2022 Oscar Drama Movies

A brief overview of the 26 movies from the 2022 Oscars that fall into the “Drama” category

The Drama movie summary is always the last one I write each year, mostly because it is, by far, the largest category.  26 of this year’s 38 movies fall into this category, a full two-thirds – it is almost easier to write about the movies that don’t fall into this category.  Documentaries, animated films, and action/adventure films (like James Bond flicks) are rarely considered “dramas”.  This year, though, we even have an “animated documentary” (FLEE) that ends up Amin that category.  Comedies are more and more doing double duty because audiences and filmmakers have learned that drama is often enhanced when contrasted with something funny – and vice versa. 

How do I summarize 26 movies effectively in one essay? I’m not going to try.  I will pick out the highlights, both the films I really recommend as dramas, and those I think you should stay away from.  And I’ll list the ones in the middle.  So here we go:

There are four “must-see” films on this year’s list and if you haven’t seen them already, then get them in your watch list.  

I probably overrated Dune, but I happen to really enjoy good science fiction and it seems that they have finally solved the problem of bringing Hebert’s story to the big screen.  From a technical standpoint, the movie is an exercise for a master’s class.  The story is complicated as are the multiple characters, but it is worth the investment.

CODA, The Power of the Dog, and The Tragedy of Macbeth are next up in my list.  CODA is a wonderful family story about a Child Of Deaf Adults who can hear and wants to explore her own talents in the world of music, something her family can’t possibly understand.  With a break-out performance by young Emilia Jones, this film develops the joy and the sorrows of family life by looking at an example we wouldn’t normally consider.  The Power of the Dog is a psychosexual drama and won’t please lovers of a traditional western, but it has some great acting and a story line full of surprise.  The Tragedy of Macbeth follows the Shakespeare play almost to the letter and you have to work a bit to get the Elizabethan language, but Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand are terrific as is the sparse black and white production design and cinematography.

Here are the next nine with a short reason to watch each one:

Being the Ricardos – Aaron Sorkin’s delightful script and loving attention

Cruella – Delightful chemistry between Emma Stone and Emma Thompson

Cyrano – Peter Dinklage, Peter Dinklage, Peter Dinklage

Don’t Look Up – The way it pokes fun at a very serious problem

Flee – a dramatic documentary told in animated form

Nightmare Alley – an all-star cast and a twisting story

Spencer – Kirsten Stewart’s surprising performance as Diana

Tick, tick…BOOM – The music and a penetrating look at life on Broadway

Worst Person in the World – The “quarter-life crisis” of a millennial woman

I’ve given you thirteen excellent movies.  If that isn’t enough then here are seven more from the middle ranks:

Belfast – Great sound and music, but a script with holes.

Drive My Car – Requires a huge amount of work and time, but worth it.

The Eyes of Tammy Faye – Good acting, but a directionless script.

Licorice Pizza – Fun in spots, but overly obsessed with Los Angeles.

Lost Daughter – All about women, but with an unsatisfying ending.

Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – A cultural shift, but worth it.

West Side Story – Good music and cinematography but Elgort doesn’t work

Even though all of these movies have been nominated for Oscars, some of them are just not worth the time investment.  Here is my list of six to avoid at all costs:

King Richard – The father really isn’t all that great.

Parallel Mothers – Not bad until the last 20 minutes which don’t belong.

Four Good Days – It hints at the issues, but doesn’t quite understand.

House of Gucci – A hot mess of a movie that should have been Italian.

Raya and the Last Dragon – It is a not-so-good animated film, not a drama.

Hand of God – An Italian film that just doesn’t cut it for American viewers.

That covers all 26 of the 2022 Oscar dramas.  You should easily find something that fits your interests.

Minor Genre
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