Celebrating the Films of 2022 With Awards That Don’t Exist at The Oscars

The fourth annual Not A Real Person Yet awards (The NARPYs) have arrived.

Only a handful of days away from the 95th Oscars, I am once again handing out my own awards to honor the films of 2022. I do this to celebrate the best films from the previous year, as well as shine a spotlight on movies that have not been discussed enough throughout the course of awards season.

Just like the previous three years, I’m going to go through the awards one by one, list the nominees, the winner, and give some reasoning behind why I chose each winner. Most categories have a five nominee limit, except for a few that I felt needed to be expanded to ten.

Without further ado, let’s get started.

Award #1: Most Memorable Scene


And The Winner Is: Juilliard, Tár

It remains a challenge every year to try to select what ten scenes should be nominated in this category. Truthfully, there were an incredible amount of “Scene of the Year” candidates in 2022. The nominees I ended up choosing were the 10 scenes that stuck with the me the longest after I initially saw them, and any one of them would be worthy of winning this award. The reason the Juilliard scene from Todd Field’s Tár is the winner here though is because I feel it is the scene from 2022 that best encapsulates the film that it finds itself in. This scene comes to the viewer pretty early on in the course of Tár‘s 158 minute runtime, but by the time it is over the audience understands exactly what kind of movie they are going to see. We are able to understand so much about the character of Lydia Tár, the way she sees the world, and how she treats those around her through her interaction with the student in this scene, Max. This scene, along with Tár‘s opening scene, also does a great job of establishing the tone and style that Field utilized in his film. While some of the other scenes nominated in this category may be more emotionally propulsive than this one, there was not a scene from 2022 that was more effective from a storytelling and character development standpoint. It’s also worth noting that perhaps no single scene from 2022 created as much discourse as this one did. Even though some of that discourse ultimately turned out to be tiresome and frustrating, I couldn’t ignore the sheer amount of discussion generated by this one movie moment when I was deciding what I consider the scene of 2022 to be. Much like the film itself, this scene elicits something from the audience. Even if it draws out feelings of disagreement, anger, or frustration from the viewer, it remains in their mind after they walk out of the theater.

Award #2: The “Shocked it Wasn’t Terrible” Award


  • Do Revenge
  • Dog
  • Rosaline
  • The Lost City
  • Ticket to Paradise

And The Winner Is: The Lost City

the lost city

Each year I find it important to note that there are a handful of categories that do not go to the film that I enjoyed the most out of the nominees. This is one of those categories. The winner of this category is the film which exceeded my low expectations by the widest margin. In 2022, that film was none other than The Lost City starring Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock. While I generally enjoy many of the actors in this film, I did not have high expectations when I first saw the trailer. It had the look of a generic film that gets delivered to audiences near the beginning of the year and then forgotten by the time summer rolls around. But, while it certainly wasn’t an exceptional film by any means, I did have a fair amount of fun with The Lost City. I appreciated the fact that this film never tried to be more than what it is. With that being said, it was more original than I initially gave it credit for. Wisely, it relied heavily on the charisma of its two leads, and in doing so, it managed to keep my attention, and entertain me, throughout. Ultimately, I can’t ask for much more than that from a film like this.

Award #3: Best Performance That Wasn’t Nominated at the Oscars


  • Margot Robbie, Babylon
  • Tang Wei, Decision to Leave
  • Theo Rossi, Emily the Criminal
  • Paul Dano, The Fabelmans
  • Jenny Slate, Marcel the Shell With Shoes On
  • Daniel Kaluuya, Nope
  • Keke Palmer, Nope
  • Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick
  • Dolly de Leon, Triangle of Sadness
  • Viola Davis, The Woman King

And The Winner Is: Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick


Interestingly enough, I didn’t feel like I had as many snubs as usual to work with this year when I was trying to figure out the nominees for this category. I’m not sure if that means we just didn’t see a lot of great performances in 2022, or if the Academy is actually starting to get better at selecting the correct nominees. But, I do know it didn’t feel like there were as many truly great performances that felt like they needed recognition due to being overlooked by the Academy. And ironically, the performance that I chose as the winner here is probably the one that got the most recognition, just not from Academy voters. Is what Tom Cruise is doing in Top Gun: Maverick the most technically impressive performance of last year? Probably not. However, it is perhaps the best example of top-level “Movie Star Acting” we’ve seen in several years. From the very start of the film, he pretty much dominates every single scene he is in. In fact, my case for Cruise winning this category hinges on the idea that there was no performance as integral to the success of its film in 2022 as his was to Maverick, outside of maybe Cate Blanchett’s in Tár. That idea is also why I find it slightly frustrating that the Academy felt comfortable enough to nominate a film like Maverick for Best Picture, but was seemingly unable to give any recognition to the film’s driving performance. I’m not saying we should all feel bad for Cruise because he didn’t get an Oscar nomination, the man certainly has more than enough going for him. But, if the Academy is willing to give a film like Maverick a place in their show, then it just feels logical that the people who made that film what it is should be given recognition as well.

