What Clips Should the Oscars Use for This Year's Acting Nominees?

The ceremony isn't the same without scenes that showcase the talent on display. Here are the moments that best represent 2022's crop.

Illustration by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Illustration by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist
Illustration by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

You’ve heard the phrase before: “Oscar moment.” Whether it’s a flashy monologue or a powerful line reading, a single excerpt from an actor’s performance can project that person’s awards fate. Perhaps that’s why for decades the Academy Awards have made a tradition of showing clips for the nominated performances, giving each a moment to shine before handing a trophy to the winner.

Some viewers complain that clips and montages create an even longer ceremony, but what good is a night of celebrating movies that doesn’t feature actual movies? Without clips, watching the Oscars becomes closer to watching an annual board meeting. Last year’s ceremony eschewed the acting clips altogether, instead offering a mixed bag of trivia about the nominees. It felt more like a Wikipedia page come to life than a celebration of the artists’ work. Taking out the clips means taking out a good chunk of the fun.

Acting clips are also hounded over by Oscar obsessives as fascinating, sometimes perplexing capsules. Look no further than the popularity of @oscarsclip on Twitter, which posts individual clips from the past. The discussions @oscarsclip’s posts have generated since it launched last November reflect the value that clips have to the ceremony. Out of context, an acting clip can inspire conversation as wide-ranging as the Oscars themselves: discussion of the performance, its worthiness (or not) as a nominee, how well the selected scene represents the performance as a whole.

Nicole Latayan, who created the Twitter account, points to nostalgia as a factor in its following: “Part of the conversation that makes it more engaging is that some of these clips were from the late ’80s to late 2000s, when social media and Twitter weren’t up yet.” If you’re someone who loves the Oscars, there is reward in knowing that Michelle Williams’ Brokeback Mountain performance was immortalized on the telecast with “Jack Nasty!” or perhaps confusion that “I see dead people” somehow wasn’t what they used for Haley Joel Osment. The most-viewed clip on Latayan’s account? Stanley Tucci in The Lovely Bones, with responses largely chiding the performance and expressing disappointment that it’s Tucci’s only nomination. Acting clips help mark Oscar history and that performer’s moment in time.

But what makes a good Oscar clip? Sometimes those dramatic “Oscar moment” scenes are the default, but a good clip condenses what makes a performance special into a single nugget. If it can end with a Julia-Roberts-as-Erin-Brockovich-style punchy line reading, even better. “I’d say context is key for some of the clips, so sometimes an actor has a really great highlight that would not make sense if cherry-picked alone,” Latayan says. Too short a clip and you can’t really fulfill the assignment, as Latayan recalls about the year Forest Whitaker and Helen Mirren won their Oscars. “Everyone was done dirty because they did like eight to 15 seconds for each contender,” she says. “However, given the last decade and the tons of precursor televised awards ceremonies that also feature clips-Critics Choice, SAG, BAFTA, even Indie Spirits-I do think there’s a deliberate effort on Oscar producers to pivot and choose a different clip so as not to overuse the same scene over and over again.”

This can lead to examples of outright bizarre Oscar clips, like when Nicole Kidman’s Moulin Rouge! selection showed her manically flailing about rather than singing and dancing. Latayan recalls, “I remember she was up for an MTV Movie Award a few months later and the clip they used was [her confrontation with Jim Broadbent], and I [couldn’t] believe MTV used a better clip then the Academy producers.” Some performances can also have too many options and default to a less-than-iconic moment despite how notorious the performance itself becomes, like Meryl Streep’s clip for The Devil Wears Prada.

Will this year’s telecast even include clips for the acting finalists? We already know the Academy plans to nix eight categories from the live broadcast, so without clips, the ceremony would lose another tradition that helps cement its identity. Even if they are missing, that shouldn’t stop us from discussing which moments best represent each performance. Here’s what this year’s Oscar clips should be.


Best Actress

Jessica Chastain, The Eyes of Tammy Faye
Striking the right tone in selecting Chastain’s clip as the animated and tragic Tammy Faye Bakker may be a task as tricky as it was in telling her story to begin with. Steering away from a campier (if sensational) moment like Chastain singing “Jesus Keeps Takin’ Me Higher and Higher” or one that overemphasizes the film’s decadent makeup design might be best. A compromise would be to lean in to the film’s biopic trappings with a moment viewers will remember from real life: Tammy Faye’s live 1985 interview with a pastor with AIDS, when she expressed support for the gay community and others living with AIDS.

Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter
As Leda, Colman’s prickly performance is full of the unexpected, packing the most punch in her deeply antisocial reaction shots. Colman is perhaps never more surprising in the film than her tearful “it felt amazing” confession when asked what it was like to live her life after abandoning her children. But if the telecast producers have any sense of adventure, we’ll see Colman drunkenly singing and dancing along to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” at an outdoor bar.

