Widescreen’s year-end wrapup of big- and small-screen entertainment often looks past the names on the marquee. Here are five people who deserve more credit for 2022’s greatest successes:
Eve Best, ‘House of the Dragon’
Rhaenys Targaryen is “The Queen Who Never Was,” the rightful heir to the Iron Throne who is denied succession by her grandfather in the prologue of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” prequel. Best’s quietly defiant performance bears all the pain and resentment of the ensuing decades, leading up to the denial of another Targaryen woman’s birthright. When Rhaenys finally gets her chance to lash out at the usurpers within her own family, that resentment bubbles to the surface in one of the show’s most electrifying scenes. And, yes, a dragon is involved.
Bob Odenkirk, left, and Carol Burnett attend a ceremony honoring Odenkirk with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on April 18, 2022, in Los Angeles. – Associated Press Carol Burnett, ‘Better Call Saul’
We first met him as an immoral, opportunistic lawyer who helps build a meth empire in “Breaking Bad,” but Saul Goodman’s past as the clever, lovable Jimmy McGill took center stage in this AMC prequel. Viewers know the character played by Naperville’s Bob Odenkirk ultimately deserves to pay for his crimes, but the weight of his actions doesn’t land until he crosses one of TV’s most beloved stars. Casting Burnett as Saul’s final mark, a kind old woman in a motorized wheelchair, was the show’s final masterstroke. The hurt on Marion’s face when she realizes she’s been taken in by a con man is palpable; the shock on ours when Saul threatens Marion gives way to resignation — Jimmy is no more.
Nora Felder poses with the Emmy for outstanding music supervision for “Stranger Things” at the Television Academy’s 2022 Creative Arts Emmy Awards Sunday, Sept. 4, 2022. – Associated Press Nora Felder, ‘Stranger Things 4’
Every artist in the Spotify pantheon wants to be noticed by Felder, who serves as music supervisor for Netflix’s sci-fi smash. Her job: select and license existing music for use in the show. She was a hitmaker twice over this summer, first with “Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God),” Kate Bush’s 1985 hit that served as the emotional touchstone for troubled teen Max (Sadie Sink). The song hit No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it peaked at No. 30 back in ’85 — and brought in $2.3 million in royalties, according to NPR. Felder scored another viral phenomenon at the end of the season when Metallica’s “Master of Puppets” played over a climactic battle with villain Vecna (Jamie Campbell Bower).
America (Xochitl Gomez) must learn to harness her powers in “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.” – Courtesy of Marvel Studios Xochitl Gomez, ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’
This year’s most entertaining entry in the Marvel canon is jampacked with cool cameos, spectacular effects and scary, chaotic energy courtesy of director Sam Raimi. It also boasts two movie-star performances from Benedict Cumberbatch as the title character and Elizabeth Olsen, whose grieving mother from “WandaVision” has become the ruthless Scarlet Witch. At the center of it all is 16-year-old Gomez as America Chavez, a living MacGuffin whose superpowers make the multiverse of the title possible. She apparates into the MCU with all the confidence and charm required of the world’s biggest movie franchise, her youthful energy a good foil for Cumberbatch’s cranky, sarcastic wizard. Hopefully she’ll be fighting alongside the Avengers very soon.
Tom Cruise, left, and Joseph Kosinski attend the premiere of “Top Gun: Maverick” on May 18, 2022. – Associated Press Joseph Kosinski, ‘Top Gun: Maverick’
How is the director of a $1.5 billion hit an unsung hero? When all the promotion focuses on Tom Cruise flying the planes for real, Cruise training his co-stars for intense G-forces, and Cruise insisting the film would premiere in theaters and not on a streaming service. “Top Gun: Maverick” wouldn’t exist without Kosinski pitching it to Cruise as a character piece about reckoning with the past, and Kosinski’s filmography of aerial acrobatics (“TRON: Legacy,” “Oblivion”) prepped him for the job of a lifetime.
• Sean Stangland is an assistant news editor who awards an honorable mention to Andy Serkis, who got to ditch the motion-capture pajamas and leave lasting impressions on viewers of “Andor” and “The Batman.”