What If Lisa Marie Picked The Oscar Nominees: 2022 Edition


With the Oscar nominations due to be announced tomorrow, now is the time that the Shattered Lens indulges in a little something called, “What if Lisa Marie had all the power.” Listed below are my personal Oscar nominations. Please note that these are not the films that I necessarily think will be nominated. The fact of the matter is that the many of them will not be. Instead, these are the films that would be nominated if I was solely responsible for deciding the nominees this year. Winners are listed in bold.

It should also go without saying that I’ve only nominated films that I’ve actually seen.  So, if you’re wondering why a certain film wasn’t nominated, it’s always possible that may have not gotten the opportunity to see it yet.  Of course, it’s also possible that I didn’t feel that a certain film was worthy of a nomination, despite what the critics may say.  In the end, my best advice is not to worry too much about it.  I’m not an Academy voter so ultimately, this is all for fun and that’s the spirit in which it should be taken.

You’ll also note that I’ve added four categories, all of which I believe the Academy should adopt — Best Voice-Over Performance, Best Casting, Best Stunt Work, and Best Overall Use Of Music In A Film.

(Click on the links to see my nominations for 2021, 2020201920182017201620152014201320122011, and 2010!)

And now, without any further ado:

2022 

Best Picture 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Elvis 

Emily the Criminal 

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

The Fabelmans 

Nitram 

TAR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Vengeance  

Best Director 

Edward Berger for All Quiet on the Western Front  

Todd Field for TAR 

Joseph Kosinski for Top Gun: Maverick 

Baz Luhrmann for Elvis 

Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin

BJ Novak for Vengeance 

Best Actor 

Austin Butler in Elvis 

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick 

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin  

Caleb Landry Jones in Nitram 

BJ Novak in Vengeance  

Adam Sandler in Hustle 

Best Actress 

Cate Blanchett in TAR 

Emma Corrin in Lady Chatterley’s Lover  

Annie Hardy in Dashcam 

Mia Goth for Pearl 

Aubrey Plaza in Emily The Criminal 

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Best Supporting Actor 

Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin 

Val Kilmer in Top Gun: Maverick 

Anthony LaPaglia in Nitram 

David Lynch in The Fabelmans 

Brad Pitt in Babylon 

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once 

Best Supporting Actress 

Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin 

Essie Davis in Nitram 

Judy Davis in Nitram  

Nina Hoss in TAR  

Nicole Kidman in The Northman 

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans 

Best Voice Over Performance 

Antonio Banderas in Puss In Boots: The Last Wish 

Jack Black in Apollo 10 ½ 

Steve Carell in Minions: The Rise of Gru 

Mike Judge in Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe 

Ewan McGregor in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio  

Jenny Slate in Marcel the Shell With Shoes On  

 

Best Adapted Screenplay 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio   

Lady Chatterley’s Lover 

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On 

Operation Mincemeat 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Original Screenplay 

Apollo 10 ½

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Emily the Criminal 

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

TAR 

Vengeance 

Best Animated Feature Film 

Apollo 10 ½ 

Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe  

The Bob’s Burgers Movie 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinoccio  

The House 

Mad God 

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On 

Minions: The Rise of Gru 

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

Turning Red  

Best Documentary Feature Film 

The Automat 

Bitterbrush

Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel

Goodnight Oppy 

Is That Black Enough For You? 

My Old School 

Selena Gomez: My Mind And Me 

Send Me 

Three Minutes: A Lengthening 

Wildcat 

 

Best International Feature Film 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

Bardo 

Battle: Freestyle 

The Bombardment 

Dark Glasses

How I Fell In Love With A Gangster 

Into the Wind 

My Best Friend Anne Frank 

Restless 

RRR 

Best Live Action Short Film 

A Little Dead

Forgive Us Our Trespasses 

Best Animated Short Film 

The Flying Sailor

Ice Merchants

The Garbage Man 

Steakhouse 

Best Documentary Short Film 

Elephant Whisperers

Her Majesty’s Queue  

The Martha Mitchell Effect

Nuisance Bear 

The Runner 

Stranger at the Gate 

Best Original Score 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Babylon 

The Banshees of Inisherin

Don’t Worry, Darling 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Top Gun: Maverick 

