Oscar Night Top 10 list + Comic News teases!
really pushing the deadline this year
This year, my annual pre-Oscar top 10 list is going to be presented differently. In 2022, I didn’t get to see as many films as I usually do. I’ve been grinding on comics work (more on that later) - so, instead of a detailed analysis of each film on the list, some general thoughts:
I knew the moment I saw Everything Everywhere All At Once that I would not see a better film in 2022. That’s another reason why my usual persistence in seeking out top-10-list contenders waned this year. When the best film asserts itself in March, the “drama” of the big prize is diminished.
Speaking of EEAAO, I was fascinated by the fact that this film was, among other things, a meditation on the current state of scientific understanding of our world and the philosophical implications contained therein. For most of its existence, the many-worlds theory of quantum physics was met with confusion and derision, dismissed as too zany to be worthy of consideration. According to science journalist Sean Carroll, it has now cemented not only into serious consideration, but is supported by the majority of physicists currently in the field. Regardless of the state of that debate, here’s the first film I’ve ever seen that takes seriously the metaphysical question of existence in an actual multiverse, and the psychological response to this framework.
For Best Actress, I am rooting for a tie. Cate Blanchett and Michelle Yeoh are the two individuals most deserving of awards this year; it’s a shame they’re in the same category.
I approached The Banshees of Inisherin with fear. The adage goes: never get the band back together. You can never recapture the original magic. So, as a massive fan of In Bruges, I was worried the trio of Martin McDonagh, Colin Farrell, and Brendan Gleeson would disappoint and risk tarnishing the memory of that film. I couldn’t have been more wrong, and was delighted to be so. What a film. In time, it might even jump above In Bruges in my estimation.
Top Gun: Maverick wasn’t the best film of the year, but it should win Best Picture just for saving the movie industry.
Also: it’s long past time to create a Best Stuntwork category for the Oscars, and they can name the award after Tom Cruise - perhaps posthumously, because that dude’s constant willingness to perform death-defying stunts has me frightened he’s gonna end up dying on a film set. Let’s not do that, and just give him an award please?
I’m an O.G. Todd Field Hipster (i.e. “I was a fan before he made it big”) having been a fan since Ruby in Paradise, but I also need to turn in my Hipster Card because I couldn’t be happier for his mainstream success and accolades.
The “school locker hallway” scene in The Fabelmans is possibly the most profound cinematic moment of the year - not only for its ideas but for what it represents for film history. Those of us who adore Spielberg recognize one of his primary gifts as a filmmaker is how he can move an audience. His critics tend to level surface-level charges of “emotional manipulation” of audiences. As someone in the storytelling business, I hate to break it to you, but, spoiler alert: every filmmaker is in the emotional manipulation game. Whether you think Spielberg is a virtuoso or a hack, I’ll set that aside - but how he absorbed and responded to that criticism in The Fabelmans was extraordinary to behold. Regardless of one’s take on Spielberg, this one scene shatters the notion that he’s mindless in this respect or cynically grabbing box office dollars. He has thought deeply on the affect of cinema from a multitude of angles.
Without further preamble, here’s my Top 10 of 2022:
Everything Everywhere All At Once
The Banshees of Inisherin
Top Gun: Maverick
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Avatar: The Way of Water
All Quiet on The Western Front
Apollo 10 ½
COMICS NEWS TEASES
Coming Soonish to Kickstarter
Oh, right, I’m a comics writer. So I should say something about that. A couple of projects that have been in the works for many years are about to go public.
Splinter City, a cyberpunk comic about Russian gangsters on a floating city in space, written by me with art by Jacob Dudek, is approaching readiness for its crowdfunding campaign. Jacob has been doing fantastic work, and I’d love to show it all to you but here’s just a couple of new glimpses:
And, Project Codename Campbell’s Soup….
For everyone who’s been patiently waiting for my project with the codename Campbell’s Soup … huge news is locked and loaded and gonna fire within a few weeks. Calendar dates have been penciled in and will be inked soon - and that’ll be the subject of my next newsletter.
Thanks, and until next time…
Good luck on your Oscar Bingo Cards, and let’s hope nobody commits an assault on stage this year? I preferred the Academy Awards back when the only on-stage crime was theft (like when The Artist or Shakespeare in Love stole Oscars).