The 2022 EMOs

I don’t know what it was about this year in particular – maybe it’s that I actually kept up with most of the movies that I was really interested in, maybe it’s that it was actually a really darn good year with a lot of varied, interesting and flawed movies, with little that stood above the pack in any really obvious way – but dear lord am I tired of the discourse and have never more glad that I’m not regularly writing reviews and trying to keep my finger on the pulse of criticism or whatever anymore.

Here are a bunch of things that I liked and found funny about the movies of 2022! Enjoy! Or skip it! I don’t know!

Top 10 of 2022

  1. Nope
  2. Benediction
  3. Tár
  4. Women Talking
  5. Stars at Noon
  6. RRR
  7. Decision To Leave
  8. Petite Maman
  9. Everything Everywhere All At Once
  10. The Eternal Daughter

Best Director:

  • Terence Davies, Benediction
  • Claire Denis, Stars at Noon / Both Sides of the Blade
  • Todd Field, Tár
  • Joanna Hogg, The Eternal Daughter
  • Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Park Chan-wook, Decision to Leave
  • Jordan Peele, Nope
  • Sarah Polley, Women Talking
  • S.S. Rajamouli, RRR
  • Céline Sciamma, Petite Maman

Best Acting Ensemble:

  • Armageddon Time
  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Benediction
  • Confess, Fletch
  • Funny Pages
  • Nope
  • Tár
  • Triangle of Sadness
  • Women Talking

Best Lead Performance:

  • Juliette Binoche, Both Sides of the Blade
  • Cate Blanchett, Tár
  • Sterling K. Brown, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
  • Jessie Buckley, Men
  • Austin Butler, Elvis
  • Viola Davis, The Woman King
  • Idris Elba, Three Thousands Years of Longing
  • Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Regina Hall, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
  • Cheryl Isheja, Neptune Frost
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Nope
  • Vincent Lindon, Both Sides of the Blade
  • Jack Lowden, Benediction
  • Amber Midthunder, Prey
  • Keke Palmer, Nope
  • Margaret Qualley, Stars at Noon
  • Tilda Swinton, The Eternal Daughter
  • Tilda Swinton, Three Thousand Years of Longing
  • Tang Wei, Decision to Leave
  • Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All At Once

Best Supporting Performance:

  • Gillian Anderson, The Pale Blue Eye
  • Jessie Buckley, Women Talking
  • Zlatko Burić, Triangle of Sadness
  • Peter Capaldi, Benediction
  • Hong Chau, The Menu
  • Carly-Sophia Davies, The Eternal Daughter
  • Claire Foy, Women Talking
  • Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Anthony Hopkins, Armageddon Time
  • Nina Hoss, Tár
  • Kate Hudson, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  • Judith Ivey, Women Talking
  • Sophie Kauer, Tár
  • Rory Kinnear, Men
  • Lashana Lynch, The Woman King
  • Brandon Perea, Nope
  • Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Benny Safdie, Stars at Noon
  • Matt Smith, The Forgiven
  • Ben Whishaw, Women Talking

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Cheung Seo-kyung, Park Chan-wood, Decision to Leave
  • Julia Cho, Domee Shi, Turning Red
  • Terence Davies, Benediction
  • Todd Field, Tár
  • James Gray, Armageddon Time
  • Joanna Hogg, The Eternal Daughter
  • Owen Kline, Funny Pages
  • Dan Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Jordan Peele, Nope
  • Céline Sciamma, Petite Maman

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Joel Kim Booster, Fire Island
  • Claire Denis, Christine Angot, Both Sides of the Blade
  • Claire Denis, Andrew Litvack, Stars at Noon
  • Adamma Ebo, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
  • Greg Mottola, Zev Borow, Confess, Fletch
  • Sarah Polley, Women Talking
  • Guillermo del Toro, Patrick McHale, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Best Cinematography:

  • Jeff Cutter, Prey
  • Nicola Daley, Benediction
  • Ben Davis, The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Eric Gauter, Stars at Noon
  • Rob Hardy, Men
  • Florian Hoffmeister, Tár
  • Luc Montpelier, Women Talking
  • Kim Ji-yong, Decision to Leave
  • Claudio Miranda, Top Gun: Maverick
  • Ed Rutherford, The Eternal Daughter
  • Anisia Uzeyman, Neptune Frost
  • Hoyte Van Hoytema, Nope

