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March 7, 2023


Presenting our 2nd annual Bitesize Awards with updated categories!

Similar to the Bitesize Top Five, each writer ranked their Top 10 selections for each awards category. Those lists were then weighted on a reverse point system. After all the points were tallied up, we had our nominations. Finally, we voted on each award.



There were a lot of great nominees for Breakout Star in 2022, but you need only to look at the Oscars to see who is at the top of everyone’s list. Truthfully, Austin Butler had never been on my radar, and it wasn't until seeing Elvis that I realized I had seen him before in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood…. Before seeing Elvis, the draw in my eyes was director Baz Luhrmann, but by the time the credits rolled, I knew I had seen the birth of a new movie star. Butler's captivating performance grabs you and never lets go. - JTE

MIA GOTH (X/PEARL) 2022 was a great year for horror, and I feel like Mia Goth is a huge reason for it. She absolutely killed it in dual roles in X, as well as in the starring role of Pearl. While she may have had past work, X and Pearl have shown that not only is she a new scream queen, she’s a star. Her talent is on full display through her multiple roles, but I feel it’s in Pearl where she truly shines. Her madness and pain is able to radiate through her smiles and dance numbers. - Joseph


Wednesday Addams…I mean, Jenna Ortega…took 2022 by storm with numerous killer performances (pun intended). She established herself as a modern-day scream queen with Scream, X, and Studio 666, but she also displayed impressive range in the school shooting drama The Fallout, which quietly premiered on HBO Max. Ortega is the next hot thing with a bright future, and she’ll be dominating the big and small screen for many years to come. - Paige


In The Fabelmans, one can see the makings of an excellent young actor who’s poised to have an amazing career. Confident, funny, cold, and extremely vulnerable at times, Gabriel LaBelle is the movie’s brightest spot. With his easygoing charm, it’s easy for audiences to immediately latch onto him as he portrays Sammy Fabelman, the Steven Spielberg stand-in for the story. While not as strong in some of the film’s more emotional scenes, specifically those with his parents, LaBelle still manages to provide an overall impressive performance. - Darryl


I had seen Amber Midthunder here and there before, especially sticking out in FX’s Legion, but because of Prey, the rest of the world now knows how much of a badass she is. She is an action star through and through, in the vein of Michelle Yeoh and Zhang Ziyi, and just like those women, she can act her ass off too. I can’t wait to see more of Ms. Midthunder’s acting chops or her ass-kicking abilities. - Amarú



*WINNER* CHA CHA REAL SMOOTH There was a point in time where I thought Cha Cha Real Smooth was going to be the most well-known indie darling of 2022. However, after about a month, not many people (outside of one Boston Badass you may know) had heard of Cooper Raiff’s heartwarming movie. If you get a chance, go put a big smile on your face by watching this Apple original. Two hops this time!! - Amarú


Emergency is one of the few dramedies that actually stays a dramedy throughout the majority of its runtime as it explores police brutality and the disproportionate response to enforcement as it relates to African Americans. College kids Sean (RJ Cyler) and Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) know this all too well as they attempt to seek help for the white woman they found passed out in their house. Cyler and Watkins have outstanding chemistry playing the comic relief and straight man, respectively, and with excellent direction from Carey Williams, Emergency is a movie worth seeking out on Amazon Prime. - Darryl


Have you ever wanted to see the universe begin and end in nightmarish cycles? Well, then, let me introduce you to Mad God. It’s a beautiful, horrific nightmare that is so visually stunning that, despite its strangeness, it feels easy enough to follow. It’s the most daring film of the year since it strays from a traditional narrative structure and contains virtually no dialogue, yet it commands your attention throughout. It’s an oddball film that features striking imagery and is loaded with themes. - Joseph


It’s possible that living in Germany has skewed my view since The Outfit was advertised everywhere here, but I’m very surprised this even qualified as a Hidden Gem. However, seemingly almost no one in the U.S. saw this great mystery crime thriller. Either way, it features a terrific performance from perpetually underrated Mark Rylance, a classically old-school score, and fantastic production design. In my review, I called it Reservoir Dogs in the style of Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and I really can’t come up with a better way to sell it to you. - Quentin


