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    Oscar Nominations 2022

    By Jan Wahl–

    Why am I happy about the 2022 Oscar nominations? Four of my favorite movies of the year were nominated! My expectations were low, since I have adult, intelligent taste and have been disappointed in the past, especially the recent past. But this year, I can truly accentuate the positive (also my favorite Johnny Mercer song). Here goes my Hooray for Hollywood:

    Please, whoever you are and whatever your own taste, see CODA. This film is so beautiful, fun, sexy, and entertaining … it will be so worth your time. I was afraid this marvelous movie would be overlooked by the 9,487 voting members of the Motion Picture Academy. Surprisingly, it was nominated for Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay, and Supporting Actor (Troy Kotsur for his remarkable performance).

    Troy is the first deaf man to be nominated for an acting award by the Academy. His costar in CODA is Marlee Matlin, who was the first deaf performer to win an Academy Award (in 1986, for her debut feature film Children of a Lesser God). CODA stands for Children of Deaf Adults, and it is the rollicking tale of a fishing family in Gloucester with a speaking/hearing daughter who can really sing. From laughing to crying to being touched in your heart and soul, this is what great movie making is all about.  

    The same can be said for West Side Story, the film that shocked many of us by being that rarity: a brilliant remake. This is not to take a thing away from the brilliant original, but on its own, this is one great film that merits all of its seven nominations. I am rooting for Supporting Actress Ariana DeBose, and hoping Steven Spielberg brings home his third Oscar (the others being Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan) as Best Director. Hey, when you’re good you’re good!

    Speaking of cinematic genius … Kenneth Branagh is nominated for his powerful memoir of growing up in Belfast, Ireland. Van Morrison’s haunting score for Belfast as well as Supporting Actor Ciaran Hinds as grandfather Pop are just part of this satisfying Best Picture nominee. 

    Being the Ricardos has a truly great original screenplay (by Aaron Sorkin), although Sorkin was not nominated. Hats off to the actors’ branch who nominated the leads, Javier Bardem and Nicole Kidman, both worthy of Lucy and Desi.           

    Each year a movie captures the Academy voters that didn’t thrill me nearly as much. The Power of the Dog has gorgeous cinematography. If Ari Wegner wins in that category, she will be the first woman to win an Oscar for cinematography. The film has won hearts everywhere, and is leading the pack with twelve nominations. Director Jane Campion is the first woman to be nominated as director twice and will most likely win. She is brilliant; her film The Piano is a true favorite. Supporting Actress nominee Kirstin Dunst, terrific in this challenging role and will probably win, although West Side Story’s Ariana DuBose is tough competition.

    Seeing the list, it is refreshing to remember a year that seemed bleak but actually had some very good movies. Summer of Soul (or When the Revolution Could Not be Televised) is absolutely terrific, hopefully winning for Best Documentary. The Production Design was superb on West Side Story, opening up the streets for the dances as well as giving the mood by the scenery.  Nightmare Alley also gave us a room to remember: a tacky carnival plus the smooth doctor’s office, providing the characters with both elegance and paranoia. (The 1947 Nightmare Alley is a chance to see Tyrone Power at his best. It’s a great classic film noir flick.) The music this year is wonderful, with Lin-Manuel Miranda (Encanto), Van Morrison (Belfast) and Beyoncé (King Richard) competing. Van Morrison would have my vote for contributing enormously to Belfast. Here’s where the charming Encanto will take home the gold. 

    The Oscars matter.  People will now see West Side Story, the hilarious Don’t Look Up, Summer of Soul, The Eyes of Tammy Faye, Belfast, and the unforgettable CODA. It was a good year for film and maybe this year’s show will even be a fun and enjoyable one!                           

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian, film critic on various broadcast outlets, and has her own YouTube channel series, “Jan Wahl Showbiz.” She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Published on February 24, 2022