Best Score:

  • Michael Abels, Nope
  • Carter Burwell, The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir, Tár
  • Hildur Guðnadóttir, Women Talking
  • Harold Faltermeyer, Hans Zimmer, Top Gun: Maverick
  • M.M. Kreem, RRR
  • Tindersticks, Both Sides of the Blade
  • Tindersticks, Stars at Noon

Best Editing:

  • Erin DeWitt, Owen Kline, Funny Pages
  • Christopher Donaldson, Roslyn Kalloo, Women Talking
  • Helle le Fevre, The Eternal Daughter
  • Julien Lacharay, Petite Maman
  • Kim Sang-beom, Decision to Leave
  • Guy Lecorne, Stars at Noon
  • Nicholas Monsour, Nope
  • Paul Rogers, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Monika Willi, Tár

Best Scene:

  • Disabled, Benediction
  • Louisiana Hayride, Elvis
  • Locker confrontation on prom night, The Fabelmans
  • Faith mime, Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.
  • Jupe remembers Gordy’s rampage, Nope
  • Naatu Naatu, RRR
  • Bheem’s surprise attack on Gov. Scott’s party, RRR
  • Olga’s apartment, Tár
  • closing credits, White Noise

Most ’90s: Marry Me

Egregiously Not ’90s Enough: Hocus Pocus 2

Probably Better When Projected Soundlessly On The Wall In A Metal Bar: The Northman

No Jokes, Just Fight/Donate: The Janes

Maybe (Maybe) Fifth-Best Class Satire of the Year: The Forgiven

Longest You Have to Wait Before You Get To The One Bit Everyone Won’t Shut Up About: Pearl

Most I Wanted A Script To Be a Person So I Could Punch It In the Face: Harry Melling introducing himself as “E.A. Poe…..Edgar A. Poe” in The Pale Blue Eye

First Time I Have Ever Seen a Movie “tl;dr” Itself In Its Title: Men

Saddest Anime Boys (Like Actually): Belle

Possibly The Most Convoluted Act of Copyright Violation In Cinema History: See How They Run

New Gnarliest Counterpoint To “Animation Is For Kids”: Mad God

Most Undeserving Of Unfortunate Real-World Relevance: White Noise

Literally The Least Trustworthy Creature To Walk The Earth Since The Serpent In Eden, Elvis, What Are You Doing: Tom Hanks in Elvis

Straight-To-Streaming Dump That Most Deserves A Big Screen Revival: Prey

Best Rom-Com Featuring Bowen Yang In A Historically Queer Beach TownReleased in September: Bros

Most Inaccurate Depiction Of Content Moderation Practices: Kimi

Best OAAA (Obligatory Annual Austen Adaptation): Fire Island

Weirdest Casting Flex: Cate Blanchett, Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

Hardest Its Fans Will Argue That It Is Not Exactly The Movie On The Poster When It Is, In Fact, Exactly The Movie On The Poster: The Fabelmans

Best Use Of Chekhov’s Gator: X

Special Achievement In Mimicking A Particularly Connecticut Flavor Of Politician: Kathryn Hahn, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Most Visibly Affected By COVID Restrictions: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.

Most ’00s: Turning Red

Best Dick Metaphor Death: The Woman King

Most Online, For Better And For Worse: The Menu

Most Ideas Compressed Into The Least Amount of Time: Wendell & Wild

Widest Apples-To-Oranges Disparity Between This And Any Other Movie On This List: Neptune Frost

Most Boston: Confess, Fletch

Quickest I Have Switched From Interpreting A Movie As Satire To Socialist Realism: Triangle of Sadness

Too Few Minutes Of Idris Elba And Tilda Swinton Flirting: Three Thousand Years of Longing

Sweatiest: Funny Pages

Best State-Sponsored Action Propaganda Since Chapaev: Top Gun: Maverick

Better Of The Two Instances This Year That A Prominent Male Jewish Director Made Us Watch His Movie Instead Of Going To Therapy: Armageddon Time

Jean-Luc Godard Memorial Award For The Most Cartoonishly French Film Of The Year: Both Sides of the Blade