 

Best Original Song 

“At the Automat” from The Automat 

“Sunny Side Up Summer” from The Bob’s Burgers Movie 

“Vegas” from Elvis

“Ciao Papa” from Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio  

“Naatu Naatu” from RRR 

“My Mind and Me” From Selena Gomez: My Mind and Me 

“Hold My Hand” From Top Gun: Maverick 

“Carolina” From Where The Crawdads Sing 

“New Body Rhumba” from White Noise 

“A Sky Like I’ve Never Seen” from Wildcat 

Best Overall Use of Music In A Movie 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Elvis 

TAR   

Father Stu 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Sound Editing 

All Quiet On The Western Front 

Avatar: The Way of the Water  

The Bombardment 

Elvis 

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinoccio  

Top Gun Maverick 

Best Sound Mixing 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Batman 

Elvis

TAR 

The Northman 

Top Gun Maverick 

Best Production Design 

Babylon

The Batman 

Elvis 

The Fabelmans 

RRR 

See How They Run

Best Casting 

All Quiet on the Western Front 

The Northman 

She Said 

TAR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Vengeance 

Best Cinematography 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Bardo   

Elvis 

Everything Everywhere All At Once

RRR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Costume Design 

Babylon 

Death on the Nile 

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Elvis

The Fabelmans

See How They Run  

Best Film Editing 

All Quiet on the Western Front  

Ambulance 

The Banshees of Inisherin 

Everything Everywhere All At Once   

The Fabelmans 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Make-Up and Hairstyling 

Babylon 

Elvis   

The Fabelmans   

The Northman  

Terrifier 2 

Best Stuntwork 

All Quiet On The Western Front

The Batman 

Bullet Train    

Everything Everywhere All At Once 

RRR 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Best Visual Effects 

Avatar: The Way of Water 

Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness 

Mad God 

RRR 

Terrifier 2 

Top Gun: Maverick 

Films Listed By Number of Nominations

15 Nominations — Top Gun: Maverick

11 Nominations — Elvis

10 Nominations — All Quiet On The Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin

8 Nominations — TAR

7 Nominations — Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Fabelmans

6 Nominations — Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, RRR

5 Nominations — Babylon, Nitram, Vengeance

4 Nominations — The Northman, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish

3 Nominations — Apollo 10 1/2, The Batman, Emily the Criminal, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

2 Nominations — The Automat, Avatar: The Way of the Water, Bardo, Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe, The Bob’s Burgers Movie, The Bombardment, Dr. Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Mad Dog, Minions: The Rise of Gru, See How They Run, Selena Gomez: My Mind & Me, Terrifier 2, Wildcat, X

1 Nomination — A Little Dead, Ambulance, Battle: Freestyle, Bitterbush, Bullet Train, Dascham, Dark Glasses, Death on the Nile, Don’t Worry Darling, Dreaming Walls: Inside the Chelsea Hotel, Elephant Whisperers, Father Stu, The Flying Sailor, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, The Garbage Man, Goodnight Oppy, Her Majesty’s Queue, How I Fell In Love With A Gangster, Hustle, Ice Merchants, Into the Wind, Is That Black Enough For You?, The House, Hustle, The Martha Mitchell Effect, My Friend Anne Frank, My Old School, Nuisance Bear, Operation: Mincemeat, Pearl, Restless, The Runner, Send Me, She Said, Steakhouse, Stranger at the Gates, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, Turning Red, Where The Crawdads Sing, White Noise

Films Listed By Number of Wins:

6 Oscars — Top Gun: Maverick

4 Oscars — All Quiet on the Western Front, Banshees of Inisherin

2 Oscars — Babylon, Elvis, TAR

1 Oscars — A Little Death, Avatar: The Way of the Water, Beavis and Butthead Do The Universe, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Ice Merchant, Nuisance Bear, Three Minutes: A Lengthening, X 

Will the Academy and I agree?  Probably not!  But we’ll find out for sure in just a few hours!