Aftersun is one of many wins in a year filled with wins for A24. Making just over $3 million at the box office despite being amongst the most critically acclaimed movies of the year, Charlotte Wells’ directorial debut is a slow film that rewards the audience's patience with a tender and remarkable story of a father/daughter relationship filled with love but with an inherent darkness beneath the surface. I hope this film gains more life in the future. - Adriano




No other score of 2022 fits the mood of its story quite like The Batman’s. Thanks to Michael Giacchino’s brooding melodies, an extra layer of grime is added to the fictional city already famous for its inhospitality. Weaving together the various leitmotifs to create a story where all of our characters are interconnected and integral to the mystery, the music does its share of heavy lifting in influencing the viewer's emotions. Highlighted by a pulse-pounding chase sequence in the second act that makes for one of the year's best action set pieces, Michael Giacchino has provided a near perfect musical composition. - Darryl


Last year, I focused this award more on soundtrack than score because I believe it can be the unsung hero of many films. However, there was no tracklist of music that stuck with me more this year than Justin Hurwitz's score for Babylon. It takes you through a range of emotions, and its pairing with this underrated film is pitch perfect. I even switched my alarm tone to “Manny's Song” to really get me up and at 'em in the morning. I have no doubt this is the best score of 2022, and since this is the film's only Bitesize Award nomination, let me also state that Babylon was also one of the year's best films. - Nick


Hubba, hubba…Austin Butler truly brings Elvis Presley’s voice to life in this audacious biopic. You can’t help falling in love with the film's countless musical performances, which feature many of the legend’s biggest hits, and they will certainly get you on your feet, singing and swinging your hips. The soundtrack will transport you back to the days when The King of Rock n’ Roll took the music world by storm. So, thank you, Baz Luhrmann. Thank you very much for bringing Elvis’ tunes to the big screen. - Paige


When it comes to musical biopics, you just know that they will feature a great soundtrack. I mean, if the artist is good enough to warrant a biopic, then they must have some great hits. Weird is no exception. Covering everything from “My Bologna” to “Amish Paradise,” it runs through the parody hitmakers’ early catalogue, delivering head bops, nostalgia, and laughs along the way. The score from Budapest Scoring Orchestra isn’t bad either. - Quentin


Director Jordan Peele’s latest is one hell of a ride, and his third collaboration with composer Michael Abels only adds to its success. Abels’ score takes what could be described as typical horror/sci-fi music and blends it with a western twang befitting the horse ranch setting of the movie. The result is a score that haunts at some points while it excites in the next. It’s fantastic. - Adriano



Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans may not look like an especially brave or challenging piece of art on its surface, but I’d argue that its marketing did it an injustice in representation. The story, a noticeably personal one for maybe the greatest filmmaker ever, is quite a bit thornier than one might expect. Its drama is not elevated by the idea of falling in love with filmmaking, but with falling out of love with almost everything except that. In many contexts, this is sure to become one of Spielberg’s most underrated pieces. - Jacob


The resurgence of Brendan Fraser was prominent in the lead up to The Whale, so much so that I began to expect the performance was being overhyped. It genuinely is not. This feels like one of those roles that couldn't have been done by anyone else thanks to Fraser's ability to garner such empathy through this heart-breaking performance. It's not just Fraser, though. Hong Chau also is terrific, while Samantha Morton leaves a lasting impression with limited screen time too. Darren Aronofsky crafted a well-told and tragic story that was more than enough to make my eyes water. One of the best dramas of the year. - Nick


All Quiet on the Western Front is often lauded as one of the best anti-war stories ever told, and this adaptation gives credence to that accolade. It’s an unflinching and intense film that puts the horrors of war in your face and throws you right into the action. More importantly though, are the scenes away from our main characters on the battlefield, like when Daniel Bruhl’s character is trying to speak politics and stop the war. It shows just how needless war can be. It’s a fantastic drama that deserves all the appreciation. - Joseph

TÁR Tár heralds a staggering return to form for director Todd Field, as well as possibly the best work of Cate Blanchett’s career. From the first frame to the final, Blanchett captivates the audience, delivering a performance that is multifaceted and demonstrative of her wide-ranging acumen as an actress. At just under three hours, the film feels its length, but that runtime is necessary to provide the full scope of the downfall of a person who is at the very top of her game. It’s a must watch for any fan of original, expertly crafted, character-driven films. - Darryl