Lifetime Achievement Award For Colin Farrell’s Eyebrows: The Banshees of Inisherin

Weakest Wi-Fi: The Eternal Daughter

Best Alternative To Actually Doing Your Taxes: writing EMO jokes about Everything Everywhere All At Once

Least Creepy Twin Children: Petite Maman

Best Prison Food: Decision to Leave

Heaviest Lift By The “Inspired” Bit Of “Inspired By A True Story”: RRR

First But Hopefully Not The Last Time That A Claire Denis Movie Inspires A Taylor Swift Album: Stars at Noon

My Most Uncanny Movie-going Experience Of The Year, Thanks To The Two UMass Bros Who Showed Up Late, Drunk, And Preceded To Loudly Ask Each Other Every Five Minutes What The Women Were Talking About: Women Talking

Better As A Movie Than As A Thinkpiece: Tár

Probably The Closest We’ll Get To A Terence Davies/RuPaul Collab: Benediction

Film Of The Year For Archivists Who Feel Smug About Knowing How To Correctly Pronounce “Muybridge”: Nope

The 2021 EMOs

They’re back. After a concerted effort to “catch up” with 2021 movies by the time the Oscars rolled around, I didn’t quite make it – there’s still about eight left on my list, including a handful that got caught in the nether-zone of “too late to catch them in post-omicron theaters, still too early to be streaming”. But, all told, getting to 29 new (“new”) releases by Oscar night is actually probably a better rate than I was even managing in the year or two before the pandemic.

So, it seemed time to bring back the EMOs (Ethan’s Makeshift Oscars, for those of you just joining us; welcome to a long and storied tradition, dating back to my high-school days, of being a doofus and making fun of some movies somewhere in the approximate range of “awards season”). Given the four or five-year gap since the last edition, however, it also seemed time to re-evaluate the length and depth of this thing.

While I will never scratch “part two” of the EMOs – in which every single movie is a winner, potentially to their chagrin – I have scaled back and consolidated on the more traditional “part one”. Below you’ll find acting performances piled into either Lead or Supporting categories, eliminating the widespread male/female division that I can no longer really justify to myself; and no general silliness or attempt to find patterns or categories beyond the most bah-sic film bro shout-outs. I actually rather enjoy the chaos this has caused, particularly in the Supporting Performance area: the point of the EMOs from the start, rather than enforce an arbitrary competition for a non-existent award, was to highlight movies, people and work that I particularly liked in the past year. If the ensuing list is rather long, so much the better.

Enjoy (or fight me!)

Top 10 of 2021

  1. The Power of the Dog
  2. Drive My Car
  3. The Green Knight
  4. West Side Story
  5. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  6. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  7. The Hand of God
  8. Dune
  9. The Harder They Fall
  10. The Lost Daughter

Best Director:

  • Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
  • Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Drive My Car
  • David Lowery, The Green Knight
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, Tick, Tick…Boom!
  • Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God
  • Steven Spielberg, West Side Story
  • Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Summer of Soul
  • Denis Villeneuve, Dune

Best Acting Ensemble:

  • Belfast
  • Drive My Car
  • The French Dispatch
  • The Hand of God
  • The Lost Daughter
  • No Sudden Move
  • The Power of the Dog
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • West Side Story

Best Lead Performance:

  • Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
  • Don Cheadle, No Sudden Move
  • Andrew Garfield, Tick, Tick…Boom!
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Hidetoshi Nishijima, Drive My Car
  • Toko Miura, Drive My Car
  • Dev Patel, The Green Knight
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
  • LaKeith Stanfield, Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth

Best Supporting Performance(s):

  • David Alvarez, West Side Story
  • Ana de Armas, No Time to Die
  • Ben Affleck, The Last Duel
  • Caitriona Balfe, Belfast
  • Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
  • Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
  • Jamie Dornan, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
  • Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
  • Ed Harris, The Lost Daughter
  • Alex Hassell, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Kathryn Hunter, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Ralph Ineson, The Green Knight
  • Rita Moreno, West Side Story
  • Carrie-Anne Moss, The Matrix: Resurrections
  • Park Yu-rim, Drive My Car
  • Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
  • Diana Rigg, Last Night in Soho
  • LaKeith Stanfield, The Harder They Fall
  • Jeffrey Wright, The French Dispatch

