Vincent's Views

95th Academy Awards: Results

If you’re like me, you love watching the Oscars and stayed up until stupid o’clock watching the show. Then again, if you’re like me, you’re an academic- film critic-podcaster with a blog who likes to think he’s funny. What’s that all about?

Anyway, as you may have heard, the 95th Academy Awards took place on 12th March, and there is much to say about the results. The Oscars is the only thing I would place a bet on, but I never do. Had I done so this year, I might have won something because my predictions were largely correct. Look back at my earlier posts and you’ll see I picked the winner in multiple categories including Animated Feature – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, Sound – Top Gun: Maverick and Visual Effects – Avatar: The Way of Water. I was incorrect with my picks on Documentary Feature, which went to Navalny; Adapted Screenplay which went to Sarah Polley for Women Talking; Black Panther: Wakanda Forever received Costume Design; and Original Song, which was awarded to ‘Naatu Naatu’ from RRR, a very pleasing win for a film that received no other nominations but was certainly a major talking point last year.

The aforementioned films all received one award apiece, while The Whale won two, repeating the pattern of Darkest Hour and The Iron Lady by winning Makeup and Hairstyling and a leading performance. The now Academy Award winning Brendan Fraser’s speech was one of many that were deeply earnest and heartfelt. Tolerance for such gushing emotion will vary, and personally I love it and wanted to enfold the tearful Fraser in a warm hug. For those of us who have loved Fraser since (or even before) The Mummy, this was a fitting sight for this always engaging and likeable screen presence.

Overall, the evening was largely dominated by two films. After cleaning up nicely at the BAFTAs, All Quiet on the Western Front proved a significant awards magnet for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. As a Best Picture nominee, it was always likely that AQOTWF would collect International Feature, as indeed it did. In addition, Edward Berger’s haunting and harrowing adaptation of Erich Maria Remarque’s novel received awards for Cinematography, Production Design and Original Score, all of which were correctly predicted by yours truly, if you care.

However, the big story of the night was the little film that did. A tale of an immigrant family struggling with laundry, taxes, duty, disappointment, ennui, hot dog fingers, martial arts, combat, fame, identity, googly eyes, puppeteering racoons, bagel black holes and the sheer extraordinariness of the everyday across multiple universes is possibly the most deranged fever dream to ever win Best Picture, and the first science fiction film to receive this award. Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s mad work of genius garnered a total of seven Oscars (all of which I predicted correctly), including Directing, Original Screenplay, Editing, Actress in a Leading Role for Michelle Yeoh, Actor in a Supporting Role for Ke Huy Quan and Actress in a Supporting Role for Jamie Lee Curtis. Curtis’ reaction at hearing her name announced as the winner was priceless as you could clearly see her say ‘OH SHUT UP!’

Curtis’ acceptance speeches paid tribute to the horror genre where Curtis made her name, declaring that the fans of her earlier work had all won the Oscar with her. Quan’s speech was highly emotional and paid tribute to his family who entered the USA on an immigrant boat, a sentiment echoed by the Daniels who also indicated their humble beginnings. As the first Asian performer to win this award, Yeoh called out to all the girls who ‘look like her’, and that women are never past their prime. Plus there was something lovely about seeing Yeoh alongside fellow Best Actress winners Halle Berry and Jessica Chastain. Hats off to all of them.

The seven awards make Everything Everywhere All At Once the biggest award winner since Gravity in 2013 (though that did not win Best Picture). The film’s history is the stuff of Hollywood itself – independent filmmakers who previously made a couple of quirky comedies and then put together a bizarre but deeply affecting tale that combines multiple genres, references, styles and concepts and somehow resonated with audiences, critics and the Academy.

It will not surprise me when sniffy attitudes emerge that downplay the success and claim that other films were ‘better’ and should have won, because there are always those who say they know best. I had an issue or two with EEAAO, and perhaps Tár overall impressed me more, but I am delighted that such an out-there film did so well. As I have mentioned previously, in recent years the Academy has demonstrated an openness towards more radical films than it used to, and in an era where cinema is frequently criticised for safe and formulaic material, the success of Everything Everywhere All At Once is something to be applauded.


