The Oscar nominations are out, and in spite of the fact that Hallelujah, Nope, RRR and Decision to Leave, Dolly De Leon, Viola Davis, Paul Dano, and Danielle Deadwyler were inexplicably excluded, at least Brian Tyree Henry and Judd Hirsch were honored. Anyway, it’s time for our Umpteenth Annual Laemmle Oscar Contest! If you, dear moviegoer, can accurately predict how the members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will vote in all 23 categories, (or close to it), you will win movie passes good at all Laemmle venues! The 95th Academy Awards take place on Sunday, March 12 and we’ll announce the winners soon afterwards. Good luck!
And the Top Ten Customer-Chosen films of 2022, in order from 1 to 10, are [drum roll]:
- Everything Everywhere All at Once
- The Banshees of Inisherin
- The Fabelmans
- Top Gun: Maverick
- Triangle of Sadness
- Decision to Leave
It’s a terrific list, arguably better than the one AMPAS announced this week, which excluded RRR, Nope, Aftersun and Decision to Leave. Films 2-4 and 9, hyperlinked for your convenience, are still in theaters!
Keep those Top Ten contest entries coming. You have until this Sunday, January 22 to give it some thought and enter here. So far, unsurprisingly, it looks like many Laemmle moviegoers are kvelling about Everything Everywhere All at Once, Top Gun: Maverick, and RRR. We’ll have final results next week. You can read Greg Laemmle’s list and leading American film critics’ lists if you need inspiration. Personally, my favorite is Jordan Peele’s spectacular Nope. No doubt my reaction was influenced by the fact that I saw it in a packed, sold-out theater on opening night, because movies are better in theaters!
A statement from Jafar Panahi, unjustly imprisoned since July 2022 by the fascist theocrats in Tehran:
“We are filmmakers. We are part of Iranian independent cinema. For us, to live is to create. We create works that are not commissioned. Therefore, those in power see us as criminals. Independent cinema reflects its own times. It draws inspiration from society. And cannot be indifferent to it.
“The history of Iranian cinema witnesses the constant and active presence of independent directors who have struggled to push back censorship and to ensure the survival of this art. While on this path, some were banned from making films, others were forced into exile or reduced to isolation. And yet, the hope of creating again is a reason for existence. No matter where, when, or under what circumstances, an independent filmmaker is either creating or thinking about creation. We are filmmakers, independent ones.”
Some of the copious praise for No Bears, the film he finished just before being arrested:
“If watching a Jafar Panahi film is something of a political act, then it is also a soul-nourishing one.” ~ Barry Hertz, Globe and Mail
Have you caught up on the 2022 movies you wanted to see? Regardless, it’s time to submit your Top Ten lists. Tell us which films you liked best here and you’ll be entered into a raffle for free Laemmle gift cards! If you need inspiration, here’s Greg Laemmle on the state of arthouse moviegoing and his favorite features of the last year, with some thoughts about each:
“At some level, the best that can be said is that at least we were open for all twelve months of the year. And after 2020 and 2021, that was a positive. But given that the year both started and ended with Omicron surges, the movie exhibition sector is still not in a post-Covid environment.
Since the 2009 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has nominated ten feature films per year for Best Picture, the only category to honor more than five titles. The advance notice of the shortlist for the feature documentaries comes close to that kind of inclusivity and we’re happy to shine a projector bulb light on ten of the fifteen of them this month. We currently have a daily engagement of ALL THE BEAUTY AND THE BLOODSHED in Glendale and are adding another this Friday in Claremont. We’ll screen CHILDREN OF THE MIST in Glendale, Santa Monica and Claremont as part of our Culture Vulture series. We will screen ten of the remaining fifteen of these brilliant movies this weekend and next at the Laemmle Glendale and at the Monica Film Center:
We all like a good Top Ten list. They’re fun to make, entertaining to read, and amusing to argue over. In 2003 I included Love, Actually on my Top Ten list and an erudite film critic friend practically did a spit take he was so shocked I would put such an admittedly middlebrow entertainment among my other choices, which were more esoteric and in line with his tastes. But, hey! Enjoy the art you enjoy and don’t be ashamed of it.
This is a roundabout way of saying we’ll be collecting your Top Ten lists the first week of 2023. We’ll include the entry form in that week’s newsletter and, assuming he catches up on the buzzy films he hasn’t seen yet, Greg Laemmle’s Top Ten list. By submitting your list you’ll be entered into a raffle for free Laemmle gift cards!
For inspiration, here are some Top Ten lists the nation’s leading film critics have submitted and — good news! — many of the titles — No Bears, One Fine Morning, EO, and Return to Seoul — are either now playing or coming soon so you can see them as they were meant to be seen, theatrically. They are hyperlinked below.
- The Fabelmans
- The Batman
- Holy Spider
- Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance with Somebody
- Turn Every Page: The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb
- 13: The Musical
- Saint Omer
- Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
- The Batman
- After Yang
- The Whale
- You Won’t Be Alone