I’ve now seen all the movies featuring this year’s 20 Oscar nominated performances. Some thoughts:
Bill Nighy (“Living”) is fantastic — such a layered performance in such a moving film. It’s my favorite lead actor performance from any 2022 release. Very pleased Paul Mescal made it onto the list for his emotional work in indie “Aftersun”. I also can’t wait to follow the next chapters of his young co-star, Frankie Corio, who’s also quite good. Colin Farrell delivers fine, though I don’t think career-best, work in “Banshees”. Austin Butler has some high points as Elvis (though I have a number of problems with Baz Luhrmann’s movie). And Brendan Fraser gives it his all as the most interesting character in (and the only reason to see) “The Whale”. This is the strongest of the four acting categories this year, and they’re all first-time nominees.
Cate Blanchett is marvelous in “TAR”, from beginning to end. And I’ll be honest, as much as I don’t love “To Leslie”, Andrea Riseborough gives my second favorite performance in the category. (It’s a distant second, though.) I really didn’t buy Ana de Armas as Marilyn Monroe. Michelle Williams was way over the top in “The Fabelmans”. And nearly everything about “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, including the performances from Best Actress nominee Michelle Yeoh, Best Supporting Actor frontrunner Ke Huy Quan and Best Supporting Actress nominees Jamie Lee Curtis and Stephanie Hsu, just didn’t work for me. In my opinion, snubs Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”) and Viola Davis (“The Woman King”) gave legitimately better performances than everyone in the Best Actress category, except for Blanchett.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Brendan Gleeson (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”) are virtually in a tie for me as far as “Favorite Performance” goes here. I don’t love all the directions writer Martin McDonagh takes with Gleeson’s character, but there’s definitely some depth there. And Henry elevates the relatively standard material with his performance. Barry Keoghan (“Banshees”) also has some decent moments, particularly that one with Kerry Condon Twitter has been sharing and retweeting like crazy for weeks. Judd Hirsch’s showy eight-minute appearance in “The Fabelmans” doesn’t deserve to be in this group. Ke Huy Quan will win.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
We have the “Everything Everywhere” duo of Curtis and Hsu, along with “Banshees”‘ Condon (who’s solid). Hong Chau should’ve been nominated for “The Menu” instead of “The Whale”. The best performance in this category comes from Golden Globe and Critics Choice winner Angela Bassett for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”. I hope she wins on Oscar night.