The Northman is epic, raw, and one of the best movies of the year. Robert Egger’s latest is an impeccably crafted revenge saga that takes us through the world of viking mythology as we follow Amleth’s (played by a breathtaking Alexander Skarsgård) quest to avenge his father. It’s one of the most memorable films that came out this year, and one struck a primal nerve in me. - Adriano




Meta films aren't for everybody, but let me just say this... I love them! When done right, a meta film can feel like a film made just for you, and as someone who grew up in the age of Nic Cage, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent tapped into that feeling. This film rewards you for every Nic Cage film you’ve ever seen, from Face/Off to Guarding Tess. Thankfully, Cage is not alone on this adventure. Pedro Pascal co-stars, and together, they give birth to what may be the best onscreen bromance in over a decade. - JTE


After the hit that was Knives Out, expectations were high for Benoit Blanc’s (Daniel Craig) next mystery, and regardless of what you were anticipating, I don’t think anyone thought this sequel would be as funny as it is. Laugh-out-loud moments are delivered from the entire cast, especially Kate Hudson and Craig (and let’s not forget slacker Derol (Noah Segan)), while the mystery is every bit as engrossing as its predecessor’s. Although I wouldn’t necessarily classify Glass Onion as a “comedy,” there is no denying that it is one of the year’s funniest movies. - Quentin


Martin McDonagh could make movies until the end of time, and I’d be happy about it. His brand of dark comedy is back, and although it’s maybe a little more subdued than usual, it’s still absolutely hysterical. This movie intends to make you feel bad, but it does so with vast amounts of laughter and humor, all delivered by a hilarious ensemble that executes flawlessly. - Adriano 


Weird Al has made me laugh my entire life. I also grew up alongside Daniel Radcliffe, watching (loving) him as Harry Potter well into my adolescence. Put those two things together, and you get the funniest movie I watched all year. Radcliffe confirms his penchant for post-The-Boy-Who-Lived quirk, and he was the perfect medium through which to channel the soundtrack of our musical musings for the past three decades. Weird is easily the movie to make me literally LOL the most this year, and the number of audible chuckles in the second place finisher isn’t close. - Amarú


In an era of filmmaking that's focused on wealth inequality and the condemnation of those who would hoard everything for themselves (Hustlers, Parasite, The Menu, etc.), Triangle of Sadness will go down as possibly one of the most absurdly direct. A searing lampoon of the upper crust of society, writer/director Ruben Ostlund holds nothing back. A fair warning for those weak of stomach, though: this film contains bodily fluids aplenty. With a cast of actors that seem to be game for almost anything, Triangle of Sadness definitely hits the mark on what it sets out to do. - Darryl




In 2022, many great films were released and many great action sequences were shot, but none could quite contend with the power of Top Gun: Maverick as a pure shot-of-adrenaline experience. Beginning with the stellar Darkstar opener, following that with one of the best aerial training sequences ever put to screen, then riding that wave all the way to the multi-part, action-packed final act, there is simply no stopping this film’s momentum once it starts. We all felt the need for speed with this one. - Jacob


Prey is a smartly crafted film that recontextualizes the relationship between the hunter and the hunted. The decision to set a Predator story in 1700s uncolonized America is a brilliant one, allowing the audience to engage in a familiar tale in an unfamiliar setting. Respect is given to First Nation members too, and at no point are they a cartoonish characterization or exaggeration of themselves. A culture known for having to hunt for survival being pitted against a pop culture icon famous for hunting humans is an idea rife with creative possibilities, and director Dan Trachtenberg and writer Patrick Aison squeeze that potential for every drop. - Darryl


Everything Everywhere All at Once is so many things in one. There is drama, there is comedy, but above all else, it's a shot of adrenaline. You're on the edge of your seat throughout, right alongside Evelyn’s (Michelle Yeoh) complete unawareness of what's going to happen next as she cycles through different multiverses. Plus, Yeoh and Ke Huy Quan both have some of the most crisp fight scenes to come out this past year. There is a reason this is heralded as one of the best movies of 2022. - Nick


The Batman was, hands down, the best superhero film of 2022, and it will get your adrenaline pumping with its nonstop and realistic action beats. Director Matt Reeves managed to make a David Fincher-like Batman film that’s raw and not afraid to get down and dirty. In fact, this dark and intense take on the masked crusader is honestly the first Batman film to actually show off The Dark Knight’s detective skills. You’ll be gripping the edge of your seat throughout the entire film, and looking to fight crime once the credits roll. - Paige