Lisa Marie’s Oscar Predictions for December


Here they are!  These are my final Oscar predictions for 2022.  The critics groups have certainly helped to show us which films are major contenders.  That said, the Guilds are even more important so I can’t wait to see who they nominate and honor in January.

be sure to check out my predictions for FebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugustSeptember, October, and November!

Best Picture

Avatar: The Way of Water

Babylon

The Banshees of Inisherin

Elvis

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

Tar

Top Gun: Maverick

The Woman King

Women Talking

Best Director

Todd Field for TAR

Baz Luhrmann for Elvis

Martin McDonagh for The Banshees of Inisherin

Sarah Polley for Women Talking

Steven Spielberg for The Fabelmans

Best Actor

Austin Butler in Elvis

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in TAR

Viola Davis in The Woman King

Danielle Deadwyler in Till

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor

Brendan Gleeson for The Banshees of Inisherin

Judd Hirsch in The Fabelmans

Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Brad Pitt in Babylon

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley in Woman Talking

Kerry Condon in The Banshees of Inisherin

Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Dolly de Leon in Triangle of Sadness

Janelle Monáe in Glass Onion

Here Are The Sequel-Dominated 2022 Satellite Nominations!


The Satellite nominations were announced on Thursday morning. 

What are the Satellites?  For years, they were like a less important version of the Golden Globes.  However, considering all of the recent controversy that has surrounded that Hollywood Foreign Press and the Golden Globes, it wouldn’t surprise me if, in a few years, the International Press Academy and the Satellites became Hollywood’s new favorite shady precursor group.

Like the Globes, the Satellites hand out awards for both film and television.  Below, you’ll find their film nominations.  If you want to see their TV nominations, Next Best Picture has got you covered.

Here are the Satellite noms for 2022!  To me, perhaps the most interesting thing about the nominations is that many of the biggest contenders — Glass Onion, Top Gun: Maverick, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Avatar: Way of the Water — are sequels.  It’ll be interesting to see if the Academy follows suit.

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
Jessica Chastain – The Good Nurse (Netflix)
Cate Blanchett – TÁR (Focus Features)
Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Danielle Deadwyler – Till (United Artists Releasing)
Vicky Krieps – Corsage (IFC Films)
Viola Davis – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE DRAMA
Brendan Fraser – The Whale (A24)
Tom Cruise – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Gabriel LaBelle – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Hugh Jackman – The Son (CAA Media Finance)
Bill Nighy – Living (Sony Pictures)
Mark Wahlberg – Father Stu (Columbia Pictures)

ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Margot Robbie – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Janelle Monáe- Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Emma Thompson – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande (Searchlight Pictures)

ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Collin Farrell – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Austin Butler – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Diego Calva – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Adam Sandler – Hustle (Netflix)
Ralph Fiennes – The Menu (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Daniel Craig – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Jean Smart – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Kerry Condon – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Dolly de Leon – Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Claire Foy – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Jamie Lee Curtis – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Eddie Radmayne – The Good Nurse (Netflix)
Ben Whishaw – Women Talking (United Artists Realising)
Paul Dano – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Jeremy Strong – Armageddon Time (Focus Features)

MOTION PICTURE, DRAMA
Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Living (Sony Pictures)
The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Till (United Artists Releasing)
Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
TÁR (Focus Feature)
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

MOTION PICTURE, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
RRR (Variance Films)
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Elvis (Warner Bros.)

