As reliable as holiday decorations and Jack Frost nipping at your nose comes the 2022 film award season. Since I joined the Boston Online Film Critics Association (BOFCA.com) in 2020, I’ve written an encapsulation (2020 and 2021) of my thoughts on the voting process and offered my picks for best movies of the year.
In 2022, film goers have returned to the theater after two years of Covid fatigue, but the big difference in the movie business right now is the bifurcation of theater films and award films. Time was the best movies of the year were also the top grossing pictures of the year. Go back to the 1950s, and you will see that films such as Ben Hur not only won a slew of Oscars, but also were the most financially successful pictures as well.
Around 2000, a divergence began. No one would mistake the Transformer movies as award worthy, but several of them reaped the most box office in the 2000s and 2010s. The films that received Academy Awards didn’t do nearly as well financially. This trend continued until Covid accelerated it to the point that coming out of the pandemic you will probably never see the best films of the year in the cinema. Some will play at art houses and cinematheques, but the days are gone when the best pictures of the year will get mainstream releases (with certain exceptions). The cineplex big screen is now the domain solely of mega-budget action, animation and family films. Audiences wishing to see award films will most likely view them on streaming platforms or On Demand.
Though I’ve previously noted the impossibility of reviewing, in 7 weeks, the over 100 screening links and discs sent to me for ‘best of’ consideration, there is one thing about the new movie-going landscape that makes life easier on the film critic: one can screen more pictures because most viewing can be done in the home. I don’t have to drive to movie theaters to review films: it all shows up in my physical and virtual mailbox.
The downside of this is, as I have also frequently noted, no one can generally agree what films should be up for consideration. Until recently, there were only a handful of films critics need review when making best of selections. But now, with the explosion of content, from streamers to traditional studios to independent distributors, they are throwing the kitchen sink at critics.
The films begin arriving in early November, and our group votes by mid-December. I’ve always tried to watch one film per day during award season, but that’s a pipe dream, and this year it was made harder by FIFA’s World Cup being held, unusually, in November-December, which took up some of my viewing time. Nevertheless, I was able to screen close to 40 films in 7 weeks.
I undoubtedly missed some very worthy pieces of material, but what I was able to watch was highly impressive. I will provide my top ten films of 2022 below (with a few honorable mentions) and then my group’s (there are almost 40 critics in our association) top ten. If you visit the BOFCA website, you can see the group’s full selections in all categories, such as director, actress, actor, editing, etc.
MY TOP TEN FILMS OF 2022
- THE STRANGER
- MY POLICEMAN
- OFFICIAL COMPETITION
- TED K
- THE INNOCENTS
- A PIECE OF SKY
- GOD’S CREATURES
- KINGS OF THE WORLD
- HIT THE ROAD
-ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT
-GOOD NIGHT OPPY (documentary)
BOSTON ONLINE FILM CRITICS ASSOCIATION TOP TEN FILMS OF 2022
- THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN
- EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE
- THE FABELMANS
- TOP GUN: MAVERICK
- DECISION TO LEAVE
- CRIMES OF THE FUTURE
- GLASS ONION: A KNIVES OUT MYSTERY