The snowballing word-of-mouth for RRR just kept getting bigger and bigger as summer moved into autumn, so I finally had to watch this epic, all-out, ball-of-infectious energy of a film. The movie matched the hype, and it’s just gonna keep growing. There may be multiple genres floating around in its 3-hour runtime, but nothing gets you out of your seat like the explosions, wildlife, and annihilation of the British Empire. And, yes, I’m including the “Naatu-Naatu” dance-off as one of my favorite action scenes of the year. - Amarú




In today's world of social media and entertainment news, it's hard to find a film that can genuinely surprise you. Barbarian pulled off this rare feat, making it the must-see horror film of 2022. Writer/director Zach Cregger also reminded people of how much fun a horror film can be when it's a communal experience. Some of the best horror films ever play with the audiences’ expectations, and Barbarian is a roller-coaster ride that plays with genre tropes to keep you on your toes until the very end. - JTE


I don’t care what anyone says, thinks, or tells their friends: Director Jordan Peele is 3-for-3 in his film career, and you can’t tell me otherwise. The chills, the images, the acting performances, and all things Gordy make Nope one of the creepiest and most exceptional horror movies of the year. It’s nothing like his previous two entries, but Nope confirms that Jordan Peele is an event director of must-see movies that you can buy a ticket for sight unseen. He even made this horror-hater change his tone on the genre, so maybe now I’m just a horror-disliker?… is that a word? - Amarú


When I walked into The Menu at TIFF, I only knew that it was a take down of the haute cuisine and fine dining establishment. What I did not know or expect was that it would be a tension-escalating tale of Eat the Rich judgments filled with dark surprises, claustrophobic ambiance, blood, and dread. The ensemble cast is better than I could have imagined too, especially Ralph Fiennes, who manages to convey uneasy humor and subtle menace as he leads us through twists and turns with each thunderous clap. - Quentin


Director Ti West delivered horror fans one hell of an unexpected surprise last year with the bloody origin story of X’s villain, Pearl. The best way to describe this film is a horrifying and bizarre fever dream that allows Mia Goth to give a profound, no-strings-attached performance. Pearl may not be as gory as its predecessor, but it’s more about a mind unraveling from reality, which can be even more terrifying. - Paige


Pearl may have gotten all the talk of 2022, but X was director Ti West's film that stuck with me most. It features great performances across the board (Mia Goth and Jenna Ortega deservingly got the headlines, but I think Martin Henderson also was crucial), and it does a wonderful job of transporting the viewer to the 1970s. There's such a chill and cool vibe to this film that makes it that much more of a contrast when things start to go off the rails. If Ti West nails MaXXXine, the third entry in the Pearl franchise, he will have created one of the all-time great horror trilogies…and that doesn't exist without X. - Nick




Not only is Rian Johnson one of the best writer/directors working today, the man also knows how to build out an amazing cast. Just like its predecessor, Knives Out, Glass Onion showcases an outstanding array of talent from its cast of A-listers, which includes Daniel Craig, Edward Norton, Janelle Monáe, Kate Hudson, Dave Bautista, Leslie Odom Jr., and Kathryn Hahn. Johnson just knows how to strike gold with these whodunit ensembles. This group helps elevate the film, allowing it to be more entertaining from start to finish. He was even able to get four former Oscar nominees to appear in this film. Can you name all four? - Paige


If there is one film this year that the Oscars snubbed, it's The Woman King. First off, it's a wonderfully directed feature by Gina Prince-Bythewood. However, the cast is the real story here, as the film is anchored by four powerhouse performances from Viola Davis, Lashana Lynch, Thuso Mbedu, and John Boyega. All of them deserved nominations as they do excellent work, both individually and as an ensemble. In fact, it's among the best work I've seen from all four actors, and I expect the film to grow in adoration in the coming years. - Nick


A film’s story can only be taken as seriously or have as much of an effect as its performers can allow, and Everything Everywhere All at Once not only has the performers most up to the task, they’re all at the top of their game. Michelle Yeoh and Jamie Lee Curtis reach new heights, while Stephanie Hsu breaks into the all-time pantheon of stylistic villainy; however, it’s Ke Huy Quan’s near-constant display of range – emotional and physical – that’s the capstone and not-so-secret weapon of power. - Jacob


