The Oscars are this Sunday and between some really weak, and to be honest, “safe” nominations and the whole Most Popular Movie Oscar in lieu of broadcasting important awards like “Best Film Editing” and “Best Original Score”, I decided to do my own thing. It’s the 2nd Annual Golden Shrimp Awards!
Best Supporting Actor
Bradley Cooper for Licorice Pizza
Colman Domingo for Zola
Mike Faist for West Side Story
Richard Jenkins for The Humans
Kiyohiko Shibukawa for Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
***Vincent Lindon for Titane***
Masaki Okada for Drive My Car
Kodi Smit-McPhee for The Power of the Dog
It’s hard to imagine a more polarizing movie this Oscar season than Titane (well, maybe Red Rocket) but one thing almost everyone who have seen it I’ve talked to can agree on is how amazing Vincent Lindon is in it. He completely holds up the second half of the movie and gives it a beating heart…a fucked up, abusive beating heart, but a beating heart nonetheless.
Most Awkward Sex Scene
Annette – “Singing a Bad Song While Fucking”
***Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn – “PTA Sex Tape Viewing”***
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – “Jamie-Dornan-Three-Way”
Licorice Pizza – “Let Me Roll It…on a waterbed”
Titane – “Hot Sex with a Car”
Zola – “Stefani and her Eggplant Dicks Montage”
Romania’s certainly not perfect but ballsy International Film submission follows a teacher who comes under fire when her extremely graphic sex tape gets posted online. The first two-thirds of the movie are ridiculously slow for a comedy, but the third act is among the most painfully funny things I’ve seen all year. At a PTA meeting that determines whether or not she gets to keep her job, the school board decides to show the sex tape in it’s entirety to a group of gawking parents who proceed to slut shame her while also getting super horny in the process before she gets the last word in the most insane way imaginable. Hard to imagine a more awkward scene involving the sex this year.
Best Debut Film
The Humans – Stephen Karam
The Killing of Two Lovers – Robert Machoian
Passing – Rebecca Hall
***Pig – Michael Sarnoski***
Shiva Baby – Emma Seligman
People made a big stink over Maggie Gyllenhaal’s debut film, The Lost Daughter, and while it featured an absolutely incredible tour-de-force performance from Olivia Colman, it really fell flat in a lot of ways for me. The best debut film I saw all year was Michael Sarnoski’s Pig a powerful little indie drama/fine-dining industry satire starring a never better Nicolas Cage. Emma Seligman’s Shiva Baby wasn’t far behind.
Best Supporting Actress
Harriet Sansom Harris for Licorice Pizza
Jayne Houdyshell for The Humans
Kathryn Hunter for The Tragedy of Macbeth
Katsuki Mori for Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy
Riley Keough for Zola
Ruth Negga for Passing
Milena Smit for Parallel Mothers
***Toko Miura for Drive My Car***
Notice how none of my eight nominees here were nominated in the Supporting Actress Oscar category. That’s because 2021 was the year of the supporting female performances, with twelve I could have easily put on the list. The best of the bunch was Drive My Car‘s Toko Miura, an intensely quiet performance that packed the biggest emotional punch of the film.
***Dune – Mac Ruth, Mark Mangini, Theo Green, Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett***
The Matrix Resurrections – Dane A. Davis, Matthias Lempert, Lars Ginzel, Albert Gasser, Markus Stemler, Bryan O. Watkins, Matthew W. Kielkopf
No Time to Die – Simon Hayes, Oliver Tarney, Jamie Harrison, Paul Massey, Mark Taylor
The Power of the Dog – Richard Flynn, Robert Mackenzie, Tara Webb
Spider-Man: No Way Home – Tony Lamberti, Kevin O’Connell, Jamie Hardt, Steven Ticknor, Kevin McGill, Takako Ishikawa, Justin M. Davey, Sam Fan
West Side Story – Tod A. Maitland, Gary Rydstorm, Brian Chumney, Andy Nelson, Shawn Murphy
The sound design of Dune was maybe the most impressive aspect of the entire film. Watch it in theaters or with a great sound system, it completely takes you into this world.
Belfast – Haris Zambarloukos
Dune – Greig Fraser
***The Power of the Dog – Ari Wegner***
Spencer – Claire Mathon
The Tragedy of Macbeth – Bruno Delbonnel
West Side Story – Janusz Kaminski
Great cinematography all around this year, and while I debated for a while giving this to The Batman DP, Greig Fraser, for his incredible work on Dune, I had to go with my heart and give it to Ari Wegner’s gorgeously captured brooding thespians and landscapes in The Power of the Dog.