Penélope Cruz, Parallel Mothers
For a performance that wrings palpable tension from just the clicking of an Apple mouse, there are many fraught options to distill Cruz’s rich performance. Since Parallel Mothers has some surprises best left unspoiled, a meaningful jolt would the scene where Cruz’s Janis describes her departed hippie mother, drawing on the film’s moving depiction of intergenerational connections while recognizing Cruz’s soulful touch.

Nicole Kidman, Being the Ricardos
Kidman probably has the most obvious “that’s their Oscar clip” scene, even in a performance that isn’t lacking in fiery Sorkin-scripted moments. Lucille Ball’s rousing “I am the biggest asset in the portfolio” monologue practically drips in awe of Kidman’s star power, making it the unavoidable choice.

Kristen Stewart, Spencer
“I hope they go with scenes involving her children, preferably the birthday candle scene,” says Latayan, which would be a great call. The pearls-in-the-soup scene has become notorious for its abstract audacity, but a more straightforward moment might better showcase the breadth of Stewart’s transformation. Her confrontation with Charles across a billiard table would provide a great capsule of that.


Best Actor

Javier Bardem, Being the Ricardos
Bardem’s musical performances of “Babalú” and “Cuban Pete” are some of his most show-stopping scenes, but you can’t expect that to be an Oscar clip when there’s so much Sorkin dialogue to chew on. Instead-and this one will need a few worthwhile bleeps-Bardem’s interrupted dressing-down of Tony’s Hale I Love Lucy producer after a patronizing “you’re the ‘I’ in I Love Lucy” comment will work best, especially if the clip ends with Bardem’s cha-cha-cha in the distance.

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog
How do you distill the overall menace of Cumberbatch’s performance when any out-of-context scene risks reducing his Phil Burbank to just a macho brat? You piggyback off of Kirsten Dunst’s clip (see below), showing Phil’s late arrival to a dinner party where he mocks Rose for her piano nerves and generally antagonizes the gathering. End the clip with Cumberbatch’s cocksure whistling to get the full brunt of his cruelty.

Andrew Garfield, tick… tick…Boom!
It’s rare for a leading male performance in a musical to be nominated (no, Bohemian Rhapsody does not count). Therefore, choosing anything from Garfield’s performance but a musical number would amount to unforgivable cowardice. His performance of the opening song “30/90” is as great an example of hair acting as it is regular acting, so let’s stick with that.

Will Smith, King Richard
In what you could call the quintessential Oscar moment, Smith’s Richard Williams struggles to hold back tears during a nighttime practice with daughter Venus (Saniyya Sidney), stressing to her what her success will mean to the young Black girls watching. “I think that’s a perfect Oscar clip,” says Latayan. It’s the kind of scene people will cite when describing what an Oscar scene is-even ones who don’t like the performance-for years to come.

Denzel Washington, The Tragedy of Macbeth
Take [clap emoji] thy [clap emoji] face [clap emoji] hence [clap emoji]. Washington’s manic dismissal of a feckless page is where the memes got it right; this moment underscores not only the rigor of the actor’s performance, but also that it is at times very fun. Hammy clips can be an eye roll, but this would be delectable.


Best Supporting Actress

Jessie Buckley, The Lost Daughter
Like Colman playing the older version of the same character, some of Buckley’s most potent work in Maggie Gyllenhaal’s film is in her reaction shots. And since the very best among them are in scenes too risqué for ABC, why not make her clip the incident where her young Leda responds to being slapped by her daughter?

Ariana DeBose, West Side Story
I’m guessing that DeBose’s musical numbers will get airtime elsewhere in the telecast, so rest assured that we will see her “America” at some point. DeBose’s clip should be her final moment of “you tell him” defiance, when she lies about Maria being dead, which would also provide a nod to Oscar history and co-star Rita Moreno’s win for the same role.

Judi Dench, Belfast
Dench spends most of Belfast on the sidelines, but at its final emotional crescendo, she breaks the fourth wall and says a poetic farewell directly to the camera-you know, just like she did in Cats. It’s probably the scene that clinched the nomination for Dench, so who cares if it would basically spoil the end of the film?

Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog
While a career reel honoring her nearly three decades of criminally under-rewarded work would feel like the only sufficient recognition for Dunst’s first nomination, The Power of the Dog has many moments that accentuate her nerve-frayed performance. We’ll just spin the wheel and choose the scene where her Rose finds herself unable to play the piano for her rapt guests.

Aunjanue Ellis, King Richard
Many have called out the kitchen confrontation between Ellis and Will Smith as Ellis’ finest hour, so this scene presents almost as much of a no-brainer as Smith’s selection above. Here, Ellis as Oracene Price paints years of history for the audience as she pushes back against her husband’s control, laying out several of his failings with equal parts toughness and love.