In the age of Comic Book Movies, casting can make or break a film. Fans will argue every choice, even before seeing the movie, because fanboys have a passionate opinion on who should play who (or, more often, who shouldn’t play who). That said, with The Batman, almost every piece of casting news was met with optimism. Even the most controversial choice of Robert Pattinson as Bruce Wayne was raved about once the film hit screens. Director Matt Reeves simply cast the best actors for the roles, even if they didn't meet the physical constraints of the characters (just look at Colin Farrell as The Penguin). All in all, this ensemble is prestigious from top to bottom. - JTE


The Menu is so smartly written that even with a powerhouse ensemble cast, everyone manages to make an impression. It shows the quality of the writing and direction, but also the actors, each of whom bring their own unique reactions to the events that occur on screen. Every performer has their moment, and their ability to play off of each other in a way that creates a sense of authenticity is remarkable. It’s easy to hate this collection of disgustingly rich characters, but they’re just so much fun to watch because of the performers. Anya Taylor-Joy and Ralph Fiennes may be the starring roles, but they’re really just the glue that holds together all the fantastic performances. - Joseph




We’ve seen this tale time and time again, but Guillermo del Toro and his team were able to bring something new to the table. With astonishingly rich stop-motion animation, this beautifully crafted gem allows del Toro to bring his unique style to the forefront while also appreciating the lore of the classic story. I honestly feel kinda bad for all the other animated films in 2022 because Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio steam rolls over all of them, and this magical film will most definitely be taking home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. - Paige


Turning Red is a big move for Pixar as it deals with the complexities of adolescence in a fun and insightful way while also acknowledging some tough realities. The characters are wonderfully written, as are the themes regarding generational differences and the expectations of parents on their children. On top of that, the colors and visual styles are unique and fresh, injecting Pixar’s portfolio with a new look by taking inspiration from various anime. Overall, it’s fun, fresh, intense, smart, and an incredibly impressive film for a directorial debut. Thank you for making this amazing and personal story, Domee Shi. - Joseph


Never in my wildest imagination would I have guessed that I would be saying this about a sequel to a Shrek spinoff, but Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is quite special. The animation is so striking and hard to look away from that it gives the whole thing a crackling energy that compliments the comedy and adventure on screen. Meanwhile, the fact that it has something poignant to say about death and mortality is very gutsy for a family film, but it all works somehow. This was a pleasant surprise. - Adriano


I stand by my decision last year to automatically put this as one of the most heartwarming movies of all time, and that decision keeps looking better every single day. Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is the ray of sunshine in this dark world that, even in its sadness, lets us appreciate the small beauties of life. It is joy personified, hope encapsulated, ingenuity epitomized, and… I could just keep going but I only have 100 or so words to rave about this dope-ass anthropomorphic exoskeleton (yeah, I looked up the definition of “shell” because Marcel deserves that respect). - Amarú



I grew up in the 90s, and Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers was definitely in my rotation of Saturday morning cartoons. When I heard they were making a new film that would go straight to Disney+, I can't say that I was excited, even if it was directed by Akiva Schaffer of Lonely Island fame. In the end, my reservations were foolish because what we got is, in my opinion, the best combination of animated & live action since Who Framed Roger Rabbit? The jokes work on multiple levels, making the film a blast for both adults and kids alike. - JTE



*WINNER* DANIELS (EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE) Everything Everywhere All at Once pushes the envelope in terms of inventiveness and creativity. The main strength of the film, and in Daniels’ storytelling, is the focus on the main issue: a dysfunctional family. Regardless of the nonsense they throw at the audience, from our characters portrayed as rocks to a world where everyone has hot dogs for fingers, the story always reverts to the Wangs and their interconnected struggles. Be it the makeup that Stephanie Hsu’s Joy is decked out in or her outlandish costume designs, the level of detail that went into creating all aspects of this film reveals how well thought out and meticulous Daniels and their crew are. - Darryl


To balance the story of a platonic break-up against the backdrop of a far-off civil war requires not only delicate balance, but perfect precision in achieving said balance. Few directors – if any – were able to achieve as much as Martin McDonagh did with The Banshees of Inisherin. It’s McDonagh’s direction that lends the film its tragic pathos, leading us to understand that none of this had to happen in either the macro and micro sense, and it’s his writing that allows his direction to be so bold as to say “but it will happen anyway.” - Jacob


