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Cinema Chat: SAG Awards and Academy Awards update, 'Disfluency,' 'The Batman,' and more

State Theatre
Brandon C.
The State Theatre


After three years without a host, the 94th Academy Awards will have three of them. “This year’s show is all about uniting movie lovers. It’s apropos that we’ve lined up three of the most dynamic, hilarious women with very different comedic styles,” said Producer Will Packer in an official statement. “Many surprises in store! Expect the unexpected!”

After last year’s unorthodox ceremony, the choice of hosts gives fans a better idea of what kind of show the 2022 Oscars are aiming to be. The Oscars have been host-less since 2018, when Jimmy Kimmel emceed the ceremony. The pressure will be on for the three comedians, as many viewers will have adjusted to the new format over the past three years. But many viewed 2021’s pandemic Oscar ceremony as a disappointment, partially due to some controversial creative choices made by producers Jesse Collins, Stacy Sher, and Steven Soderbergh, and also the show’s Union Station setting, so the new hosts may be viewed as a refreshing change. This year’s show will be produced by “Girls Trip” filmmaker Will Packer.

The 94th Academy Awards will be broadcast on ABC from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday, March 27.


More often than not, SAG Award winners repeat at the Oscars.

With tight races for Best Ensemble and Lead Actress, suspense ran high before the hour-long live Screen Actors Guild Awards show Sunday night. Emotions overflowed as Brian Cox and Michael Keaton, among others, reminded viewers that beleaguered Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky was once a comedian, a member of their ranks.

The big winner of the night is the heart-tugging deaf family drama “CODA.” It is a Best Picture underdog to “The Power of the Dog,” Jane Campion’s 1920s noir western. However, “Power of the Dog” earned no wins on its three SAG acting slots (Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and Kodi Smit-McPhee), but it’s still the Oscar frontrunner with 12 nominations including Best Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay. Although “The Power of the Dog” did not score the SAG Ensemble nomination that often comes before a Best Picture win, it could follow the path of Guillermo del Toro’s “The Shape of Water,” which won the Best Picture Oscar in 2018 without an Ensemble nomination from SAG. Or “CODA” could prove another SAG-winner Oscar upset, such as “Parasite,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Crash,” or “Spotlight.”

This year’s SAG awards winners provide clues and winning momentum for where the 1,336 Academy actors may head, but not much more.

  • Lifetime Achievement Award - Helen Mirren
  • Cast in a Motion Picture - “CODA”
  • Male Actor in a Leading Role - Will Smith, “King Richard”
  • Female Actor in a Leading Role - Jessica Chastain, “The Eyes of Tammy Faye”
  • Male Actor in a Supporting Role - Troy Kotsur, “CODA”
  • Female Actor in a Supporting Role - Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”
  • Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture - “No Time to Die”


BEST PICTURE – State & Michigan Have Played Them All (many are returning)

  • "Belfast" – Currently playing
  • "Drive My Car" – Currently playing
  • "Licorice Pizza" – Currently playing
  • "The Power of the Dog" – Currently playing
  • "Dune" – Currently playing
  • "King Richard" – Coming soon
  • "Nightmare Alley" – Coming soon in special B & W, director created version                                                                             
  • "West Side Story" – Coming soon
  • "CODA" – We play last spring – one of a few theatrical screenings
  • "Don’t Look Up" – We play in November/December

BEST INTERNATIONAL FEATURE – You can see them ALL at State & Michigan before the Oscar Show

  • "Drive My Car" (Japan) – Currently playing
  • "Flee" (Denmark) – Currently playing
  • "The Worst Person in the World" (Norway) – Currently playing
  • "Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom" (Bhutan) – Currently playing
  • "The Hand of God" (Italy) – Coming Soon

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE – You can see them ALL at State & Michigan before the Oscar Show

  • "Flee" – Now playing
  • "Summer of Soul" – Coming February 27
  • "Writing With Fire" – Coming March 1 & 5
  • "Ascension" – Coming March 8 & 13
  • "Attica" – Coming March 15 & 20