Best Original Screenplay:

  • Will Berson, Shaka King, Kenny Lucas, Keith Lucas, Judas and the Black Messiah
  • Ed Solomon, No Sudden Move
  • Paolo Sorrentino, The Hand of God
  • Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksander Hemon, The Matrix: Resurrections
  • Kristen Wiig, Annie Mumolo, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Best Adapted Screenplay:

  • Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog
  • Joel Coen, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter
  • Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Tamakasa Oe, Drive My Car
  • David Lowery, The Green Knight
  • Tony Kushner, West Side Story

Best Cinematography:

  • Alice Brooks, Tick, Tick…Boom!
  • Bruno Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Greig Fraser, Dune
  • Dan Lausten, Nightmare Alley
  • Janusz Kaminski, West Side Story
  • Andrew Droz Palermo, The Green Knight
  • Tetsunosuke Sasaki, Wife of a Spy
  • Hidetoshi Shinomiya, Drive My Car
  • Ari Wegner, The Power of the Dog

Best Score:

  • Carter Burwell, The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog
  • Daniel Hart, The Green Knight
  • David Holmes, No Sudden Move
  • Nathan Johnson, Nightmare Alley
  • Hans Zimmer, Dune
  • Hans Zimmer, No Time to Die

Best Editing:

  • Tom Eagles, The Harder They Fall
  • Michael Kahn, Sarah Broshar, West Side Story
  • David Lowery, The Green Knight
  • Joshua L. Pearson, Summer of Soul
  • Peter Sciberras, The Power of the Dog
  • Azusa Yamazaki, Drive My Car

Best Scene:

  • Dueling banjo redux, The Power of the Dog
  • Edgar’s Prayer, Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar
  • Sly and the Family Stone, Summer of Soul
  • Battle Hymn of the Republic, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  • Visions? of the future, The Green Knight
  • Crashing Blofeld’s birthday party, No Time to Die
  • Meeting the witches (either/or), The Tragedy of Macbeth
  • Lunch alfresco, The Hand of God
  • Sonya’s monologue, Drive My Car
  • Mambo, West Side Story
  • “Why do you write about food”, The French Dispatch
  • First entrance to the night club, Last Night in Soho
  • First sand worm attack, Dune

Most Straining Credulity – Not Because It Involves a Giant Ape, But Because It Expects Me to Believe That Godzilla Would Not Rinse Said Giant Ape in Two Minutes:
Godzilla vs. Kong

Worst Gig Economy Propaganda:
Single All the Way

Most Ray Liottas:
The Many Saints of Newark

Most Incompetent Cops, Though Note That’s Not ‘Most Straining Credulity’:
The Woman in the Window

#YesAllMen, Including the Director:
The Last Duel

Least Batshit Movie About Most Batshit People:
The Eyes of Tammy Faye

Goofiest Nonsense in a Movie This Year, and This Year That Includes a Fast & Furious Installment So You Know This Is Saying Something:
Bionic eyes in No Time to Die

Simply the Best Documentary Subject:

How Dare You Waste Terence Stamp Like This:
Last Night in Soho

Longest Zipline:

Special Demerit in Title Selection:
Wife of a Spy

Worst Ratio of Good Acting To Me Giving a Shit:
Nightmare Alley

Most Post-Movie:
The Matrix: Resurrections

Best Enjoyed in One of 18 States:
Barb & Star Go to Vista Del Mar

Least Worth “The Discourse”:
The French Dispatch

Fishiest Lens:
No Sudden Move

Most Likely For Your Reaction to Vary Depending on 1) You Had That One “Rent”-Obsessed Friend in High School, and 2) Whether You Were Fond of That Person Or Not
Tick, Tick…Boom!