Full disclosure, I enjoyed, but did not love, Nope. That said, there is no denying what Jordan Peele, with the help of cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, was able to pull off behind the camera. Did you know that all those night scenes were actually shot in the super bright sunlight of the California desert? That’s wild. On top of that, Peele was also able to deliver thrilling spectacle, tense set pieces, frightening imagery, and, really, just an all-around visually beautiful movie that evokes every last ounce of supernatural vibe that you’d want from a movie like this. - Quentin


Imagine you were tasked to helm the years-later sequel to a beloved film starring arguably the biggest star in the world. This is exactly what Joseph Kosinski had to tackle when he agreed to direct Top Gun: Maverick. Not only did Kosinski meet those sky-high expectations, but he did what most directors only dream of... he surpassed them. In a world of CGI and special effects, Kosinski proved that groundbreaking direction and storytelling is still the best effect of them all. From beginning to end, you won’t find a better made film this year than Top Gun: Maverick. - JTE


With The Fabelmans being semi-autobiographical for Steven Spielberg, you knew there was going to be a little extra heart put into it. That much is evident on screen, and Spielberg mines his previous work for different sensibilities (such as the childlike wonder of E.T.) to tell his story. This was his life, so you know he was heavily involved in each scene and character choice, including Paul Dano and Michelle Williams' portrayal of his parents. However, the best part of the film is the star-making turn he pulled out of Gabriel LaBelle. The Fabelmans may be Steven Spielberg's story as told through fictional characters, but it's among his most honest films. - Nick




Of all the awards this year, Supporting Actress has the most stacked nominee list, and nothing exemplifies that more than the fact that I’m ranking someone…ANYONE…higher than the Queen Mother, Angela Bassett. But dammit, Stephanie Hsu reached into the depths of my soul with her multi-character role to make me cry, laugh, yell, cheer, and stare in awe. She was the crux that made Everything Everywhere All at Once’s weirdness so mesmerizing, as her confidence oozed off the screen throughout the gamut of emotions she displayed. It was a beautiful sight to behold. - Amarú


Both Black Panther films are a tier above the rest of the MCU, but the amazing throne room scene in Wakanda Forever is a prime example of what award-worthy acting is. Angela Bassett gives a thesis of a speech that tells you everything you need to know about Queen Ramonda, everything she stands for, and everything she fears. It’s heart-wrenching. Bassett makes you feel every word with her powerful delivery, and her performance shows just how tremendous she is as an actress. - Joseph


Kerry Condon is The Banshees of Inisherin's true ace in the hole, bringing incredible nuance to her role. In delivering a remarkable performance that is filled with fierceness and vulnerability, you realize that she is so much more than just the peacemaker between the quarreling friends. She is a fully realized character with her own aspirations. With a performance as brilliant and subtle as this one, I see a few Oscars in her future. - Paige


Perhaps just on the outside of the Oscar nominee pool this year, Dolly de Leon immediately steals Triangle of Sadness right out from under itself the second her true power is realized. Although the film is a true ensemble piece with no actual lead, Dolly de Leon is the captain of the ship, steering us through the third act to an ending that brilliantly demonstrates what the ultimate costs of capital-based societies turn out to be. - Jacob


I'll be honest, outside of her supporting role in the Oscar-winning film Moonlight, I hadn't seen much of Janelle Monáe's acting skills on display. When she was announced for Rian Johnson's follow-up to Knives Out, I didn't give it much thought. So, to say I walked out of the theater impressed would be an understatement. In a cast full of A-listers and impressive talent, it was Monáe who left the most lasting impression. I'll say it now: She'll win an Oscar in the next decade because she is that talented as an actress. - JTE




Ke Huy Quan’s comeback performance in Everything Everywhere All at Once is amongst the best and most infectious performances you’ll see all year. It’s hard to look at the character's optimism and not root for him, or feel for him when he’s at low points. I mean, just the way he’s able to constantly switch between alternate versions of the same character, sometimes on a dime, is very impressive to watch. - Adriano


