As 2021 comes to a close, most of the films that will be in the conversation for the 2022 Oscars have been released, and this year, we have a lot of musical contenders.
In fact, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story — which was released in cinemas on Boxing Day and is in theatres now — is likely to be a contender for Best Picture next year.
West Side Story is an especially interesting contender for Best Picture, because the 1961 original film won Best Picture, and Rita Moreno won Best Supporting Actress for her role as Anita. In the remake, Moreno (who is also one of the 2021 film’s executive producers) plays the newly created character Valentina, and it’s possible she’ll get nominated once again for Best Supporting Actress. Her win would make history and smash a whole bunch of Oscar records.
Meanwhile, if the film were to win Best Picture, it would also be pretty notable. The only other time a remake of a film has won Best Picture was in 2007, when Martin Scorsese’s The Departed won. The Departed is based on the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs.
It’s also likely that we’ll see Steven Spielberg and Jane Campion go head-to-head in the Best Director race once again, for the first time since 1993. Campion is currently one of the Best Director frontrunners for Netflix’s The Power of the Dog.
Back in 1993, Spielberg and Campion went up against one another, with him taking the win for Schindler’s List over Campion’s The Piano.
West Side Story isn’t the only musical in the running this award season, though, so let’s break down all the ones in the running.
Director: Joe Wright
Cast: Peter Dinklage, Haley Bennett, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Bashir Salahuddin, and Ben Mendelsohn
Synopsis: Too self-conscious to woo Roxanne himself, wordsmith Cyrano de Bergerac helps young Christian nab her heart through love letters.
Where to watch: Cyrano will be released in theatres on February 24, 2022.
In the Heights
Director: Jon M. Chu
Cast: Anthony Ramos, Melissa Barrera, Corey Hawkins, Leslie Grace, Olga Merediz, Jimmy Smits, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Stephanie Beatriz, Dascha Polanco and Marc Anthony
Synopsis: A film version of the Broadway musical in which Usnavi, a sympathetic New York bodega owner, saves every penny every day as he imagines and sings about a better life.
Director: Liesl Tommy
Cast: Jennifer Hudson, Forest Whitaker, Marlon Wayans
Synopsis: Okay, yes, technically RESPECT is a biopic, rather than a musical, but… whatever. The film follows the rise of Aretha Franklin’s career from a child singing in her father’s church’s choir to her international superstardom, RESPECT is the remarkable true story of the music icon’s journey to find her voice.
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Robin de Jesús, Alexandra Shipp, Bradley Whitford, MJ Rodriguez, Jordan Fisher, Joshua Henry, Judith Light, Noah Robbins
Synopsis: A musical biopic that follows Jonathan Larson, the creator of theatre smash Rent, who is struggling with the pressures of life as an artist in New York City on the cusp of his 30th birthday.
Where to watch: tick, tick…BOOM! is now streaming on Netflix.
West Side Story
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Corey Stoll, Ana Isabelle, Mike Faist, Brian d’Arcy James, Rita Moreno, David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Josh Andrés Rivera
Synopsis: An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.
Where to watch: West Side Story is in cinemas now.