BEST ANIMATED SHORT – All Short Film Programs Opened on February 25

  • "Affairs of the Art" (Joanna Quinn and Les Mills)
  • "Bestia" (Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz)
  • "Boxballet" (Anton Dyakov)
  • "Robin Robin" (Dan Ojari and Mikey Please)
  • "The Windshield Wiper" (Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez)

BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT – All Short Film Programs Opened on February 25

  • "Ala Kachuu — Take and Run" (Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger)
  • "The Dress" (Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki)
  • "The Long Goodbye" (Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed)
  • "On My Mind" (Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson)
  • "Please Hold" (K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse)

BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT – All Short Film Programs Opened on February 25

  • "Audible" (Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean)
  • "Lead Me Home" (Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk)
  • "The Queen of Basketball" (Ben Proudfoot)
  • "Three Songs for Benazir" (Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei)
  • "When We Were Bullies" (Jay Rosenblatt)


"Studio 666"

Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Foo Fighters move into an Encino mansion steeped in grisly rock history to record their much anticipated 10th album. Once in the house, Dave Grohlfinds himself grappling with supernatural forces that threaten both the completion of the album and the lives of the band.



Batman ventures into Gotham City's underworld when a sadistic killer leaves behind a trail of cryptic clues. As the evidence begins to lead closer to home and the scale of the perpetrator's plans become clear, he must forge new relationships, unmask the culprit and bring justice to the abuse of power and corruption that has long plagued the metropolis.



Writer/director Anna Baumgarten (U-M Dept of Film, Television, and Media Alum '15) in attendance for a post-film discussion.

After failing her final college class, Jane returns home to her family's lake house and comes to terms with the confusing trauma that derailed her senior year. Libe Barer ("Sneaky Pete") shines as Jane in Anna Baumgarten's smart and timely feature film debut. Based on the 2018 award-winning short film, winner of the Cinetopia 2018 Detroit Voices Knight Jury Prize, and most recently, the recipient of the 2021 Austin Film Festival Jury Prize for Best Narrative Feature Film, it was filmed in Southeastern Michigan.


"Death on the Nile"

A mystery thriller film directed by Kenneth Branagh from a screenplay by Michael Green, based on the 1937 novel of the same name by Agatha Christie. The film is a sequel to "Murder on the Orient Express" (2017) and stars Branagh returning as Hercule Poirot, along with Tom Bateman (also returning from the first film), Annette Bening, Russell Brand, Ali Fazal, Dawn French, Gal Gadot, Armie Hammer, Rose Leslie, Emma Mackey, Sophie Okonedo, Jennifer Saunders, and Letitia Wright round out the ensemble cast. The film is the third screen adaptation of Christie's novel, following the 1978 film and an episode of the television series Agatha Christie's Poirot broadcast in 2004. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as Belgian sleuth Hercule Poirot, whose Egyptian vacation aboard a glamorous river steamer turns into a terrifying search for a murderer when a picture-perfect couple's idyllic honeymoon is tragically cut short.


Award-winning director Joe Wright envelops moviegoers in a symphony of emotions with music, romance, and beauty in this re-imagining the timeless tale of a heartbreaking love triangle. A man ahead of his time, Cyrano de Bergerac (played by Peter Dinklage) dazzles whether with ferocious wordplay at a verbal joust or with brilliant swordplay in a duel. But, convinced that his appearance renders him unworthy of the love of a devoted friend, the luminous Roxanne (Haley Bennett), Cyrano has yet to declare his feelings for her -- and Roxanne has fallen in love, at first sight, with Christian (Kelvin Harrison, Jr.).