Best Film Editing
Drive My Car – Azusa Yamazaki
***Dune – Joe Walker***
King Richard – Pamela Martin
Licorice Pizza – Andy Jurgensen
The Power of the Dog – Peter Sciberras
Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Joshua L. Pearson
It’s tempting to give it to the only documentary on my list but nothing was more of a feat in film editing this year than Dune. Taking this super complicated story with dozens of characters and making it move organically was a triumph and a half. And look how happy Joe Walker seems working from home! I wonder how many hot pocket breaks he took.
Best Ensemble Cast
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – Vanessa Bayer, Reyn Doi, Jamie Dornan, Fortune Feimster, Andy Garcia, Michael Hitchcock, Reba McEntire, Wendy McLendon-Covey, Annie Mumolo, Phyllis Smith, Damon Wayans, Jr., Kristen Wiig
Dune – Javier Bardem, Dave Bautista, Josh Brolin, Timothee Chalamet, Chang Chen, David Dastmalchian, Sharon Duncan-Brewster, Rebecca Ferguson, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Oscar Issac, Jason Momoa, Charlotte Rampling, Stellan Skarsgaard, Zendeya
Licorice Pizza – Jon Beavers, Tim Conway, Jr., Bradley Cooper, Joseph Cross, George DiCaprio, Christine Ebersole, Mary Elizabeth Ellis, Skyler Gisondo, Alana Haim, Danielle Haim, Donna Haim, Este Haim, Moti Haim, Iyana Halley, Harriet Sansom Harris, Ryan Heffington, John Michael Higgins, Cooper Hoffman, Isabelle Kusman, Nate Mann, Megumi Anjo, Sean Penn, John C. Reilly, Maya Rudolph, Benny Safdie, Tom Waits, Yumi Mizui
***Mass – Reed Birney, Ann Dowd, Jason Issacs, Martha Plimpton***
West Side Story – Kyle Allen, David Alvarez, Yesenia Ayala, Andrei Chagas, Kyle Coffman, Harrison Coll, Ben Cook, Kevin Csolak, Julian Elia, Brian D’arcy James, Ariana DeBose, Kelvin Delgado, Yurel Echezarreta, Miles Erlick, Mike Faist, Carlos Sanchez Falu, John Michael Fiumara, Adriel Flete, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Carlos E. Gonzalez, David Guzman, Jacob Guzman, Garret Hawe, Patrick Higgins, Sean Harrison Jones, Jess LeProtto, Iris Menas, David Aviles Morales, Rita Moreno, Josh Andres Rivera, Julius Rubio, Daniel Patrick Russell, Sebastian Serra, Gabriela Soto, Corey Stoll, Tanairi Sade Vazquez, Ricky Ubeda, Ricardo Zayas, Rachel Zegler, Maddie Ziegler
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy – Aoba Kawai, Ayumu Nakajima, Fusako Urabe, Hyunri, Katsuki Mori, Kiyohiko Shibukawa, Kotone Furukawa, Shouma Kai
Some great casts this year, but this seems like the best place to reward the four brilliant performances at the wheel of Mass, a gut-wrenching single location drama about the parents of a school shooting victim meeting with the parents of the shooter. This is ensemble work if I’ve ever seen it in that each performance feeds into the next and without one it would seem to collapse like a house of cards.
Best Original Score
Don’t Look Up – Nicholas Brittel
Dune – Hans Zimmer
Parallel Mothers – Alberto Inglesias
***The Power of the Dog – Jonny Greenwood***
***Spencer – Jonny Greenwood***
Zola – Mica Levi
GIVE JONNY GREENWOOD AN OSCAR YOU ACADEMY ASSHOLES! He’s been creating some of the most unique, complex and emotionally devastating film scores of the past fifteen years. From sinister and sad, string-heavy There Will Be Blood compositions to his disorienting synth work in You Were Never Really Here. In 2021 he created two amazing scores, which couldn’t be more different. Spencer, a movie I did not care for, was almost saved by his sexy mix of smooth jazz and Philip Glass-esque haunted shit. It more effectively communicated Princess Diana’s internal struggle than Kristen Stewart and her overly mechanized and ultimately hollow facial expressions. And then there’s The Power of the Dog which alternates from soft and sad to manic and booming, and once again communicates ideas and emotions the characters are too repressed to say themselves. If Greenwood loses this year, motherfuckers in the audience should whip out boom boxes and blast Creep.