MOTION PICTURE, INTERNATIONAL
Argentina, 1985 (Argentina)
Decision To Leave (Korea)
Holy Spider (Denmark)
Close (Belgium)
War Sailor (Norway)
Corsage (Austria)
Bardo (Mexico)
The Quiet Girl (Ireland)

MOTION PICTURE, ANIMATED OR MIXED MEDIA
Turning Red (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (A24)
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)
Inu-Oh (GKIDS)
The Bad Guys (DWA)

MOTION PICTURE, DOCUMENTARY
The Territory (National Geographic Documentary Films)
All The Beauty And The Bloodshed (Neon)
Moonage Daydream (Neon)
Fire Of Love (Neon)
Descendant (Netflix)
The Return of Tanya Tucker: Featuring Brandi Carlile (Sony Pictures)
Good Night Oppy (Amazon Prime Video)
All That Breathes (HBO Documentary Films)
Young Plato (Yleisradio)

DIRECTOR
Baz Luhrmann – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
James Cameron – Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Netflix)
Joseph Kosinski – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Sarah Polley – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)

SCREENPLAY, ORIGINAL
Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Tony Kushner & Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Ruben Östlund – Triangle Of Sadness (Neon)
Todd Field – TÁR (Focus Features)
Lukas Dhont & Angelo Tijssens – Close (A24)

SCREENPLAY, ADAPTED
Sarah Polley – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)
Samuel D. Hunter – The Whale (A24)
Rian Johnson – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)
Peter Craig, Ehren Kruger, Justin Marks, Christopher McQuarrie & Eric Warren Singer – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Kazuo Ishiguro – Living (Sony Pictures)
Rebecca Lenkiewicz – She Said (Universal Pictures)

ORIGINAL SCORE
Harold Faltermeyer, Lady Gaga, Hans Zimmer, Lorne Balfe – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Terence Blanchard – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)
Justin Hurwitz – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
John Williams – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Carter Burwell – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Hildur Guðnadóttir – Women Talking (United Artists Releasing)

ORIGINAL SONG
“Hold My Hand” – Lady Gaga: Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
“Lift Me Up” – Rihanna: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
“Naatu Naatu” – Kala Bhairava, M.M. Keeravani & Rahul Sipligunj: RRR (Variance Films)
“Vegas” – Doja Cat: Elvis (Warner Bros.)
“Carolina” – Taylor Swift: Where The Crawdads Sing (Columbia Pictures)
“Applause” – Diane Warren: Tell It Like a Woman (Samuel Goldwyn Films)

CINEMATOGRAPHY
Claudio Miranda – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Linus Sandgren – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Roger Deakins – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)
Ben Davis – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Russell Carpenter – Avatar: The Way Of The Water (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Mandy Walker – Elvis ( Warner Bros)

FILM EDITING
Eddie Hamilton – Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
Jonathan Redmond, Matt Villa – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Sarah Broshar, Michael Kahn – The Fabelmans (Universal Pictures)
Paul Rogers – Everything Everywhere All At Once (A24)
Monika Willi – TÁR (Focus Features)
Terilyn A. Shropshire – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)

SOUND ( Editor / Mixer )
Top Gun: Maverick – Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson (Paramount Pictures)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Christopher Boyes (Supervising Sound Editor / Re-Recording Mixer ), Gwendolyn Yates Whittle Dick Bernstein (Supervising Sound Editors), Gary Summers, Michael Hedges (Re-Recording Mixers), Julian Howarth (Production Sound Mixer) (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Babylon – Steve Morrow, Ai-Ling Lee, Mildred Iatrou Morgan, Andy Nelson (Paramount Pictures)
Elvis – David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson, Michael Keller (Warner Bros.)
The Woman King – Becky Sullivan, Kevin O’Connell, Tony Lamberti, Derek Mansvelt (Sony Pictures)
RRR – Raghunath Kemisetty, Boloy Kumar Doloi, Rahul Karpe (Variance Films)