Award #4: Best Comedy


  • Confess, Fletch
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  • I Want You Back
  • Jackass Forever
  • Marcel the Shell With Shoes On

And The Winner Is: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

go go

Each year, as it becomes harder and harder for great, traditional studio comedies to be made in Hollywood, I struggle to find five worthy nominees in this category. Sure, we get genre-blending films that can still make us laugh a lot like Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, but I prefer to nominate straight-forward comedies in this category. It is becoming a bit of a lost genre, but it is still one that I love and appreciate, especially when it’s done well. There is nothing quite like sitting in a crowded theater of people laughing together at a truly funny film, and that is exactly the experience I had when I saw Glass Onion. I was a little surprised by that because, truthfully, Rian Johnson’s humor has always been a little hit-or-miss for me. I found his Glass Onion script to probably be the funniest of his career though, and the creative forces behind this film did an excellent job of casting the right people to play these roles. For a comedy to be successful, I think it’s important for the audience to get a sense that the actors had a good time while making the film. It comes across pretty clear that the actors in Glass Onion were in on the joke and knew how to properly convey it on screen. Hopefully, we’ll actually get to see more movies like this in the near future.

Award #5: Best Music Moment in a Film


And The Winner Is: Under PressureAftersun

Obviously, music is usually included in films to elicit some sort of emotional reaction out of the audience. For me, there was no movie moment from 2022 that was more emotionally enhanced by the utilization of music than the “Under Pressure” scene in Aftersun. This is a film that is driven by its emotions and its open-hearted, yet devastating, tone. I think that is something that either inherently resonates with audience members or is rejected by them. In other words, it either works on you or it doesn’t. And in some ways, I see this scene as the make-or-break moment of the film. It is the moment that reveals to you whether you are in or out on this story and how it is being told. If you were in like me, you were moved by this moment. It was the scene where so much of this fragmented story started to click into place. It was a moment where the on-the-noseness of the song choice felt earned, and not cliché. When you listen to the way the film plays with this song and watches the way it oscillates between the child and adult versions of the Sophie character as she, almost literally, wrestles with the memory of her father, you are taken to a place where not many films are capable of taking you to, despite their best efforts to do so. That is why it is the winner of this award.

Award #6: Best Film With Zero Oscar Nominations


  • Armageddon Time
  • Decision to Leave
  • Emily the Criminal
  • Nope
  • “Sr.”

And The Winner Is: Nope


Truthfully, I’m still not really sure why Nope never got the love it deserved during awards season. Perhaps it was too confusing for some Academy voters. Maybe it was filled with too many ideas, or its lack of sincerity held it back. But for this film to be completely shut out in a year where the Oscars were clearly willing to embrace some other blockbusters and genre films just feels flat out wrong to me. As I already explored what I loved about this film in some detail during my top ten films of the year list though, I want to take this space to implore people to seek out the five films nominated in this category, all of which I enjoy more than some of the movies up for Best Picture this year.

Award #7: Most Rewatchable Film


  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  • Jackass Forever
  • Nope
  • Top Gun: Maverick

And The Winner Is: Top Gun: Maverick


Top Gun: Maverick was one of the highest grossing films of 2022 for a reason. Joseph Kosinski, Tom Cruise, and everyone else involved in the making of this film were able to capture something on screen that clearly had a profound effect on the people that watched it. There is something inherently attractive about this film, the story, the characters, the action, and the performances that makes you want to keep coming back to it. I have no doubt that this film is going to stand the test of time, much like the first Top Gun did. Sure, you may never be able to recapture the magic of seeing this movie for the first in a theater, but, there will always be something rewarding about watching this film, no matter how many times you’ve previously seen it. It would be a great thing if we lived in a world where we received more blockbuster films that shared that same quality.

