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In Which I Rank All of the 2023 Oscars Best Picture Nominees

I’m a big movie guy. I love watching movies. I love talking about movies. I love sharing trailers on this blog. And I write a movie review column for my day job newspaper, as well as host a movie review podcast for the paper. Do you listen to Sentinel Cinema? You should! It’s me! Talking about movies!

Anyway, for my podcast, I put in the effort and watched all 10 Best Picture nominees for this year’s Oscars, which are airing tonight. I think I’ve only done this once before. Ten movies is a lot when more than half of them are obscure indie films that don’t get played in my local theaters. Since I went to all that trouble, I figure I might as well share my thoughts on this blog as well.

So without further adieu, I will rank all 10 movies from my least favorite to my best favorite. This is not a ranking of what movies I think will win. Or what movies are the best movies, cinemagraphically speaking. These are just my personal taste in these films.

10. Tár

This is definitely not my kind of movie. I’m a bit of a philistine, and I’m slowly discovering that I just don’t care for arthouse, indie films that appeal to cinema snobs. Cate Blanchett gives a fine performance, I’m sure, but that’s just not something I notice or pay much attention to when I’m watching a movie. This one is long and a bit ponderous, and apparently full of ghosts? At least if the internet is to be believe, when I Googled the movie afterwards to figure out what it all meant.

9. The Banshees of Inisherin

Also not my kind of movie. I’ve been hit and miss with McDonagh brother movies, and Banshees was a miss for me. I understood the metaphor, and they did a fine job telling the story they wanted to tell, with characters that could be understood and were sometimes funny. But almost none of it really worked for me as an entertaining thing to watch.

8. Elvis

This was an OK film. Definitely worked as a biopic for a person I don’t know anything about. And I typically enjoy Baz Luhrmann movies. But I don’t have any particular interest in Elvis Presley, so it wasn’t that catching of a movie for me. Just a good, solid, sometimes very weird story about this poor man and the treatment he went through, despite being the King of Rock and Roll.

7. Triangle of Sadness

I had no idea what this movie was before I started watching, and it turned out to be largely entertaining and sometimes funny. I like dark humor as much as the next person. I had no idea where this movie was going, and each new twist was very interesting. The satire works, the characters work and I was mildly entertained.

6. All Quiet on the Western Front

Just a well-made, very bleak war movie. I liked the character progression, I liked the realism of the war scenes. But it’s just a gruesome movie about how war is hell. We all know it, and I suppose it’s important to keep teaching that lesson. But this was a lot to handle.

5. The Fabelmans

Steven Spielberg knows how to make entertaining movies, and he makes an entertaining semi-autobiography. It goes on a bit too long, and isn’t as deeply effecting as some of his films, but it tells a fine story with a lot of really well-developed characters. And I like its lessons about the importance of film and the magic of filmmaking.

4. Women Talking

This one really surprised me by how much I liked it. I put off watching this movie because of its indie, arthouse nature. But I finally got around to seeing it and this one was really damn good. The subject matter is obviously important, and what really stands out is how engaging and compelling they make what is essentially just a long, ongoing conversation/argument.

3. Avatar: The Way of Water

I liked this movie just fine. The CGI was spectacular, obviously, and it was fun to watch in 3D. But much like the first Avatar, the story and characters are not that memorable in the long run. I think this one will have just as little cultural impact as the first one, despite making all that money.

2. Top Gun: Maverick

Great damn movie! Action-packed, with fun characters and a solid story. The practical special effects, with cameras and actors in real planes, was a definite highlight of the entire 2022 film release schedule. If Marvel wants to keep their audience, they should take lessons from Top Gun: Maverick. This is what we want to see, not big, CGI landscapes. Kudos to that weirdo, Tom Cruise, for single-handedly carving out his own successful corner of Hollywood.

1. Everything Everywhere All At Once

A once in a lifetime masterpiece that excels in every aspect of filmmaking and storytelling. This was my favorite movie of last year, and could be my favorite movie of the decade. Holy cow, this movie was so good and so cool. Rich, exciting characters; a wild story that lived up to its title; a cornucopia of emotions; a satisfying conclusion for everyone involved. I loved this movie, and it immediately joined my Top 5 favorite movies of all time. If EEAAO doesn’t win Best Picture, I will likely never trust the Oscars again.

And that’s my rundown of all 10 of this year’s Best Picture nominees! What did you think of the movies? Agree with my ranking? Completely disagree? Am I a fool? I like watching movies and I hope to do all 10 nominees again in the future.


Here’s a Fun Oscars Song!

Do you love The Lonely Island? I like’em just fine! And they’ve made an Oscars song that stars Thor and Wonder Woman! That’s pretty fancy and I’m glad we all get to enjoy it!

As for the Oscars themselves, I’m glad Shape of Water won. I think it was my favorite movie out of the nominees I saw, though I felt Get Out should have won, as it was the better movie. At the very least, I’m glad Phantom Thread didn’t win, because I didn’t see it, and I was convinced that they’d pick some artsy movie I didn’t see.


Henchie’s First Annual Oscar Assessment!

For the first time I can remember, I’ve actually seen most of the nominees for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I love movies, but I don’t give two squats about awards or award shows. But I am always slightly perturbed that when the Best Picture nominees are announced, it’s always a smattering of barely released indie films that the average movie-goer hasn’t seen! I may dislike award shows, but I want to have an opinion on movies, gosh darn it!

Well now my time has come! In 2017, I made a promise to myself to go see more movies in the theater, and I pulled it off with aplomb! The arrival of MoviePass by the end of the year helped a great deal, and I have now seen seven of the nine nominees for Best Picture!

Oscar Thing 02

This is them

I wanted to do this article last week when the nominees were announced, but The Shape of Water didn’t come to my local theater until Friday and I wanted to wait. I was really looking forward to that movie and my patience paid off!

Join me after the jump for my thoughts on most of the best picture nominees, plus some of the other categories.

Read the rest of this entry

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