Oscars 2022: Ahead of 94th Academy Awards, here are our top 8 recommendations, and where to watch them

Ahead of the 94th Academy Awards, here are eight nominated features that capture the length and breadth of the Oscars this year, and we can’t recommend them highly enough. Also, where to watch them.

The 94th Academy Awards will take place on Monday morning, India time, and we know that this isn’t enough time to catch up on all the brilliant films that have nominated this year. So, we’ve compiled a list of eight movies that represent the best of what the Oscars have to offer. These range from a lovely coming-of-age animated feature from perennial Oscars favourite Pixar to a tense meditation on motherhood from Netflix. Also from Netflix, we’ve got a star-studded satire that received polarised reviews, and from Apple, a lowkey drama that is quickly becoming the dark horse of the awards race. Here’s the list, in no particular order.
The Power of the Dog
Jane Campion’s The Power of the Dog is one of those rare movies that reward rapt attention without demanding it. At first glance, it appears to be your garden-variety Western, gorgeous to look at and well-acted, but otherwise unexceptional. It is only with patience and a watchful eye that one begins to appreciate its nuanced storytelling and peel back layers of the drama
In 1925’s Montana, brothers Phil and George Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch and Jesse Plemons) own a prosperous ranch. Although linked by blood, they could not be more different. While Phil bosses everyone around and puts his trust in manual labour, George possesses more urbane sensibilities and is softer, kinder. Despite the differences in their characters, however, there is mutual affection between them, albeit of a rougher quality on Phil’s part. Things get tense when George marries Rose (Kirsten Dunst), a woman Phil takes an immediate dislike too, which is strengthened when he discovers her effeminate, lisping son Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). However, something changes within Phil and he takes Peter under his wing, finding a kindred soul in a boy he had deemed womanly. It is easy to miss this subtle transformation, and again the film pays off the viewer’s patience. It is easy to be hyperbolic at this stage of the awards season, but The Power of the Dog really is an Oscar-worthy film, and deserves the top trophy. If you see just one movie among the best picture nominees, make sure it’s this one.
You can watch The Power of the Dog on Netflix.
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With Dune, Denis Villeneuve scoffed at those who had declared Frank Herbert’s source novel to be “unadaptable.” The dense lore of the book has got the better of many an able filmmaker in the past, including David Lynch. Villeneuve sidesteps this by foregoing most of the world-building in favour of full-bodied characters, rich visuals, coherent storytelling, and for the first time, an adaptation worthy of Herbert’s books. Dune proves that withholding even crucial stuff is often more effective than giving out infodumps.
Villeneuve makes it his own story, bringing significant changes to the novel that might annoy the purists, except they make total sense. Working from a screenplay penned by himself, Jon Spaihts, and Eric Roth, Villeneuve also nails the vaguely detached nature of the story, and the stoicism of the characters. But it’s the visuals that Villeneuve and his cinematographer Greig Fraser have crafted, the grand vistas, the austere aesthetic of the building, that make Dune exceptional. If we concede cinema is a visual medium, there is no other best picture nominee that comes remotely close to Dune.