95th Academy Awards: Best Picture

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once

The Fabelmans


Top Gun: Maverick

Triangle of Sadness

Women Talking

And so, we come to it at last, with ten powerful contenders for Best Picture. I have seen all of these, and am surprised at the inclusion of some of them here. Were this back in the days of only five nominees, I believe those five would be The Banshees of InisherinElvis, The Fabelmans, Tár and Women Talking. The inclusion of two (!) blockbuster sequels, one of which is science fiction, another science fiction film, a satire and a German film (albeit a war film) demonstrates the more open tendency of the Academy voters. Yes, the Academy is a conversative, traditionalist organisation and it is disappointing that no women were nominated for directing. However, in the Best Picture category, because of the ten nominees, we can see a diverse, inventive and genuinely radical set of films. And I think the most deranged, creative and unapologetically out-there film of the lot will replicate its success at the Producers Guild of America Awards, not to mention various other categories this year, and Everything Everywhere All At Once will win Best Picture. If I’m right, Everything Everywhere All At Once will be the biggest Odcar winner since Slumdog Millionaire in 2008! Let that resonate across the multiverse, because Oscars are coming for all versions.

95th Academy Awards: Writing and Directing

Adapted Screenplay

Edward Berger, Ian Stokell, Lesley Paterson – All Quiet on the Western Front

Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Kazuo Ishiguro – Living

Ehren Kruger, Eric Warren Singer, Christopher McQuarrie – Top Gun: Maverick 

Sarah Polley – Women Talking

Something I learned this year – sequels count as adapted screenplays, which is why Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Top Gun: Maverick are eligible for this category. This is a tricky one and could well go to Women Talking, which received the Writers Guild Award for Adapted Screenplay. However, I see this award going to All Quiet on the Western Front, due to it being a war film which is the type of film the Academy loves. Not the most reliable criteria, I admit, and I would be happy with Women Talking as well.

Original Screenplay

Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All At Once

Steven Spielberg, Tony Kushner – The Fabelmans

Todd Field – Tár

Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness 

Interestingly, the nominees for Original Screenplay overlap with those for Directing (aside from Tony Kushner). This is a change from how the Oscars used to play out, when Adapted Screenplay tended to be a good indicator of Directing and indeed Best Picture success. Now it seems that Original Screenplays are more honoured. While I think all of these films are intricately and effectively written, one stands out for its ingenious weaving together of multiple possibilities and explanations that somehow never gets too confusing or bogged down in detail. And it won the Writers Guild of American Award as well. I see the Daniels receiving the Oscar for Everything Everywhere All At Once.


Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin 

Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans

Todd Field – Tár

Ruben Östlund – Triangle of Sadness

Not to sound like a broken record, but I predict the Daniels in this category as well. Triangle of Sadness is a rather look-at-me directed film, while Tár is Hitchcockian in its staging and framing. The Fabelmans has charm and wonder to spare and could woo the Directors branch of the Academy, and The Banshees of Inisherin balances whimsy and grimness quite remarkably. However, such keen, exquisite and ambitious direction is overt in every frame of Everything Everywhere All At Once, which already impressed the Directors Guild of America to the point of winning that award. I think the Daniels will pick up the Directing Oscar as well.

95th Academy Awards: Clothe and Make Up That Acting!

Costume Design


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 


Everything Everywhere All at Once

Mrs Harris Goes to Paris

I’ve seen three of these, but I pick a winner I have not seen. An important feature of Mrs Harris Goes to Paris is a dress and tailoring, so I think it is going to win. It would be a bit mean if it didn’t frankly.

Makeup and Hairstyling

All Quiet on the Western Front

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


The Whale

Again, I pick a winner I have not seen. The make-up effects in All Quiet on the Western Front manage to place the battlefield onto the faces of the performers, while Black Panther: Wakanda Forever made the appearances of its various elaborate cultures truly striking and always engaging. But in the year of the fat suits when Colin Farrell was unrecognisable in The Batman and Tom Hanks looked like something else, I see The Whale picking up this award, which brings us to…

Actor in a Leading Role

Austin Butler – Elvis

Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser – The Whale

Paul Mescal – Aftersun

Bill Nighy – Living

It is notable that some of the films nominated here have received relatively little attention, such as no other nominations for Aftersun and only one other for Living and The Whale. Austin Butler picked up the BAFTA and could conceivably collect the Oscar as well. However, Brendan Fraser received the Screen Actors Guild Award, and I think Actor in a Leading Role will go to him as well. If so, this will be in keeping with the pattern of actors transforming for a role and the film winning for a performance as well as Make-up and Hairstyling (see Darkest Hour and The Iron Lady).