3 Academy Award Nominations: Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature Film

An animated documentary film directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen. It follows the story of a man named Amin Nawabi, who shares his hidden past for the first time, of fleeing his country. The film had its world premiere at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival on January 28, 2021 It received unanimous acclaim from film festivals and critics, with critical praise for animation, story, thematic content, and subject matter; winning numerous awards. It was selected as the Danish entry for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and was shortlisted for Best Documentary Feature. Flee tells the story of Amin Nawabi as he grapples with a painful secret he has kept hidden for 20 years, one that threatens to derail the life he has built for himself and his soon to be husband. Recounted mostly through animation to director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, he tells for the first time the story of his extraordinary journey as a child refugee from Afghanistan.


Academy Award-nominated for Best Documentary Feature

An impressionistic exploration of the pursuit of wealth and the paradox of progress in the People's Republic of China, Ascension examines what living the so-called "Chinese Dream" looks like today.

Oscar Nominated Short Films

For more than fifteen years, Oscar© Nominated Short Films have played in theaters across the globe. This special release features the year's best short films for the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation or Documentary.

Important: Rating equivalent of R. No children should be admitted under any circumstances.

Best Animated Short

  • "Affairs of the Art" (Joanna Quinn and Les Mills)
  • "Bestia" (Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz)
  • "Boxballet" (Anton Dyakov)
  • "Robin Robin" (Dan Ojari and Mikey Please)
  • "The Windshield Wiper" (Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez)

Best Live Action Short

  • "Ala Kachuu" — Take and Run (Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger)
  • "The Dress" (Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki)
  • "The Long Goodbye" (Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed)
  • "On My Mind" (Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson)
  • "Please Hold" (K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse)

Best Documentary Short

  • "Audible" (Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean)
  • "Lead Me Home" (Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk)
  • "The Queen of Basketball" (Ben Proudfoot)
  • "Three Songs for Benazir" (Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei)
  • "When We Were Bullies" (Jay Rosenblatt)

"The Worst Person in the World" 

2 Academy Award Nominations: Best International Feature Film and Best Original Screenplay!

This film concludes Joachim Trier's Oslo Trilogy with a romantic comedy that delightfully subverts the genre's well-worn tropes. It is a modern dramedy about the quest for love and meaning in contemporary Oslo. It chronicles four years in the life of Julie (Renate Reinsve), a young woman who navigates the troubled waters of her love life and struggles to find her career path, leading her to take a realistic look at who she really is.

"Drive My Car"

4 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best International Feature Film

Two years after his wife's unexpected death, Yusuke Kafuku (Hidetoshi Nishijima), a renowned stage actor and director, receives an offer to direct a production of Uncle Vanya at a theater festival in Hiroshima. There, he meets Misaki Watari (Toko Miura), a taciturn young woman assigned by the festival to chauffeur him in his beloved red Saab 900. As the production's premiere approaches, tensions mount amongst the cast and crew, not least between Yusuke and Koji Takatsuki, a handsome TV star who shares an unwelcome connection to Yusuke's late wife. Forced to confront painful truths raised from his past, Yusuke begins -- with the help of his driver -- to face the haunting mysteries his wife left behind. Adapted from Haruki Murakami's short story, Ryusuke Hamaguchi's film is a haunting road movie traveling a path of love, loss, acceptance, and peace. Winner of three prizes at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, including Best Screenplay.

"Licorice Pizza"

3 Academy Award Nominations: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Director for Paul Thomas Anderson

This film is a 2021 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson ("Phantom Thread," "There Will Be Blood," "Boogie Nights"). The film stars Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn, Tom Waits, Bradley Cooper, Maya Rudolph, and Benny Safdie. The film received acclaim from critics and received three awards from the National Board of Review, including Best Film. It was also named one of the best films of 2021 by the American Film Institute and received four nominations at the 79th Golden Globe Awards, including Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, along with eight nominations at the 27th Critics' Choice Awards, including Best Picture. The story of Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.

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Contact David: dfair@emich.edu
Russ Collins is the executive director of Marquee Arts, the nonprofit that oversees the Michigan Theater and State Theater in Ann Arbor.
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