I didn't love Bullet Train, but, man, was Brian Tyree Henry entertaining. However, this award is for his underseen turn in the subtle Apple gem Causeway. This doesn't feel like the sort of film that usually gets recognized since it's not flashy, but it is note perfect. Henry and Jennifer Lawrence (at the best she's been in years) go one-on-one here, but it’s Henry who comes out the strongest. The humanity he brings to James is evident in every scene, which ultimately leads to a couple heartbreaking moments. He's past his breakout moment, but his work here proves that he is ready for more leading man roles. - Nick


There are only a few actors that, when they show up in a film, you know you're going to get a great performance from, no matter the quality of the overall project. Brendan Gleeson is one of those actors. Once again teaming with filmmaker Martin McDonagh and Colin Farrell, Gleeson gives yet another Oscar-worthy performance. The fact is, when you pair Gleeson's acting skills with the rich writing from McDonagh, it's a match made in heaven, and with The Banshees of Inisherin being a true two-hander, Gleeson matches Farrell scene for scene. - JTE


Hidden behind the star power of Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, the awards pedigree of director Martin McDonagh, and the buzz of Kerry Condon, there is Barry Keoghan, who quietly gives awards-season juggernaut The Banshees of Inisherin’s best performance. He brings tragedy and comedy, optimism and despair. But most of all, he navigates his character’s devastating arc with truth and authenticity. - Quentin


Stranger Danger is the best way to describe Mark Rylance’s role of Sully in Bones and All. His character is someone you’d never want to come across in real life because of how outright creepy he is. What Rylance is able to bring to this performance is bloody terrifying, and he nearly steals the whole movie any time he’s on screen. He’s that good! I’m truly baffled that his performance didn’t get eaten up by all the award shows this season. - Paige




In Everything Everywhere All at Once, Michelle Yeoh delivers a performance that encompasses EVERYTHING we can be in life. In a film that is filled with insanity, Yeoh is able to carry it all on her shoulders with ease, giving us one of the best performances of the year while making it appear effortless. She showcases a diverse range of emotions, as she has to make you believe that she is not only a wife, a mother, and a laundromat owner, but also a multiverse traveler that, at one point, has flippin’ hot dogs for fingers. The actress fully immersed herself in her character, and despite all the madness on display, Yeoh grounds this crazy, complex role in a very honest and nuanced way. - Paige


From Tár’s first announcement teaser, one could understand that Cate Blanchett had reached a new level of power as composer-conductor Lydia Tár. In fact, so thorough is her embodiment of the character (and so brilliantly is she written) that many first-time viewers actually believed Tár to be a real person. One doesn’t get there without true investment, and while a great screenplay can do a lot, true investment comes, first and foremost, from the actor. - Jacob


Quite possibly the most underrated performance of 2022, Danielle Deadwyler gives the type of performance that the Oscars were made for. The way she emotes is captivating, hiding tears behind smiles, covering fear with displays of strength. The film itself is a respectful endeavor overall, but the truth is that Till is great because Danielle Deadwyler is great in it. - Joseph


Mia Goth continued her streak of exceptional female horror performances with her turn as the titular character in Pearl. What initially comes off as semi-parody, leaning heavily into the old-timey southern accent, Goth slowly transforms her character into a beast of a woman whose failing dreams push her to the edge. Honestly, just Google “Pearl Mia Goth 8 minute monologue” and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. - Adriano


While The Fabelmans had great performances across the board, the only one that stuck with me after leaving the theater was that of Michelle Williams. Although the movie didn’t deliver the story I wanted, her performance is heartbreaking as a woman just trying to do right by her children and herself at the same time. It’s layered, deep, and vibrant yet nuanced. She absolutely crushes it. - Quentin




In transforming himself into a real person…nay, an icon…who was larger than life in every sense of the word, Austin Butler is transcendent in Elvis. He gives an exuberant performance that is both rousing and heartbreaking, even doing his own singing and immersing himself so deeply that he may have permanently altered his own speaking voice. Watching Butler perform as The King made me feel what all those fans in the 50s and 60s must have felt when they saw him live. Go watch the side-by-sides of Butler and Elvis on Youtube to see what I’m talking about. It’s a career- and star-making performance. - Quentin


I don’t know what I can say about Brendan Fraser’s performance in The Whale that hasn’t already been said in dozens of articles. Even if you remove the context of his comeback and everything that has happened to him, it’s still such a mesmerizing and empathetic performance. Even as a lifelong fan of Fraser, I had no idea he was capable of this power. From the jarring physical transformation to the small movements he does with his eyes, it’s a truly wonderful performance. - Adriano