The Harder They Fall
Last Night in Soho
***Summer of Soul (…Or When The Revolution Could Not Be Televised)***
West Side Story
Half a documentary and half a long lost banging concert, nothing rivals the music of Summer of Soul this year. Nina Simone. B.B. King. Sly and the Family Stone. The 5th Dimension. Gladys Knight & the Pips. Stevie Wonder. Mahalia Jackson. The Chamber Brothers. Holy shit.
Best Performance in a Shitty Movie
***Nina Arianda in Being the Ricardos***
Benico Del Toro in The French Dispatch
Lady Gaga in House of Gucci
Jonah Hill in Don’t Look Up
Troy Katsur in CODA
Al Pacino in House of Gucci
It’s hilarious the only truly inspired performance in Aaron Sorkin’s glorified TV movie (really the cinematic equivalent to lunch at Luby’s) was the only one not nominated for an Oscar. Nina Arianda’s turn as Vivian Vance (Ethel) belongs in a better movie. Troy Katsur’s emotionally stirring work in the dumb, Oscar-baity CODA almost took this. He’ll win the Oscar on Sunday though.
Best Performance by a Car
***Baby Daddy Car – Titane***
Comically Large Pick-Up Truck in Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn
Human Trafficking / Gay Friendship Van in Flee
Red Saab in Drive My Car
Rolling Truck in Licorice Pizza
Space Ship Car in F9
Drive My Car‘s Red Saab has the most screen time to be sure (shit, that movie is 3 hours and at least a third of it takes place in that car) but no motor vehicle had more charisma and spunk this year than Alexia’s baby daddy.
Best Performance by a Child, Animal, Object or Idea
Bronco Henry in The Power of the Dog
***Annette the Marionette Baby in Annette***
Woody Norman in C’mon C’mon
Brandy the Pig in Pig
Tokenism in the Chicago Art Scene in Candyman
Virgin Mary Dildo in Benedetta
It’s no secret I absolutely hated Annette, another greatly polarizing movie this year. I saw what it was aiming to do and like…whatever? The music was worse than bad, it was annoying, and the only character you gave a shit about was a marionette baby. Serving a hearty helping of ‘tude and rocking that diaper like a Versace dress, little Annette is the only good takeaway from a movie existing completely up it’s own ass.
Best Performance by an Adam Driver
Adam Driver in Annette
Adam Driver in House of Gucci
***Adam Driver in The Last Duel***
Adam Driver in That Stephen Colbert Interview where he talks about House of Gucci and Italian Food
Adam Driver in That BBC 1 Interview where he says he wears his Kylo Red helmet when he drives
Adam Driver in That Dumb MTV interview with Jared Leto
He’s great folks, everyone loves him! He’s in everything cause everyone wants to work with him! While he didn’t deliver one of his best performances this year, he delivered six really good ones with the best being his turn as a 14th century date rapist pretending to be a nice guy, and protected his his ruling class bro dawgs. He’s a slimy shit but damn it if you don’t want to believe every lie he utters.
Best Production Design
Belfast – Claire Nia Richards, Jim Clay
Dune – Patrice Vermette
***The French Dispatch – Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo***
Licorice Pizza – Florencia Martin
Spencer – Guy Hendrix Dyas
West Side Story – Adam Stockhausen
I was not a fan of The French Dispatch in any way, shape or form but not even I can deny the gorgeously meticulous sets of this but really, any, Wes Anderson movie. This one might be his most visually detailed.
Best Costume Design
***Coming 2 America – Ruth E. Carter***
Dune – Jacqueline West, Bob Morgan
House of Gucci – Janty Yates
Licorice Pizza – Mark Bridges
Spencer – Jacqueline Durran
West Side Story – Paul Tazewell
The poor writing and disappointing performances distracted from the amazing costumes in Coming 2 America. Ruth did it again, folks!
Most Insufferable Couple
Jayne Houdyshell + Richard Jenkins for The Humans
Riley Keough + Nicholas Braun for Zola
Nicole Kidman + Javier Bardem for Being the Ricardos
Joey King + Jacob Elordi for The Kissing Booth 3
***Zendaya + John David Washington for Malcolm & Marie***
God, these two suck. Not the actors, they do what they can from an overly ambitious and laughably self-serious script by Euphoria creator Sam Levinson, but there’s nothing making these two obnoxious Hollywood narcissist lovers anything but a chore to listen to. Also, she uses a grill lighter to light cigarettes uhhhhhhh.