VISUAL EFFECTS
Top Gun: Maverick – Ryan Tudhope, Scott R. Fisher, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson (Paramount Pictures)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, Richie Baneham, Dan Barrett (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Babylon – Jay Cooper, Elia Popov, Kevin Martel, Ebrahim Jahromi (Paramount Pictures)
Good Night Oppy – Abishek Nair, Marko Chulev, Steven Nichols (Amazon Prime Video)
The Batman – Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, Dominic Tuohu (Warner Bros)
RRR – V. Srinivas Mohan (Variance Films)

PRODUCTION DESIGN
RRR – Sabu Cyril (Variance Films)
Babylon – Florencia Martin, Anthony Carlino (Paramount Pictures)
Elvis – Catherine Martin, Karen Murphy (Warner Bros.)
Avatar: The Way Of The Water – Dylan Cole, Ben Procter (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The Fabelmans – Rick Carter (Universal Pictures)
A Love Song – Juliana Barreto Barreto (Bleecker Street Media)

COSTUME DESIGN
Ruth E. Carter – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
Mary Zophres – Babylon (Paramount Pictures)
Cathrine Matrin – Elvis (Warner Bros.)
Gersha Phillips – The Woman King (TriStar Pictures)
Sandy Powell – Living (Sony Pictures)
Alexandra Byrne – Empire of Light (Searchlight Pictures)

ENSEMBLE MOTION PICTURE: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (Netflix)

Film Review: Elvis (dir by Baz Luhrmann)


Elvis the movie has much in common with Elvis the entertainer.

Both the movie and the entertainer (who is played, in the film, by Austin Butler) start strong, fall apart at the end, and leave you with a tear in one of your eyes once it’s all over.

Both the movie and the entertainer are big and unapologetically excessive yet also undeniably earnest as well.  Considering the amount of music that appears in the film (from both Elvis Presley and others), it’s significant that the final song played is In The Ghetto, which features Elvis at both his most naïve, his most sincere, and at what some of his critics would call his most offensive.

Both the movie and the entertainer are occasionally shallow but both of them want to be about more than just screaming fans, libidinal desires, and radio-friendly songs.  While Elvis (played by Austin Butler) watches the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and wonders how he should respond, the movie tries to make sense of and find a deeper meaning in the world’s fascination with kitschy Americana.  The movie suggests that Elvis spent much of the 60s on the outside looking in and the same could be said of Australian director Baz Luhrmann and his attempts to observe and capture the contradictions inherent in American culture.  Luhrmann’s kinetic style, which is one of those things that viewers will either love or hate, serves not just to capture the frantic energy of the late 50s and the 60s but it also allows him to remain detached from the world that he’s recreating.  It’s his way of reminding us that, though the story may be about a real person and a real moment in time, it’s still just a movie and, even during the film’s most intimate moments, the audience is still on the outside looking in.  We are the outsiders peeping in on the insiders, watching through a locked window that allows us to observe but not to interact.  This is history as a fever dream.

Finally, both Elvis the movie and Elvis the entertainer face the same dilemma.  What to do about Colonel Tom Parker?  Tom Parker was the former sideshow carny-turned-promoter who took credit for discovering Elvis and who managed his career.  Of course, he wasn’t really a colonel.  His name wasn’t Tom Parker.  And despite his claims to the contrary, he wasn’t born in West Virginia.  No one, not even the film’s version of Elvis, seemed to be sure who Col. Parker really was.  Parker is typically cast as the villain in the story of Elvis’s self-destruction.  He made a lot of money off of Elvis but he also put Elvis is bad movies and trapped him in a Las Vegas residency.  He made sure that Elvis got the pills that he needed to keep performing.