Actress in a Leading Role

Cate Blanchett – Tár

Ana de Armas – Blonde

Andrea Riseborough – To Leslie

Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once

This has been an open category, with surprising omissions such as Viola Davis in The Woman King and the inclusion of Andrea Riseborough for To Leslie. Ana de Armas’ nomination is the only recognition for Blonde, and there is little indication that she will win. On her fifth nomination, Michelle Williams has picked up little momentum, but I suspect there will be another day for Williams. It seems a two-horse race here, as Cate Blanchett earned the BAFTA and Michelle Yeoh the Screen Actors Guild. Both performances are complex, multifaceted and captivating. This is Blanchett’s eighth nomination and would be her third win after The Aviator and Blue Jasmine. But I don’t see it happening. For taking on a role that required her to play so many versions and deliver so much on a physical as well as emotional level, I predict Michelle Yeoh being this year’s winner for Actress in a Leading Role.

95th Academy Awards: Music and Image

Original Score

All Quiet on the Western Front


The Banshees of Inisherin 

Everything Everywhere All at Once 

The Fabelmans 

A category where I have heard four of the five. Babylon I am yet to see, but it did pick up the Golden Globe for Original Score. However, Volker Mertelmann’s haunting and at times crashing score for All Quiet on the Western Front left me shaken and stirred, plus it picked up the BAFTA, so I predict Mertelmann will be stroking a golden baldie at the ceremony.

Original Song

‘Applause’ – Tell It Like a Woman

‘Hold My Hand’ – Top Gun: Maverick

‘Lift Me Up’ – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

‘Naatu Naatu’ – RRR

‘This Is a Life’ – Everything Everywhere All at Once

A total guess here: ‘Lift Me Up’ from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. No real reason behind that, so I guess we’ll see.


All Quiet on the Western Front

Bardo: False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths


Empire of Light


I’ve seen all but one of these and the four I have seen are all beautiful. If Roger Deakins had not won twice now (Blade Runner 2049 and 1917), I would predict him to win now, finally, for Empire of Light. But he has, so instead I predict James Friend for All Quiet on the Western Front, a film of images both beautiful and haunting that I would happily hang any individual frame on my wall.

Production Design

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water



The Fabelmans

Production Design and Cinematography work closely together, as if the design is off the images will not pop. The Production Design in these nominees is breathtaking, from the natural (yet not) environments of Avatar: The Way of Water to the period homes of The Fabelmans. But for capturing the interiors of homes, dugouts, some very significant train carriages and the exteriors of the trenches and No Man’s Land, I predict All Quiet on the Western Front will pick up this award as well.

95th Academy Awards: Sterling Support

Actor in a Supporting Role

Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin 

Brian Tyree Henry – Causeway

Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan – The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once

The acting nominees come from a wide range of films, which sometimes receive no other nominations. As of the day of writing, I have seen all of these nominated films, and I think all the performances are strong. Strong indicators of who will win can be gleaned from other award-giving bodies, such as BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guilds. In the case Actor in a Supporting Role, this is a bit tricky because BAFTA went for Barry Keoghan and the SAG for Ke Huy Quan. However, since The Banshees of Inisherin also picked up the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film (that’s a funding thing before anyone insists this is an Irish film), Keoghan may have had something of a homefield advantage. Ke Huy Quan, however, is the type of story AMPAS loves, as he came back from years away from acting to deliver something varied, compelling and heart-warming. Therefore, I pick Ke Huy Quan for this Oscar.

Actress in a Supporting Role

Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever

Hong Chau – The Whale

Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Stephanie Hsu – Everything Everywhere All at Once

Many of the same influences on the previous category influence this one. I am yet to see The Whale (more on that later) but of the other four, again the same overlap occurs with SAG and BAFTA, as well as the same potential support from the particular award bodies. What is different is the sense of a lifetime award, as two of the nominees have been movie stalwarts for decades and now find themselves up for awards. It could go to Angela Bassett on the night, however my prediction is on Jamie Lee Curtis, whose enduring presence in film and sheer versality in Everything Everywhere All At Once brought her to this nomination, and I think it’s her time.

