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Sunday, March 27, 2022

Oscars 2022

Miniature people with cameras on movie clapper and Oscars 2022 text

The Oscars are tonight and this is my annual post reflecting my personal ranking of the nominees in each category. Caveat: I have not yet seen many of the films or performances. Since I typically watch most of these films and performances eventually, I will make future edits with changes (additions) reflected in yellow highlighting. 

Note that I'm not making predictions here. You can look elsewhere for those. 

Best Picture

Belfast
The Power of the Dog
Licorice Pizza
Nightmare Alley
CODA
Drive My Car
King Richard
Don’t Look Up

Belfast is a great film, while the others are very, very good for the most part. Don't Look Up was actually kind of disappointing, but I feel like I should see it again. It may have been my expectations that caused me to react as I did. 

Dune
West Side Story

Best Director

Kenneth Branagh, “Belfast”
Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza”
Ryusuke Hamaguchi, “Drive My Car”

I always find this difficult to separate from Best Picture.

Steven Spielberg, “West Side Story”

Best Actor

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog”
Will Smith, “King Richard”
Denzel Washington, “The Tragedy of Macbeth”

These were all very solid performances and I could make a case (or ordering) for any of them. So I left them in alphabetical order. 

Javier Bardem, “Being the Ricardos”
Andrew Garfield, “Tick, Tick … Boom!”

Best Actress

Olivia Colman, “The Lost Daughter”
Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”

Both of these films involved somewhat unsympathetic main characters. Colman is always very good, but Stewart might also be deserving. She was very good. 

Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
Penélope Cruz, “Parallel Mothers”
Nicole Kidman, “Being the Ricardos”

Best Supporting Actor

Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
Jesse Plemons, “The Power of the Dog”
Ciaran Hinds, “Belfast”
Kodi Smit-McPhee, “The Power of the Dog”

I'm not sure these would actually be my nominees in this category.

J.K. Simmons, “Being the Ricardos”

Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley, “The Lost Daughter”
Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard”
Judi Dench, “Belfast”
Kirsten Dunst, “The Power of the Dog”

I'm a big fan of Jessie Buckley. Dench was great, in all honesty, and could win this category. 

Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”

Documentary Feature

Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

I need to see other nominees, but this was a terrific film. Maybe my favorite of 2021. 

Ascension
Attica
Flee
Writing With Fire

International Feature

The Hand of God, Italy
Drive My Car, Japan

I have work to do here too. Both these films were fine, but Drive My Car was kind of slow and The Hand of God isn't particularly memorable.

Part of the problem here (and above) is that Hulu started showing commercials during films whereas our plan used to mean commercials were only placed at the beginning -- but during TV shows (when breaks are typically already in the editing). Thus, we hardly use the free Hulu we get with our mobile phone plan. That's why I haven't seen Flee yet, basically. 

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Bhutan
Flee, Denmark
The Worst Person in the World, Norway

Animated Feature

I haven't seen any of these movies yet, but intend to see Flee and The Mitchells vs. The Machines. It just hasn't happened yet.

Encanto
Flee
Luka
The Mitchells vs. the Machines
Raya and the Last Dragon




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Thursday, March 17, 2022

NCAA Hoops 2022

Kansas fans are still sad and a little bitter over the lost 2020 NCAA men's basketball tournament. KU was 28-3 and ranked #1 in both the AP and USAT coaches poll and in Ken Pomeroy's more sophisticated stats-based system. Indeed, in Pomeroy's system, the gap between #1 and #2 was about as large as the gap between #2 and #8. The team was riding a 16 game winning streak, last losing to Baylor -- a team that ended the season ranked #4 and #5 in the two polls and then won the 2021 championship. The Baylor loss was avenged (on the road) as the 12th game in the winning streak.

The team also lost the very first game of the season by 2 points to Duke at Madison Square Garden, which ended the year ranked #8 and #11. Their third loss was on the road by 1 point to Villanova in December. 'Nova ended the year ranked #10 in both polls.

It was a really good Kansas team and KU likely would have been the favorite in the tournament. Still, despite eagerly wanting another championship, I've likely taken the 2022 team too far in this bracket:






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