Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Oscar Nominees’ Other Performances

The Power of the Dog (c) Netflix / Paranorman (c) Laika

Here's a guide to where you can stream all the Oscar Performance and Directing nominees as well as a suggestion to other performances and movies from that actor or director.   Remember, the Oscars will air on Sunday, March 27.


Nine (c)  The Weinstein Company

Jessica Chastain 

Nomination: The Eyes of Tammy Faye on HBO Max 
Recommendation: The Tree of Life on Hulu 

Chastain plays the loving mother of three boys and wife to Brad Pitt. She fits in comfortably in the Terrence Malick universe. 

Olivia Colman 

Nomination: The Lost Daughter on Netflix 
Recommendation: Fleabag on Amazon Prime 

I am trying not to recommend too many TV shows, but Olivia Colman almost steals the series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge as Fleabag’s Godmother from Hell. 

Penélope Cruz 

Nomination: Parallel Mothers on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: Nine on Streaming on Demand 

In this much maligned adaptation of one of my favorite musicals, Cruz (who plays the mistress of a famous film director) was probably also nominated for an Oscar just for the line “I’ll be here, waiting for you, with my legs open.” 

Nicole Kidman 

Nomination: Being the Ricardos on Amazon 
Recommendation: Paddington on Netflix 

People who love Hugh Grant’s villain in “Paddington 2” probably forgot that Nicole Kidman did an equally good job in the original. 

Kristen Stewart 

Nomination: Spencer on Hulu 
Recommendation: Personal Shopper on Streaming on Demand 

Stewart plays a woman who may or may not have a psychic connection to her dead brother in one of her most understated but effective roles. 


Never Let Me Go (c) Fox Searchlight Pictures

Javier Bardem 

Nomination: Being the Ricardos on Amazon 
Recommendation: Before Night Falls on Streaming on Demand 

Bardem received his first nomination for his portrayal of the gay Cuban poet, Reinaldo Arenas. 

Benedict Cumberbatch 

Nomination: The Power of the Dog on Netflix 
Recommendation: The Mauritanian on Showtime 

I was impressed with how well Cumberbatch captured the moral conflict (if maybe not with his accent) of a Southern Marine prosecutor who is assigned to the case of prisoner in Guantánamo Bay who may have had ties to a September 11th attacks. 

Andrew Garfield 

Nomination: tick tick...BOOM! on Netflix 
Recommendation: Never Let Me Go on HBO Max

One of Garfield’s earliest roles, he is part of triangle with Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightley as three orphan classmates who discovers the secret of their past. 

Will Smith 

Nomination: King Richard on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: I Am Legend on Streaming on Demand 

Smith is literally the only human on screen and holds our attention in this apocalyptic zombie thriller. 

Denzel Washington 

Nomination: The Tragedy of Macbeth on Apple TV+ 
Recommendation: Philadelphia on Showtime 

People remember how great Tom Hanks is in “Philadelphia,” as a gay man dying of AIDS, but Washington is equally powerful as his lawyer. 


Little Women (c) Columbia Pictures

Jessie Buckley 

Nomination: The Lost Daughter on Netflix 
Recommendation: Wild Rose on Hulu 

I am recommending “Wild Rose” only by reputation, as I haven't seen (but heard good things about) Buckley playing a volatile Scottish ex-con who wants to be a country singer. 

Ariana DeBose 

Nomination: West Side Story on HBO Max and Disney+ 
Recommendation: The Prom on Netflix 

In one of her first movie musical roles, DeBose has a small but pivotal role of the secret girlfriend of Emma, whose insistence to take a girl to her high school prom results in its cancellation. 

Judi Dench 

Nomination: Belfast on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: Ladies in Lavender on Amazon Prime 

So many excellent movies for Dench (she’s also good in “Nine” with fellow nominees Penelope Cruz and Nicole Kidman), but she is best when paired with Maggie Smith, first in the small role of a writer in “A Room with a View” and this gentle drama about two spinster sisters whose small world is expanded by a mysterious young man who they find passed out on their beach - naked! 

Kirsten Dunst 

Nomination: The Power of the Dog on Netflix 
Recommendation: Little Women on Netflix 

After her breakout role in “Interview with a Vampire” she played Amy March (“Limes!”) in Gillian Armstrong’s excellent adaptation of “Little Women.” 

Aunjanue Ellis 

Nomination: King Richard on HBO Max 
Recommendation: If Beale Street Could Talk on Hulu 

Ellis has a small role of the proud and emotional mother of Fonnie, the young man who’s wrongfully accused of attacking a white woman. 


Game Night (c) Warner Bros.

Ciarán Hinds 

Nomination: Belfast on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby on Streaming on Demand 

Not many people saw this movie (with fellow nominee Jessica Chastain) but Hinds is commanding in one of his rare contemporary films as James McAvoy’s father. 

Troy Kotsur 

Nomination: CODA on Apple TV+ 
Recommendation: The Mandalorian on Disney+ 

Kotsur played a small role as a Tusken Raider, who communicates with the Mandalorian in Tusken Sign Language (TSL), which Kotsur created for the series. 

Jesse Plemons 

Nomination: The Power of the Dog on Netflix 
Recommendation: Game Night on Streaming on Demand

Jesse Plemons is funny and creepy as the neighbor who feels slighted not to be invited to his neighbor's game night. 

J.K. Simmons 

Nomination: Being the Ricardos on Amazon 
Recommendation: Palm Springs on Hulu

As first it seems that Simmons is just an annoying character that Andy Samberg runs into once in a while in his infinite time loop, but Simmons gets to do more nuanced work as the movie goes along. 

Kodi Smit-McPhee 

Nomination: The Power of the Dog on Netflix 
Recommendation: Paranorman on Netflix 

Once you realize that Smit-McPhee voices the kid who sees dead people, you can’t not notice that the animators did a good job capturing his essence in Norman. 


Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (c) Film Movement

Paul Thomas Anderson 

Nomination: Licorice Pizza on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: Magnolia on Streaming on Demand  

I find Anderson an overrated director, but the one that many people believe is his most indulgent is probably my favorite. With its overlapping stories, larger-than-life performances and biblical themes, I was never bored. 

Kenneth Branagh 

Nomination: Belfast on Streaming on Demand 
Recommendation: Dead Again on Streaming on Demand

Before Branagh directed himself in two Hercules Poirot movies, he played a detective trying to figure out if he is the reincarnated killer from the 1950s. It was his (mostly successful) attempt to do Hitchcock. It was his second directorial effort after “Henry V.” 

Jane Campion 

Nomination: The Power of the Dog on Netflix 
Recommendation: An Angel at My Table on HBO Max 

On of Campion’s earliest movies (which was actually a mini-series on Australian TV) about the author Janet Frame and is one of the best biopics about the pains and joys of being a writer. 

Ryusuke Hamaguchi 

Nomination: Drive My Car on HBO Max 
Recommendation: Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy on Streaming on Demand  

Hamaguchi actually released two movies in 2021, and I enjoyed “Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy” more, while conceding that “Drive My Car” is his more ambitious movie.  Read my review here.

Steven Spielberg 

Nomination: West Side Story on HBO Max and Disney+ 
Recommendation: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial on Streaming on Demand

Even if you’ve seen it a hundred times, you can’t go wrong with Spielberg’s most iconic movie.

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