Best Hairstyling & Makeup
Coming 2 America – Mike Marino, Stacey Morris, Carla Farmer
Dune – Donald Mowat, Love Larson, Eva von Bahr
The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Linda Dowds, Stephanie Ingram, Justin Raleigh
***House of Gucci – Goran Lundstrom, Anna Carin Lock, Frederic Aspiras***
Spencer – Stacey Panepinto, Wakana Yoshihara, Sian Wilson
Titane – Olivier Afonso, Marison De, Antoine Delannoy, Amelie Grossier, Pierre Emmanuel Kass, Celine Llerena, Antoine Mancini, Flore Masson
This movie was all over the place which is a shame because the makeup was incredible. Jared Leto was unrecognizable but still bad.
Best Visual Effects
***Dune – Paul Lambert, Brice Parker, Tristan Myles, Brian Connor, Gerd Nefzer***
The Matrix Resurrections
Spider-Man: No Way Home
Christopher Nolan recently said that he’s never seen a movie blend CGI and practical effects so seamlessly and he really hit the nail on the head. This movie is a fucking visual wonder.
Danielle’s Sugar Daddy, Max in Shiva Baby (played by Danny Deferrari)
Reverend Jerry “Fucked His Mom in an Outhouse” Falwell in The Eyes of Tammy Faye (played by Vincent D’Onofrio)
***The Frat Bro Count in The Last Duel (played by Ben Affleck)***
Barbara Streisand’s Boyfriend, Jon Peters in Licorice Pizza (played by Bradley Cooper)
Manipulative former porn star, Mikey Saber in Red Rocket (played by Simon Rex)
X the Pimp in Zola (played by Colman Domingo)
Complete piece of shit enabler ruling class dickhead, this dude spends the movie consoling his friend after getting caught raping Matt Damon’s wife and then gaslighting the victim and trying to turn it around on her. It may be set in the 14th century but this dude seems all too familiar in 2022, and Affleck really brings his sliminess to life. Ben Affleck had two very good performances this year, he was good in a the really bad The Tender Bar and he was even better in this.
***Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) – Questlove***
Val – Ting Poo, Leo Scott
Woodstock 99: Peace, Love and Rage – Garret Price
Look, I only saw three docs this year but out of the three Summer of Soul was easily the best. Half documentary, half concert, all masterpiece.
Best Cameo Performance
Reba McEntire in Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar
Ts Madison in Zola
***John C. Reilly in Licorice Pizza***
Stephen Root in The Tragedy of Macbeth
JB Smoove in Spider-Man: No Way Home
Owen Wilson in The French Dispatch
With only five seconds of screen time, John C. Reilly manages to be hilarious on so many levels as Fred Gwynne dressed up as Herman Munster being pestered by kids.
Best Breakthrough Performance
***Alana Haim in Licorice Pizza***
***Cooper Hoffman in Licorice Pizza***
Taylour Paige in Zola
Agathe Rousselle in Titane
Rachel Sennott in Shiva Baby
Suzanna Son in Red Rocket
First time actors Cooper Hoffman (son of the late Philip Seymour) and Alana Haim (vocalist for Haim) give such lived-in, natural and utterly hilarious performances that it’s almost unbelievable. He did three beavers.
Best Original Screenplay
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar – Annie Mumolo, Kristen Wiig
***Licorice Pizza – Paul Thomas Anderson***
Pig – Michael Sarnoski
Red Rocket – Sean Baker, Chris Bergoch
Shiva Baby – Emma Seligman
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy – Ryusuke Hamaguchi
Tough category and an argument could be made to giving this to Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s gloriously talky romance anthology, Wheel of Fortune & Fantasy, but no movie this year was more of a joy to watch than Licorice Pizza. Sure, it’s meandering and the opposite of tight, but that’s the entire fucking point. You get to hang out with two fascinating, deeply flawed characters as they navigate their way through a Rolodex of problematic Hollywood behavior circa 1973. I fell in love with almost every sentence of dialogue.
Best Adapted Screenplay
Benedetta – David Birke, Paul Verhoeven
***Drive My Car – Ryusuke Hamaguchi***
Dune – Eric Roth, Joe Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve
The Humans – Stephen Karam
The Power of the Dog – Jane Campion
West Side Story – Tony Kushner
Here’s another incredible screenplay that like Licorice Pizza doesn’t follow any traditional narrative structure. It’s a two hour story with a one hour prologue, making it three hours total and while it’s slow, cerebral and nuanced it never once lost my attention. I was so emotionally invested in the two lead characters and never in a hurry for them to solve their shit. The longer they took, the longer I got to hang out with them.
