A good night for Indian films
Three Indian films have been nominated for Academy Awards. There was the expected Best Documentary Feature nod for All That Breathes, which, after winning at Sundance, Cannes and other places, is the odds-on favourite. Naatu Naatu from RRR is in the running for Best Song. And The Elephant Whisperers will compete in the Best Documentary Short category.
A wobbly Best Picture field
A few names were shoo-ins: The Fablemans, The Banshees of Inisherin, Everything Everywhere All At Once, Tár. But Elvis, Top Gun: Maverick and Avatar: The Way of Water should not be in the running; neither should the blunt satire of Triangle of Sadness. Rounding out the category is dark horse All Quiet on the Western Front and the underseen Women Talking. It’s a strange and underwhelming Best Picture field, missing better films nominated in other catgeories and others that likely never came on the Academy's radar.
Eleven nominations for the very popular Everything Everywhere All At Once—the most of any film this year—are well-deserved. But four for Avatar: The Way of Water? Five for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever? Six for Top Gun: Maverick? Eight for Elvis? This time’s selection rewards films that audiences loved and which did well at the box-office, few of which represent the artistic high point of the year.
'All Quiet on the Western Front' a dark horse no longer
All Quiet on the Western Front has the second-most nominations of any film—nine, along with The Banshees of Inisherin. It’s not a scenario the German war film could have dreamed of, even with Netflix throwing its weight behind it. Regarded as a dark horse going into awards season, it now seems likely to pick up at least a few trophies.
‘Decision To Leave’' was robbed
Of all the excellent films that haven't made it to the Oscars, there may not be a more deserving one than Park Chan-wook’s Decision To Leave. This Korean mystery was the cleverest, most romantic, best written and best shot film I saw last year. Tang Wei’s performance was one for the ages. Park doesn’t need the Academy’s recognition, but the Oscars are poorer for ignoring this film.