Sunday Reading: The 2022 Academy Awards

The Oscars are tonight, and, as a kind of cheat sheet, we’ve got a slate of pieces about some of the nominated films and the artists behind them.

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In “An Earthier, Sweatier ‘West Side Story,’ ” Anthony Lane writes about Steven Spielberg’s reimagining of the work of Leonard Bernstein, Jerome Robbins, and Stephen Sondheim. (“Spielberg and his screenwriter, Tony Kushner, have brought us to Robert Moses’s promised land.”) In “The Enduring Appeal of ‘Dune’ as an Adolescent Power Fantasy,” Ed Park examines Denis Villeneuve’s adaptation of Frank Herbert’s science-fiction epic. Richard Brody critiques two genre films: “CODA” and “Nightmare Alley.” In “Kenneth Branagh’s Airbrushed ‘Belfast,’ ” Lane wrestles with the sentimentality of Branagh’s coming-of-age film, which is set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Finally, in “Jane Campion’s Gothic Vision of Rural Queerness in ‘The Power of the Dog,’ ” Brandon Taylor considers the melancholia of Campion’s twist on the classic Western. A prediction? Jane Campion goes home happy.

David Remnick

a man and woman being intimate on a fire escape

Steven Spielberg’s film wants to fight dirtier than its famous predecessor ever did, but how much authenticity is possible?

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Benedict Cumberbatch, wearing Western clothes and a cowboy hat, stands holding a bouquet of paper flowers near a candle flame.

Campion’s new Western shares a visual vocabulary with “Brokeback Mountain,” but what looks like an unlikely love story turns out to be a tale of revenge.

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In a still from the movie “Dune,” Timothée Chalamet and Rebecca Ferguson stand among foggy mountaintops in black gear.

When you’re a teen-ager like Paul Atreides, it can seem like authority figures are always forcing you to do pointless, excruciating things.

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A teen girl sits at a table looking intently at her mother.

The Best Picture nominee is a predictable tale of virtue rewarded.

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Black and white image of Jamie Dornan Jude Hill walking in a field.

The greatest threat to this film comes not from the stink of sectarian conflict but from the aroma of sweetness.

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A man at a carnival.

In a new version of the classic film noir, Guillermo del Toro’s florid art of the grotesque ends up emptying out the story rather than expanding it.

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