I don’t know if I’ll do BDP short as it means catching up on some shows I haven’t been watching but I have seen all the Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form finalists. Let’s jump in!
- Dune, screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth; directed by Denis Villeneuve; based on the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (Warner Bros / Legendary Entertainment)
- Encanto, screenplay by Charise Castro Smith and Jared Bush; directed by Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
- The Green Knight, written and directed by David Lowery (BRON Studios/A24)
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, screenplay by Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham; directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
- Space Sweepers, screenplay by Jo Sung-Hee, Yookang Seo-ae, and Yoon Seung-min; directed by Jo Sung-hee (Bidangil Pictures)
- WandaVision, screenplay by Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Laura Donney, Bobak Esfarjani, Megan McDonnell, Jac Schaeffer (created by and head writer), Cameron Squires, Gretchen Enders, Chuck Hayward; directed by Matt Shakman (Disney+)
Dune: can Dune win a Hugo, or rather can Dune win another of several Hugos that Frank Herbert’s story already has won? Adaptations of the novel have been finalists twice before (the Lynch version in 1985 and the mini-series in, ironically*, 2001). Dune has to be a strong contender on the basis of both nostalgia and it being an impressive film. I really liked it and it is likely to get a high-ranked vote from me https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2022/04/26/hugo-22-bdp-long-dune/
Encanto: I watched this with some friends and it is an entertaining Disney musical about generational trauma with some catchy numbers. A magical family maintain a hidden community of people who fled violence in their own country but the source of their magic may be in danger. Can the least magical member of the family find the root of the problem? Yes, she can and it is a touching and colourful journey. There’s an interesting review at Nerds of Feather by Arturo Serrano who explains the significance to them of the film as a Colombian http://www.nerds-feather.com/2021/11/im-colombian-heres-what-encanto-means.html that is worth a read. Not a top choice for me though. The broadening range of Disney musicals is good but otherwise, it’s a nice magical musical.
The Green Knight: A dream-like version of the Arthurian tale of symbolic seasonal conflict which is really difficult to sum up. Visually engrossing and brilliantly acted, the story borders on horror in its unnerving mix of a gritty world full of fantastical images. I ditched a review I started writing about it because it was devolving into mush. Simon MacNeil has a much better review of it here https://simonmcneil.com/2022/04/08/holding-on-generosity-greed-and-death-in-the-green-knight/ This is the most ambitious movie of the set of finalists but it is also the easiest one to bounce off of. Another high ranking from me.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: I watched this in an actual cinema! https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2021/10/24/not-quite-a-shang-chi-review/ but as fun as it was, it was primarily just another superhero movie. Entertaining but not really worthy of an award.
Space Sweepers: I enjoyed this and while the underlying plot doesn’t do anything new, the near-future setting is cleverly realised and the absurd crew make for an entertaining gang of characters. https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2022/06/10/fridays-rag-tag-crew-meets-hugo-bdp-space-sweepers-no-spoilers/ A high rank for me and I’d really like to see some Korean shows get recognition.
WandaVision: So the ending of the series (https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2021/03/06/wandavision-episode-9-the-series-finale/ ) was far more conventionally Marvel superheroics but the show overall did some interesting things. Of the three Disney/Marvel finalists this is the one with more original things going on. Playing with the form of a genre is nice to see and the show added depth to characters who had been short-changed by the movies.
I won’t post my final rankings but my top three are Dune, The Green Knight and Space Sweepers in some sort of order. Bottom two Encanto and Shang-Chi and WandaVision in the middle. I’ve seen it suggested that any Disney-owned properties should go below No Award because of their appalling behaviour regarding not paying authors on the basis of a very unusual belief about copyright. I doubt that will impact Disney in any way but not every action people take need be based in pragmatic evaluations of impact (and let’s face it we’ve seen people No Award stuff for flimsier reasons). On the other hand, the people more likely to value the award would be the writers and other people involved in the shows.
*[ironically because the Lynch version lost to the 2001 sequel 2010]