FILM #3

OF 38

94TH ACADEMY AWARDS | 2022 OSCARS CHALLENGE
“PARALLEL MOTHERS”
FEBRUARY 12, 2022
SCREENER

DAY 5

OF 48

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Performance by Penélope Cruz

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures
(Original Score)
Composed by Alberto Iglesias

“Telenovela” was the first word to come to mind after watching “Parallel Mothers.” And not because Penélope Cruz is a Spanish actress. It’s because the film’s subject matter borders on the tropes of Spanish soap operas, like questioning one’s true maternity or brushing off a pivotal moment. These aspects work in detriment to the film.

Penélope Cruz plays Janis, a photographer sleeping with a married man. When she becomes pregnant with his baby, she breaks it off and decides to keep the child. She shares a room with a young pregnant woman named Ana, played by Milena Smit, in the hospital. Milena often ends up stealing the scenes away from Cruz. When seeds of doubt arise in Janis regarding the maternity of her child, her life begins to unravel.

Stories are born out of drama. When it starts feeling overdramatic, it starts to feel like a telenovela. There’s also an entire story arc involving the uncovering of Janis’ great-grandfather’s remains. Not that this arc isn’t compelling, because it is, it only feels ancillary to the main plot. Whenever it switches to the gravesite dig, it feels like a harsh swerve.

As much as I enjoyed Alberto Iglesias’s score, it did nothing to help the over-exaggeration of the film. Often whimsical, the score is memorable and does capture the essence of the story. It’s the essence of the story that does the score no favors.

I had many of the same feelings toward Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” which tells me that the problem is not Pedro’s work but my enjoyment of them. Plain and simple, they are not for me.

Many expected Penélope Cruz to miss out on this nomination. Winning will be a more significant hill to climb. Her competition has been receiving award wins elsewhere. Nicole Kidman, Jessica Chastain, and Kristen Stewart have won other major awards. That puts them in a better position to win the Oscar. As for Alberto Iglesias faces his most significant competition in Hans Zimmer and his score for “Dune.” Jonny Greenwood is also in a position to win for “The Power of the Dog.”

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Penélope Cruz

PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

78TH ACADEMY AWARDS (2007)
Best Actress in a Leading Role
“Volver”
NOMINEE

81ST ACADEMY AWARDS (2009)
Best Actress in a Supporting Role
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
WINNER

82ND ACADEMY AWARDS (2010)
Best Actress in a Leading Role
“Nine”
NOMINEE

CHANCES

PERSONAL PREDICTIONS
EXPERT PREDICTIONS

Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)

Alberto Iglesias

PREVIOUS NOMINATIONS

78TH ACADEMY AWARDS (2006)
Best Original Score
“The Constant Gardener”
NOMINEE

80TH ACADEMY AWARDS (2008)
Best Original Score
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”
NOMINEE

84TH ACADEMY AWARDS (2012)
Best Original Score
“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
NOMINEE

CHANCES

PERSONAL PREDICTIONS
EXPERT PREDICTIONS

Two single mothers are roommates in the hospital where they are about to give birth and their brief conversation creates a very close link between them, which by chance develops and becomes complicated, changing their lives in a decisive way.

Directed by Pedro Almodóvar
Sony Pictures Classics
December 24, 2021
120 minutes

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