‘The Banshees of Inisherin’ leads with 11 nominations, followed by ‘Everything Everywhere All at Once’ with 10; ‘Women Talking’ and ‘The Fabelmans’ earn 8 each

Special Merit recognition to Jafar Panahi, Ashley Judd and David Bowie

The St. Louis Film Critics Association have announced nominations for its annual awards, to be presented on Dec. 18.

In addition to determining nominations in 23 categories, the regional critics’ group recognized three people for special merit: imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi, whistleblower actress Ashley Judd and posthumously, influential musician-actor David Bowie.

“The Banshees of Inisherin,” Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy about two lifelong friends at an impasse, was nominated for film, director, actor, supporting actor and actress, ensemble cast, original screenplay, cinematography, editing, music score and production design.

The multiverse mind-bender, “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” garnered nominations for film, directors, actress, supporting actor, ensemble, original screenplay, editing, visual effects, comedy, and action film.

Two dramas, “Women Talking” and “The Fabelmans,” were recognized with eight nominations apiece, while the “Elvis” biopic had seven, and sequels “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” earned six.

See below for a complete list of nominations.

Regarding the Special Merit nods, SLFCA President Jim Tudor said the group wanted to recognize filmmaker Jafar Panahi, who was sentenced to six years in prison by the Iranian government for inquiring about the arrests of his fellow filmmakers Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad.

The international film community has denounced his imprisonment as unjust. His latest work, “No Bears,” was shown at the Venice Film Festival and New York Film Festival this fall.

The SLFCA statements on the three Special Merits:

Jafar Panahi

“In recognition of the courage of imprisoned Iranian director Jafar Panahi and all those film professionals confronting political oppression in the pursuit of free speech, human rights, and artistic expression.”

Ashley Judd

“We recognize Ashley Judd for the bravery and courage she demonstrated in portraying herself in ‘She Said.’”

David Bowie

“After nominating the experimental documentary “Moonage Daydream,” we want to also honor the expansive and continuing cinematic presence of singer-songwriter and actor David Bowie, whose life and music continues to permeate and enrich the cinema landscape.”

Founded in 2004, the St. Louis Film Critics Association is a nonprofit organization of professional film reviewers who regularly publish current and timely film criticism, support local productions and festivals, and enhance public education, awareness, and appreciation of films. Vetted members are affiliated with qualifying media outlets in the St. Louis metropolitan region.

For the awards, eligible films are those that opened in the greater St. Louis area or had an online premiere during the 2022 calendar year – including those film that were given awards-qualifying runs in 2021 but were not available to all SLFCA members until 2022. Films slated for release in early in 2023 are also eligible if a press screening, DVD screener, or screening link was provided to all SLFCA members.

For more information, visit the site: www.stlfilmcritics.com

The complete list of nominations are as follows:

She Said


The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
She Said
Women Talking


The Daniels (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert) – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Baz Luhrmann – Elvis
Martin McDonagh – The Banshees of Inisherin
Sarah Polley – Women Talking
Steven Spielberg – The Fabelmans


Austin Butler – Elvis
Daniel Craig – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Colin Farrell – The Banshees of Inisherin
Brendan Fraser – The Whale
Paul Mescal – Aftersun


Cate Blanchett – Tár
Danielle Deadwyler – Till
Mia Goth – Pearl
Emma Thompson – Good Luck to You, Leo Grande
Michelle Williams – The Fabelmans
Michelle Yeoh – Everything Everywhere All at Once


Andre Braugher – She Said
Brendan Gleeson – The Banshees of Inisherin
Judd Hirsch – The Fabelmans
Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All at Once
Ben Whishaw – Women Talking


Angela Bassett – Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Kerry Condon – The Banshees of Inisherin
Claire Foy – Women Talking

Janelle Monae – Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Carey Mulligan – She Said

Glass Onion


The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Women Talking


Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Rian Johnson; based on characters created by him

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio – Guillermo del Toro and Patrick McHale; Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins (story); based on the novel by Carlo Collodi

She Said – Rebecca Lenkiewicz; based on the book She Said by Jodi Cantor and Megan Twohey, and on the New York Times investigation by Jodi Kantor, Megan Twohey, and Rebecca Corbett

White Noise – Noah Baumbach; based on the novel by Don DeLillo

Women Talking – Sarah Polley and Miriam Toews; based on the novel by Miriam Toews


The Banshees of Inisherin – Martin McDonagh
Decision to Leave – Park Chan-wook and Gong Seo-kyeong
Everything Everywhere All at Once – The Daniels (Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert)
The Fabelmans – Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
The Menu – Seth Reiss & Will Tracy
Tár – Todd Field

The Menu


The Banshees of Inisherin – Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
Elvis – Jonathan Redmond and Matt Villa
Everywhere Everywhere All at Once – Paul Rogers
Tár – Monika Willi
Top Gun: Maverick – Eddie Hamilton


The Banshees of Inisherin – Ben Davis
The Batman – Greig Fraser
Nope – Hoyte Van Hoytema
Top Gun: Maverick – Claudio Miranda
Women Talking – Luck Montpellier


Avatar: The Way of Water – Dylan Cole and Ben Procter
The Banshees of Inisherin – Mark Tinldesley
Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Hannah Beachler
Elvis – Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery – Rick Heinrichs


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever – Ruth E. Carter
Elvis – Catherine Martin
The Fabelmans – Mark Bridges
Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – Jenny Beavan
The Woman King – Gersha Phillips


Avatar: The Way of Water – Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett

Everything Everywhere All at Once – Zak Stoltz (Visual Effects Supervisor); Ethan Feldbau and Benjamin Brewer (Visual Effects Lead Artists); Jeff Desom (Visual Effects Artist)

