woo's alternative movie awards
Our round-up of the prizes they should be giving out this awards season
image Team Woo
words Team Woo
It's official, awards season is here! The Academy Awards nominations dropped last week and saw plenty of our favourite films up for prizes, with Avatar: Way of the Water, Banshees of Inisherin and Everything Everywhere All At Once leading the charge . But what about the worthy movies who've been robbed of their chance of winning and snubbed by the Academy? And aren't you a little bit bored of dry af categories? "Best Actor" this, "Best Original Screenplay" that - no offence to the film industry, but let's not pretend we care about these. No, we're more into the films that made us feel something, projects that tapped into the themes that mattered to our real lives and the kind of once-in-a-lifetime cinematic achievements that felt like they unraveled the space-time continuum.
That's why we've decided to pull together our own, alternative movie awards to celebrate the cinematic highs of an eventful year in the world of Hollywood. No, it's not exhaustive, but it's been personally hand-picked by our team and features the celluloid moments they hold dear from the past twelve months.
Scroll below for our picks of treats for your viewing pleasure...
Everything Everywhere All at Once - Best On-Set Friendship
The highest-grossing A24 film of all time, Everything Everywhere All At Once is up for 11 Academy Awards for its blend of science fiction, fantasy and action used to delve into, well, just about everything, everywhere, all at once, including; depression, generational trauma, queer identity, mother issues, the Chinese-American disapora experience and the gnawing feeling that you've completely and utterly wasted your life.
Directed by the Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) it follows Evelyn (Michelle Yeoh) as her world suddenly splinters into a million different universes during a run-in with the IRS (relatable) and she's enlisted to help save the world from arch-villain and uber nihilist Jobu. A major part of the film is its killer cast, which sees Yeoh act alongside The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel's Stephanie Hsu, acting legend James Hong and The Goonies' Ke Huy Quan, who came out of a decades-long retirement for the role. Yeoh is also on the bill alongside Jaime Lee Curtis, who not only plays her hot dog-fingered lesbian lover in one alternative reality, but who also seemed to have developed an adorable friendship with her IRL. - Megan Wallace
Aftersun - Most Powerful Depiction of Mental Health Struggles
What is there to say about Aftersun which hasn't already been said? One that had even the most hard-hearted of critics sobbing into their popcorn, The Paul Mescal-starring drama unpacks the emotional desolation of a young single dad as he grapples with depression and his daughter's grief, years later, as she tries to understand his frame of mind. Exploring masculinity and the male suicide crisis with sensitivity and nuance, it's one that stays with you even after you close your eyes. - Megan Wallace
Bones and All - Best Carnivorous Love Story
Timothée Chalamet’s back in Bones and All, a film where he’s disenfranchised, coasting on the fringes of society and road-tripping through 1980s America, the Reagan years. He meets a girl (played by Taylor Russell), and they fall in love. But, wherever they go, their terrifying past haunts them. Can they overcome their personal struggles (ahem, cannibalism) to save their relationship? You’ll have to watch the drama-horror-romance to find out. - Rhys Thomas
Elvis - Greatest Commitment to the Bit
When Elvis Presley got the Baz Luhrmann treatment, the result was just as overstimulating as you might expect. Imagine if a sugar coma was a film with all the pace, colour and chaos that Luhrmann is known for, twisted with the camp aesthetics of one of pop culture's most enduring icons. If you can get over the fact that Tom Hanks plays a villain – heartbreaking, we know – and the knowledge that this is the film that set off Austin Butler’s bit where he only talks in his Elvis accent, then watch this film for a dose of feel-good colours and costumes plus a soundtrack featuring Doja Cat, Kacey Musgraves and Måneskin. - Sophie Wilson
Do Revenge - Best Nostalgia Trip
Are you nostalgic for the high school movies of your childhood? Do you often find yourself crying, “why don’t they make movies like this anymore?” Then Do Revenge is the film for you. Starring Stranger Things’ Maya Hawke and Riverdale’s Camila Mendes, it takes influences from absolute stone cold classics of the high school genre, like Mean Girls, Clueless and 10 Things I Hate About You. This bubblegum-hued flick is a twisty drama-filled throwback that will take you right back in time to watching DVDs with your school friends at sleepovers. The Y2K rom-com renaissance is long overdue. - Sophie Wilson