Award #8: Best Quote


  • “The moment you said you loved me, your love is over. The moment your love ends, my love begins.” – Song Seo-rae, Decision to Leave
  • “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” – Waymond Wang, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • “Now remember this, when the horizon’s at the bottom, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s at the top, it’s interesting. When the horizon’s in the middle, it’s boring as shit. Now, good luck to you, and get the fuck out of my office.” – John Ford, The Fabelmans
  • “Please tell me you did not think sweatshops are where they make sweatpants.” – Peg, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
  • Talk to me, Dad.” – Rooster, Top Gun: Maverick

And The Winner Is: “In another life, I would have really liked just doing laundry and taxes with you.” – Waymond Wang, Everything Everywhere All At Once

It is never easy to select one single line of dialogue from an entire year of film that stands above the rest. When choosing the winner for this award, I try to find a quote that is not only memorable, thought-provoking, or well-written—but does a good job of capturing the essence of the film it appears in. The reason I ended up selecting this line from Everything Everywhere All At Once is because I believe what ultimately made people fall in love with this movie is not the action, the creativity, the unusual structure, the humor, or the genre—it’s the heart. Sure, all of those other aspects are incredibly important as well but without the family dynamic at the center of this film, I don’t think it would have become the widely loved, financially successful Best Picture frontrunner that it became. Waymond Wang’s statement about the beauty that can be found in the mundaneness of everyday life was incredibly powerful for a lot of viewers, and Ke Huy Quan’s perfect delivery elevated it to an even higher level. Disregarding the somewhat strange spot Everything Everywhere All At Once occupies in our culture right now, I think there is a lot to admire about this film, the screenplay, and this quote specifically.

Award #9: Best Theater Experience


  • Avatar: The Way of Water
  • The Batman
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Nope
  • Top Gun: Maverick

And The Winner Is: Top Gun: Maverick


It’s important to note that, as 2022 was actually a pretty good year for big-budget filmmaking, any five of these nominees could have won this award. There is a lot I will remember about seeing all of these films in the theater for the first time. With Avatar: The Way of Water and Nope, we got to see awe-inspiring visual spectacles from masterful filmmakers. I’ll never forget the feeling of being a part of an audience who were collectively experiencing Everything Everywhere All At Once‘s originality and creativity for the first time. And, seeing Matt Reeves’ vision for The Batman on the big screen was a tremendously rewarding viewing experience as well. Ultimately, I couldn’t deny the fact that I just didn’t have more fun in a theater in 2022 than when I first saw Top Gun: Maverick. Personally, I think this film is pretty close to an example of perfect blockbuster filmmaking. The combination of outstanding directing, actors with legitimate charisma, the use of practical effects, and breathtaking action set-pieces made for one of the most entertaining films of the year, and one of the best theater experiences I’ve had in quite a while.

Award #10: Best Performance in a Bad Film


  • Christian Bale, Amsterdam
  • Margot Robbie, Amsterdam
  • Ana de Armas, Blonde
  • Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling
  • Brendan Fraser, The Whale

And The Winner Is: Florence Pugh, Don’t Worry Darling


It’s important to note that, while I’m technically grouping all five of these movies together under the label of “bad films,” there are some that I appreciate more than the others. I also want to note that, for me, this category was really a two-horse race. And even though I thought Brendan Fraser was good in The Whale and have enjoyed seeing him make something of a comeback, I thought Florence Pugh’s performance in Don’t Worry Darling embodied the spirit of this category more. My opinion of Don’t Worry Darling has gone from bad to just simply forgettable. Honestly, I find it fascinating that a film that garnered so much media attention and created so much controversy disappeared from our public consciousness as quickly as it did. The only thing I can accurately remember about the film is the way Florence Pugh acted circles around basically every single person she shared a scene with, especially Harry Styles. For that reason, she absolutely deserves this award.

Award #11: Most Underrated Film


  • Armageddon Time
  • Cha Cha Real Smooth
  • Emily the Criminal
  • Hustle
  • Kimi

And The Winner Is: Armageddon Time

at at

Apparently, there was only room for one deeply personal coming-of-age film from an acclaimed director to be celebrated during awards season because James Gray’s Armageddon Time seems to have been all but forgotten. It may not be my favorite film out of the five nominees, but it is the one that I think is most-deserving of more praise than it received. To be fair, a lot of the people that sought out this film did appreciate it, but unfortunately it was far too under-seen given how good of a film it ultimately was. It feels like this movie came out during a crowded time for new releases and just sort of got lost in the shuffle. While I was joking about The Fabelmans “taking its spot” during awards season, I do think it’s fair to surmise that that film coming out around the same time as Armageddon Time did impact its popularity in some way. Regardless of the reasoning behind this film’s lack of recognition though, it is a shame that it did not receive the attention it deserves. It is an incredibly engaging story, which happens to be littered with impressive performances. Hopefully, it’s able to find more of an audience on a streaming service or VOD.