In the film, Parker narrates the story from his deathbed and angrily denounces anyone who would say that he was responsible for Elvis’s death.  When he talks about the gamble he took on Elvis, Parker’s seen staggering through a casino while still wearing a hospital gown.  Parker is played by Tom Hanks, who wears a prosthetic nose and speaks in an almost unintelligible accent.  My first reaction to Hanks’s performance was to think, “Could they not have gotten Christoph Waltz for this role?”  There’s nothing subtle about Hanks’s performance but then again, there’s never been anything subtle about Luhrmann as a filmmaker.  As the film progressed, I started to better appreciate what Luhrmann was doing with the character and I think I even came to understand his motives for casting Hanks.  If Austin Butler’s Elvis is meant to represent the optimism and the hope of America then it makes sense that he would be shadowed by the dark side of kitsch and there’s nothing more kitschy then casting an actor like Tom Hanks as the Devil.  As an actor, Hanks is often casts in roles where he epitomizes old-fashioned integrity.  By casting him as Col. Parker, Luhrmann challenges our expectations of who Tom Hanks can be in much the same way that Elvis challenged expectations of how music could be performed.  This is a film that is fully aware of the irony of Elvis coming to symbolize America while his career was being managed and his image carefully constructed by a man who entered the country illegally and who couldn’t reveal his real name or his real biography.  If Tom Hanks sometimes seems lost in the role of Col. Parker, it helps to remind us that Parker himself was often lost in America.  If Tom Hanks is usually cast as the epitome of American exceptionalism, his casting here reminds us that Col. Parker was a man who achieved the American dream and who came to represent the American nightmare.

In the end, it’s Austin Butler’s performance as Elvis that keeps the movie from spinning out of control.  Even while surrounded by Luhrmann’s stylistic touches and Tom Hanks’s bizarre performance, Austin Butler keeps the film grounded in reality by turning Elvis into a human being, a talented singer who loves his success but who also fears that he’ll never truly be worthy of it.  Butler gives a performance that is full of sexual swagger but which also finds room for the small moments in which Elvis reverts back to being a lost child who feels like he needs someone to look after him.  Interestingly enough, there aren’t many scenes in the film in which Elvis and Col. Parker show much affection toward each other.  Instead, each feels like he needs the other to survive and, to a certain extent, they each resent the other because of that dependence.  Austin Butler’s Elvis is the king when he’s on stage but, when he’s off-stage, he’s just another outsider looking in.  Elvis becomes a symbol of America but the American establishment is only willing to fully accept him after he’s gone.  If nothing else, this role should make a star out of Austin Butler.  Before he played Elvis, Butler was best known for playing murderer Tex Watson is another fever dream of history, Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood.  In Elvis, the title character retreats into his hotel room after reading about the murders that Tex Watson, under the direction of Charles Manson, took part in.  As both a film and a character, Elvis understands that society is just as quick to destroy its celebrities as it is to idolize them.

Elvis is a flawed film, make no mistake.  How the viewer reacts to it will largely depend on how much tolerance that viewer has for Luhrmann’s flamboyant style.  At 2 hours and 38 minutes, it feels a bit overlong and, despite all of Luhrmann’s stylistic flourishes, the final fourth of the film is a conventional “rock star in decline” story.  (In one way or another, these flaws are present in almost all of Luhrmann’s films, allowing one to wonder when a flaw ceases to become a flaw and instead becomes a directorial trademark.)  Elvis is undeniably a Baz Luhrmann film but, fortunately, it’s also an Austin Butler film.  It’s a big, sprawling, overwhelming, sometimes annoying and often very moving piece of cultural history.  It’s a work of pure, unapologetic showmanship.  Elvis probably would have lost interest after the first hour but Col. Parker would have loved it.

Lisa Marie’s Early Oscar Predictions For August


It’s that time of the month again!

Here are my Oscar predictions for August.  By the end of September, the picture should be a bit clearer.  Until then, most of the predictions listed below continue to be guesses.

Be sure to check out my predictions for February, March, April, May, June, and July!