Nicolas Cage for Pig
Benedict Cumberbatch for The Power of the Dog
Stephen Graham for Boiling Point
Hidetoshi Nishijima for Drive My Car
***Simon Rex for Red Rocket***
Denzel Washington for The Tragedy of Macbeth
The most go-for-broke, explosive comedic performance of the year came from former porn actor and Scary Movie 3 star Simon Rex for the outrageously funny and outrageously tragic Red Rocket, Sean Baker’s Gulf Coast riff on Mike Leigh’s Naked. Rex plays the most wildly self-absorbed and predatory opportunist scumbag, backed into a financial corner forcing him to move back to his hometown. He’s semi-famous for being in porn but as he tells it he’s basically keeping the industry together by himself. After sweet-talking his ex-porn star wife and her chain-smoking mother-in-law he scores a spot on their couch and begins to extend out to the neighborhood, to work on the next scheme. He ends up meeting a 17-year-old girl at the Donut Hole and attempts to mold her into the next big pornstar so he can use her coattails to catapult himself back into the industry. He’s a real piece of shit but Rex plays him like a guy incapable of seeing himself as the bad guy. You ultimately pity him, you never sympathize with him and you shudder to think of what kind of greater influences mold these types of people.
Jessica Chastain for The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Olivia Colman for The Lost Daughter
***Penelope Cruz for Parallel Mothers“***
Virginie Efira for Benedetta
Alana Haim for Licorice Pizza
Renate Reinsve for The Worst Person in the World
Far and away the most emotionally moving and technically perfect performance I’ve seen all year is Penelope Cruz playing a regular-ass lady in Pedro Almodovar‘s new ode to motherhood, Parallel Mothers. After an unexpected pregnancy from a one-night stand, Cruz‘s Janis decides to have her baby well into her late 40s while a teenage girl, Ana (Milena Smit) impregnated by tragic circumstances decides to have hers. A bond is formed between them and they enter a series of connected narrative twists and turns that push them both to their limits. No one can deny that Cruz gives her best performances in Almodovar movies, and this might be her best yet. Words fail me to describe it, it simply moved me the most out of any acting I’ve seen all year.
Pedro Almodovar for Parallel Mothers
Paul Thomas Anderson for Licorice Pizza
***Jane Campion for The Power of the Dog***
Julia Ducornau for Titane
Ryusuke Hamaguchi for Drive My Car
Denis Villenueve for Dune
Regardless of what you think of The Power of the Dog, it’s hard to deny how well its directed. It’s slow, too slow for a lot of people, but it definitely moves that way with purpose. Everything seems intentional, and the way Campion captures the early 20th century American West through New Zealand is pretty breathtaking. It’s a difficult movie that runs primarily on subtext and requires the audience to play psychiatrist and piece together people’s motivations, but hey, as a unhealthily dedicated movie buff it gave me quite the erection.
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar
***Drive My Car***
The Power of the Dog
Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
It’s an accomplishment for any filmmaker to release two films in a single year, let alone two films at the level of quality of both Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy and Drive My Car. While Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy is an excellent relationship-focused romance anthology, Drive My Car is a downright masterpiece. Clocking in at nearly three hours, the most amazing thing about Drive My Car is that it never feels that long, and that’s not because it’s this fast-faced, Scorsese-esque epic where information is thrown to you by the bucket full. Drive My Car is a deeply cerebral slow-burn that piecemeal you information that isolated might feel underwhelming, but cumulatively begins to form some of the most complex and impossible to pin down characters of the year. It’s about a seasoned actor/director/playwright, Yusuke (Hidetoshi Nishijima, one of the best performances of the year) dealing with the loss of his wife and how that bleeds into his multilingual production of Uncle Vanya both beneficially and detrimentally. His theater company won’t allow him to drive his own car during the production, because of liability/legal reasons, so they hire a driver for him, an intensely shy 23-year-old woman “from the wrong side of the tracks”, Misaki (Toko Miura, in another best performance of the year). Through long commutes and awkward small talk, a bond is slowly formed between the two and the car becomes this information sharing safe space for both of them to work through their own traumas. It’s really hard to write about this movie without it seeming completely up its own ass, and for that I apologize. But Drive My Car bucks expectations at every turn and really illustrates the importance of how you tell a story versus what you tell. It’s so remarkably subtle in how it communicates information about its characters but it’s never obscure. I don’t think I saw a 2021 movie that cared this deeply for its characters and it shows. It’s a very delicate piece of filmmaking that flows like calm waves from one scene to the next, until it turns into a surprising emotional tsunami in the final minutes.