For a feature film to be eligible for an Oscar nomination, there are three numbers one needs to keep in mind:
According to IMDB.com, 13,945 feature films were produced in 2022. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences mandates that feature films must open in a commercial motion picture theater in at least one of six U.S. metropolitan areas: Los Angeles County, Calif.; the City of New York, N.Y.; the Bay Area in northern California; Chicago, Ill.; Miami, Fla.; and Atlanta, Ga., between January 1, 2022, and December 31, 2022, and complete a minimum qualifying run of seven consecutive days in the same venue.
Additionally, feature films must have a running time of more than 40 minutes.
That narrows the field down to, you guessed it, 301. From that number, 10 nominees were chosen for the Oscar Best Picture category.
From almost 14,000 down to 10. It’s easy to miss some quality projects. Luckily you have your trusted friend, Brooklyn’s favorite polymath, to spotlight a few Oscar gems that the Academy may have missed:
‘THE WOMAN KING’
This year’s biggest Oscar snub tells the story of the Dahomey tribe and its women warriors. The film stars Viola Davis as Nanisca, the general of the Agojie, the fierce, all-women warriors of the Dahomey tribe.
With outstanding portrayals by Thuso Mdedu (Nawi) and Lashana Lynch (Izogie), we follow the efforts of the Dahomey to free themselves from servitude to the Oyo tribe and move away from the slave trade with the Portuguese.
This is an important film because transplants from West Africa and members of the African diaspora in various parts of the world get to see a depiction of the slave trade that doesn’t start from the deficit model. The African point of view is refreshing to see and is noteworthy. Inspired by true events, it showcases strong female characters and a rousing showing from Davis.
In this humble polymath’s opinion, this is one of Oscar’s greatest snubs (not one nomination) and a must-see. Available on Netflix.
OK, OK, right. Babylon is a ridiculous movie and an hour too long. But oh, what a ride.
Brad Pitt as Jack Conrad and Margot Robbie as Nellie LaRoy are fun to watch during their scene at the beginning of the movie. The film takes a dark turn toward the end, somewhat parallel to the darkness that began to creep into film production after the “talkies” became popular.
The movie is cinematically beautiful and has a feverish pace which slows down as the protagonists lose their footing. Diego Calva pulls you in as the hapless yet fortunate Manny Torres and the film is just beautiful to watch.
Diego, making his way from Mexico, is a prototype of the story of the immigrant in the early 1900s: a twist of fortune could leave you on top of the heap or near the bottom. You may need to consume this film the way you eat an elephant (one bite at a time) but you will definitely not be bored. Available on Paramount+.
The sequel to “Knives Out” reintroduces us to Daniel Craig’s Detective Benoit Blanc, super sleuthing his way through another murder mystery.
While it was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar, the Best Picture nod eluded it.
Like its predecessor, the movie plays like a spit-polished version of the movie “Clue.” Craig seems to have fallen in love with this role and his Southern U.S. drawl seems to have gotten even more Southern in its twang.
The true star of the film, though, is Janelle Monae. True confession: This writer is a fan of the songstress and black-and-white fashion icon so this review might be biased. That said, whenever an actor plays multiple roles, it’s always noteworthy.
The Academy missed an opportunity to celebrate Ms. Monae but she gets her flowers from us. Available on Netflix.
‘THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING’
This film features Idris Elba as the Djinn (pronounced “Jin” and the source of genie fables) and Tilda Swinton as Alithea, the woman who rubs his bottle.
One could be forgiven for thinking it would be a tale of fantasies gone wrong and carnal desires played out on screen. It was none of those things and in the end, it whittles down to a very human and pedestrian love story.
So why is this on the list? Well, the film is beautiful! It’s gorgeous. It tells the tale of the Djinn and how he ends up trapped in the bottle to begin with. We get swept back to ancient times and get to play with the idea of what happens to love when you have magic at your disposal.
The movie was a disappointment to this writer due to incorrect expectations for the plot. Other viewers might enjoy it more. Available on MGM+ or on Prime for a fee.
This was the most polarizing movie of last year. People who left the theater either loved it, were confused by it or hated it. This writer happens to be one of the people who thought that it was a really good movie.
Jordan Peele’s latest offering makes commentary on Black Excellence, child stars and trauma tourism in such subtle ways that they can easily be missed. Daniel Kaluuya — a Cross-Cultural Kid (CCK) actor who has Ugandan parentage but grew up in London — and Keke Palmer play a brother and sister struggling to keep the family business afloat. Along the way, they encounter an alien phenomenon and things go awry from there.
A bit of advice? Don’t go into this as an alien monster film. This is clearly a social commentary piece. Well … maybe not so clearly. Available on Peacock+.
This is a sneaky film. It’s essentially a rom-com but it is laced with social justice messages throughout the project. Most of the heady lines come from Noah who is played by Joel Kim Booster.
Booster is also the film’s writer and along with the rest of the cast, paints a picture of summer on Fire Island as a historically safe haven for gay people. It’s in line with his piercing comedy which delves into his Korean heritage.
Joel was adopted as a young child and his work focuses around the identities that stem from that.
In “Fire Island,” he doesn’t sugarcoat the decadence and debauchery that is also a hallmark of the summer gathering. Like Vegas, what happens on the island generally stays on the island (primarily because for a while being gay was illegal and you could get arrested for who you loved … crazy right?) so this glimpse into a week with this group of friends is revealing.
Booster doesn’t miss an opportunity to illustrate how members of the LGBTQIA++ community have endured bias and violence, even when it comes from inside the community. That said, it’s a rom-com. Come for the super-toned bodies. Stay for the social consciousness. Available on Hulu.
CHECK THEM OUT.
If you haven’t seen these six offerings, check them out while they’re still streaming and leave a comment on whether the Academy dropped the ball by not considering them for a Best Picture Oscar.