Best Picture

Babylon

Elvis

Empire of Light

Everything Everywhere All At Once

The Fabelmans

The Inspection

The Son

TAR

Till

Top Gun: Maverick

Best Director

The Daniels for Everything Everywhere All At Once

Todd Field for TAR

Baz Luhrmann for Elvis

Steven Speilberg for The Fabelmans

Florian Zeller for The Son

Best Actor

Austin Butler in Elvis

Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick

Brendan Fraser in The Whale

Hugh Jackman in The Son

Harry Styles in My Policeman

Best Actress

Cate Blanchett in TAR

Olivia Colman in Empire of Light

Viola Davis in The Woman King

Danielle Deadwyler in Till

Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actor

Tom Hanks in Elvis

Anthony Hopkins in The Son

David Lynch in The Fabelmans

Tobey Maguire in Babylon

Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Actress

Jamie Lee Curtis in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Laura Dern in The Son

Sally Field in Spoiler Alert

Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All At Once

Michelle Williams in The Fabelmans

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Ewan McGregor Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

Today is not just Christoper Walken’s birthday!  It’s also the birthday of another one of my favorite actors, the only and only Ewan McGregor!  And you know what that means.  It’s time for….

4 Shots From 4 Ewan McGregor Films

Trainspotting (1996, dir by Danny Boyle)

Moulin Rouge! (2001, dir by Baz Luhrmann)

T2: Trainspotting (2017, dir by Danny Boyle)

Doctor Sleep (2019, dir by Mike Flanagan)

Scenes I Love – “You see..I’m Gatsby.”


When Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby came out in 2013, I skipped seeing the movie in the theatre to read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel first. I realize now I missed out, but as the film is on cable, I’m able to watch it at my leisure. One of my favorite scenes in the movie has actually become a meme for celebrations and snarky quips.

A little background. Our narrator, Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) receives an invitation to Jay Gatsby’s party, and in true Luhrmann style, it’s extremely grand. Fireworks, jazz bands and tons of liquor all around, but Gatsby (who no one seems to have met) is nowhere to be seen. As Nick makes his way through the celebrations, he finds himself talking to an individual whom the audience only knows by the onyx ring he wears. The camera purposely dances around revealing who he is for a few seconds. It’s here that Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, then shows everyone that if you have to introduce yourself to a person, there’s no finer way to do so than to offer them a glass of champagne with Rhapsody in Blue and fireworks exploding in the background.

Nick describes the moment as follows:

“His smile was one of those rare smiles that you may come across four or five times in life. It seemed to understand you and believe in you just as you would like to be understood and believed in.”

Luhrmann and DiCaprio just totally sell that moment. This guy could sell a boat to someone living in the desert. Since no one knows who he is, there’s an air of mystery to him, much like Edmond Dantes when he returns as The Count of Monte Cristo.

Enjoy.

Is The Great Gatsby Great Or Is It Simply Ghastly?


(Special thanks to frequent TSL reader and commenter Dr. Jim for inspiring the title of my review.)

Gatsby

Do you remember when everyone was predicting that Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby would battle it out with The Dark Knight Rises and The Master for Best Picture at the 2012 Academy Awards?

It may be hard to remember but, at this time last year, that’s what a lot of self-styled film divas were predicting.  And who could blame them?  The Great Gatsby was adapted from a great book, Baz Luhrmann was an A-list director, and the film featured actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Carey Mulligan.  The flashy first trailer came out and people, like me, were very excited.

And then, suddenly, Warner Bros announced that The Great Gatsby would not be released in December of 2012.  No, instead, it would be released in May of 2013.  This led to a lot of speculation.  Some film bloggers claimed that Warner Bros was just worried that the Great Gatsby would struggle to find an audience if it was released at the same time as other prestige pictures like Lincoln and Les Miserables.  However, I think most people just assumed that the film probably wasn’t that good.  Suddenly, the opulence of that first trailer was no longer something to be celebrated but, instead, it was taken as evidence that Luhrmann had emphasized style over substance.

Last Friday, The Great Gatsby finally premiered on movie screens across the country and we finally got a chance to discover whether Lurhmann’s film was great or simply ghastly.

Before I started writing this review, I debated with myself whether or not I should include a spoiler warning.  You see, I am a F. Scott Fitzgerald fanatic.  I have read and I have loved almost all of his books (even the unfinished Last Tycoon) and I even went through a period where I identified (perhaps a bit too strongly) with Zelda Fitzgerald.  The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books of all time and it’s hard for me to imagine a world where anyone hasn’t read it.