Most Exceptionally, Unnaturally, Unfairly Beautiful Family:

Wait This Movie Came Out in What Year?
Judas and the Black Messiah

No, I Can’t Believe This Is the Award Either, But the EMO for Too Much Olivia Colman Goes To:
The Lost Daughter

Absolutely Would Be the Best Movie of the Year If It Could Have Been Seen As Intended, at the UA Court Street Theater, RIP
The Harder They Fall

Worst Thing To Watch On a Mis-calibrated TV During the Daytime Since ‘The Battle of Winterfell’:

Most Italian:
The Hand of God

Something Artsy This Way Comes:
The Tragedy of Macbeth

Most Likely To Satisfy Both Video Archivists and Other People Too, Probably:
Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

Best Attempt At Alllllmost Making Me Forget That You Cast Ansel Elgort In This Movie:
West Side Story

Special Achievement in Punning:
The Green Knight

Most Subtitles:
Drive My Car

Noblest Attempt to Make New Zealand Look Like Montana When We All Know Montana Doesn’t Look Like That:
The Power of the Dog

The Never-To-Be-Discussed 2020 EMOs

Look, I don’t have to get into it, but I didn’t exactly “keep up” with movies in 2020. You know why.

But! I got there eventually, catching up with the weird and aborted list of festival and streaming titles that filled up “best of 2020” lists. Over a year after the fact, and with none of us particularly wanting to revisit that year for any reason, I am not going to advertise this post. But in bringing the EMOs back from the dead for 2021, I weirdly felt the need to document what I would have said or done in 2020 – if anyone asked. This is also now my chance to give a dry-run to a new, slimmer EMOs, and figure out how to do it in WordPress’ godforsaken new editor. Here you go, whoever you are.

Top 10 of 2020

  1. Da 5 Bloods
  2. First Cow
  3. One Night in Miami…
  4. The Personal History of David Copperfield
  5. Wolfwalkers
  6. Nomadland
  7. Sound of Metal
  8. The Old Guard
  9. David Byrne’s American Utopia
  10. Tenet

Best Director

  • Armando Iannucci, The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • Gina Prince-Bythewood, The Old Guard
  • Regina King, One Night in Miami…
  • Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods / David Byrne’s American Utopia
  • Darius Marder, Sound of Metal
  • Tomm Moore, Ross Stewart, Wolfwalkers
  • Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
  • Chloe Zhao, Nomadland

Best Acting Ensemble

  • Da 5 Bloods
  • Emma
  • First Cow
  • Minari
  • One Night in Miami…
  • The Personal History of David Copperfield

Best Lead Performance

  • Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
  • Kingsley Ben-Adir & Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
  • Radha Blank, The Forty-Year-Old Version
  • Han Ye-ri & Steven Yeun, Minari
  • Delroy Lindo, Da 5 Bloods
  • John Magaro & Orion Lee, First Cow
  • Frances McDormand, Nomadland
  • Cristin Milioti, Palm Springs
  • Elisabeth Moss, Shirley
  • Gary Oldman, Mank
  • Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield

Best Supporting Performance

  • Chadwick Boseman, Da 5 Bloods
  • Kenneth Branagh, Tenet
  • Colman Domingo, Michael Potts & Glynn Turman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
  • Hugh Laurie, The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • Paul Raci, Sound of Metal
  • Mark Rylance, The Trial of the Chicago 7
  • Amanda Seyfried, Mank
  • Youn Yu-jung, MinariThe Forty-Year-Old Version

Best Original Screenplay

  • Jeff Barnaby, Blood Quantum
  • Danny Bilson, Paul De Meo, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee, Da 5 Bloods
  • Radha Blank, The Forty-Year-Old Version
  • Lee Isaac Chung, Minari
  • Will Collins, Wolfwalkers
  • Darius Marder, Abraham Marder, Sound of Metal

Best Adapted Screenplay

  • Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, The Personal History of David Copperfield
  • Eleanor Catton, Emma
  • Kemp Powers, One Night in Miami…
  • Jonathan Raymond, Kelly Reichardt, First Cow
  • Greg Rucka, The Old Guard

Best Cinematography

  • Christopher Blauvert, First Cow
  • Sturla Brandth Grøvlen, Shirley
  • Hoyte van Hoytema, Tenet
  • Erik Messerschmidt, Mank
  • Tami Reiker, Barry Ackroyd, The Old Guard
  • Joshua James Richards, Nomadland
  • Newton Thomas Sigel, Da 5 Bloods

Best Score

  • Tamar-kali, Shirley
  • William Tyler, First Cow
  • Ludwig Göransson, Tenet
  • Christopher Willis, The Personal History of David Copperfield