As our horizons darken with the impending approach of the 94th Academy Awards (Sunday, March 27), we’ve compiled a must-read list of our critics’ reviews of this year’s nominees, plus interviews with the directors of two films up for Best Documentary. Editor Dan Schindel discusses the making of Attica and the prison uprising’s ongoing relevance with Stanley Nelson Jr. and Traci Curry, while M.Z. Adnan speaks with FLEE director Jonas Poher Rasmussen about how animation provided pseudonymity for his subject.

This and more, below.

The Power of the Dog
Best Picture, Actor in Leading Role (Benedict Cumberbatch), Actor in Supporting Role (Jesse Plemons, Kodi Smit-McPhee), Actress in Supporting Role (Kirsten Dunst), Writing (Adapted Screenplay), Cinematography, Directing, Film Editing, Music (Original Score), Sound, Production Design

The Power of the Dog Is a Different Kind of Western Film
Acclaimed director Jane Campion returns to film with an all-star cast featuring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, and more.

West Side Story
Best Picture, Actress in Supporting Role (Ariana Debose), Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Production Design, Sound

The New West Side Story Brings the Show’s Father Issues to the Fore
Director Steven Spielberg, long fixated on absent dads, interrogates this theme and other issues of patriarchy and gender roles in his cinematic take on the classic show.

Licorice Pizza
Best Picture, Directing, Writing (Original Screenplay)

Licorice Pizza, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Ode to the San Fernando Valley of the 1970s
Stoner jokes, unexpected pop culture references, and an unlikely love story jangle against each other like charms on a bracelet.

Best Picture, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Sound, Visual Effects, Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Dune Is Impressive but Incomplete
The biggest problem with turning Dune into a film is that the book appears increasingly derivative of generic sci-fi tropes.

The Tragedy of Macbeth
Actor in Leading Role (Denzel Washington), Cinematography, Production Design

Denzel Washington Stars in a New Black-and-White Macbeth
Working for the first time without his brother Ethan, Joel Coen’s [The Tragedy of Macbeth], featuring Denzel Washington, embraces the text with unusual faithfulness.

Eyes of Tammy Faye
Actress in Leading Role (Jessica Chastain), Makeup And Hairstyling

The Story of the “First Lady of Religious Broadcasting”
The Eyes of Tammy Faye features a riveting performance from Jessica Chastain, but proves less interesting than the documentary it’s based on.

Parallel Mothers
Actress in a Leading Role (Penélope Cruz), Music (Original Score)

Pedro Almodóvar Presents a Beguiling Thriller About Motherhood
Penélope Cruz and Milena Smit play two new mothers from very different backgrounds in the Spanish director’s latest study in female interiority.

The Worst Person in the World
International Feature Film, Writing (Original Screenplay)

The Worst Person in the World Is Among the Best Portraits of Modern Womanhood
Part of the glory of the film is that its heroine’s choices, however unexpected, are taken seriously.

The Summer of Soul
Documentary (Feature)

The Forgotten “Black Woodstock” of 1969
Summer of Soul, Questlove’s directorial debut, seeks to resurrect the memory of the Harlem Cultural Festival, a vital touchstone of Black music.

Documentary (Feature)

The Industry and Leisure of the World’s Largest Middle Class
Jessica Kingdon’s new film Ascension documents the factories, etiquette centers, and other contemporary curiosities of China.

Animated Feature Film, Documentary (Feature), International Feature Film

How a Documentary Used Animation to Protect the Identity of Its Main Character
Afghan refugee Amin didn’t feel comfortable telling director Jonas Poher Rasmussen his story without a way to conceal his identity. Rasmussen explains the process to Hyperallergic.

Documentary (Feature)

‘You Should Feel Disturbed’ — Talking to the Directors of Attica
In the wake of the film’s nomination for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar, Stanley Nelson and Traci Curry speak to Hyperallergic about the uprising’s ongoing relevance.

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