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BAFTAs, SAGs, Oscars — sure, those awards are exciting, but don’t miss these

An illustration of a film reel includes some of the winners of The Envelope's quirky awards.
For every well-deserved Oscar category, there are areas that fail to receive the accolades they deserve. The Envelope is here to change all that with The Envy Awards.
(Daniel Sulzberg / For The Times)
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Films that rise to the surface during the Academy Awards season are often considered the cream of the crop, the top of the line. But for every classy moment in a well-acted, well-written film, there are areas that fail to receive the accolades they deserve. The Envelope is here to change all that: As we do every year, we’ve winkled out the rare gems that belong in categories no awards committee would ever sanctify. Herewith, the 2022 Envy Awards!

When News Breaks Award

“The Tender Bar”

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The romantic life of the reporter (ahem) got a figurative caress this year in “C’mon C’mon” and “The French Dispatch,” plus a literal one in “Don’t Look Up,” but it was only in “The Tender Bar” that the profession got truly roasted, with a reference from one character that people who can’t write books … become journalists. Ouch!

Greatest Arrangement of Gams

Cate Blanchett, “Nightmare Alley”

As therapist Lilith, Blanchett’s assets are numerous, but director Guillermo del Toro put two of them into deadly effect: her long legs. Setting her gams (hey, it’s appropriate film noir lingo!) front and center like a pair of closed scissors in more than one scene was a show of deadly strength and sheer beauty, all at the same time.

Most Identifiable Character of the 2020s

Bruno, “Encanto”

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We’ve all been shut up in our homes for so long that it’s no wonder we empathize with a guy who literally lives in the walls of his house and stays hidden beneath an oversized hood. Bruno is the perfect pandemic mascot.

Don’t Have a Cow Award

“The Power of the Dog”

On the one hand, ‘twas the anthrax that ultimately kills a major player in “Power of the Dog.” But we suspect that this might be the first time in movie history that a dead cow’s hide — delivery system of said anthrax — is used in the commission of said murder. Alfred Hitchcock would be proud.

Be Careful What You Love Award

“Titane”

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Although it’s true that a woman ends up raising a human/sheep hybrid in “Lamb,” there’s no question that a woman who not only falls for a car but gets impregnated by it wins the prize. Two fenders up for “Titane,” which goes there, leaning on the horn the whole way.

The Pinocchio Prize

“Annette”

No question, dolls took up a lot of screen time in such films as “The Lost Daughter” and “Annette.” But it was “Annette” that made a doll into a human being … or perhaps it was the other way around? After all, who needs expensive computer graphics when you have top-level puppeteers and top-level performers pretending that a doll is, in fact, a living child?

Choose Your Own Adventure Award

“Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn”

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Though this Romanian film has also earned a secondary “Worst Film Title to Google” Award, “Bad Luck” decides to have it all with every audience, presenting three endings to the farcical drama: one in which there’s a fight, one where a character resigns quietly, and a third involving a superhero. Clearly, a perfect film for our times.

The Don’t Color My World Honor

“The French Dispatch”

Arguably, the rush to release black-and-white films follows a natural line from the Oscar-winning success of “Roma,” but there was a surprising number of films that wanted to keep things stark this year, including “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” “Belfast,” and “C’mon C’mon.” But “Dispatch” flips between black and white and color in an effective way to shift the narrative and in the process deserves recognition.

Outstanding Use of Pipes

“Dune”

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The space-and-sand epic may take us into the far distant future of humanity, when faster than light travel is possible, but humanity will not give up the bagpipe. Possibly because in space, no one can hear you scream.

Uptown Funk Special Award

“In the Heights”

Musicals situated in upper Manhattan might sound like a very particular category, but both “West Side Story” and “In the Heights” prove that the local residents of these neighborhoods are not just incredibly good-looking, but really have their moves down pat. Still, “Heights” edges out “Story” for sheer color, vibrancy … and the most creative use of swimming pool choreography since Esther Williams.

Finger Wag of the Year Award

Virtually Everyone

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When it comes to verisimilitude, films love reaching into the past and breaking out the cigarettes (we see you, “Nightmare Alley,” “The French Dispatch” and “Being the Ricardos”). Yet when it comes to portraying the mask-wearing current pandemic, most films barely give a nod to that particular “reality.” So since every film is a fantasy of sorts, directors: How about imagining a world without actual cancer-causing health hazards that stink up rooms and breath? However smoking might have been perceived in the past, cigarettes are not as sexy as you seem to think.

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