Early last year, we compiled our “Top Five Actors Never Nominated for an Oscar,” and to no one’s surprise, Colin Farrell topped the list. I'm glad to report that not only is this no longer the case with his Oscar nod for The Banshees of Inisherin, but this isn't a legacy nomination either. Working with director Martin McDonagh for the third time, Farrell excels as the lovable and simplistic Pádraic. His mix of comedy and heart is infectious, and it's a genuine thrill to see him finally get his long overdue nomination. - Nick RALPH FIENNES (THE MENU)

There are few performances in 2022 that matched actor to character more perfectly than Ralph Fiennes as Chef Slowik in The Menu. He is absolutely captivating as the central mastermind behind the film's psychological warfare, controlling the numerous moving parts and interesting characters with just a look or a whisper. Fiennes is the focal point that grounds The Menu’s intense chaos, with his mere presence taking a stranglehold on your attention every second he’s on screen. - Amarú


One day, we as a society will look back on Jordan Peele’s Nope and wonder how we all undervalued it to such a degree, and chiefly, how one of its lead performers slipped under the whole awards radar apparatus. Academy Award Winner (lest we forget) Daniel Kaluuya is as sharp here as he has ever been, his eyes more expressive than perhaps any leading man of his generation. Without saying a word, we know what he thinks, how he feels, and what he anticipates next; under the stellar direction of Jordan Peele, Kaluuya has never been better. - Jacob




Many say that cinema is dead, that Hollywood has no more original stories to tell; Everything Everywhere All at Once blows that critique out of the water. It’s hard to condense my thoughts to so few words because this film evoked so many emotions within me. The story is fantastic, the effects are great, the humor is on point, and the message is just so powerful. It’s an important and touching film that demonstrates the best in filmmaking. It’s worthy of the title “Best Picture.” - Joseph


As a kid who grew up on Top Gun and as an adult who has seen a long string of disappointing legacy sequels, I was preparing for the worst with Maverick. However, from the first trailer, I was sold, and my expectations only continued to rise the closer we got to its release date. Then, I saw it; it was better than anything I could have imagined. It’s full of heart, drama, action, humor, and some of the best set pieces I’ve seen in years. It’s genuinely better than it has any right to be. Following two years of COVID and mostly streaming releases, Maverick is the movie that reminded me of the magic of going to the cinema. If that doesn’t qualify as “Best Picture” material, I don’t know what does. - Quentin


TIFF was fantastic this year. I had the pleasure of seeing films like The Whale, The Fabelmans, The Woman King, and The Banshees of Inisherin, all of which I loved. But the film that topped my list was The Menu. My favorite horror film of the year featured a tremendous cast, headlined by an enthralling Ralph Fiennes, and just a genuinely good story. It shocked me, surprised me, and above all, entertained me. From the subtleties of Anya Taylor-Joy's Margot to the ridiculousness of Nicholas Hoult's Tyler…and each dish featured on the menu itself…this film is just plain delicious. - Nick

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN The Banshees of Inisherin is far and away director Martin McDonagh’s best film to date. Starring Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, together for the first time since 2008’s In Bruges, the pair pick up right where they left off: a delicious mix of warmhearted friendship and constant annoyance that can only come with being longtime friends. Farrell and Gleeson both bring their A-game, with Farrell giving the performance of his career. Bleak, shocking, and at times, hysterically funny, The Banshees of Inisherin proves Martin McDonagh is one of cinema’s most underrated working directors. - Darryl


Guillermo del Toro is truly one of today’s best and most inspired filmmakers, and his take on Pinocchio is a masterpiece. Even through the stop-motion animation, his visual eye is as present as ever, plus the voice acting is terrific. But what is beyond impressive is the fact that he was able to take a story we’ve seen so, so, sooo many times before and update it in ways that are both necessary and refreshing while still retaining the same themes as the source material. I was a blubbering mess by the end of this true work of art. - Adriano

Photo Credits: Photo 1, 3, 14 - Warner Bros; Photo 2 - Apple TV+; Photo 4 - Universal Pictures; Photo 5 - Lionsgate; Photo 6 - Paramount Pictures; Photo 7 - 20th Century Studios; Photo 8, 9 - Netflix; Photo 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 - A24

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