95th Academy Awards: Sound and Edit those Effects


All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman


Top Gun: Maverick

I have seen and indeed heard all of these, and they all make a resounding impression. Come the awards though, I believe the deafening roar of fighter jets will drown out other nominees and Top Gun: Maverick will be victorious.

Visual Effects

All Quiet on the Western Front

Avatar: The Way of Water

The Batman

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 

Top Gun: Maverick

Perhaps on a similar note, I have seen all of these nominees and the visual effects were all thoroughly impressive. The aerial acrobatics of Top Gun: Maverick and the grounded yet spectacular events of The Batman notwithstanding, this award looks pretty certain to go to the rendering of the extra-terrestrial marine environment of Avatar: The Way of Water. It took thirteen years to return to Pandora and, while some aspects of the film were less than satisfying, the finished product is a magnificent demonstration of what happens when time, care and resources are fully committed to the production of visual effects.

Film Editing

The Banshees of Inisherin 


Everything Everywhere All at Once


Top Gun: Maverick

Once again, I have seen all of these nominees, and if there was a more dramatic, inventive and enthralling use of editing than in Everything Everywhere All At Once, it must have passed everybody by because it isn’t nominated. I see this being one of several awards for this masterpiece.

95th Academy Awards

OK, I left it a bit late. The Oscars are tonight, I will be watching, these are my predictions and a few comments on what I think. You can find more detailed discussion on the special podcast episode of Invasion of the Pody People.

International Feature Film

All Quiet on the Western Front

Argentina 1985



The Quiet Girl

This looks to be a dead cert win – All Quiet on the Western Front. It’s up for Best Picture and already won the BAFTA for Film Not in the English Language, as well as Best Picture and more at that ceremony. It is also the only of these nominees I have seen, and I was mightily impressed by this haunting, harrowing and deeply impactful portrait of the senseless waste of war, that was equal parts beautiful and horrific. Therefore, I have no opinion on the other nominees, except that I should see them, and I suspect it will be quite noisy on this film’s front.

Animated Feature Film

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

The Sea Beast

Turning Red 

I’ve seen three of these, and I confess to being somewhat baffled by the nomination of Puss in Boots: The Last Wish which I found only intermittently amusing and often quite laboured. Turning Red was my top animated film of 2022 and I would love this zany and heartfelt comedy adventure of family, fandom, friendship and floof to pick up the award. However, I believe another Oscar will be added to Guillermo Del Toro’s collection with the strange, charming, dark, witty and rather wonderful stop motion marvel that is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio.

Documentary Feature

All That Breathes

All the Beauty and the Bloodshed

Fire of Love

A House Made of Splinters


I have seen none of these, but because I know the topic of Fire of Love, I pick that one.

Review of 2022: Top Twelve

It’s been a bit of a journey over the last few days, so thank you for sticking it out. Here, at long last, are my top twelve films of 2022, based on UK cinema and streaming releases, presented in musical form:

To give a more detailed account: 

1. Benedetta. A lustrous, gorgeous and electrifying tale of belief, fanaticism, politics, passion, love and the tension between faith and duplicity. 

2. She Said. A gripping, urgent, distressing journalism thriller of investigation, institutional abuse and the power of voices and silence.

3. Happening. A grounded, unflinching, unsentimental and at times harrowing drama of solitude, desperate ingenuity and finding your way through an unsympathetic world. 

4. The Batman. An intense, grim, brooding, brutal, intimate, deliberate, street level vigilante/detective revenge journey through brooding atmosphere, intricate plotting and the politics of vengeance. 

5. The Innocents. An unsettlingly intimate and by turns chilling, charming and horrifying blend of superpowered discovery, childish cruelty and a secret world. 

6. Nightmare Alley. A sumptuous, suffusive and superb modern noir of immersive style, ravishing detail, deceit, deception and dark desire. 

7. Everything Everywhere All At Once. An extraordinary, bonkers and brilliant bonanza of concepts, emotion, cinematic invention and finding the meaning of existence(s). 

8. Speak No Evil. A deeply uncomfortable, ferociously tense and thoroughly terrifying psychological horror of manipulation, escalating aggressions and social appropriation. 