Focus Features
Focus Features
Focus Features

Best Supporting Actor

Ciarán Hinds, Belfast
Hinds’s Belfast screen time is brief, and producers will be tempted to showcase something cuddly for his grandfather role. But Hinds is given his best spotlight in a tender scene that is grounded in the film’s Irish identity: During a nursing-home visit, Hinds’s character assuages his grandson Buddy’s fear that people won’t understand his accent if the family leaves Northern Ireland, and that what matters is Buddy’s conviction of who he is and where he is from.

Troy Kotsur, CODA
Some of CODA‘s more humorous scenes have made the rounds in praise of Kotsur’s versatile work as the deaf parent of a high school senior who discovers she has singing ambitions. But with few chances for this year’s clips to pull at audiences’ heartstrings, Kotsur’s emotional work would be best represented by the scene where his daughter sings to him and he places his hand on her neck to feel the vibrations of her voice.

Jesse Plemons, The Power of the Dog
Here, the obvious choice is again the right one: Plemons’s stifled tears when telling his new wife (played by the actor’s real-life partner Kirsten Dunst) “how nice it is to not be alone.” It’s an impressive scene not only because of the way Plemons balances the character’s muffled emotion and inexpressiveness, but also for his ability to pull off a bowler hat.

J.K. Simmons, Being the Ricardos
Take your pick of any of Simmons’ wise-ass retorts as I Love Lucy supporting player William Frawley; just about any of them will face bleeping from the censors. Might as well make it the funniest: his introductory scene, arguing with Nina Arianda’s Vivian Vance about whether or not child star Rusty Hamer is a Communist.

Kodi Smit-McPhee, The Power of the Dog
The telecast producers’ hardest task will be distilling Smit-McPhee’s performance to a single moment, given that it’s one whose greatness comes through its cumulative power. The solution is to embrace his mysteriousness and show the climax, that beguiling shot of Smit-McPhee almost wordlessly smoking a cigarette. If you’ve seen the film, here is where his mastery reveals itself, and it wouldn’t actually spoil what’s happening.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Chris Feil is a freelance entertainment writer and co-host of the podcast This Had Oscar Buzz. His previous work has been seen in Vanity Fair, Vulture, Polygon, The AV Club, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisvfeil.


Where to Celebrate Lunar New Year 2023 in Australia

And what it means to be in the year of the Rabbit.

where to celebrate lunar new year australia

Starting with the new moon on Sunday, January 22, this Lunar New Year ushers in the year of the Rabbit. We’ve put together a guide on celebrating the Lunar New Year in Australia.

What is special about the year of the Rabbit?

As you might know, each year has an animal sign in the Chinese Zodiac, which is based on the moon and has a 12-year cycle. This year, we celebrate the year of the rabbit, known to be the luckiest out of all twelve animals. It symbolises mercy, elegance, and beauty.

What celebrations are taking place and how can I get involved?

There are plenty of festivals happening all around the country which you can get involved with. Here they are per state.

New South Wales

Darling Harbour Fireworks
When: Every year, Sydney puts on a fireworks show, and this year, you can catch it on January 28 and February 4 at 9 pm in Darling Harbour.

Dragon Boat Races
When: Witness three days of dragon boat races and entertainment on Cockle Bay to usher in the Lunar New Year. The races will commence on January 27 and finish on January 29.

Lion Dances
When: Catch a traditional Lion Dance moving to the beat of a vigorous drum bringing good luck and fortune for the Lunar New Year. The dance performances will happen across Darling Harbour on Saturday, January 21, Sunday, January 22, and Sunday, February 4 and 5, around 6 pm and 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at Cirrus Dining
When: Barangaroo’s waterfront seafood restaurant, Cirrus, is celebrating the Year of the Rabbit with a special feast menu. Cirrus’ LNY menu is $128pp with optional wine pairing and is available from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, February 5.

Auntie Philter
When: Hello Auntie’s owner and executive chef, Cuong Nguyen will be dishing out some of the most classic Vietnamese street foods with his mum, Linda. All of Philter’s favourites will be on offer, as well as Raspberry Pash Beer Slushies and other cocktails being served at the Philter Brewing rooftop bar on Sunday, January 22 and Sunday, January 29.


Lunar New Year Festival
When: Ring in the Lunar New Year with food, music, arts, and more on Sunday, January 22, from 10 am to 9 pm.

Lunar New Year at the National Gallery of Victoria
When: Celebrate the year of the rabbit at the National Gallery of Victoria’s festival of art, food, and art-making activities for everyone from 10 am-5 pm.


BriAsia Festival
When: From February 1-19, Brisbane will come alive with performances, including lion dances and martial arts displays. There will be street food, workshops, comedy and more.

South Australia

Chinatown Adelaide Street Party
When: Adelaide is set to hose a fun-filled day celebrating the Chinese New Year on Saturday, January 28, from 12 pm to 9 pm.

Western Australia

Crown Perth
When: Across January and February, Crown Perth hosts free live entertainment, including colourful lion dances, roving mascots, and drumming performances. The restaurants will also throw banquets and menus dedicated to the Lunar New Year.

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