Nope – Guillaume Rocheron (Visual Effects Supervisor); Jeremy Robert (Visual Effets Supervisor); Sreejith Venugopalan (DFX Supervisor); Scott R. Risher (Special Effects Coordinator)

RRR – V. Srinivas Mohan (VFX Supervisor)

Top Gun: Maverick – Ryan Tudhope (Visual Effects Supevisor); Scott R. Fisher (Special Effects Coordinator); Seth Hill (Visual Effects Supervisor) Bryan Litton (Visual Effects Supervisor)



Babylon – Justin Hurwitz
The Banshees of Inisherin – Carter Burwell
The Batman – Michael Giacchino
The Fabelmans – John Williams
Women Talking – Hildur Guðnadóttir


Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
Moonage Daydream
Top Gun: Maverick
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story


Avatar: The Way of Water
Everything Everywhere All at Once
Top Gun: Maverick
The Woman King


Everything Everywhere All at Once
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Jackass Forever
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Weird: The Al Yankovic Story



Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio


Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
Turning Red
Wendell and Wild


All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Fire of Love
Good Night Oppy
Moonage Daydream


All Quiet on the Western Front
Decision to Leave


The Fabelmans – Sam meets one of his idols on the studio lot.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On – Marcel on 60 Minutes.
Nope – A tragic day on the set of Gordy’s Home.
RRR – Piggyback prison escape.
Tár – Lydia bullies a Julliard student.
Top Gun: Maverick – Iceman visits with Maverick.


By Alex McPherson

A tender drama with plenty of gallows humor throughout, director Panah Panahi’s debut feature, “Hit the Road,” speaks to universal fears while slyly critiquing an oppressive political system.

The film centers around a family of four embarking on a road trip across the Iranian countryside. Farid (Amin Simiar), a withdrawn, soft-spoken 20-something, needs to leave the country for mostly ambiguous reasons. His grizzled father (Hassan Madjooni) has a broken leg and wry wit, occupying the backseat of their cramped van with Farid’s wildly energetic younger brother (Rayan Sarlak).

The little chap remains equal parts annoying and sweet — a shining beacon of optimism amidst the impending gloom of Farid’s separation. Farid’s brave, deeply worried mother (Pantea Panahiha) can barely contain her anxiety. Her momentary slides into hopelessness are alleviated by the strength of her familial bonds. There’s also a dying dog in the back of the van that the parents are trying to abandon, without telling the kid the truth about her condition. 

As the family members bicker, laugh, argue, and cry together, “Hit the Road” cements itself as one of 2022’s most confident, multifaceted, and tonally ingenious works thus far. Panahi, the son of legendary Iranian director Jafar Panahi (currently forbidden from leaving Iran himself), depicts a lovable group of characters navigating a situation which none of them are fully prepared for, illuminating complex human dynamics that are easy to relate to, no matter one’s culture.  

It’s striking how much nuanced character work Panahi packs into a 93-minute runtime. Dialogue, acting, cinematography, editing, and score combine to lend each interaction metaphysical weight. Indeed, the heaviness of their destination is counterbalanced by moments of often humorous connection — an equally powerful force that fights against the controlling hand of authority they’re quietly rebelling against.

With the parents providing deadpan commentary, music blaring on the speakers, and the youngest causing mischief, “Hit the Road” captures the group’s infectious energy to entertaining effect. Sardonic dialogue, particularly from the father, pokes fun at the absurdity of their circumstances yet never undermines the tragedy at the core of it all, even as viewers are left in the dark on the specifics. 

It’s also clear, however, that these moments of shared levity mask the adults’ grief. Panahi brilliantly illustrates this tension — the film can shift from hectic to profoundly melancholic in the blink of an eye, especially when characters are (briefly) alone with their thoughts. They frequently stare directly into the camera, a type of existential void, until jolted back into the present. 

Each of the central actors are astounding, with not a weak link among them. Simiar convincingly conveys Farid’s heightening fear and quiet suffering, his stoic facial expressions belying barely repressed sadness. Similarly, Panahiha is absolutely heartbreaking as his mother — vividly portraying her inner battle to maintain positivity while preparing to say goodbye to her eldest son.

Madjooni embodies his aging paternal figure with layered complexity, as his character struggles to disguise his concern through a veneer of gruff, amusingly deadpan masculinity. The real star of the show is Sarlak, whose imaginative personality and innocence becomes a grounding presence for the adults as they each gradually slide into depressed emptiness. Still, they can only shield him so long from the horrors of the world, and from changes that will permanently affect his life going forward.

Amin Jafari’s cinematography does a brilliant job at visualizing their descent into the unknown. The initially claustrophobic, tightly framed compositions take on additional meaning when the camera eventually zooms out during climactic moments — often framing subjects against expansive, fog-drenched mountain ranges that render them tiny specks in an intimidating environment; tiny specks, though, that are forever connected in the vast cosmos.

Although “Hit the Road” is occasionally too blunt in its symbolism, Panahi’s film expertly examines the psychological impacts of change, of leaving loved ones for an uncertain future, of the power of family bonds to keep us whole when others want to tear us apart. This is a story that needs to be told, and a directorial debut that bears the marks of a true master.

“Hit the Road” is a 2021 Iranian drama directed by Panah Panahi and starring Hassan Madjooni, Pantea Panahiha, Rayan Sarlak and
Amin Simiar. It runs 1 hour, 33 minutes and is in Persian with English subtitles, and is not rated. It opened in select theatres on April 22 and will be released on streaming July 19. Alex’s Grade: A.