9. The Banshees of Inisherin. A beautiful and touching, melancholic yet humorous, whimsical yet quietly profound dark tragicomedy of wisdom and dullness, niceness and resentment, mental health struggles and the tensions of small communities. 

10. Turning Red. Big meets The Incredible Hulk meets Metamorphosis in a super smart, super cute, super fluffy and truly magical animated comedy adventure of growing pains, familial pressures and the power of friendship, fandom and song. 

11. The Worst Person in the World. A whimsical yet scabrous, sentimental but honest, beautifully observed and meticulous portrait of the messiness, complexities and contradictions of career, relationships, family and other aspects of life. 

12. Belfast. A sublime and immersive blend of charm, tragedy and reflective nostalgia that explores family, community and maturation, the need for movement yet the pull of home, lovingly rendered through gorgeous images, long takes, 360 pans and the wide yet tear-tinged eyes of a child. 

Honourable mentions go to: 

A ferocious, intense and brutal revenge tragedy of stark visuals, iron resolve and the blurred boundaries of myth and destiny. 

A sweet and charming yet spiky and astringent romantic comedy drama of hustling, coming of age and resisted desire. 

A sweeping, gorgeous and thrilling, progressive and challenging but never preachy and thoroughly accessible epic of duty and defiance, war and alliance, family and community. 

A moving, haunting and sublime visual poem of the beauty of nature, the power of the image and the wonder of wildlife.

A stunning and terrifying found footage What If? political warning of hubris and the perils of technology, infused with musical creativity and critical nostalgia.

A nerve-shredding and intensely vertiginous survival tale of ingenuity, friendship and the combined uses of humanity and technology.

An exquisitely composed, deeply uncomfortable and severely fucked up Welsh folk horror of shifting directions of consumption. 

Black Swan meets Turning Red in a gripping and gruesome tale of monstrosity, maternity and maturation.

A compelling, terrifying and brilliantly ambiguous portrayal of body horror, psychological fear, occult suggestion and the terror of motherhood and isolation. 

A joyous, exhilarating and witty action adventure of regret, camaraderie, redemptive nostalgia and aerial thrills. 

A thrilling and visceral coming of age sci-vival horror that brilliantly balances homage and innovation. 

An extraordinary amalgam of referentiality and innovation in a meta sci-fi western horror that captures the terror of open and enclosed spaces and the power of the gaze. 

Psycho meets Creep with a dash of The Descent in a compellingly creepy and gleefully gruesome blend of body horror, identity politics and the rot of traditional America.

With so much excellent content, and after a genuinely difficult time deciding on my top twelve and indeed their order, I can honestly say that 2022 was a fantastic year for movies. 2023 is promising some heavy hitters, but it has a tough act to follow.

Review of 2022: Stinkers of the Year

My last post was a bit of a rant about the overwriting of contemporary blockbusters. Therefore, it’s worth saying that some of those blockbusters, as well as some lower budget releases, make up my personal worst films of the year. Only ten here, because these are not worth singing about, and not ranked, because I found all of them rubbish if in different ways. 

An occasionally vertiginous and visceral survival horror, that plummets painfully into convolutions, excessive backstories and looking far too pretty. 

A shonky if snappy creature feature with a crocodile in Hampshire.

An intriguing blend of body and folk horror undone by leaden plotting, literally wooden acting and amateurish directing. 

An amusing premise with impressive gore drained of tension and humour by a painfully protracted pace. 

A thematically rich folk horror satire of class warfare, robbed of suspense by loose plotting and uneven direction. 

A wild, overwrought and messy flurry of tired cliches and garish visuals.

A messy jumble of half-baked ideas, half-hearted narrative threads, indulgent nostalgia, underdone stakes, excessive characters and inadequate dinosaurs, elevated by occasional stylish set pieces.

A rather stilted and visually unbalanced superpower horror chase thriller that is ironically rather cold.

Deep South Taken mashed with cut-price Man On Fire in a tedious, inept splodge of blithering hysteria and blathering twaddle. 

A poorly paced and irritating influencer horror comedy that undermines its laughs with being too knowing and its scares with its found footage conceit.

Quite the set of stinkers. I recommend you avoid all of them.