Nominations for the Oscars 2022 are in, and this year's list features a variety of films that take on complex issues. Between explorations of diverse equity and inclusion subjects, as well as important warnings about climate change, Global Citizens can learn a lot from the five nominated and shortlisted films we've picked out below.

Read on to find out more about the films and the issues they explore, and get them on your "to watch" list — you've got until March 27 to fit them in before the Oscars ceremony. 


Nominated for Best Animated Film, Best Documentary, and Best International Film

Flee examines the intersecting lives and experiences of two Afghan refugees living in Denmark in the present day. Amin and Rasmussen both resettled in Copenhagen after leaving their home country during the First Afghan Civil War of the 1980s and 1990s, when the violent Mujahideen guerilla groups gained power.

The two men navigate the complexities of connection — through both interpersonal relationships and physical belonging in a foreign host country. Like Khaled Hosseini's pivotal novel The Kite Runner, an overarching question in this Oscar-nominated film is what's at stake in a "better life" for refugees.

'Don't Look Up'

Nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score

Beyond its stellar lineup of actors, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Jonah Hill, and more, Don't Look Up has fascinated audiences based on the plot's resonance with the climate crisis.

While the film tells the story of two astronomers' fight to bring attention to a destructive comet headed towards Earth, it's easy to see the plot as a close reference to the detached attitudes towards the imminent threat our planet faces from climate change. The film is a reminder to politicians, businesses, and individuals that action is needed to defend the planet from irreparable damage.

You can read more about what Don't Look Up gets right and wrong about climate change here

'Coded: The Hidden Love of J.C. Leyendecker'

Shortlisted for Best Documentary Short

Our partner P&G brings a 30-minute documentary about LGBTQ+ representation in the art and advertising world. Through the history of J.C. Leyendecker, an American illustrator known for his advertising and Saturday Evening Post cover art, audiences learn about the understated ways in which the gay community communicated through art in the early 20th century.

Artists like J.C. Leyendecker created "coded" messages in paintings that resonated with the LGBTQ+ community — subtleties that went unnoticed by other observers and members of the art world.

Flashing forward to the present day, the film examines the progress made in the advertising industry through a Calvin Klein ad featuring a Black transgender model (installed in the SoHo neighborhood right outside the Global Citizen New York office!). The documentary is an important reminder of the strides America has made in equity and inclusion, but shows that there is still more work to be done in the arts and beyond.

'When the Sun Sets'

Shortlisted for Best Live Action Short

When the Sun Sets was written and directed by Phumi Morare, a 34-year-old film student from South Africa. In 2021, the film won a Student Academy Award for Best Narrative Film, and it was shortlisted for a 2022 Oscar.

The 14-minute story takes place in 1980s South Africa during the apartheid era, focusing on a Black nurse who fears for her activist brother's life. Many South Africans who protested the conditions of apartheid were taken away by police forces and never seen again. Phumi Morare's short film examines an important period in history in which racism created a deep national divide, and how speaking up against it carried devastating consequences. In many countries, the same danger still exists for activists who are not free to speak out against their governments.


Shortlisted for Best Supporting Actress (Ruth Negga)

In Passing, Ruth Negga plays Clare Kendry, a Black woman whose skin is light enough to "pass" for white. The segregated conditions between Black and white people living in 1920s New York City make Kendry's situation an anomaly, especially because she prefers the Black community and livelihood.

Through Kendry's evolving friendship with Irene Redfield, another Black socialite, the audience observes the tensions of the social contract that existed between races in the early 20th century American public sphere. Passing "blurs the lines between black and white" to examine attitudes and compliance around segregation and the risks taken by those who challenged it.

To learn more about Global Citizen's work to demand equity, click here.

To learn more about P&G's films on equity and inclusion, click here.

To learn more about Global Citizen's partnership with P&G, click here.


Defeat Poverty

Oscar-Nominated and Shortlisted Films That Every Global Citizen Should Watch

By Liza Gellerman