Award #12: Breakthrough Performer


  • Frankie Corio, Aftersun
  • Banks Repeta, Armageddon Time
  • Diego Calva, Babylon
  • Tenoch Huerta, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
  • Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans
  • Daniel Zolghardi, Funny Pages
  • Brandon Perea, Nope
  • Sophie Kauer, Tár
  • Thuso Mbedu, The Woman King

And The Winner Is: Tenoch Huerta, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever


I like to take degree of difficulty into account when deciding which breakthrough performance I want to highlight in this category. And when it comes to MCU films, it can be incredibly difficult for newcomers to shine because the overarching story often overshadows the individual performers. Despite how you feel about this particular film in general though, I think it would be impossible for anyone to walk out of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and not be impressed by Tenoch Huerta’s performance. Personally, I was incredibly mixed on the film, but the character of Namor was easily one of my favorite aspects of it, in large part due to the way Huerta portrayed him. The work he did in this film is even more impressive given the fact that he had never really taken on a role of this magnitude before. Huerta established himself as someone worth paying attention to in this film though. Not only was he able to nail the emotion of his character and inject some humanity into the story, he managed to be incredibly convincing in the action scenes as well. I hope to see a lot more of Huerta on screen in the near future. And, while I was very impressed by his work in Wakanda Forever, I’m even more excited to see what he can do outside of the MCU going forward.

Award #13: Best Hidden Gem


  • Causeway
  • EO
  • Funny Pages
  • Stars at Noon
  • Windfall

And The Winner Is: Funny Pages


Here we have another category that does not get awarded to the film I flat-out enjoyed the most. Instead, I award this category to the nominated film that I heard and saw being discussed, analyzed, and reviewed the least throughout the course of last year. Owen Kline’s directorial debut, Funny Pages, was definitely not a widely-discussed film in 2022. It was released in late August and never really received much attention, despite it being one of .the most intriguingly bizarre and unique films of the year. It tells the story of a teenage cartoonist who, after some upsetting life events, leaves home in an attempt to follow his dream and forge his own path. Usually, I strongly recommend that people seek out whichever film wins this award. This year, I feel obligated to provide a disclaimer that this film may not be for everyone. There is a purposefully discomforting quality to Funny Pages that some viewers may not enjoy. If it seems like a film you would be interested in though, then it is definitely worth checking out.

Award #14: Best First Time Director


  • Charlotte Wells, Aftersun
  • Lila Neugebauer, Causeway
  • John Patton Ford, Emily the Criminal
  • Owen Kline, Funny Pages
  • Domee Shi, Turning Red

And The Winner Is: Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 3.35.04 PM

I share this sentiment every year but I once again want to reiterate that this is a category that needs to be present at the Oscars. It would be a great way to introduce people to movies they are unfamiliar with, as well as honor certain films and filmmakers that don’t have a chance at being recognized in the bigger categories. With that out of the way, let’s get to Charlotte Wells and the incredible work she did on my third favorite film from 2022, Aftersun. It’s very rare for a first time director to have as much control over tone and emotion as Wells does in Aftersun. Furthermore, Wells was able to utilize subtlety in her storytelling far more effectively than you would expect from a young filmmaker. It’s also clear when watching Aftersun that Wells was confident enough to allow her film to breathe instead of being overly concerned with making sure the audience knew every detail of the story along the way. She trusted that her abilities as a storyteller would eventually lead the audience to a place of understanding. She also showed she knows how to get great performances out of her actors, as she directed Paul Mescal to the first Oscar nomination of his career. It takes a skilled filmmaker to tell a story as seemingly simple as this one present in Aftersun and make it an engaging experience for the audience. Wells clearly proved she has the skills to pull that off, and I can’t wait to see what she does in the future.

Award #15: Best Cast


  • Babylon
  • The Banshees of Inisherin
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once
  • Nope
  • The Menu

And The Winner Is: Babylon

Screen Shot 2023-03-09 at 4.05.43 PM

It would not have felt right ending these awards without Damien Chazelle’s Babylon getting some recognition. It is still the most polarizing film of 2022, but I imagine that even the people who consider it to be a self-indulgent bloated mess have some admiration for the performances given in this film. From the film’s four main stars—Diego Calva, Brad Pitt, Jovan Adepo, and Margot Robbie—to all the other actors who show up throughout the course of this 3 hour and 9 minute film—Jean Smart, Li Jun Li, Lukas Haas, Eric Roberts, Spike Jonze, Katherine Waterston, Tobey Maguie, and many more—there is no doubt that there is an incredible amount of acting talent on display here. I appreciate how Chazelle gave everyone I just mentioned, and a handful of others, a chance to have their moment in this film as well. Even the actors who only appear in a couple of scenes do enough to be remembered by the audience. In my opinion, Chazelle’s “performance” behind the camera is still the true star of this film, but I don’t think he would have been able to execute his vision as successfully as he did with a lesser cast.

Now, as I wrap up these awards and look back on all 15 categories and the nominees, I’m reminded of just how much great work we saw from the film world in 2022. I’m very grateful for all of it and can only hope that we get more of the same in 2023.

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