Hugo Awards 2022: Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form Nominees

To be perfectly honest, I’m a little peeved that The Suicide Squad wasn’t nominated this year. It was by far the best superhero movie of 2021, even before launching the excellent Peacemaker series. Given what won last year’s award tho, I suppose I shouldn’t be so surprised that my tastes differ so greatly from the average voter’s. Ah, well, one votes in hope of earning one’s favorites recognition, and while I was overall bummed by the safe choices in the nominations this year, there’s still much to like (I hope: I have yet to read much of the literary slate but am planning on doing that as soon as I can!)

So let’s talk about the movies/series that were nominated this year. I actually quite disliked The Green Knight (David Lowery) which was heavy on vibe and mood but light on story or sense. It’s a visually arresting movie featuring a talented, diverse cast who were given a shockingly flimsy script to work with. I was actually disappointed when I left the theater, having expected much more and better.

Encanto (Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Charise Castro Smith) was also a movie I had much higher expectations of. It felt like a thinly veiled allegory for family wealth, and while the main character’s sisters were compelling, I didn’t really care about anyone else in that family. I mean, it was fine. My kids like to sing the very catchy “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” and the versions it’s since spawned on the Internet. But the weirdly paternalistic capitalist vibe of the movie — plus the silly romance at the end — made me rate this one quite poorly of the nominees.

The two Marvel entries on this list are tied for middle-of-the-road status in my book, with Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings (Destin Daniel Cretton, David Callaham, Andrew Lanham) narrowly edging out WandaVision (Matt Shakman, Jac Schaeffer, Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Laura Donney, Bobak Esfarjani, Megan McDonnell, Cameron Squires, Gretchen Enders, Chuck Hayward.) The first episode of that latter is one of the best things to ever grace television, but the last few episodes were a hot and awful mess. Shang-Chi, on the other hand, was solidly entertaining throughout, if you occasionally had to turn your brain off at times to properly enjoy the story. The thing with archery being “easy” still makes me grit my teeth, but was 100% less offensive than Wanda getting away with her crimes just because she had a sad.

Finally, we come to the last two nominees, both excellent works that had me both moved and wildly entertained. I think I’ll give the laurels to Dune (Denis Villeneuve, Eric Roth, Jon Spaihts) over Space Sweepers (Jo Sung-hee), for the sole reason that Dune the movie fixed so, so much of what I dislike of the book and prior screen adaptations. I found my attention wandering slightly during Space Sweepers (and there are a lot more plot holes in it than in Dune) and tho the ending of Space Sweepers had me crying my eyes out, Dune still felt like a far more well-rounded contender.

I was actually pretty shocked that I’d already seen all the nominees but one when these nominations came out. That definitely makes up for all the reading I’ll have to do this year, siiiigh. I shouldn’t complain, but I should really learn to say no more often! Ah well, at least I’ve gotten one category out of the way!

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