldn’t be more timely, particularly if you are an evangelical, stop-the-steal, covid-denying, Trumper.

4. West Side Story. This was the last of the nominees The Wife and I saw, and for good reason: I didn’t expect much from the sequel. But we were very pleasantly surprised. Great music and great message. Don’t miss this one, even if you saw the original.

5. Nightmare Alley. Fascinating movie with an ending that hits you like a sledgehammer. The message: it doesn’t matter how much you try to bury your past, wherever you go, there you are.

6. Licorice Pizza. This was one of my favorite movies of the nominees, but I didn’t rate it higher because of the message. First-love, coming of age movies simply lack the gravitas. Still, I loved this very entertaining movie and highly recommend it.

7. Belfast. Very engaging movie, with a good message about tolerance and acceptance. I’m not sure it is deserves all the hype it is getting, but well worth the watch.

8. Drive My Car. Thoughtful, deeply layered movie about forgiveness and communication. Perhaps a little too heavy on the message and light on entertainment. The wife pulled the rip cord early one, but I hung in there until the end and was glad I did.

9. The Power of the Dog. I watched for nearly two hours wondering how this movie could have been nominated for best picture. The ending made the previous two hours make sense, but a movie should not be entertaining only in retrospect. And, alright already with the gender confusion evangelism. It’s time to move on from a message that is already rotting on the vine. Don’t be surprised though if it wins best picture.

10. Dune. Was there a movie before this one I missed? I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a story where everyone knew what was going on except me. Yes, the cinematography was great, but in the Kingdom, cinematography, like acting and directing, exists to support the primary goals of making a movie entertaining and engaging. This one fell short of both goals. GS

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