The Son - Most Relatable Exploration of Grief
Hugh Jackman takes a step back from his usual fantastical roles as he stars as a man struggling to navigate the intricacies of fatherhood in family drama The Son. Trying to reconnect with his son after cheating on his mother in his first marriage, Peter Miller (Jackman) confronts the guilt he feels for contributing to his son’s mental health problems. The film intimately grapples with male mental health, depression and grief; after filming the movie, Jackman said the role helped him to face his own issues of grief after losing his father. - Lucy O'Brien
Good Luck To You, Leo Grande - Best Sex Education
Emma Thompson, whom most of us know best as Nanny McPhee, is seen in a whole new and revealing light in this intimate drama aiming to destigmatise sex work. The movie follows Nancy (Thompson), a widowed and fatigued ex-secondary school teacher, who, keen to broaden her sexual horizons, employs the services of a young sex worker named Leo Grande (played by Daryl McCormack). The narrative barely leaves the hotel room that she books for their exchanges, allowing us a candid and tender insight into the pair’s exchanges. As the two begin to share more of their bodies and personal histories, the film inadvertently explores themes of family trauma, pleasure, body image, age and, of course, sex. - Lucy O'Brien
The Banshees of Inisherin - Breakout Donkey Star
There is a lot going on in The Banshees of Insherin. Set in a remote, fictional Irish island as the Irish Civil War draws to a close, the film from director Martin McDonagh (you know, the guy who did In Bruges and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri) grapples with male mental health, mortality, legacy and the damaging effects of village mentality - all while featuring more bodily mutilation than Crimes of the Future.
And while these are all heavy themes, there are positives, too - Barry Keoghan, who plays Dominic, has been nominated for an Oscar. At a time when the nepo baby discourse has shone a light on Hollywood's nepotism problem, Keoghan's background (he grew up in foster care in Dublin) has been highlighted on social media as inspiration for others from disadvantaged social backgrounds. But the 30-year-old isn't the only The Banshees of Insherin breakout star: Jenny the Donkey, a miniature West Irish steed who plays a fundamental role in the film, received a much-deserved shoutout in McDonagh's Golden Globes acceptance speech. Is a pivot to donkey-fluencer on the cards? We can only hope... - Megan Wallace
Tár - Most Beautiful Home That Is Definitely Doomed
When it comes to mise-en-scéne that truly conjures a vibe, this year's movie offering is a crowded field. The Wonder's bleak smokey house amid a moody peat bog, the crowded receipt-strewn house above a Simi Valley launderette in Everything Everywhere All At Once, the Stepford Wives-y '50s white picket fence nowheresville of Don't Worry Darling...but the place we'd actually like to live, if even for a bit, is wherever Lydia Tár (Cate Blanchett at her very best, again) is resting her troubled head in Berlin.
From the Brutalist concrete and wood of her family home - metronome be dammed - interspersed with radical art pieces and packed to the rafters with books (not a TV or projector in sight, of course), to the high-ceilinged nicknack adorned pied-à-terre lad-pad - coming equipped with an accordion of course, we could only dream of going deranged in such refined settings. - Sophie Wilkinson
Empire of Light - Best Depiction Of The 'Let's All Move To Margate' Agenda
Films about films, the magic, poetry and delight of sitting in the dark amidst some strangers and being exported to a different world, if even for a bit, proliferate at the best of times. This year we have Babylon and Empire of Light both showing us the meta-magic of movie-making. Olivia Colman and Micheal Ward star in this '80s set romance, but the true star is Margate - that stunning Deco cinema, those expansive Turner-thrilling skies and the faded glamour of what was once the UK's Atlantic City (Blackpool will always be our Vegas). If you hadn't previously been tempted by Margate's sandy beaches, glorious tidal pool, booming queer scene, free Haeckels sauna, Tracey Emin neons and sense of end-of-the-pier (or stinky harbour arm) abandon, then knowing the terrors of this film are contained in the past will surely set the low rents soaring... - Sophie Wilkinson
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