Weekend Watchlist | Oscar nominees

It’s Oscar season again, and there’s a lot of films awarded this year. Here are some of those films the Pitt News team thinks you should watch.

Dune (HBO) // Patrick Swain, Editor

Imagine Star Wars had a baby with Game of Thrones, and it got really boring at parties. Sign me up. The world’s infatuation with Timothée Chalamet has ventured beyond the Italian Riviera into the depths of space – and the Academy loves it.

Denis Villenueve’s adaptation of “Dune” was nominated for an Oscar in 10 categories, including Best Picture. Frank Herbert originally wrote the sci-fi epic in 1965, and it has become a lingering cult classic across generations. A handful of directors have attempted to capture the essence of “Dune” on screen, but Villeneuve has come closest.

Herbert’s story details the struggle between feudal empires and indigenous peoples for control of scarce natural resources – in space. Sound familiar? Denis Villeneuve preserves Herbert’s metaphors for imperialism, capitalism, and environmentalism without sacrificing 21st-century audience attention, packing the film with enough spaceships and giant worms to tide us over. A star-studded cast anchors the film, including Timothée Chalamet, Oscar Isaac, Zendaya, Stellan Skarsgård and Jason Momoa. “Dune” deserves endless rewatching until the inevitable sequel.


Encanto (Disney+) // Diana Velasquez, Editor-in-Chief

Shit, I fought the “We’re not talking about Bruno” craze for a moment. The song was all over my For You page on TikTok, and very hard to miss, especially now that it’s hit #1 on the List of Billboard Hot 100.

“Encanto,” which was nominated for Best Animated Feature, is not just another phenomenal Disney musical, but a film that delves deep into family trauma and Latino, especially Colombian, family norms. In truth, this movie is a lot like Pixar’s “Soul” to me, in that I don’t think a young child can fully appreciate all of its nuances. But that’s by no means an excuse to put a child off watching – Encanto is fun, dynamic and it tugs at the heartstrings.

Encanto specifically focuses on Mirabel Madrigal, a daughter of the Madrigal family, the ruling family of a town in Colombia whose members all have magical powers which they use to keep their town safe. Only, Mirabel did not receive power when she came of age, and is stuck in the role of the black sheep of the family.

But Mirabel soon discovers that her family isn’t as perfect as her abuela would like them to seem – especially when it comes to her uncle Bruno. Really, I can’t give this movie enough credit. It’s not one of those epic hero journeys like “Mulan” or “Finding Nemo,” but manages to be a story worth telling within the confines of the magical family home.


Spider-Man: No Way Home (Amazon Prime) // Anoushka Parnerkar, for The Pitt News

For longtime Marvel and Spider-Man fans, “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is the culmination of a lifetime of passion and dedication to the character. The film immediately puts viewers on the edge of their seat when Peter Parker’s identity is revealed and his loved ones are thrown into a state of turmoil. His naïve attempts to save the world open up an unexpected Pandora’s box – except that Pandora’s box is actually a host of super-villains from across the multiverse who pose a threat to the well-being of Parker’s world. As if this movie couldn’t have more at stake, viewers are greeted with familiar faces from Spider-Men’s past!

Teen Tom Holland’s stellar acting, Erik Sommers and Chris McKenna’s dynamic script, and Jon Watts’ immaculate direction aside, the visuals were literally out of this universe. The Academy shares a similar sentiment, as “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is nominated for Best Visual Effects.

In typical Spider-Man fashion, Holland is shown dashing across bridges, scaling buildings, and diving through New York City. Each Super-Villain also boasts impressive visual effects depicting outlandish features, such as Dr. Octopus’ horrific metal tentacles, Electro’s invigorating surges that light up the city, and Sandman’s rugged tanned figure that dissipates in the blink of an eye. eye.

The visuals were such an integral part of the film that everything down to the pedestrians on the street were all CGI. Marvel is always known for its stunning graphics, but the team behind “Spider-Man: No Way Home” really brought the story to life.


Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Disney+) // Shreya Singh, screenwriter

You would think that given how long Marvel movies have been out, we would have seen more diversity and representation. Still, I guess we can appreciate that at least Kevin Feige finally gave us something with Black Panther and, more recently, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” gives us a plethora of Asian representation Hollywood probably hasn’t seen since the highly anticipated release of “Crazy Rich Asians,” and fans, myself included, are eating it. The film’s direction by Destin Daniel Cretton gave way to Simu Liu to deliver a worthy performance. Shang-Chi struggles with ghosts from her past, such as her tyrannical father, who gained immortality and great power after discovering the 10 Rings, an otherworldly set of bracelets.

Showing the beauty of Chinese culture through costumes and design, as well as martial arts styles such as Hung Ga and Wing Chun, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” set the tone for inclusiveness which we can look forward to in Phase Four of the MCU.