Unfortunately, judging from the reactions of some of the people in the audience at the showing that I attended, apparently I was giving the rest of the world a little bit too much credit.  So, if you haven’t read The Great Gatsby, then you really should stop reading this review and go pick up a copy.

And, if you’re still reading this review, here’s your SPOILER WARNING.

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With the exception of a few unnecessary scenes that feature Nick Carraway (Tobey Maguire) is a sanitarium, Luhrmann’s film closely follows the plot of Fitzgerald’s novel.  Nick, a recent Yale graduate, moves to New York City in the 1920s.  He has abandoned his earlier plans to be a writer so that he can concentrate on making money as a bonds salesman.  Needing a place to live, Nick ends up renting out a small cottage.  Living across the bay is Nick’s cousin Daisy (Carey Mulligan) and her extremely wealthy and crude husband, Tom Buchanan (Joel Edgerton).  And living right next door to Nick, in a gigantic castle, is the mysterious Jay Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio).

While the Buchanans are a part of the old rich and the American establishment, Gatsby is a much more enigmatic figure.  As Nick discovers, nobody seems to be sure who Gatsby is, where he came from, or how he has made his money.  He seems to devote most of his time to throwing massive parties where he is often nowhere to be found.  However, through the cynical golfer Jordan Baker (Elizabeth Debicki), Nick learns that Gatsby used to know Daisy and that he’s still madly in love with her.  Gatsby befriends Nick, attempting to use him as a way to get to Daisy.  Meanwhile, Nick also finds himself unwillingly in the position of being Tom’s confidante, accompanying him when he drives into New York to meet with his mistress, Myrtle Wilson (Isla Fisher).

gatsby4

To answer the obvious question, The Great Gatsby is not the disaster that so many of us feared but, at the same time, it’s not the triumph that so many of us had hoped for.  Instead, it’s somewhere in the middle.  As with most of his past films, Luhrmann unapologetically embraces style over substance and as such, the film is a lot of fun to watch even though it’s never as intellectually challenging or emotionally captivating as Fitzgerald’s novel.  Whereas Fitzgerald’s novel viewed Gatsby and Daisy with a captivating ambivalence, Luhrmann’s film is content to be a big, glossy soap opera.  As someone who loves the novel, I was frequently annoyed to see how interesting characters like Jordan Baker and Tom Buchanan were simplified for the film version.  But, as someone who loves on-screen spectacle, I enjoyed watching The Great Gatsby even if I could never quite bring my heart to fully embrace it.

One thing that The Great Gatsby definitely gets right is the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby.  DiCaprio’s gives one of his best performances here, perfectly capturing Gatsby’s allure while hinting at the insecurity that lies underneath the confident façade.  Carey Mulligan is well cast in the difficult role of Daisy and Tobey Magurie makes for the perfect Nick Carraway.  (That said, you have to wonder if Maguire and DiCaprio are ever going to start aging or do they both have a picture of Dorian Gray hidden away in a closet somewhere.)

Unlike Fitzgerald’s novel, Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby is not quite great.  But it’s not exactly ghastly either.  If anything, perhaps it will inspire a few more people to read Fitzgerald’s classic novel.

LIBRARY IMAGE OF THE GREAT GATSBY

Trailer: The Great Gatsby


Here is the trailer for the film that many people are predicting will be the major Oscar contender later this year, Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (in 3D, as all films are nowadays).  I’m not totally sold on the idea of Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby (it seems like such a predictable and safe choice, to be honest) but I think Carey Mulligan is a great choice for Daisy and Tobey Magurie was born to play Nick Carraway.  Judging from the trailer, this film is either going to be brilliant or it’s going to be a huge mess.  Speaking as someone who loves F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel and who has often wished that her own voice might sound like money, I’m hoping it will be brilliant.