By Owen Glancy
By Jack McLaughlin
Best Original Score
Volker Bertelmann’s simplistic, yet effective score for “All Quiet on the Western Front” was one of the most divisive parts of the film. Many movie-goers didn’t like how basic and straight-forward the main four-note melody was, but they are missing the point.
The score’s droning notes and simplistic melody are reminiscent of John Williams’ iconic score for “Jaws.” Just like that film, the tension of every scene is enhanced by the simplicity of the melody. The memorably and catchy main theme that plays over many of the more horrifying scenes imprint a sense of immense dread upon the viewer.
A major factor in how effective the score is in how little it’s actually used. It lets the chilling silence of war really settle in essential scenes. When the score starts to play during the calmer moments, it reminds the audience of the terror that constantly hangs over the main characters.
Many of the other nominees also had incredibly effective scores, with “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “The Banshees of Inisherin” in particular standing out. However, they lack the mastery that Bertelmann brought to “All Quiet on the Western Front” and he absolutely deserves the proper recognition for his work.
Justin Hurwitz’s bombastic score for “Babylon” perfectly fits the wild tone the film goes for. The main theme “Voodoo Mama” is most notably featured in the film’s last scene, helping make the scenes that feature it even more iconic.
Hurwitz has worked with the film’s director Damien Chazelle on many of his previous films, and their continued partnership shows an immense growth since their start in “Whiplash.”
The use of “Night on Bald Mountain” is another excellent example of the score enhancing the film’s many grand sequences. The addition of this track to a stressful moment offers another spectacle that stays in your mind long after watching.
Of the film’s runtime of over three hours, there was almost one hour and 40 minutes of music.
The expansive soundtrack gives the opportunity for the majority of its scenes to be accompanied with the fantastic score.
If you’re like most audiences and skipped this film, at the very least go out of your way to give some of these tracks a listen.
Many aspects of this film were largely underrated, and it will be absolutely devastating if this score goes ignored by the Academy.
Best Actor in a supporting role
This category is arguably the most competitive, with all five nominees being incredibly strong contenders. While Ke Huy Quan and Barry Keoghan are definitely great, it’s Brendan Gleeson who deserves this Oscar more than any other.
“The Banshees of Inisherin” is a film built upon its powerful performances, with Gleeson’s standing at the top. His character is very tricky to pull off, requiring the actor to seem both sympathetic and heartless at the same time. Gleeson makes this seemingly impossible task seem easy.
Much of the nuance behind his performance is in how he interacts with others. He has great chemistry with lead actor Colin Farrell, providing what promises to be one of the most compelling central duos in film history.
“The Banshees of Inisherin” is a film that literally cannot work without the incredible Brendan Gleeson and his phenomenal acting. While many of the other nominees do an excellent job, only Gleeson stood above the rest to deliver a performance to rival the main actors.
Waymond Wang is brought alive through the incredible performance by Ke Huy Qwan in “Everything Everywhere All At Once.”
After an incredibly long hiatus from acting, Qwan is able to put on full display his ability to absolutely captivate the audience in each scene he is in.
Qwan not only plays the Waymond that is introduced at the start of the story, but also portrays many different versions of him from different universes.
Each variant of Waymond has such a distinct personality that it’s hard to pick a favorite - every single one is fantastic.
Despite all of these different personalities, one thing that is consistent is Qwan’s incredibly wholesome attitude shining through each iteration of Waymond.
Not only is he debatably the funniest character in the movie, but he also manages to have a few emotionally charged moments that allow for his performance to be more resonant.
His best moment is toward the end, where he delivers an amazing speech on kindness. This sudden break from the insane finale helps strike an even more resonating emotional touch for the audience.
In a film filled with fantastic performances, Ke Huy Qwan is able to deliver an Oscar-worthy performance that deserves all of the praise it is receiving.
This year’s batch of Best Picture nominees are all particularly strong, with every entry being champion candidates. Of this competitive group, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is the most deserving.
While this may seem like a simple film when viewed from the outside, its true value is found in this simplicity. The cinematography isn’t as flashy as “Everything Everywhere All at Once” or “Triangle of Sadness,” but “The Banshees of Inisherin” uses the camera in a far more effective fashion than the other nominees.
The performances and writing are what really make this film shine above the others. The air-tight story makes every scene incredibly engaging. In a dark comedy like this, having a powerhouse script is essential. Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Barry Keoghan, and Kerry Condon all do excellent jobs, and were nominated for acting Oscars!
If there is any film that will truly stand the test of time, “The Banshees of Inisherin” is undoubtedly it!
When considering all aspects of the nominees this year, “Everything Everywhere All At Once” is fully deserving of the Best Picture win.
From an outsider perspective, the plot can seem overwhelming and confusing - but directing duo Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert are able to masterfully balance everything to deliver a near perfect film.
Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) is an excellent lead. You grow to love her more as the story progresses and by the end you’ll fall in love with the entire Wang family.
The main villain Joy (Stephanie Hsu) is an unexpected surprise and both her and Evelyn experience important growth when encountering each other on-screen.
Of the Best Picture nominees this year, this is easily the most visually striking film. The use of changing aspect ratios and vibrant cinematography gives it a distinct style that will be difficult for any other crew to replicate.
In the midst of the nonstop chaos this film has, it somehow manages to make a scene of two rocks with text on-screen one of the most emotional moments of this year’s films.
“Everything Everywhere All At Once” has something for all lovers of film. Its sprawling originality deserves to be recognized with the most prestigious award a film can receive.